The Top Eleven Mistakes Made by Homeowners
1. Purchasing a lot that is “affordable.”
Solution: Remember: location, location, location. Purchase the most
expensive, valuable lot you can manage, even if it means waiting on
some finishes or amenities in your home. (See chapter 6 for more on
2. Trying to build a custom home without a professional builder.
Building a custom home is more complex than most people realize. It
takes skilled professionals years to learn the business and even then
changes in the industry, materials, and codes make it difficult to keep
Solution: Find a competent builder you can trust. Negotiate a reasonable
fee for his services and hire him (see chapter 3).
3. Purchasing a ready-made plan thinking it will save you money.
Building someone else’s design or dream (especially one that was
designed for someone in another city and state) may not be the wisest
Solution: Have your home custom designed to fit your lot size and
your family’s lifestyle.
4. Choosing a builder primarily because of price. The expression “you
get what you pay for” applies to the homebuilding process. If you’ve
heard horror stories about people’s experience with their builder, it
usually can be attributed to someone trying to get a deal.
Solution: Your home is a major investment. Make an informed,
purposeful, thoughtful decision, and don’t be lured by the lowest bid
(buy our book and see chapter 17).
5. Biting off more than you can chew.In an appreciating market, the
rise in value can cover this mistake, but in a flat or declining market,
it can be disastrous.
Solution: Know what you can afford and stick to your budget (buy our book and see
6. Hiring a builder when your gut instinct tells you not to.
Solution: After careful research and comparing builders, go with your
instinct, not the discounted price (buy our book and see chapters 4 and 28).
7. Making choices for your home that only you love, but everyone else
Solution: Get good counsel from your builder, designer, interior designer,
and real estate professional before you make your decisions (buy our book and see chapter
8. Expecting workers to be on your job every day from 7:00 a.m. until
Solution: Recognize that some days no work is scheduled at all because
inspections may be taking place or rain has caused a change in the
schedule (buy our book and see chapter 31).
9. Underestimating the importance of making all selections before
Solution: Make all selections prior to construction and enjoy the building
process (buy our book and see chapter 22).
10. Homeowners giving direction to subcontractors on the job.
Solution: Communicate only with the Construction Manager or builder.
The Construction Manager is the only person on the job who has all the
information related to your project. Subcontractors have only one piece
of the puzzle. You can visit the job site during scheduled appointments
with the Construction Manager who can answer your questions and
explain what you will be seeing.
11. Not understanding the “Change Order” process.
Solution: Discuss the builder’s Change Order process with him and be
sure you are clear with how it works. Cooperating fully with this process
will go a long way toward your enjoyment of the whole project (buy our book and see