So you’ve decided to go ahead and build your new home. Congratulations and good luck because for some new homebuilders the experience can be difficult. You want to increase the chances that the whole experience will be successful or, reduce the chances of things going wrong. You can influence the end result. Here are some ideas to help make your project a winner.

Broadly speaking, you have two major tasks. The first is to find a builder and the second is to make sure that the work done by the builder is up to scratch.

Let’s assume you’ve done your due diligence, perhaps thought outside the square or just been lucky and have found your ideal builder. By all means have a good working relationship with your builder and even be on friendly terms, but do remember that this is a very expensive project and your relationship, if nothing else,should definitely be on a business footing. Do all the things and do them correctly when it comes to the business side of building your new home.

The contract is everything. The money to be paid to the builder, the work to be done by the builder and the time of completion are all clearly listed on the contract. But these are not fixed documents and new conditions or clauses can be added or deleted by agreement between both parties. Engaging a building and fitting consultant to help you draw up a contract may well be a very good idea and save you trouble and money in the long run. But whether you work with the consultant or go alone please consider these items being included in the contract.

It could be the carrot or the stick

Some owners like to offer an incentive or a punishment when drawing up the contract. The owner states that if the building is completed satisfactorily and ahead of time, that is before the completion date, there will be an additional fee paid to the builder – a bonus. However if the project is not completed by the completion date then there will be a discount for the homeowner. And of course the amounts of money and the times by which the work is finished early or late must be specific.

Whatever you decide to do as far as a variation or change to the contract is concerned, make sure it is in writing. Put everything in writing. Make sure that the contract includes the requirement that any changes to the plans, any additions or deletions or changes must be approved in writing by the owner before any work is carried out.

It is most important that if the budget is exceeded, if there is a cost blowout, that the builder must notify you, the owner, as soon as possible. No additional spending may be undertaken without your express written approval.

There are many sad tales where builders and owners have fallen out over money, the quality of the work, some incomplete work or any one of many other matters. By communicating in writing, it can be much easier to prove your case should that be necessary.