Mistakes happen. At Milliken Builders we have identified 6 common mistakes clients make when doing a custom build. A famous quote (from Eleanor Roosevelt) encourages us to, ‘Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.’ Avoiding these 6 mistakes will save you a lot of disappointment and unnecessary expense.
Mistake #1 Not understanding the building process from beginning to end
Many custom build clients present drafting plans and ask for a quote to build what is on the plan. There are more costs involved in a build than simply what appears on the drafting plans. There are approval fees, pre-construction costs, potential extra/variation costs during construction and possibly post construction costs. Some clients have maxed their budget on what is drawn on their drafting plans. So they have blown their build budget before construction has even begun.
Mistake #2 Choosing a builder based solely on price
Issues will arise and there will be conflict during a custom build. It is inevitable. You need to choose a builder with whom you can build a working relationship. This includes communication and conflict resolution, not just price.
Mistake #3 Trying to cut every corner in your budget
There is ‘less expensive’ and there is ‘cheap.’ Try to stick with ‘builder’s range’ or it may cost you more in the long run. The same applies to trades. Going for the cheapest may end up costing you more. Clients also commonly try to cut costs during the planning/drafting stage but end up changing later anyway. (Check out our recent blog that helps identify your ‘must haves’ during the planning and drafting process.) Changes made during construction can cost more. If you are on a tight budget it is good to nail down what you really need and can afford during the planning stage and stick to it.
Mistake #4 Making changes during construction
This causes additional expense and significant delays in the construction timetable. Often modifications can be made during construction but you need to be prepared for extra costs and for construction to stop while the changes are being approved. In some instances structural changes (such as change in roof line, external wall placement etc) will need to be re-submitted to Council as a variation to the original Development Application.
Mistake #5 Choosing upgrades during construction without calculating the overall increased cost
This is probably the most common mistake. An upgrade or variation may only look like a few extra dollars but all those little extras quickly add up over the course of the build. Clients get excited when it comes time to pick the pretty bits. In their excitement, they often forget that they’ve asked for a more expensive tile or bathroom fixtures, upgraded their kitchen appliances etc. If you do not keep track of all these upgrades against your budget you may not be prepared for the variations bill when it arrives.
Mistake #6 Making big purchases before the build is complete
‘Don’t count your chickens before they hatch,’ and don’t spend your extra $$ until the build is complete and all stage claims and extras/variations bills have been received/paid. This is another classic mistake. Clients get excited when the final stages are coming together. They think they have money left in their budget and start buying furniture while forgetting about the upgrades/variations they have approved throughout the build.
We hope these tips will save you some headaches and will help keep you on track during your custom build.