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Hints on Building a House

Don't overbuild for the neighborhood. Having the biggest and most expensive house in the area may be wonderful for your ego, but it will be a disaster when it comes time to sell.
Build for resale. No matter how long you intend to stay in the house you build, it will have to be sold at some point (which is often sooner rather than later). Never build strictly for your own needs and tastes--a 1 bedroom 3 bath house may be perfect for you, but it will be next to impossible to sell.
Get the best contractor your budget will allow. When building a house, quality is usually more important than quantity. ServiceMagic makes the process of finding a contractor simple, since they pre-screen firms throughout the United States. Click here for more information.
Be prepared for delays. Building a house is a complicated project and utilizes dozens of subcontractors, workers and suppliers. Delays can--and probably will--happen, and that will back up the entire process. A delay, for example, in the framing stage stops everything: electricians and plumbers are unable to do their "rough-in" work until the framing is completed. Don't lock your move-in date in stone--it may be weeks later.
Monitor the progress of the house building as much as possible. During construction a lot can be accomplished--both positively and negatively--in a short amount of time. This is especially true during the framing stage. Catching a mistake early will save a lot of headaches later.
Watch your construction allowances. Generally, in the total cost of building a house you will be given allowances for such items as flooring (carpeting and vinyl), lighting, plumbing fixtures, etc. Make certain that you can actually get the materials you want within the allowance amount. For example, if you have a $3500 flooring allowance and the carpeting and vinyl floors you want will cost $5500, you are the one who will have to make up the $2000 difference. These "allowance overruns" can add up quickly!

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RECOMMENDED READING

  Better Houses, Better Living by Myron Ferguson. A must-have if you are planning to build a home. How to avoid the most common (and costly) construction mistakes. An approach that is both detailed and easy to understand. Strongly recommended. Available here.
   

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