Building a vacation home is an exciting process. But along with that excitement, comes the extra responsibility of getting the home you want--long distance. Here are some tips from Advance Design and Construction that will make the process easier.
1. Hire the right contractor: Make sure your contractor is licensed, experienced and has a good reputation and track record in the area where you are planning to build your vacation home. A local contractor knows the unique challenges of the area and often has strong relationships with area subcontractors so that your job will not stall while waiting for that all important sub.
2. Communicate: Make sure you and your contractor are talking via telephone, text or email on a consistent basis. Most problems can be solved or eliminated altogether by having open lines of communication. Decide whether you would like a weekly telephone meeting or if you prefer immediate contact when there are questions about the job. A mix of these two options makes a job go smoothly and stay on track throughout the building process.
3. A picture is worth a thousand words: Have a 'look book' of the finishes and items you want in your new home. Pull pictures from magazines or on-line that show the finishes or ideas that you want to see in your new home. Communicating via pictures takes the guesswork out of "I think I want that tile to be laid in a 'brick formation' when the tile installer calls that same installation 'broken-joint' and the interior designer noted 'staggered 1/3'. Additionally, a picture is a great way for you to approve light placement or confirm a fireplace mantel from afar.
4. Plan a trip to visit the construction site. As well as you and your contractor are communicating, you still need to come up and visit. Plan your trip and set a time to walk the project with the contractor. This will give you the ability to talk through the project and notice any small details that you might want to address. No matter how well you plan, there will always be a couple items that need to be changed throughout the building process. The on-site visit also gives you a chance to envision your choices and ask any questions you may have for your contractor that may come up as you are walking the job together.
5. Plan your budget and then add 20%. You may have made every decision possible prior to starting your job. The finishes have been picked, the appliances ordered and the guests invited to your open house next summer. But, you may get a snowstorm in October--causing your contractor to need a building permit extension, your favorite tile may be backordered or the excavator might encounter a bed of granite that was not on the original plans. Or while you planned as well as possible, you now need that extra bathroom that was originally scratched from the plans. Having that extra 20% budgeted keeps you in the drivers' seat of your home construction and gives you the piece of mind that you will not run out of funding just as you are in the final stages of building your home.
Building a vacation home can be a wonderful experience. A vacation home brings friends and family together to create wonderful memories and lifetime family traditions. With attention to the above details, your new home will be all that you anticipated and hoped for. Advance Design and Construction's 15+ years of experience in North Lake Tahoe working with local homeowners as well as vacation home buyers can create the warm and relaxing environment that you'll want to visit again and again.
Jeff Miller, President of ADC and his team of fine home builders and partners