What I Am Learning From Having A New Home Built

Industry Observer

We are in the process of having a new home built, and I could probably just say I am learning A LOT - but I think instead I will list some of the things for others who might be building or contemplating the process.

Number one thing is to choose contractors you will be able to work with well!  I am really fortunate in having contractors that I have worked with for years, both as they did renovations for clients and also remodeled our own current bathrooms.  So I know their working style, their quality of work, and their communication preferences (and they know mine....and still agreed to build for us!).  If you do not have this luxury, then make sure you get lots of recommendations from people you trust, check out their credentials carefully, and have a conference where you can gauge if your style & theirs will dovetail nicely - or drive you crazy during the process.


Almost done framing

I think the next important thing is to spend some time really thinking about how you live, what changes you want to make in a new house, and what things are SUPER important to you vs things you don't have strong opinions about one way or another.  My husband was initially unsure that the square footage I was suggesting was big enough until we really talked about which spaces in our current house we use.....or not.

We agreed we wanted to move to a smaller home with plenty of space for all the necessary things, but without wasted space.  We knew that a one level house with an open main living area was important.  We knew that lots of light, energy efficiency, a home with "green" products were all things that we valued and wanted.


Roof's done!

I have literally made a list of furniture that I know we want to keep, along with dimensions.  There is also an ever changing list of other possessions that we use or treasure and how best we want them to be displayed or stored.   All of this information is really important to think through before you attempt to design a floor plan, or think about number of closets, types of cabinets etc etc.

Be prepared to be excited, frustrated, happy, terrified, and about every other emotion under the sun - building a new house is creating a new life style and it is truly a big deal!  Thankfully, the positive emotions have WAY outweighed the middle of the night panic attacks or frustrations over WHEN will the weather cooperate.


Looking like a house!

We are now at the stage where the house is ready for dry wall, and I can walk through rooms and clearly imagine how they will look finished.  It is exciting to see things come together as planned (and sometimes better than anticipated).  Bonus points that since I pretty much drive by daily just to see what is new, I have met almost all my soon to be new neighbors!

So....lots of interior finish work still must happen, but I can see that completion is not all that far off now - and so now my main panic moments are about how much sorting I want to complete before the move!



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For Info on the Communities of Olympia, Lacey & Tumwater  WA and the real estate to be found here, just call me, text me, email me!  And I'd love for you to subscribe to my blog.

Nancy Conner, City Realty Inc,    360-701-1086     nancy@cityrealtyinc.net      

Comments (15)

Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

As much of a nightmare as this experience can be for many people, I LOVED building our home twelve years ago.  We sold it 2 years ago and have moved on, but it was a wonderful experience that I would do again in a heartbeat!  My advice for others would be to stay on top of the process....we visited the site every single day.  Many times you catch things that need to be changed or questioned.

Congratulations on your new home! 

Apr 17, 2014 09:19 AM
Catherine Ulrey
Keller Williams Capital City - Salem, OR
Equestrian and Acreage Property Specialist

How exciting!  We hope to build a new house on our land one day, in place of the old one.  Thanks for the tips!

Apr 17, 2014 09:35 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

It's hard to envision it until it starts to look like a house.  I remember looking at ours being built and wondering if we had made a huge mistake.  Nope. Just looks different when it's in the beginning phases.

Apr 17, 2014 10:33 AM
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Nancy, it has been a delightful journey watching your new home come into being. Great advice you're sharing here for anyone who might be thinking of building a home.

Apr 17, 2014 11:48 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I learned a lot when we demolished our home and built another. We are now starting to remodel our 15 year old house and lessons learned are essential...

Apr 17, 2014 01:08 PM
Rob D. Shepherd
RETIRED - Florence, OR

We did it a few years ago with a design my wife did. It came out great but was still stressful.She would NOT let me hve my pull down service station light above my big chair that you yank the cord and it reels up out of the way. LOL

Apr 17, 2014 11:41 PM
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA

Thanks Sharon!  And yes, I am loving it too!  I'm going to have quite the collection of photos too of each step of the process....

You're welcome Catherine!  And that will be very exciting, too, when you are ready to build some day on your land.  Sometimes finding a good piece of land is the hardest part of all, so sounds like you've already got that under control.

So very true Chris Ann!  Even knowing that I shouldn't expect to tell much when we were at the foundation stage, I admit to looking at it and hoping they hadn't somehow mismeasured - it looked really small!

Apr 19, 2014 07:54 AM
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA

Thanks Lottie - it is certainly an exciting process, and seemed like since so much of my attention is on building, I might as well blog about it!

OK Paul, I'll be anticipating photos of your remodel journey!!  :) 

Oh Rob - I can SO picture that!  Can't imagine why your wife didn't want it.....LOL

Apr 19, 2014 07:56 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I see that you have learned you don't have time to blog while running a successful company and building this new home Nancy...

Jul 06, 2014 03:10 AM
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA
Lol Paul! I guess all that's going on between real estate & new house building is as good an excuse as any for how absent I've been in the Rain lately... The new house is REALLY close to completion, so it's pretty exciting - & a little terrifying that there's still lots of packing I need to do. I've got to go check if we're friends on FB since I seem to do a better job of checking in with friends & posting pix there lately.
Jul 06, 2014 04:24 AM
Rene Fabre
ARFCO Media - Renton, WA
Practicing Philosophical Eclectic of the Arts

Hi Nancy... I would love to have a new home. Not sure if it will ever be in the cards. I was in the process in the mid 90's, but the interest rates were going up so fast my plans got smaller and smaller then priced me out of the project. This looks like a really cute rambler. Would love to see a followup post with the progress!

Jul 24, 2014 04:36 AM
Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

Getting to design your own space and building materials is something that most never get to experience. Enjoy.

Dec 26, 2014 12:51 PM
Mimi Foster
Falcon Property Company - Colorado Springs, CO
Voted Colorado Springs Best Realtor

Good morning, Nancy. Just stopping by to say 'hello' from the Rain and see how you're doing. Hope life is treating you well, and that you are prospering in your new home.

May 28, 2016 11:30 PM
Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA

Mimi, thanks for stopping by to say hello....which also led me to re read this post & remember again all the fun we had building our new home! We've definitely been beyond happy with how it turned out & this spring I finally feel like our yard is just about done too. Real estate has been keeping me hopping, but any chance I get I sneak in some time "playing" in my garden or sitting & reading on our yard swing....lovely way to unwind & relax. I hope life is treating you well, too!!

May 29, 2016 12:27 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I was looking for your current posts. I hope you are having a very productive month.

Aug 27, 2020 06:35 AM