I have a laptop that recently became…we’ll say…uncooperative. I can’t complain too much. I’ve had it for ten years. It has, by far, been the longest lasting computer I’ve had to date. And still, with a little care, I can get it back up and running if I want.
The main problem…it doesn’t have enough memory. After a decade of saving, saving, saving…it finally refused to operate correctly. Want to pull up Safari or Chrome…nope, force close. Want to save a Word document…nope, delete some stuff first.
The good thing about a computer is it just stops working. As individuals, we suffer from the same limitation. There’s only so much memory. Some of us are more gifted than others, but ultimately we are all prone to forgetfulness. The main difference between our minds and a hard drive is that when we forget something (instead of just not being able to think anymore), we typically remember it differently. Think about these common statements:
“I didn’t say that!”
“You said you were going to…”
“We never agreed to that.”
And round and round it goes. Whether it’s a miscommunication between spouses, clients and builders, builders and sub-contractors, or whatever the case may be…it happens. Forgetfulness is no one’s fault. You can only remember what you can remember, but having processes in place to aid in eliminating that confusion…that’s just the responsible thing to do. When you’re building a new home, there’s a lot on your plate.
“I’ve got to meet the builder onsite tomorrow.”
“I’m meeting the cabinet rep Thursday.”
“We’ve got to pick out lighting Saturday.”
Without a clearly defined line of communication, it can be a little overwhelming. How do you eliminate the chaos?
- Use a common method of communicating. We use a custom home software (Co-Construct) that allows our clients access to a personalized dashboard that provides scheduling, budgeting, and selection information. Additionally, comments, messages, and emails between the contractor, vendors, and clients can be stored in the appropriate location within the system. There’s rarely a question of what was discussed because the discussions are all stored with all the other project information, not scattered through lost text messages and forgotten phone calls.
- Review the contract with your builder. In this day and age, slapping a signature on something has never been easier. You can sign with your finger on your smart phone in two seconds. While this is not bad in terms of convenience, it doesn’t dismiss the responsibility to know what the document contains. On the other hand, a contract shouldn’t be a source of fear or anxiety either. The very word “contract” has a legal tone that tends to put us on edge. But in its simplest form, it is nothing more than an understanding between two parties as to what is going to be accomplished.
- Request change orders when necessary. Like the original contract, a change order is just a smaller documentation of what is to be expected, and how it will affect the schedule and budget. Most change orders have associated fees for obvious reasons. But some may even be zero dollar C/O’s that are signed by both sides. They don’t necessarily result in any real cost, lost time, or extra labor. Still, the document stands as a written understanding that something important was discussed that needs to take place.
The majority of poor homebuilding experiences can be traced back to one simple thing…miscommunication. Taking the time to have good quality discussions about your home, documenting those discussions, and maintaining open lines of communication are great starting points. Just don’t find yourself in a situation with a spinning hourglass overhead and no where to turn for answers!