As anyone who is experienced in building custom homes will tell you, there are many choices out there and many decisions to be made. Figuring out what you want, need and can afford is enough of a challenge, but when you and your spouse have conflicting ideas, the process can become even more complicated.
Here are our top tips to help you navigate the custom homebuilding process with your spouse to ensure you both win.
Know What You Can Afford
The very first negotiation you need to have – and the first thing you need to agree on – is your budget for your custom home or addition. This will establish the limits and possibilities for everything that follows. Most important in setting a budget is making sure it’s realistic and reasonable.
Know Your Style(s)
Occasionally, we work with couples who are completely in sync, who like the same style of home, have the same ideas and agree on everything. Just kidding. That’s never happened.
The truth is that while couples can share a few ideas and style preferences, there will always be things you disagree on. The key is to list all of your design preferences and must haves so that you each have a starting point and can work toward middle ground.
Expect to Compromise
You might think there’s no way to find a compromise that works for both you and your spouse, but the truth is that there’s always a way to find a happy medium that you both can live with. You might decide to favor one spouse’s style preferences, but the other’s ideal floor plan, or you might choose elements of both styles and combine them into one plan.
Choose One or Two Deal Breakers
Everyone we work with has things they’re willing to negotiate on and items they simply cannot live without. It’s easier if you and your spouse each choose one or two non-negotiables and make sure that those “deal breakers” make it into your final design. You’ll both be much happier if you know from the start that there are a small handful of things you don’t have to worry about compromising on.
Make Decisions Together
During the course of the custom homebuilding process, there will be additional decisions to make. Products that you had chosen might not be available, or budget or permit changes may require alterations to the overall design of your home. Make sure that you’re both available when those decisions need to be made and that you both agree to the changes. Nothing will derail home renovation negotiations with your partner faster than making decisions on their behalf, without their input.
Remember That You’re On the Same Team
Building a new home or renovating an existing one is a tricky process, and it can put relationships under strain. Make sure you are both aware that you are, first and foremost, on each other’s team. Working together and staying calm and reasonable may be tough, but it’s the best way to get through any build or reno. If all else fails, leave the building up to your contractor and take a weekend away. If you’ve chosen the right contractor, they’ll have everything under control, and getting away from your building problems for a few days can help to make the rest of the process go more smoothly.