Building a home can seem like a lofty task, especially for those with little construction knowledge. As a green builder, I’ve helped develop homes that prioritize comfort, safety and simplicity. That last word is particularly important for construction novices to recognize, since efficient planning combined with the tips below offers a home-building experience that the everyday man can undertake, enjoy and successfully complete.
Study the Area
You can build a great home anywhere, but you can’t build a great location. Before starting any construction, you must identify an area that matches everything on your wish list. This could concern the location’s crime rate, school district, walkability or distance from the interstate. Once you find an ideal town or city for your needs, try to find a space in an up-and-coming neighborhood.
You may have heard this before, but it’s absolutely true: It’s better to have the worst home in a great neighborhood than the best home in a bad neighborhood. The everyman likely isn’t going to build a flawless work of art, so it’s best to ignore the quality of surrounding neighbors’ homes and instead focus on the general area your prospective home is situated in.
Consider Hiring a Builder to Help
It’s entirely up to you whether you want to undertake this project with yourself and a few friends or you want to involve an experienced builder. If you’re a novice, hiring a builder is strongly recommended, as he will make sure to heed to local laws and regulations — failure to comply with these can turn a construction project into a disastrous waste of money. A builder will also have knowledge regarding renting and using construction equipment.
When selecting a bidder, don’t simply base your decision on a bid — a bid total doesn’t align with a superior product. Low bids often do not include extra costs throughout the construction process, so be sure to check.
Design Your Own Blueprint
Anyone building their own home wants to have a say in how it will look. Fortunately, there is a range of blueprint software that’s easy to use, either in collaboration with a builder or on your own.
If you’d rather not use bulky software, consider a service like Floorplanner, which supports an accessible method of drawing legitimate floor plans. Professional builders should be able to convert what you draw on that site into a hand-drawn version. This makes it a great way to show a builder or collaborators precisely what your intentions are.
Think About the Future — Go Green
Building a new house is the perfect time to equip it with green-friendly features. This can improve energy efficiency and provide versatility for the future green technology that continues to emerge at a fast rate. Some green building options to incorporate include:
- Prioritize proper insulation in the construction process.
- Install programmable thermostats.
- Use LED and/or CFL lighting.
- Use Energy Star appliances.
- Use energy-efficient windows (often indicated by the Energy Star label).
- Incorporate sustainable materials, like a recycled glass surface.
- Plant native trees on the southern and western sides of your home to keep your home cooler during summer months.
- Use a tankless water heater.
Keeping these tips in mind can significantly aid any person in building their home regardless of their construction experience.