If you and your spouse have always dreamed of building your own family compound to serve as a home base or landing point for adult children, siblings, nieces and nephews, and even grandchildren, you may have already put great thought into the design and location of your next home. However, if employment or personal obligations have you stuck in your current area even though planning to retire elsewhere, you may be worried about your ability to successfully direct and oversee the construction of a custom home from another state (or even from across the country). What should you keep in mind when directing home construction from afar, and what can you do to make this process easier (and less expensive)? Read on for some tips and tricks to ensure you're able to move into the custom home of your dreams.
Make at least one site visit before breaking ground
One potential danger of constructing a home on a site unseen is the risk that photos or even a video chat won't show you important elements that may impact your decision to build in a certain area. To the extent you're able, making a site visit or even spending the night nearby should give you a better idea of what you'll be able to expect once your home is constructed. For example, a real estate listing may show a remote building site in a wooded clearing and advertise it as a private getaway -- not revealing that on the other side of the clearing is a school, park, or other feature designed to draw members of the public. You may also find that the seemingly-abandoned train tracks nearby that give your building site an air of days gone by are actually quite active, allowing loud train passage at all times of the day and night.
If you're unable to visit the site yourself, you'll want to find someone who can do this in-person scouting for you and give you an objective view of their findings. A real estate agent is usually not the best person to provide this service, but there are a number of agencies that employ independent contractors to take pictures, observe surroundings, and do some other preliminary research into your potential building site and its advantages and drawbacks.
Use technology to stay on top of construction progress
Once you've chosen a site and a builder, you may worry that the project may deviate from your specifications without your oversight and the ability to offer feedback or respond to questions immediately. Fortunately, the advent of video communication technologies has made it easier than ever before to see the progress your construction crew is making and to personally inspect and advise on any issues that may crop up. For example, if your crew runs into a problem and is forced to choose between moving a window or removing a tree, you'll be able to use the camera feature on your phone or tablet to see the problem yourself and let the crew know how you'd like them to handle it.
You'll also be able to survey the construction site at each phase of the process, giving the go-ahead to the next step only after you're satisfied with the quality of the work that has already been performed.
Handle the finishing touches yourself
A custom-built home presents hundreds -- sometimes thousands -- of choices when it comes to fixtures and finishings. Although cookie-cutter homes in a subdivision can have a standard set of fixtures, most custom-built homes will require the homeowner to make each decision him- or herself or delegate these choices to the builder -- neither a very attractive option when you're located hours away.
Depending upon when you're planning to move into your new home (and what you'd like to do before then), you may opt to purchase and install the finishing fixtures -- like bathroom faucets, medicine cabinets, track lighting, and other design elements that can dramatically change the look of your home -- on your own through sites like http://www.centralplumbingspec.com. In most cases, these fixtures can be installed using nothing more than a couple of screwdrivers or a box cutter to strip wires, and you'll have the satisfaction of ensuring that each element in your new home has been hand-chosen.