Make a List – Establish a list that will be the stepping stone for both your and your contractor. What your home needs to have, what you want your home to have, what you don’t want your home to have. Determine what must be done in phase one and what would be nice to have if there’s room in the budget. Be clear on your plans for future add-ons or enhancements so it can be considered during the build-out process and any structural needs that may be needed.

Create Pinterest Boards – If you haven’t already, discover the wonderful world of Pinterest. Search for anything and everything on your “dream home wish list” and pin to a board for reference. Discovery style ideas, shopping references, and tips for working your every desire into the limits you may have.

Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your budget – You’ve established your budget before getting started and you need to be responsible with it. Yes, it is your money and yes, it is your decision in the end. However, you don’t want to find yourself in a debt so large you can’t recover from. Dream within reason. Understand what should be done in the building process and what can be added on in the future when you’ve built up some additional funds. Keep in mind there are always unexpected expenses during any build out that are necessary for moving forward so make wise decisions with “extras” as you go along.  Rely on your builder to help you stay realistic with your vision.

Share everything with your contractor – All your hopes, desires and inspirations will help your contractor build out your vision so share all your thoughts and ideas! A trusted contractor should be there to listen then guide you in the right direction to accomplish the mutual goal of building your dream home. A good contractor should treat your project as they would their own and respect your requests while incorporating their professional opinion and knowledge for an end result everyone is proud of.

Be a part of the process – check in often, ask questions, understand what’s happening each step of the way. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you aren’t sure why or how something is being done. Don’t settle for whatever your contractor might say. Yes, we like things to go smoothly and too often that can result in avoiding a more “difficult” task to complete by taking “the easy way out”. However, if you feel strongly about something, be firm on what you want and ask for an explanation if something truly can’t be done.

Do a final walk-through – Once your home is complete, you should always do a final walk-through with your contractor. Cover every nook and cranny to ensure your home is structurally sound and ready to move in. A good contractor shouldn’t avoid this stage due to any hesitation they may have in the quality of their work. Any imperfections should be acknowledged, explained and taken care of however necessary.

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