5 Things Homeowners Wish They Knew Before Building a House

You’re excited to build a house, but there are things that make you worried – how to build a house yourself (to begin with), how much budget and time you need, and how to make the right decision in terms of finishes, materials, and more.   

Those are all valid concerns, but guess what? A lot of things need to be considered when preparing for the steps to building a house. You won’t even realize them until you are in the building process or when the house is almost finished. 

Below are 5 things homeowners wish they knew before building a house:

A ‘finished’ house does not always mean a ‘move-in ready’ house

It may take months or even years before a house is completed. By the time you expect to move in, what you will most likely find is a bare and dull four-walled house.  There are windows, doors, a countertop, and other basic technical specifications. However, there are things that could leave you oddly unsatisfied. 

You still need to clean up the mess the contractors have left, hook up appliances, move in furniture, treat windows, paint the walls, put some decorations, and do everything else that will make the place feel like  ‘home.’ These are often overlooked but necessary steps in the timeline of building a house.

You will need to make split-second decisions

Things may go wrong, no matter how prepared or organized you are. There are things beyond your control. Be ready to make quick decisions that affect your house for the next 10 years or so. For instance, what will you do when you see an out-of-place electrical switch? Where should you place the outlets? The drywall guy is coming anytime soon, so you need an answer right away! No matter how taxing it can be, prepare to make flexible decisions regarding your house. 

Completion takes longer than the initial estimate

When your contractor tells you the house will be completed in 6 weeks, add another two to three weeks allowance. While you can always negotiate this, unforeseen delays may extend the process beyond deadlines. Understand that construction isn’t a straightforward process.

The weather may also pose delays, especially if you build during the typhoon season. Though there is nothing you can do about this, you can adjust your timeline accordingly to give yourself and your contractors some leeway. 

You can find more cost-effective ways to build a house

Instead of pursuing your dream design, ask for clever ways to save on costs upfront. This is one of the important financial steps to building a house. Imagine the savings you could have if you opt for a floor plan of the same square footage but with a smaller footprint. Roofing, cement, and site preparation would cost far less.

This applies to materials as well. Consider using stucco instead of stonework. Study if the topography will allow for a shorter driveway leading to the garage instead of a long and winding driveway. Buy remnants of quartz and granite instead of using full slabs of stone. Plant much of the landscaping yourself. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount on appliance packages!

You will most likely go over your budget

There are a lot of expenses that are excluded from the price of the house such as the cost of land, property taxes, and association fees. Make sure to have some financial wiggle room. Depending on where you intend to build your house, there are some preliminary steps that the local government may require before the construction could begin. That includes securing building, electrical, and sanitary permits. 

A lot of people wish to build their own house because the idea of being able to customize your own place is hard to resist. While it’s appealing, remember that there is a lot of work involved and there are sudden surprises that may crop up. Hopefully, the list above will help you build a house yourself with realistic expectations so that the finished project will be everything you ever hoped for.


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