7 Steps to Survive Building a House

Reblogger Dale Taylor
Real Estate Agent with Re/Max 10 New Lenox Illinois

We were on a Sunday afternoon after church and after our afternoon stop by our favorite Old Country Buffet I lovingly call my Country Kitchen Buffet, we stumbled upon a Builder hanging an Open House Banner on a Home he had just finished constructing.


We made our way through the newer subdivision in Frankfort, Illinois to find the home. Upon entering we establish very nice rapport with the builder. He had informed us there was a falling out with his Buyers, and they walked away from the home.


We liked the quality of his construction, but shared we’d do some things differently if we were to build from scratch.


He offered to take us around to see other Models he constructed. We followed him and tour them. He asked if we had a time-frame for our goals. We told him we were timing our relocating around our Daughter transitioning into high school, which was in about a year.


He suggested we connect at the end of the year. We exchanged phone numbers, and like clockwork Pat Crene call me to ask if I was on target for our goals?


I confirmed indeed we were. He said great. I explained I was a very seasoned Realtor, and had studied the market thoroughly, and knew exactly how long it would take to sell my 2500+ square-foot Quad styled home, of which I had a lot of equity in, and asked if he would allow me to not touch my savings, as I planned to roll all of the equity from the sale of my Richton Park, Illinois home into the construction of our new home upon closing?


I offered as a fair-trade to work with the Lender Pat preferred. We met with his preferred Loan Officer on a Friday in December, and were fully approved to build our dream home over the weekend. I took to the Loan Officer every paperwork I thought he might need, and was extremely transparent in giving the information he needed for the application. Please note potential Homebuilders and/or Homebuyers, this is how you get very fast mortgage approvals.


Pat asked if we had an Architect. We said no. He said no problem, he’ll make arrangement for us to meet with Steven the Architect. We had done our homework in narrowing down the two homes we liked most through looking through home plan magazines, and faithfully touring Model-homes every weekend.


When we met with Steven we asked if he could design the first floor of one houses and the second floor of the other home we liked.


We figured out if we included the space above the 3-1/2 car garage we could create a larger Owner’s suite accommodating a 12x10 walk-in and extra bonus closet, a 19x10 sitting room, a 19x10 spa bath, and a 20x16 bedroom, all fitting within a 42x30 floor plan, resulting in the whole house having over 1600 square-feet in each of the basement and first floor, over 1800 on the second floor, over 500 in attic, totaling over 5100 in living space.


Pat asked if we had any land? We told him no. He said no problem he had land. Pat instructed us to drive all over Frankfort, and narrow our choices down to our 3 favorite lots, 2 of which were located in the same Plank Trail Estates subdivision. I would say about a few days after giving him our choices, Pat congratulated us on acquiring the Lot we preferred. He simply traded 1 of his lots with a lot owned by another Builder friend. You can imagine my loyalty to Pat went to a whole another level.


The next call from Pat prepared us for a season of calm almost no activity. He explained he would be working behind the scenes to acquire all the permits, order all the supplies, and coordinate with all the trades he was using to construct the home. His goal was to break ground and put in the foundation as soon as the land thawed or early May. Pat’s goal was to have us moved in by Labor Day just in time for my Daughter to start at Lincoln-Way East high school.


I told home I would place our home on the market at the same time as the foundation installed, as the market evaluation suggested we could expect about a 120 day market-time to procure and close with a Buyer. I was just a little too aggressive in my marketing effort, procuring a Buyer who closed a month early leaving us experiencing the feeling of homelessness. Our Family residing in the Beverly neighborhood of Chicago came through with providing us comfortable shelter with them.


I felt so prosperous emailing a copy of our net proceeds check to Pat, inquiring if he wanted me to create an escrow deposit. He said no I have a good feeling about you, so just put it in the bank until we close. Remember, this is a Builder who met us because another of his Client’s really disappointed him. I kept reminding him how much we appreciated his working with us on our terms. I call that just pure and simple Favor!


I want to make sure you get this picture. Here is a Builder using his own money to custom build our dream home. He allowed our financing not to start until we closed the transaction. He made it a very rewarding experience. I would get a call one day him telling me to go and select all the lighting for the home, another day to select all the flooring for the home, resulting in every aspect of this home reflecting specifically what we wanted.


When Buyers ask me what is the greatest benefit to custom building a home, I would say living in a home fully customized to you on every square-foot on every level on every aspect. I can remember vividly my meeting with the Electrician, and our walking through every room determining placement.


The fun part was we involved our 14 year old Daughter at the time in our décor designing effort. We discovered this child had her own good sense of style. Pat was so impressed in all her selections. So impressed after completing our home, he took over a subdivision in Beecher, Illinois building a duplicate Model of our home as a primary Model-home in the subdivision.


Pat allowed us to daily have access to the house under construction with the agreement we could fax him a note if we found anything inconsistent with the building plans. My only regret was I really did not take any photos from the hole in the ground, to the foundation, to the framing, to the under roof, to the drywall, to all the custom features Pat included in the home. This Builder built our home like he was building it for himself. Usually, around the holidays I post some interior photos on my Facebook-page.


The only area where we clashed was Pat tirelessly keeping us realistic about the budget not getting out of control. We ended up going about $14k over budget.


Buyers please plan to go over budget when building a home. Pat was so stressed on the day of our final walk-through, or when you’re building a home it is known as when you sit down with the Builder to have him personally tour the home with you, and finally settle on the real cost of building the home. He was so worried we were going to give him a repeat response of the other Buyers who left a very bad memory with him. He did have some natural minor disagreements, but found a fair common ground. In the end Pat was so glad he worked with us because my dear Cousin built an even more elaborate home with Pat in Steger, Illinois.


Because I had served other Clients building homes, I stayed very mindful of what we were spending. Reluctantly we did need to touch a little savings, but knew in the long term we were making the best investment of our lives.


Can you think of times in your life where you just know you are living in a season of it’s just meant to be. Nearly 13 years later we are still residing in this just meant to be blessing. It took us 9 years owning a starter home, and another 7 years owning another upgraded home to get here.


Every day I stand in front of this just meant to be home, look up to heaven and say I just want to remind you Sir I take none of this for granted, and yes I would do it all over again.


My Respected Colleague below shares some very important tips when considering building a home. Please know my situation was very unique, and very rare. It is a great example of why I strive daily to sow very good seeds into the lives of others, because you just never know when the day will come when those fertilized good seeds will come to harvest, and bring you a great big blessing!

Original content by Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties TN Broker: 208698

7 Steps to Survive Building a House

7 ways to survive building a houseBuilding a new home can be the worst or the best experience or anything in-between. It all depends on the preparation you take and your  expectations. I have sold many new homes and many were started from scratch after the contracts were signed. 

The building process takes time, lots of time so plan accordingly. The process has been been said to create stress on a marriage and the cause of some divorces. It doesn't have to be that way if you approach it the right way with the right mindset. It can even be a  happy experience and one that you would readily do again if the circumstances were right.

There are ways to minimize the tensions that may arise. It starts at the beginning. Don't go through the long extended process of building a home if you can be satisfied with an existing home or a home that is almost finished.

If you decide you simply have to have a certain lot or location or you have to have a floor plan that is "the perfect one" then read on. This post will give you tips to avoid strife and not end up in divorce court.

  1. Research your builder and fully understand his processes and the products he uses. Have a complete agreement with the builder and know what his warranty procedures will be. Engage a skilled real estate agent that knows new construction to represent you from the beginning. It will be worth it.

  2. Decide on the plan, your budget and time frame. Stay within your allowances and stick to the budget.

  3. Be satisfied with the products and selections provided in your price and contract. Don't tempt yourself by researching the newest and the latest and greatest. These are guaranteed to cost more and exceed allowances offered by the builder. When the budget is exceeded, stress builds. Pick your selections at the beginning and don't second guess yourself.

  4. If building with a partner or spouse, define areas where one or the other has the final say as long as it stays in budget. Respect each other and do not take out your frustration swith hold ups or delays on each other.

  5. Compromise. No house is perfect and mistakes will happen. The best laid plans sometimes go astray and you may have to deviate slightly from your original expectations to move forward and get back on track. 

  6. Check on the building process but don't micromanage the builder. If you have concerns about errors or timing discuss it with the builder not the on-site workers.

  7. Find joy in watching the house become a home. Take lots of photos to remember the process. Share the excitement of your upcoming move with friends and family. Talk about what you will do once you move into your new home. Be happy.

Moving pressures can take some of the joy out of your new home. Get plenty of help and allow yourselves plenty of time to move. When you get overly tired you get crabby and say things you don't mean. Hold you tongue and know that it will all be worth it once you are settled in.

7 Steps to Survive Building a House


If you are thinking about building a new home in Clarksville TN, I can help you with lot and builder selection and even plan selection. Contact Debbie Reynolds, Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent at 931-320-6730.


When you need Real Estate services in Clarksville TN

                  it would be my pleasure to assist you!                             

        "The Real Debbie Reynolds"

Check out all Clarksville TN Real Estate on My Website

931-920-6730 or 931-320-6730 

Clarksville TN Homes

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices-PenFed Realty

2503 Wilma Rudolph Blvd., Clarksville, TN 37040 


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Dale Taylor

Realtor = Chicago Illinois Homes Townhomes Condos
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