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The Do's & Don't of Building Your Dream Home

Sixth in a series: Donít Blow Your Lid During Your Build

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Many people dream about building their own custom designed home one day. Most are previous homeowners who have saved and worked hard for the day when they can eventually sell their “starter” home and move into a house they have built. Moving can be a stressful task, and so can building a new home, doing both of these things at the same time can be a recipe for disaster.

Whether a home-owner opts to be their own general contractor, or hire a professional, the sheer amount of work that needs to be planned and completed can be staggering, at times overwhelming, and lead to a litany of problems if not addressed in the proper manner. If they chose to hire a professional general contractor they must first find one who is experienced, knows who to sub-contract to, has a good track record and references, and most importantly - one who can bring the job in on time and on budget. If they are going to build the home without a GC then they will have to be able to commit the time and energy that most people really do not have. Combine this with finding the right piece of land, having the home designed and approved, hiring and scheduling all the different tradesmen required to complete the job and then move in - the odds are stress will become an everyday part of their lives.
The process can take anywhere from three months to well over a year depending on the size of the project and its difficulty. Eliminating all of the related stress is probably not possible, but there are things that can be done to help lessen the load. Here we offer a few basic suggestions that can help homeowners to be better prepared and suffer as little stress as is possible.

  1. The most obvious thing that can be done is to spend as much time as it takes to plan a project. Every phase should be thought out, planned, budgeted, and scheduled before breaking ground. From arranging for the financing, to finding the lot and the contractors, to building the home and doing the landscaping, every single detail should be a known quantity before commencing. Delays can be costly and create problems that will never go away.

  2. Once a project is underway the need to be continually organized is paramount to the success of the project. Follow the schedule, keep track of the money and the time, and the moment something is not going to plan, deal with it. Most problems do not simply go away, they must be resolved. Any discussions or revisions need to be fully discussed with all parties involved and documented. All payments that are made should be recorded, and a proper inventory of all materials needs to be kept. If in the future there is a problem having kept a diary and good records will help to correct a problem or establish who is responsible for it.

  3. Whether a person is building the home themselves, or simply monitoring a GC, they will need to regularly schedule meetings with all the people involved so that everyone can work together well. The left hand needs to know what the right hand is doing. Any problems that arise must be understood by anyone who is affected and proper communication is what will get that done. Ongoing planning and organization must be an aspect of any construction project for it to keep on track.

  4. Keeping track of the money is also a major issue that must be ongoing. If the lender is providing the funding in increments, and a schedule must be kept and adhered to ensure that, everyone must know this. Not being able to finish a phase of the project, and receive the continuing funding from the lender, can stall a project and it will adversely affect all those involved. Builders and contractors most often have more than one project in the works at one time, yours is probably not the only concern that they have. For them to fall behind or to be held up can result in a domino effect that can paralyze a project and incur additional costs that were never in the budget. If you disrupt their schedule, they may be able to keep their commitment to yours.

Relieve Daily Stress and Get the Job Done

All work and no play make Jack a dull boy, or so the saying goes. Whether you are building a house or just trying to cope with the issues of everyday life, there are certain things that you can do to avoid stress:

  1. Conscious breathing is a technique that has been around for millennia. By concentrating on your breathing and taking long, deep, slow breaths you can gain focus, remain calm, and reduce stress.

Either sit or stand straight, and most importantly, keep your neck straight and do not bend your head forward. By breathing low, or with the diaphragm and abdominal muscles, the abdomen extends and allows your lungs to fill completely which is what you want to achieve.

Breathe deep down “into your abdomen” in four success breaths and fill your lungs from the bottom up. Now hold your breath for a few seconds and allow your lungs to absorb the fresh oxygen. Then exhale slowly in four parts. Always exhale by pulling in your stomach and forcing all of the air from your lungs before taking another breath. Short sporadic breathing without total exhalation can cause light-headedness, hyperventilation, and fear.

By performing this 2 X 4 part deep breathing technique for just a minute or two you can replenish the oxygen in your blood, brain and lungs, regain your concentration, and revitalize yourself. The slower you able to perform this exercise the greater the benefits you will receive. Try slowing your breaths to 2 or 3 per minute. By performing this breathing exercise just prior to a potentially stressful meeting you will be better prepared and extremely focused.

  1. The breathing exercise described and recommended above is a basic aspect of yoga. Yoga is a three part practice: 1.) breathing; 2.) sitting and/or stretching; and 3.) meditation. Either individually or together these yoga practices can help to promote physical well being and relieve stress. Practicing yoga in the mornings will prepare you for the stress and activity of the day, and practicing yoga at night can allow you to sleep better and rejuvenate from the rigors of work.

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