10 Tips for Building a House | The Marriage Series

Dulinn on York Living Room in Savannah Georgia

Building a house is exciting! You get to choose all of the color palettes, design features, and the floor plan! But, as Josh and I learned when building our first house, there was a lot we didn’t know! So, I wanted to take some of the best advice we received (and lessons we learned by trail and error), and give you 10 Tips for Building a House! Enjoy and happy building!


1. Prioritize Structural Changes

This is one of the best pieces of advice we received when we were building our first home, so I thought it was only fitting to pass along! When building a house, prioritize structural changes over things you can easily change later! For example, say you are choosing between upgrading the interior paint color or adding an extra 20 square feet of space to the garage, go for the garage! Why? It’s a structural! It’s something you cannot easily change after the house is built! If you still really want a different paint color, you can easily paint the walls yourself or hire a professional for a relatively low cost. But, it would cost way more to add the extra square footage after the house is finished.


2. Imagine Your Dream Home

If you are planning on building a home, you probably already have a picture of what your dream home would look like! But, before you even look at color swatches, get really specific about what you both want. I’m talking, pick out what would be your dream colors or styles in every room of the house!


And, I get it. That’s a LOT of work. But, trust me. This is key when is comes time to pick styles and colors. Because when your builder lays 16 pretty paint samples, 8 cabinet options, and 4 flooring types in front of you, it can quickly get overwhelming. But if you two have a plan and maybe even pictures of what you want, the decisions are easy and way less stressful.


Will you be able to get everything you wanted? Maybe not. But, at least you’ll have a vision to help guide you towards which options will work best for your two!


3. Be Patient

Setbacks will happen. Rain will come. Materials will get back-ordered. A virus will shutdown the country. #2020


And, that’s okay. Building a house is a big project. So, just prepare yourselves for setbacks, and be patient. <3


4. Bring a Professional

Unless you two have quite a bit of house building knowledge, I would suggest bringing a professional (or a knowledgeable family member or friend) with you when you do walk-throughs during the building process.


When Josh and I built our first house, we actually had a friend come see the house. We were so excited for him to see the progress they had made! But, as we walked through, our friend started pointing out issue after issues that we needed to address before they put up the walls! In that moment, we were so thankful for his insight because Josh and I would have never even known to ask those questions!


So, whether you hire a professional or bring a friend, have someone come look at the house with you regularly! They will probably see things you didn’t.


5. Builder Reviews

Ooh, friend. This is a big one! Whenever you build a house, look at reviews for the builder. Are they reputable? Is there customer service good? Do people like their homes 1 year, 5 years, 10 years down the road? Do they have good warranties in place? Basically, make sure they are legit!


6. Walk the Neighborhood

Before you ever build a home, you want to make sure that you like your neighborhood! Because in our experience, neighborhoods can be very different! Josh and I have actually lived in 3 neighborhoods with completely different vibes! And, ultimately, you want to pick a neighborhood that matches with the vibe you want!

So, from our experience, neighborhoods can be:

  1. Quiet and Distant – Neighbors don’t talk or interact much. People usually avoid conversations and make little eye contact.
  2. Quiet and Friendly – Neighbors don’t interact much but are pleasant when you do talk to them.
  3. Inviting and Friendly – Neighbors frequently hang out together, are friendly to talk to, and invite new neighbors to come over.

And, how do you figure out what the neighborhood is like? Walk the neighborhood around 5-7pm or on weekends! It not only gives you a great feel for the style of the neighborhood, but it gives you opportunities to interact with future neighbors (since they are home from work)!


7. Get “Offers” in Writing

If your builder offers you anything (something free, a tax break, a lower loan rate, etc.), get it in writing! Unfortunately, this piece of advice comes from personal experience. We have had builders make a false offers just to get us to sign a contract. So, always triple check their offers and get it in writing before you sign anything!


8. HOA Rules and Ownership

Before you build in a neighborhood, ask about the HOA. Does the builder run it? When will it be given over to the neighborhood to run? Do they have regulations? What are the dues? Will the dues ever change? These are all good things to know before you start building. You never want to be surprised by regulations/fees you didn’t know were in place!


9. Keep A Notebook

Building a house is a lot of fun! Getting to chose exactly what you want is so exciting, but you can easily lose track of the 38578329 decisions you have to make! I would suggest getting a notebook or folder to keep all of your house inspiration, the house floor plans, color options, etc! You can either make your own, or order something like this Home Building Planner to help you throughout the process! Plus, your building meeting go so much faster, and you never have to remember where you left that one paper that you need!


10. Make Your Mark

I know this was called “10 Tips for Building a House,” and technically this is a tip. But, it’s mainly just for fun! 😉 Once you are finally building that dream home of yours, go and make your mark! Whether you write on the support beams, sign the wet concrete, or hide something in one of the walls, making your mark is such a fun way to start making your house a home!



Looking for More Advice Like “10 Tips for Building a House?”

Check out The Marriage Series! They are full of practical tips that my husband and I have learned throughout our marriage!



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