Dealing with a Builder or General Contractor

Working with legitimate professionals that are going to be building your home and bringing your dream to life is never quite as simple or as straightforward as many of us imagine this process to be – particularly if we haven’t gone through it all that much (if ever) in the past.

There are a couple of different things you can do, however, to make this process go a lot smoother right out of the gate and all the way to the finish line.

Keeping open lines of communication is everything, and while you’ll have to rely on your builder and your contractor to keep you apprised of any changes, any emergencies, or any unforeseen circumstances, you’ll also want to do your fair share of the heavy lifting keeping the project on track in moving towards the milestones that you have mutually agreed upon.


Outline your expectations for crystal-clear communication right away.

One of the most important things you can do to guarantee clear and open lines of communication are maintained throughout the entirety of the project is to outline these expectations right off the bat.

It’s really easy to have a completely different set of expectations for how you should communicate, when you should communicate, and how often you and your contractor or builder should actually get together to keep the project on track than your contractor and your builder – and that’s when things really start to run right off the rails.

If you’d like to have weekly conference calls with your builder or your contractor and any of the critical sub-contractors, you’re going to want to make sure that you outline that in advance. If you’d rather handle the majority of your communication with email so that you can keep better track of everything that has been said and have a better “paper trail”, that something that you want to communicate as well.

A lot of frustration can be avoided by outlining how you like to communicate with your contractor builder initially than just hoping that they are going to “get it” all on their own and communicate with you the way that you hoped they would have all along.

Take advantage of project management software and tools.

Project management software, especially cloud-based software that allows for everyone to have their own excess, their own platform to communicate, and their own tools to and resources and keep the project moving in the right direction can be a huge benefit to you and your builder/contractor as long as you both buy in to using the platform moving forward.

Oftentimes, builders and contractors will use this kind of software in these kinds of tools in-house but may be able to create an account for their clients with more limited access than their employees. This will help you stay abreast of all the updates, all the changes, and all the work that is being put into moving towards the finish line without ever feeling as though you are stepping on the toes of your contractor along the way.

At the end of the day, communication remains a two-way street and you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure that you are doing everything you can to make this contractor/client relationship work.


Designing Your Home

Designing your dream home is one of the most exciting processes you’ll ever go through, simply because you’ll be able to paint a perfect picture of the home you’ve always dreamed about living and have legitimate professionals bring that dream to life!

At the same time, this is of the kind of process that too terribly many people go through all that often in their lives (if they are lucky enough to go through it once).

You’ll want to be sure that you really knock this process right out of the park, and aside from working with the best home designers in your local area (or working with the best of the best regardless of where they may physically be located) you’ll want to be sure that you make the most of the tips and tricks we highlight for you below.


Look closely into the portfolio of the designers and architects you’re working with.

When you are designing your dream home, you need to be sure that you are working with designers and architects that are capable of bringing your dreams to life – and that means working with experts that have a track record and a history of creating the kinds of homes that you’ve always wanted to live in.

Some designers and architects are able to create amazing projects across a variety of different styles and aesthetics, but others have “wheelhouse” styles that they really knock right out of the park. These are the kinds of architects and designers you’ll want to work with, experts that have experience working with the kinds of homes in the kinds of materials that you want implemented in your project.

Do your research and bring plenty of examples to design meetings.

The more “legwork” you can do for your designers and your architects as far as design inspiration and examples are concerned, the better off you are going to be and the faster your project is going to move.

Look into home magazine, jump online, dive headfirst into the world of Pinterest (with a lifeline, off course – it’s easy to get lost in all that inspiration), and bring all kinds of Instagram posts that show exactly the kinds of elements you want implemented in your home for your designers and your architects to work off of.

Try and paint as accurate a picture as you can with your words and your descriptions, but don’t hesitate to fall back on inspiration from other home and design elements that you’ve fallen in love with.

Don’t be shy about speaking out regarding any of the details you aren’t in love with.

At the end of the day, the odds are pretty good that your initial home design project is going to go through a number of different iterations. Regardless of how experienced and how highly recommended your designers and architects are, the nature of this project is that they are going to lay down “Bones” that you’ll want to shift, maneuver, and adjust or completely omit sometimes.

Appreciate the process for everything it is – a process, first and foremost – and never be shy about speaking out regarding any details you may not be in love with. This is your dream home, after all.


Find a Builder and Location

Successfully pulling off the construction of your dream home can be a real headache and hassle if you let things snowball on you.

Believe me, I would know. Not only is my husband a bathroom remodeler, but my best friend has owned a couple of fixer-upper homes and so I was no stranger to the DIY approach to renovating and flipping homes. It’s not like designing a home from scratch is stress-free—not with the weight of a 200 decisions to make in a single day. But I always still felt like tackling a brand-new home construction project would be a walk in the park compared to dealing with somebody else’s mistakes when they built a home 50 years or more ago!

But perhaps that’s only because I always take my time to find the a trusted builder with a perfect location for my new home. Even still, I made a ton of mistakes, especially my first time out. Hopefully you’ll be able to use the inside information below to avoid making the kinds of mistakes I made in the past but won’t ever make again!


Work only with 100% legitimate contractors.

But know that finding the right builder is a bit of a dance, for sure. For starters, you’re going to find all kinds of professionals in the local area more than ready and more than willing to offer their help and their services when you’re talking about building a brand-new home. Unfortunately, all of them are going to promise the moon and the stars when it comes to results, track record, and price – but most of them aren’t going to be able to meet the lofty expectations they set up.

You’ll want to look into several different builders, starting with only the best that have been recommended to you and then digging deeper into their background online as well as off. As for client testimonials, case studies, and referrals, ask for details about their license, their insurance, and they are business history, and generally dive into all the information that they have provided you while independently verifying it on your own.

You’re going to end up spending a few hundred thousand dollars on a new home construction project. This isn’t something you can afford to roll the dice with.

Never sign on the dotted line until you’ve read every letter of the contract.

Even working with the best of the best in your local area isn’t going to guarantee that you wind up with your dream home on budget and ahead of schedule.

You need to be sure that you have everything you want – and I mean EVERYTHING you want – poured in concrete on your contract, with absolutely no wiggle room, no weasel words, and no ambiguity.

You also need to be sure that there aren’t any surprises hidden throughout your contract. You’ll want to pay close attention to the fine print, you’ll want to go over every single word in the contract, and you may even want to have a lawyer browse the paperwork before you sign on the dotted line just to be sure that you have all of your bases covered.

This will definitely help you when it comes time to find the right builder for your dream home!