Building a house is probably on everybody’s bucket list! After all, who doesn’t want to live in a custom-built space or create a home for future generations? Unfortunately, new construction is not as easy as it looks, especially in a city with many historic sites like Washington D.C.
But luck favors the prepared mind! Read these crucial tips for building a house in D.C. if you want a smooth process and optimal results:
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
We cannot emphasize this enough! Thinking twice about the location is the best thing you can do for your future property. First, research the neighborhoods you are interested in. Why not choose a site near schools, hospitals, restaurants, and grocery stores?
Second, research the building regulations that apply to your preferred neighborhood. Historic districts have strict rules for architecture and design. If you want a modern home and don’t want to compromise your vision, we recommend choosing another area.
You should also consider the lot’s condition. Does it have a pre-existing structure and can you demolish it? Does it have access to utilities? Is the soil good for building? Why is it empty/abandoned? Does it need extra work? How many permits will I need and how much will they cost? The answers to these questions will give you a better idea of pre-and post-construction costs.
HIRE THE RIGHT PEOPLE
You can ask for references from friends and family, or browse online for companies nearby. In any case, we recommend scheduling interviews with over one company. This way you will get multiple expert opinions, but also see who understands and supports your vision the most. Remember to only collaborate with licensed, insured, and experienced companies. It’s also recommended that you pick contractors who have completed similar projects to yours.
THINK TWO STEPS AHEAD
Starting with finances, there are many risks involved in construction. The best way to avoid them is to think two steps ahead and make educated decisions. First, focus on the practical side. Remember that most construction projects are unpredictable and last a long time. Make sure you have a place to stay during construction and a Plan B savings account which you can use for emergencies.
Next, start researching. Don’t limit yourself to online forums. Instead, visit hardware stores and touch the materials in person. Take notes of prices and features and analyze the information. After you get a clearer idea for your home, start seeking professional advice.
The key to avoiding risks is consulting as many experts as you can. In the pre-construction phase is you must seek advice for architecture and civil/structural engineering. During construction, you must have a professional by your side. Most construction companies take care of project management, but you can hire extra inspectors too. This is highly advisable if you are building in a location with a ton of building codes and regulations.
With obtaining a construction permit, seek help from a permit expediter. The permit application process is complicated and involves a ton of city departments. From handling paperwork to overseeing construction, professional permit expediting will ensure you don’t run into any issues with local laws and pay penalties for it.
LEARN FROM OTHER PEOPLE’S EXPERIENCES
One person can’t build an entire house. Construction is a collaborative team effort that involves many experts, including realtors, land inspectors, builders, permit expediters, project managers, architects, and structural/civil engineers.
You should discuss ideas with your friends, family, and neighbors before buying a lot and building. You can learn a lot from other people’s experiences and mistakes. Try to ask questions on online forums as well or simply book free consultations with professionals.