I can hardly believe that we’ve already been in our new house for four years. It’s amazing to look back at how the house looked the day we took possession to now. There are still a few updates that I’d like to make (which I’ll share in an upcoming post!) and many more decor decisions to make (honestly, how am I still trying to decide on a rug for the dining room?!).

Over the years, I think it's become apparent that there are definitely lessons learned when building a home. I thought I’d take some time to share seven things that I learned through building this home (in all honesty, I think you’re constantly learning when it comes to home building, there’s so much to know!).

1-Create a visual moodboard 

It can be such a great feeling to have an image of your new dream home in your head and to know exactly which materials you want to use in every room. We’ve now built two homes and I can assure you that each time I walk into the design centre to select our finishes, I feel completely overwhelmed and forget what type of look I was hoping to achieve. There are so many beautiful options and you can quickly begin to feel like you are unsure as to what you want! Start pinning and jotting down notes! By having a moodboard to refer to, you’ll be able to easily see what look you want and that will in turn help make your decision-making process feel a little less overwhelming.

2-Future Build Plans 

One thing that we didn’t even think to ask was to see the future design plans of the subdivision that we chose to build in. It wasn’t and isn’t an issue for us, but it’s something that could impact which lot you decide on. There may be a lot that won’t have new homes built behind it, which is an added bonus. Will there eventually be a park? How many more phases do they have planned? All great questions so that there aren’t any surprises!

3-The Details Matter 

This is something that I can’t believe that I missed (aka forgot to even think about). Don’t assume, get in there and if you have specific requirements - for example: how high you want light fixtures to be, or where you want them situated on the ceiling, during the building phase is when you need to express these wishes! It’s much easier to move things before they are installed than to be moving in and to realize that the kitchen light is slightly off-centered for where you plan on placing your table.

4-Upgrades and Custom Details 

Don’t be shy, ask questions! If you don’t like a particular detail, for example, if you were hoping for tall baseboards, point it out and ask if there are other options. Just because you don’t see the options in the design centre, doesn’t mean that there aren’t more available. Another detail I missed is adding custom touches where I could. So for me, there are some spots in our home that I plan on updating (again, more to come on this soon!).

5-Be Flexible 

You know you have a vision of how you want things to look. But sometimes it’s just not possible, and though option A is your “dream”, be sure to look at option B with fresh eyes. Sometimes things aren’t as bad (or that far off from option A) as you feel. Things that I thought were a big deal, ended up turning out just fine (and I may have even preferred option B in the end!)

6-Know Your Options 

Mistakes happen, that’s a guarantee and things will most definitely pop up after living in a newly built home, especially during the first year. You’ll notice issues that were missed during the walk-through, and that’s okay. Jot them down, because here in Ontario, as a new home owner, you are in fact covered for many of these issues.  From general defects (both materials and workmanship), to water and electrical issues, to structural defects, there’s protection through a new home warranty program. Knowing your options, what’s covered under the new home warranty and the process of how to deal with these issues is so important. Our builder was amazing and addressed our list of items, but if this wasn’t/isn’t the case, there was peace of mind knowing that there were/are options.

Don’t be afraid to exercise them because they are in place to protect you and your investment!

7-Discover the Surrounding Area 

Where are the schools? Are there walking and bike paths nearby? How about shopping? Bus routes? All important and great questions to ask!

I have a feeling that I’ll learn even more in the next four years!  It’s so interesting to look back and to see what you nailed and what you totally missed! Thankfully, nothing here is too critical, but these are definitely lessons that I will apply to our next newly built home!



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