Process Of Building A House in Tinley Park: Month 7
How long does it take to build a house from start to finish you ask?
According to the 2021 Survey of Construction by the U.S. Census Bureau, building a family home in the Midwest can take between seven to nine months. In our case, as mentioned in our previous article, the availability of labor and materials caused our project to be so behind schedule. More specifically the pandemic was what threw those elements for a loop. But that’s why we have spaced out these articles, because what were we going to write about in those months of waiting for building to start, right? Now let’s get to what happened in month seven for us.
Rough Framing, Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC, and Insulation Install
Honest to God, I still can’t believe that the framing started on our first floor yesterday. After all the waiting we did for work to even begin on our house (7 months!), there was this unbelievable feeling of relief seeing the wood panels up. This is the part of the process of building our house that feels the most surreal I think.
There’s not too much I can say about the completion of the rough frame, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, and insultation. I am a classic girly-girl, but there is a great article from this company out in Texas, called NewHomeSource.com, that I found so easy to read and understand about the weeds of those items. Their entire blog is a treasure trove truly.
Picking Interior Hardware, Cabinetry, and Counter Tops
Before work on the wood framing and major guts of your house starts, you want to make sure you’ve made as many of your interior selections as possible. Especially if you have special requests that involve utilities and structural aspects of your home. For instance, we opted to have a hood vent over our stove, instead of a microwave.
The hardest part of picking the hardware, cabinetry, and counter tops for our kitchen and bathrooms was not letting our anxieties get the best of us. Worrying about if the colors, materials, and designs will be a mistake in 10 years is not a headspace you want to give into. What saved us was listening to our gut and accepting that we might not like what we chose, but we made the best choices based on what we learned and what we felt. Money doesn’t grow on trees, but you always have that option to change things later in your home. Never having made any renovation or changes in your home is an impossible standard to hold yourself to. Go with what looks good to you now, see how your preferences change over time. Thinking ahead is very important, but not to so much that it paralyzes you from making choices. You will make mistakes, and then you’ll get sharper and sharper. You don’t get wise without getting messy.
Something that made a big difference for me was taking the time to render how the exterior and interiors of our house would most likely look. I took the photograph of the model of our home off the builder’s website, then used the tools in my graphic designer programs (Pixelmator and Adobe) to change colors based on the images of the exact materials we had to choose from. Not everyone is a web designer and graphic designer, but if there is something you can do to give yourself a feeling of security in a process with many variables out of your control—try it! I wish our builder could have given us that HGTV experience, where they show you mockups of things through a modeling design program like SketchUp Pro, etc., but maybe one day that will be the norm when families work with building companies.
The Importance of Documentation
PRO TIP: Record all your home selections (interiors and exterior) in a clear and easy to read list, flow chart, mind map or document. You’ll have copies of everything in contract form to take home, but a quick cheatsheet to reference in a pinch will be a lifesaver.
I can’t tell you how easy it is to forget the name of something during this process of building your home. And how easy it is to get things mixed up. So save yourself headaches and document your choices, and reconfirm items multiple times if need be, with whomever you are working with.
We started off using the Apple’s Note app to keep a log, but switched over to this new collaboration app for Apple products called Freeform, which was released just a few months ago on December 13, 2022. Whatever your smartphone device or computer operating system, leverage the tech of today to keep on top of everything and minimize the chance for errors.
Picking your appliances through your builder will be cheaper for you, because they will have a company that they exclusively buy from who then in turn gives them better prices. But it’s important that you are happy with what you get, so don’t feel like you can’t buy appliances from a store or brand you prefer. Just make sure you understand whatever upcharges you may incur by going a different route. And sometimes you have to forgo what is more you, for budget reasons or limitation on your builder’s side.
PRO TIP: Make a list of items you can easily change later on, after your house is built. This is so you’re prepared for any snafus, like something you love being out of stock, or what have you. Then decide which of those will be easiest to change later, in the event you have to make a tough compromise on anything. Changing out something like countertops will be more expensive than changing appliances. But if you want an in-island microwave, that makes a difference. In this example, waiting to get an in-island microwave will actually cost you more to get installed down the road, than if you just bite the bullet now, before cabinetry is complete.
This has been a wonderful start to spring for us. We’re more than halfway over the rainbow to our finished house. Stay tuned for month 8 in this journey.