This is it. You’ve found your dream location. Perhaps you are still looking for your vacation home plans, the blueprints to bring your vision to life. You envision long weekends, coffee on the porch, water skiing in the lake, snow skiing down the hill, walks on the beach, your own kitchen to have breakfast in. Whatever your goals are for this home, it’s slowly about to become reality.

Oh my gosh. You’re going to build a home. That’s a huge undertaking! It’s exciting and scary. Don’t worry, you can do this. Take a deep breath and follow some ‘been there, done that’ advice.

Tip #1 Find out if there are any special reports that need to be done before you hire anyone, preferably before you buy the land. Do you need an environmental report? Is there
some kind of obscure bug residing in the area that might delay or prohibit your building process? Even if there are homes next door to your lot, check. The county or city where you are building will have all of the data. This is a very critical part of the building process.

Tip #2 Get to know your clerks. The permitting process can be tedious. It is very important that you never yell or berate anyone in the system of approving your permits to build.  Play nice and you might be better able to get your way.  A clerk who likes you might be more inclined to approve quicker. Building a home is all about building a strong network of fans willing to assist you on your way.IMG_0727

Tip #3 Buy a home plan that is designed for your specific topography. If the land is flat as far as your eye can see, don’t build a Colorado style home with a walk-out basement. It won’t work no matter how much you love the floor plan. There are plenty of sites that will allow you to input your land specifications so you can pick the right style for your lot.

Tip #4 Find a good budget and then add about $25,000+ for overages depending on the size of your project. Issues that cost extra money do invariably come up so it’s good to be prepared.

Tip #5 Find a contractor who likes technology. Little things like being able to email you a digital photo of their daily building progress are a huge help when you are not nearby. See if they can text message you questions instead of calling or emailing (and then add text messaging to your phone). It’s not just for teenagers and is the least stressful way of communicating available.

Tip #6 Schedule time to work on home issues. Decisions have to be made along the way. Emergencies will most likely come up. Don’t automatically rush out to the site. Do as much as you can from home via phone or internet. Find blocks of time each week or, as you get further into the build, each day, to be able to handle yesterday’s list of things that need to be done. If you need to make a decision, put it on the daily list and address it during your allotted time slot otherwise you will be running around in circles.

Now take a deep breath and start shopping for your vacation home plans. You can make it through this process if you understand that the vacation will not start until the work is done. Then you have a lifetime of memories to make at your new vacation home.