Before building a house, much like when undertaking any major project, one should do their due diligence to avoid inconveniences and counter obstacles that may arise.
Simple checks and covering all your bases before deciding to take the leap to build your dream home can save you from foreseeable losses.
Here’s a checklist that will make the building process more conducive, especially for a first timer:
Get legal Documents in order
The basic requirement is to ascertain you are building on a piece of land legally. It may seem like an issue of little concern but it can cost you heartache in the long run if not done properly.
A simple title deed search will help settle your thoughts before you begin to build.
Also, purchase land from a reputable company or from a trusted source. Other than the land search get to know the history of the plot from local authorities and local ‘historians’ in the community.
Financing and Budgeting
Building a house isn’t cheap, but it is worth it. So before you undertake the project, do your homework and prepare to spend your money.
Maybe you have some money saved up or you require some financing, working within your budget is a sure way to not get too frustrated and avoid abandoning your dream structure midway.
There are different types of home loans offered by banks and other financial institutions that can meet your needs.
When developing a budget, make sure it is lean as the projected costs of building the house may be exceeded at the end. To be safe keep around 10 per cent of your budget for unexpected expenses.
Selecting an architect and designing your home
With your architect, determine designs that your abode will bear including the size of your home, its layout and special features you'd want incorporated in the house.
With the professional, you can establish what time frame the whole construction will take and that will help you plan yourself financially and mentally to complete the construction.
Determining The Builder to use
Here, you need to get someone who will actualize your dream, a builder who will see through the project from start to completion. Firstly, cross check their credentials - if they are licensed and insured.
You can also check their references. Dig into their past work and evaluate the quality of their previous projects.
Checking their previous works will also help you understand their style and if your ideas can gel well with their area of expertise.
Make sure the team of builders is up to the task and are trustworthy who won’t rip you off.
Lastly, evaluate their price and if it is in line with your budget.
Agreements and contracts
Read through agreements and contracts with the builders, architects and suppliers before signing anything. There’s no harm in due diligence to shelter you from tricky situations. If the need emerges, you can hire a lawyer to guide you through.
It is crucial to plan for the construction phase of the project and thinking ahead can save you a lot of money.
For example, you can cut on costs by having your plot connected to water and getting acquainted with the building regulations of the area will help you avoid trouble during construction.
Making friendly with the neighbours can also be an asset as you can borrow equipment like wheelbarrows, ladders and they can even provide a place where your workers can store you items for safe keeping. They can also save you by helping to cure the walls.
When it comes to materials that the contractor will use, shop around for the best prices on fittings and fixtures to guarantee you get the lowest possible.
Often given little priority is the after-construction phase. The house is the main project, but don’t forget about landscaping and the furnishing of the house, without which you’ll only have a shell.
Also, the clean-up is a huge issue that should be sorted to ensure you don’t have a disorganized compound at the end of construction.
With that, you are ready to move in and embark on your life in your new home.
-Gitonga Muriithi is the Head of Sales and Marketing Centum Real Estate