As you think of what you want in your new custom home, you may nod at the idea of a playroom for the kids, as well as that sunroom that’ll allow you to grow plants and flowers. After you choose your home design and the builder gets started, you may begin to think of little additions to your dream home. Well, they’re “little” to you, but added together, all of these changes mean two things to your builder: scope creep and frustration. He’ll be able to charge you more for every change you make. Knowing this now, is it really worth adding “that cute little loft so kids can stay over?”
Allowing Emotion and Logic to Clash
It’s natural to feel some emotion when you’re having your new home built to your specifications. It’s your home and you get to choose exactly what you want! So why shouldn’t you ask for some special features?
“But I want my home to look like MEEEE! That loft has been a dream of mine for so many years!” And here’s your builder’s answer: “Well, if it’s something you really wanted, why didn’t you ask for it to be included when we first drew up your plans?” It’s clear that what you see in your dream doesn’t match what your builder sees in his head. When he asks why you didn’t include a new modification in your initial plans, he’s telling you there’s a lack of communication between the two of you.
“Scope Creep” Examples
You’ve probably heard that term, “scope creep.” It applies to lots of situations and simply means that the breadth of a project is getting bigger and more and more out of control. True, you can’t control the weather or when the tiles you specified for your kitchen aren’t available.
But scope creep also applies to that “little loft” you want added to your abode, or the steam shower that you must have after you saw it while picking out tiles. Adding something this big means that something else has to be modified or adjusted, often at considerable time for your builder and some expense for you. Think about it. Before you asked for the loft, your roof was going to be X feet off the ground. Now, your builder has to order more materials to build the loft AND make the walls X feet higher. Now, it’s not such a little addition, is it? To add another consideration, your builder won’t be able to finish your house before Easter, as you had requested.
Decide the Exact Scope of What You Want—Before You Start!
Having said all that, it’s clear that it’s a good idea that you have a better idea of exactly what you want, when the project will be finished and what will be included. Set defined goals, decide on a final plan, and stick to it. When you do this, you have defined the exact boundaries—or scope—of the remodeling project or custom home.
Make sure you also know who is responsible for different kinds of cleanup, obtaining permits and even debris removal. These cost money, too, and they are not always included in an estimate or quote.
Not only can you avoid extra costs by being sure, if you offer to do one or two of them, you can save yourself some money because it means your builder can devote his attention to other matters.
Finally, if you’re not sure about the scope of work you and your builder have been discussing, don’t be afraid to do a little research. Ask around or jump onto Google. Whatever you do, when you agree on the specific things that will be done, do everything you can to stick to that agreement. Your builder will be much happier, and so will you.