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Dream Home Construction: 5 Things You Need to Know Before You Start

Creating your dream home is one of the most exciting and challenging projects you will ever undertake. Much more than just a house, your dream home will be a hallowed space for your family. Having an experienced dream home mentor can take out many of the risks and difficulties of making your dream a reality. We at Fremont Bank would like to be your “construction concierge” in creating the home of your dreams. As a community bank with nearly 60 years’ experience in helping clients create their dream homes, we know a lot about how to make these projects successful. Here are five things to consider before you get started:

1. You will spend more money than you think.

It’s unfortunate but true: Like many other things in life, home construction projects often end up costing more than you anticipated. There are many reasons why this happens. Unplanned expenses come up. The cost estimates are off. There is an increase in the scope of the project. The difficulty or complexity of the project has been underestimated. You get the idea. We recommend increasing your original budget by 15%, and we will underwrite the loan for that amount. This is to help protect you from running out of funds before the construction is completed, which would definitely make the project more difficult and complex. Again, think of us as your “construction concierge,” and let us help ensure that your project will proceed as smoothly as possible.

2. Progress comes from a thousand small decisions.

Building your dream home is also more stressful than you think, as there are many small decisions that need to be made along the way. Materials, colors, and styling details need to be chosen. Flooring, appliances, plumbing fixtures, windows, doors, and trim — it’s amazing how many details need to be agreed on and how many options there are to choose from. Finding common ground to allow for a family consensus on each decision protects you from much of the emotional stress. We also suggest having a matrix or other objective decision-making tool at the ready that will increase your efficiency and reduce the pressure that inevitably comes when the list of decisions starts to grow. Our experts can guide you in prudent decision-making and warn you of any dangers.

3. Permits will test your patience and perseverance.

Getting permits and approvals from the city where the home will be located is notoriously difficult and complicated. There will also be substantial fees to the authorities involved, which you must plan for. Our experienced relationship managers can guide you through these minefields and direct you to resources that can help, such as specialists who can do the heavy lifting for you.

4. You’ve heard it before, and for good reason: Location, location, location.

“Where” is as important as “what” in creating a dream home. Are you more comfortable in an urban, residential, or rural neighborhood? What transport enables you to get to work and your kids to school? What are your shopping and dining preferences? How will you get your health needs met? Fremont Bank has been the family-owned community bank in the Bay area for almost 60 years. We know the area intimately and can help you choose a location for your dream home that ticks all your boxes.

5. Remember the X factor: Ensuring that your dream home is uniquely “you.”

Anticipating whether the dream home you’re designing will truly fit your family’s unique style and lifestyle is difficult to do and often overlooked. You won’t really know whether it feels right until you are living in it. When that time comes, you will inevitably want to tweak it, which involves new designs, new plans, and new financing. We have seen this many times before. When you reach this point, come and see us again. We can take the pain out of making your dream home uniquely you. (By the way, if you would like to do some thought experiments about your dream home, consider reading “House as a Mirror of Self” by Clare Cooper Marcus, a professor of architecture at UC Berkeley. It will make your imagination soar.)

Whether your dream home is just a twinkle in your eye or you have an old house you want to transform, let us help you with financing for the entire project, from the initial groundbreaking to permanent financing. Click here to learn more about our dream home construction lending and how we can serve as your “dream homeconcierge.”