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Change Orders: Why Changes During the Construction Phase Cost More

Posted by John Holahan on Aug 3, 2015 11:30:00 AM

Change-orders-why-changes-during-the-construction-phase-cost-moreSometimes you’ll hear people say that change is a good thing. Often that’s true. Sometimes you have to make changes—even to something you like—in order to get what you really want. That’s even true when it comes to building a custom home. There are times when you change your mind about what you think you wanted initially. And sometimes making that change is absolutely the right choice to make. But when making changes when you’re building a house can have a significant impact on the cost of your home. But it doesn’t have to be that way. How can you avoid expensive changes—and still get the home you want?

It’s really a matter of timing. As a rule of thumb, the earlier in the process you make your changes, the easier it is for your builder to accommodate your wishes—and the less expensive it is to make the changes you want. That’s why it’s so important to carefully review floor plans with your builder before construction begins. 

Don’t be in a hurry to select a floor plan and then get construction underway. Take time to think about what you really want and then talk about the plans with your builder. We deal with floor plans all the time, but many homeowners just aren’t used to translating what they see on paper to how things are going to look when the house is done. 

One area that people struggle with a lot is the size of the house—and even the size of specific rooms. When you look at a floor plan, it’s a good idea to take the measurements for specific rooms and mark them out on the floor somewhere. That way you don’t have to guess at the size of a 14’ x 16’ room and wonder if your furniture will fit. You’ll know. 

We’ve actually had experiences when a customer stood in her bedroom and broke into tears as she proclaimed it was too small. She asked us extend the room by 4 feet (which probably doesn’t seem like a big deal) and that change added about $20,000 to the cost of her home. If she had made that change earlier (during the design stage) it would have saved her a lot of money. 

Also, it’s important to trust your builder. Again, we deal with construction all the time. But if you don’t, it can be very difficult to gauge the actual size of house or a specific room while it’s in process. We’ve had customers look at the poured foundation, or at a framed room and tell us that they are convinced that it will be too small. Fortunately, they trusted us and when the house was finished it looked much larger—and was exactly what they wanted. 

So if you want to stay within budget (and save yourself a lot of stress at the same time) make sure you take your time choosing your floor plan. We have lots from which to choose. Then review the plan with your builder to make sure it’s what you want. Changes you make at that stage are manageable and affordable.  And make sure you choose a builder you can trust so that if you have questions, you can rely on his or her experience and expertise.


Topics: cost of changes during construction, importance of plans, Poconos Homes

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