Building a home from the ground up can be both romantic and exciting. It is even more so when the build is a custom job. You have the opportunity to get exactly what you want, where you want it. Sound familiar? If you’ve had the experience of building, you know that it’s not nearly as much fun as it sounds.

There are a lot of things about building you will never hear from architects, builders, and banks. These are the hard lessons that come with the territory. Here are five of them:

  1. Timelines Are More Like Guidelines

Architects and builders love timelines. But know this: timelines are more like guidelines in the construction industry. Rare is the new home completed within the proposed time frame. One delay after the next sees to that.

Utah architects at Sparano + Mooney explains that the number of things capable of delaying construction make it nearly impossible to come up with accurate timelines. If it’s not the weather, it is difficulty scheduling contractors. Sometimes materials are late to arrive. Other times, it’s the local code inspectors.

    2. Out-Of-Pocket Expenses Add Up

Construction loans cover all of the major expenses of building a home. On the other hand, property owners aren’t getting bank draws to buy an extra box of finishing nails or a few paintbrushes. There are plenty of little expenditures that add up over time. Maxing out the credit cards is not out of the ordinary.

   3. Going Over Budget Is Too Easy

Hand-in-hand with out-of-pocket expenses are overblown budgets. Far too many go into the home-building process without understanding that builders make more money by adding more features. They are as skilled at up-selling as any retail operation. They wield that skill effectively. Growing budgets are often the end result.

Every time a property owner is faced with another option, there are more and less expensive choices to work with. Spending a little extra here or there adds to the budget. Choose the more expensive option one time too many and you could end up spending a lot more than you ever intended.

  4. Needs Are Going to Change

One of the biggest traps of home-building turns out to be one of the hardest lessons property owners have to learn: their needs will change. In other words, it is easy to design a home that meets current needs but neglects future possibilities. If you will, imagine a young couple with no children.

They may anticipate having children, thereby leading them to include an extra bedroom or two. But still being childless, they don’t realize that the number of bedrooms is the least of their worries. Failing to design their home around future needs they don’t even know they will have will leave them scratching their heads years down the road.

  5. In the End It’s Just the House

The last lesson is often not learned until years later. It is the result of 20-20 hindsight. What is this lesson? The reality that, in the end, what you built is just a house. It is a building in which you have chosen to live and raise your family. But a decade and three kids later, does it really matter that you spent a fortune on genuine marble countertops or the most expensive hardwood floors the builder offered?

There is a lot to be said about building your own home. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. And unfortunately, there is no way to truly understand all the finer details without actually going through it.