Shan and Bethany Jenkins have learned quite a bit over the past 20 years about how to have the best custom home building experience. Most importantly: hire experts, collaborate and have fun! Here are a few of their best tips:
1. Establish goals
Establish goals for your project, and rank them in order of importance. If you only do this one thing, it’s probably the most important. Do you care more about finishes, space planning, architectural features, space, budget. This will help your architect and builder focus on what’s important to you, and spend your money in the right places. When the team is focused on your goals, the odds of you being happy at the end is so much higher.
2. Organize your inspiration
Collect photos before you begin design and share them with your team. Pinterest and Houzz are a wonderful resource.
3. Assemble your team before starting design; hire experts
Assemble your team before starting design. Hire experts with proven experience, and then rely on their expertise. They’re on your team, and they sincerely want to meet your expectations. Trust the experts. Ask them “what do you think”? You may be surprised what you learn. Of course we recommend you hire a full service design+build firm. This is the best way to ensure the design and construction cost align with your goals for the project. Once assembled, challenge your team to think outside the box.
Successful construction management requires good planning and communication. Builders must orchestrate a thousand moving parts every day. Make sure your builder has sophisticated management systems that can handle all these moving parts.
4. Be decisive
To the extent possible, be decisive. Trust the advice of the experts, and then trust in your own decisions. The inability to make and stick with decisions can be mentally taxing.
5. Have fun
The fun projects always yield the best results. Enjoy the process. The more collaborative it is, the better the outcome will be. Remember, you’re all on the same team.
6. Communicate well
“Communication, even when conflict is involved, is the lifeblood of a (project).” -Dave Ramsey. “The greatest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” -George Bernard Shaw. When the whole team is engaged in regular communication; then confusion, mistakes, and re-work is minimized.
7. Ask for a schedule
Ask for a detailed schedule of your project. Like communication, knowing when to expect things to be done will help alleviate stress and conquer the fear of the unknown.
8. Be flexible
When working with so many different people on such a large endeavor; you have to be flexible. Delays are going to happen, and mistakes are going to be made. Knowing that ahead of time will help you cope with it so much better when it happens.