By Jennifer Segelke Jeffers
Buying a home will likely be one of the most important decisions you make in your life — not to mention one of the largest purchases. If you choose building a new home, the decision becomes bigger (and more exhilarating).
While building a new house is an exciting endeavor, you can become slightly overwhelmed. You’ll have to make countless decisions (all of which will feel monumental at the time) and work with an assortment of characters, all while having faith that the end product will live up to your expectations. This is one tall order that can send even the calmest of individuals into a tailspin.
Fear not. The road to a new home does not have to be paved with stress. We spoke with industry experts to bring you ways to reduce stress while building a new home:
Know what you want.
The biggest decision has been made — you’ve decided on a newly built house. Now that that’s out of the way, you can prepare yourself for many questions and decision-making. While you might not have all the answers right away, it’s a good idea to at least know what the big picture looks like.
“Try and be as thorough as possible regarding those things you really want,” says Kira Sterling of Toll Brothers, Inc. “Have a core understanding of what is a ‘must’ and what is a ‘want.’ If you are already clear on what you want and what your expectations are, the efficiency will be greatly improved, reducing the opportunities for added stress.”
This step includes asking yourself a lot of questions — What neighborhoods do I like? What style of home do I want? What does my budget look like? — and making some critical initial decisions.
Work with a company you trust.
Above all, trust is key. Working with a company that you trust and that has a proven track record will work wonders at reducing your stress level. One of the main reasons homebuyers working on a new build suffer so much stress is the prospect of the unknown.
Because you can’t see the finished product before signing on the dotted line, a great deal of trust is required. Sterling suggests hiring professionals with a long history of getting the job done, and getting the job done well. “Deal only with known entities with a good track record,” she says. “That way you know you’ll be taken care of for the long haul.”
It’s also important to know that your builder will be there throughout the process to help reduce any anxiety you may have.
Stay involved in the process and communicate with your team.
Another key to reducing stress during a new home build is keeping yourself involved in the process, says Cara Kane of KB Home. “Keep yourself involved by attending all of the available construction meetings so you can know what to expect during major constructions milestones, such as framing, drywall and plumbing,” she says.
Kane also suggests keeping a list of questions for the construction superintendent so that you better understand all the details as your new home is being built.
Keeping an open line of communication is also critical. Sterling notes that buyers of new homes should request progress reports from their builders, along with scheduled appointments, to review progress. “Whether you choose to be present or not, you’re able to reduce your stress level because you know there are others looking out for you throughout the building experience,” she says. “This way, you can be confident that things are moving along as they should.”
Embrace your emotions.
Deciding to build a home is huge undertaking and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you didn’t acknowledge the emotional aspect of the project. You’re building the home of your dreams and that comes with both excitement and stress. There will be ups and downs. It’s all part of the process. “Embrace the emotional part of building a new home and all the benefits that come along with it,” suggests Kane. “Some homebuyers find it helpful to engage in the experience by documenting their home through the building process with pictures and videos of the home at different stages to share with friends and family.”
While there is no way to promise you’ll remain entirely stress-free while your new home is being constructed, if followed, these tips will help reduce the opportunities for added stress.
Like the final products themselves, homebuyers are all unique, so it’s best to assess your own capacities for stress. Will it help you or hinder you to know what’s happening every step of the way? If a problem arises, do you want your contractors to come to you or would you prefer that they handle it themselves? Gain as much knowledge as you think will be helpful. Hire people you can trust and decide how involved you want to be.
Jennifer Segelke Jeffers is a freelance writer and editor with more than a decade of editorial experience. The former editor of Austin Monthly Home and Centro Y Sur, she writes about a variety of home-related topics for NewHomeSource.