9 Tips for Hassle-Free Home Construction

Cindy Stumpo is one of Boston's premier custom-home builders. With more than 20 years' experience in the business, she has plenty of expertise to share.

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Bio Cindy Stumpo

Carefully Select the Builder:
Before hiring a builder, drive past their previous jobs and speak to the homeowners. Ask if the builder had good follow-through, whether the job was completed on schedule and on budget and if they were pleased with the quality of work. Also, check the builder's relationships with subcontractors and supply houses — essentially find out if they pay their bills. A builder who is behind in payments will most likely encounter delays in receiving materials and have a hard time keeping a quality crew.

Hire a Lawyer:
Have a lawyer review the contract with your builder. Building a home is a major investment and it's important to make sure all of your bases are covered. A small lawyer fee up-front could save you thousands of dollars should something go wrong during construction.

Investigate the Area:
Before purchasing land, research the school district and crime rate. Drive around the surrounding area, checking for convenience to interstates, schools, shopping and restaurants.

Don't Overbuild:
Before finalizing home plans and beginning construction, compare the home you're planning with others on the same street. You never want to be the most expensive house on the block; you won't get your money back when you sell.

Don't Select a Builder Based Solely on Bid:
When choosing a builder, don't select the one with either the highest or lowest bid. A high bid doesn't guarantee a superior product and the lowest bid could mean that you'll be hit with extra costs as construction progresses. Often, the low number is to reel you in and the extras will be tacked on later.

Hire Locally:
Word-of-mouth references are a good gauge of a builder's reputation. So ask around, then hire the best builder in the community. A well-established local builder will have plenty of nearby subcontractors and suppliers to rely on, meaning no costly travel delays while waiting for out-of-town crews and materials.

Build for Your Future:
When planning your home's layout, think not only about your current lifestyle but also plan for a few years down the road. For older adults, a master bedroom on the ground floor is a smart bet. Also, including a shaft that could one day be an elevator is a good idea. The space could be used as closets now and easily converted to an elevator should the need arise.

Don't Go With the Latest and Greatest:
Fill your home with technology that will stand the test of time. State-of-the-art features are great but quickly become outdated. Buy products that have been on the market for a year or two. They're less expensive, readily available and any initial kinks and design flaws have been worked out.

Avoid Trends:
Nothing betrays a home's age like trendy, of-the-moment fixtures. Let's say that Brazilian cherry hardwood is all the rage, then it goes out of style making your home look dated. Select fixtures and features that are classic so your home always looks current.

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