Things I Wish I Knew BEFORE Building my House

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Whether you’ve spent months house hunting to no avail, or you’ve always wanted to build your own home, the idea of building your dream home sounds like an amazing idea. While building a house from the ground can deliver you the EXACT house you want, you’ll probably learn some tough and expensive financial lessons along the way.  

To help you avoid the “I wish I knew that BEFORE I started this process” conversation with yourself, we’ve compiled a few must have items for your pre-build checklist here:

  1. Patience is KEY – get used to the “Waiting Game”.  Your schedule is more of a guideline. Everything from the groundbreaking to moving in takes much longer than you anticipate. Bad weather, building issues and scheduling contractors are all out of your control. Even breaking ground can be frustrating. There are 3 big hurdles you’ll need to accomplish before you can start: getting the floor plans approved by the appropriate people or departments and getting permits, getting the final contract from the builder and getting a construction loan from the bank. All the paperwork needs to be in order before you can start, and this could push your groundbreaking date back by months.
  2. Design your home for the future. Don’t design your home for your current lifestyle, but think 5 to 10 years ahead – will you have children, or more children, will you have parents who may need to live with you eventually?  It’s much more cost effective to build for your future now than to have to make changes years from now.
  3. You WILL go over your budget, so find ways to save money. There are expenses that you will not have planned for so try to save money where you can as you peruse your budget. Purchasing remnants of carpet, stone, and tile can save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. You may also find that appliance stores offer discounts on bundling appliances or even buy floor models. You may find that you are able to do some work yourself, like planting the landscaping, grouting tile, or even painting. You can also talk to your builder to find out if different floor plans or styles could save you money.  Spend your money wisely on fixtures that will last vs. what’s trendy or unnecessary.
  4. Make sure you include plenty of storage. It’s never high on the list of things you want in a new home, but storage is just as important as your high-end kitchen or your fancy master bath with spa like atmosphere. It’s not the most exciting thing to plan for, but you’ll wish you had more of it if you neglect to add it to your list of must haves.
  5. Do your research on contractors. Whether you are hiring a general contractor to manage the whole process or hiring all your own contractors make sure you get references and referrals. Beyond the great reviews, require all contractors to show you proof of licensing and insurance.  No one wants to work with a contractor who does poor work or sets your timeline back by months or weeks because he can’t do the job.
  6. This may seem odd, but make sure there is a porta potty on site. You want to make sure your contractors have a bathroom to use, especially if they are spending 8-10 hours a day building your dream home.
  7. Visit your worksite often. Even if you have a general contractor overseeing everyone else, there are still things you’ll want to see in person or even make changes. While you probably don’t need to go every day, you’ll want to visit several times a week to see how things are progressing or address any issues.

It’s easy to get stressed out and overwhelmed with the home buying process. There is an onslaught of never-ending questions and decisions to make and it seems like there is always another expense and the move in date is more of a moving target. Hopefully this list prepares you for what’s ahead. If you want to make your dream home become a reality from the ground up – give us a call to discuss your building loan needs. We love working with home builders!


Jennifer Ives-Groebl
Vice President, Senior Mortgage Lender
NMLS MLO ID: 532621

Author: Jennifer Ives-Groebl

Jennifer has been with Litchfield Bancorp since 1994 and was promoted to Assistant Vice President and Senior Mortgage Originator shortly after graduating the Connecticut School of Finance & Management in 1998. Stationed in both our Torrington and Litchfield locations, Jennifer is well known and respected in the local residential real estate community and recognized as a resource for some of the more difficult transactions. Jennifer resides in Torrington and is actively involved in the local community. She is a long time member of the Torrington/Winsted Rotary club and is currently serving as its Assistant Treasurer. Jennifer is involved with Litchfield County Board of Realtors and serves as chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Public Relations Committee. She is also a member of the Fuessenich Park Partnership; and through Education Connection, has participated in the Mentoring Program.

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