The list. Before you jump into planning the new house, go through each room of the home where you’re living now and note its pluses and minuses. This will produce a very specific list of what you are looking for in your new house.
The rough sketch. Once you start to tour models and study floor plans, your benchmark and the basis for all your comparisons will be the house or apartment you live in now. To make the comparison accurate, do a rough sketch of your current digs, with dimensions noted for each room, and take it with you.
Experience counts. In home building you always get what you pay for. If you go with the contractor who is “just starting out and will give you a great price,” you’ll regret it. Go with a builder who has had at least five years’ experience overseeing the construction of new houses. You’ll pay more but you’ll be much happier with the results.
Outside expertise is critical. To ensure that your house is built correctly, engage a private home inspector to make periodic inspections during construction.
The contract. The person who writes the contract will always favor himself. This includes builders and architects. Before you sign a contract with a builder or an architect, have their contracts reviewed by an experienced real estate attorney who can help you level the playing field.