If this is your first time building a lake home in Southeastern Wisconsin, be ready for a truly rewarding and sometimes challenging experience.  You get to look forward to the exciting journey of designing and constructing a new custom home perfectly tailored to your needs. You’re also about to make one of the biggest investments of your life, which is why you want to avoid any mistakes. However, selecting Colby Construction as your builder will make it a much better experience as we know the rules and difficulties of lake building.

Prepare yourself for a long process of making many large and small decisions. Knowing what to expect can also help you prevent common mistakes that negatively impact a custom project’s budget, timeline, and outcome. 

A First-Time Home-Building Guide: What Common Mistakes Should I Avoid? 

It’s difficult to completely avoid small hiccups and setbacks when undertaking a major project like building a custom lake home. However, you can prevent certain setbacks with proper planning and careful groundwork. 

Here is a first-time home-building guide on which mistakes to avoid during the process: 

1. Set a Realistic Budget

Although you won’t know the exact price of your custom lake home until you’ve developed construction drawings, you need to go into the project with realistic expectations and a preliminary budget. These figures will be the driving force as you seek financing. The search for lake property and the design of your dream house are a big piece of this as well. Without establishing a clear budget upfront, you are more susceptible to seeing costs spiral upward and past what you wanted to spend.

2. Consider Your Home and Land Together

When building a custom lake home, the first step is to find a lake lot. This means selecting the lake (or lakes) you will consider and then finding a vacant lot or house/cottage that can be torn down. You also may be limited by what’s available at the time. First, it’s important to factor the cost of the lot or teardown and other associated expenses, such as taking down the current house, into your overall project price. Secondly, consider your home and the land in tandem as where you build could impact what you build. Having your heart set on a particular style, size, or layout could further narrow down the appropriate property type. The size of a lake home is dictated by the amount of lake frontage.

picture of a lake home with a dock

3. Changing Your Mind Late in the Game

You’re building the home where you will presumably reside for the next few decades or the remainder of your life. You need to take your time making decisions and trying to get each aspect just right. Constantly changing your mind could signify insufficient planning or lack of organization. Before you jump into your project, carefully consider your current and future needs and establish your project priorities. This will stop you from second-guessing yourself as much during the design phase. Be consistent and confident going into construction because making revisions to the plan once it’s already underway often causes delays and unexpected costs.

4. Designing an Impractical Layout

When you’re building a custom home, the home’s aesthetics are important, but you also need to think about logistics and develop a layout that makes sense for the flow of daily life. For example, when you’re bringing in groceries, do you have easy access to the kitchen? Is the laundry room in a strategic place for transporting dirty clothes and linens and putting them away? Does the placement of bedrooms work for young children, teenagers, and guests? An ideal custom home is not just nice to look at. It also must satisfy your lifestyle needs.

Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Custom Lake Home

5. Not Assembling the Right Team

Another custom home-building tip is to put together your whole team from the start. You essentially have two options for collaboration: hiring an architect and home builder separately or contracting with a full-service design-build team. The benefit of going the latter route is that, even in the early stages, you get input from the person who will oversee construction. This will provide extra assurance of project feasibility. You also have more consistent, streamlined communication.

Your home builder doesn’t have to try to accurately interpret plans they didn’t develop or compensate for architect mistakes. The Colby Construction team has great relationships and experience working with top architects to make the team ready to design and build your dream home. 

Once you’ve completed your research, clarified your vision, and established your preliminary budget and project priorities, you’re ready to find the team in the Lake Country and avoid common building mistakes. At Colby Construction, we understand the ins and outs of creating a new custom lake home. We also understand all the feelings you may be experiencing, such as excitement, fear, stress, uncertainty, and more. Because we offer both design and build services, we can walk you through the entire process and coordinate each step to give you a positive first-time home-building experience.