Beyond the Bricks: 5 Unexpected Challenges to Prepare for When Building Your First Home

Beyond the Bricks: 5 Unexpected Challenges to Prepare for When Building Your First Home
Photo: RDNE Stock project / Pexels

Whether you’re looking at display homes from Ocean Grove builders or fiddling with designs for your dream house in Montana, building your first home is an exciting venture. However, it’s also fraught with unexpected challenges that test your patience and resolve. 

Being prepared for these hurdles makes the process smoother, easier, and more enjoyable. So let’s take a look at five of the most challenging ones you may face.

1. Building Permits and Regulations

One of the first major challenges you’ll encounter is the maze of building permits and regulations. Each locality has its own set of rules and obtaining the necessary approvals can be time-consuming. 

To avoid delays, start by researching your local building codes and zoning laws. Engage with a knowledgeable contractor who understands the intricacies of these regulations. They can guide you through the process and ensure all documentation is correctly filed. Missing permits or failure to comply with local regulations can result in hefty fines or even having to tear down and rebuild parts of your home, so this step is crucial.

2. Budget Overruns

No matter how carefully you plan your budget, unexpected costs are inevitable. From price hikes in building materials to unforeseen structural issues, numerous factors can inflate your expenses. 

To mitigate this, include a contingency fund of at least 10-15% of your total budget. This buffer covers unexpected expenses without derailing your project. Additionally, maintain open communication with your contractor about costs and ensure they provide detailed estimates. And, of course, regularly review your budget to stay on top of expenditures and make adjustments as necessary.

3. Delays in Construction

Construction delays are common and can stem from a variety of sources, including weather conditions, labor shortages, and supply chain disruptions. These delays can extend your project timeline and increase costs.

Prepare for delays by setting realistic timelines and building flexibility into your schedule. Stay in regular contact with your contractor to get updates on progress and potential issues. Having a self-storage unit and a temporary housing plan in place can reduce stress if your move-in date is pushed back. Understanding that delays are part of the process can help you remain patient and adaptable.

4. Communication Breakdowns

Effective communication with your builder, contractor, and other stakeholders is essential for a successful project. Miscommunication can lead to errors in construction, wasted materials, and increased costs. 

To avoid these pitfalls, establish clear lines of communication from the outset. Hold regular meetings and document all decisions and changes. Use project management tools to track milestones and share important updates. Remember, being proactive in asking questions and clarifying doubts ensures that everyone is on the same page.

5. Decisions Under Pressure

Building a home involves countless decisions, from major ones like layout and materials to minor ones like fixtures and finishes. Making these choices under pressure can be overwhelming. In turn, this can lead to decision fatigue.

To manage this, create a detailed plan before construction begins. This should include your preferences for design, materials, and finishes. Prioritize your decisions and tackle them step by step. Seek advice from professionals and do thorough research to make informed choices. Remember, it’s okay to take your time with decisions to ensure you’re happy with the final outcome.

Building your first home is a rewarding experience, but it comes with its share of unexpected challenges. By preparing for building permits, budgeting for overruns, anticipating construction delays, ensuring clear communication, and managing decision-making pressure, you can embrace the journey with patience and adaptability. You might even find the process as fulfilling as the finished home.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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