Planning for Unexpected Expenses When Building a Home

Measuring tape on a blueprint of a new home

Surprise parties are often fun. Finding a twenty-dollar bill in your coat pocket from last year you had forgotten about is definitely a good time. But not all surprises are like that. For example, when your ornery brother buys your kid a drum set for Christmas, just smiling is a task as you think about revenge. (Definitely go with the puppy for his kid next Christmas). Unfortunately, there are unexpected expenses when building a custom home and that’s what we at Babb Custom Homes want to address.

With as large of an investment your dream home can be, you want to get it right, and getting it right brings high standards, and high standards means details, personalized and unique home plans, and lots and lots of moving parts. More moving parts means the more opportunity for curve balls in permits, design, construction, loans, etc., etc. Most of the curve balls are slow and easy to hit, but they are unpredictable nonetheless and cause unexpected expenses. (Some of them are fun, btw, since many of the changes to plan are voluntary, such as prioritizing larger windows, or hundreds of other elective and exciting options.)

You may be asking, “Well, why don’t we plan for the unplanned? The answer is that we do. We:

  • Anticipate an increase in material costs
  • Start permitting and design work proactively (We are experts in the processes and nuances of red tape and jumping through hoops.) 
  • Sequence and time the steps in the building phase to allow for delays
  • Resource with building supply companies to mitigate the shipping and backordering delays which often occur now
  • Maintain good relationships with subcontractors to assure they are available when we need them, as much as possible
  • Explain the most likely curve balls to the customers so they can plan accordingly
  • Mutually agree in contract that there may be adjustments
  • Reduce the number of unexpected expenses by expecting them with our years of experience 

We hope it brings comfort to you to know that delays and unexpected expenses often cost us more than you, due to the problems it causes in our own contracts, personnel costs, loss of opportunities on other builds, and the shuffling of equipment and sequencing in other builds. We only tell you this so that you will know it’s in our best interest to plan wisely and work efficiently. You can trust us to keep operations moving to everyone’s advantage.

So, what are the possible unexpected expenses? This is not an exhaustive list, but it will cover the most common problems, such as:

  • Customer Makes Changes After the Agreement 
  • Adds sinks/showers, doors/windows, electrical outlets, more lighting, and many others
  • Upgrades cabinets and countertops
  • Switches flooring materials and styles
  • Redesigns ceilings, room shapes and sizes, or landscaping 
  • Expands bathrooms, garages, decks, etc.
  • Increases or reconfigures storage spaces
  • Modifies garages based on plans for electric vehicles or dedicated spaces to start a business
  • Changes the hardware, knobs, handles, drains, and others
  • Material Cost Increases
  • Prices of building related materials have risen 33 percent in the last two years and are predicted to continue climbing. We’re on top of these changes.
  • Lack of Communication (Babb’s is known for its clarity and forthrightness)
  • What exactly does the contract include and not include, like appliances, trees, fireplace inserts, or certain brands of paint?
  • Cracks in concrete
  • Faulty materials
  • Extreme weather damage beyond the integrity of the materials or design of the house plan
  • Leaks
  • Installation Errors
  • Overlooked “Necessities” 
  • Basketball goal
  • Landscaping extras
  • Appliances, new or matching
  • Furniture, new or matching 
  • Extensive storage organizers
  • Homeowners Association Fees
  • Increased Costs Yield More Expenses
  • More realtor fees
  • Higher taxes
  • Loan processing charges may occur for changes in loan agreements
  • Inspections may be required

Like we said, this is not an exhaustive list of unexpected expenses. We didn’t get into issues like neighbors wanting to share the cost of putting in a fence, lawn and landscaping complications, changes in regulations after the build, and technological advancements that could make certain features obsolete (such as a universal movement to all-electric appliances, feasible solar power, etc.) 

If you go with Babb’s, we know you’ll be in good hands. We have the successful experience to avoid many pitfalls and curveballs that could plague other projects. We also care enough to communicate with you what is covered and not, and why. So, if you have any questions or want to start dreaming with us, contact us ASAP. We want to continue proving our supporters right!