As spring hits Santa Fe, it’s great to see so many of us outside, playing and enjoying the sounds of the birds, the smell of the blossoms and the beauty of longer warmer days. If allergies haven’t stopped you in your tracks, most of us feel revitalized in the spring.
This is also the time when many of us are getting serious about plans for home improvements, landscaping, or building the new home dreamt of for so many years. When preparing to make that leap of faith into your project, remember that pre-construction planning is as important as any other facet of the project. Take time to plan accordingly.
First Step in Project Planning: Find the Right Experts
The first step in any successful project strategy should be to find the experts right for you. The right realtor, designer, architect or contractor is out there in Santa Fe for you. Find those who share your core values and have a proven track record of success in the type of project you envision. Using least cost as a primary decision making tool almost always leads to less than desirable project outcomes. It is far better to rely on quality of character, reputation and experience.
Once you have a trusted professional employed, rely on their experience and leadership to guide you toward success. Working together you will be able to establish realistic expectations with mutually beneficial outcomes regarding costs, quality and timing. Together you should able to identify the key challenges your project will have in store. Reviewing and understanding any covenants, Home Owners’ Association procedures, and city or county ordinances in and around Santa Fe that apply to your project is vital.
Given all this information, your pro should be able to provide you with a step-by-step process and timeline for gaining the necessary approvals and permits. I call this the pre-construction “critical path.”
Second Step: Setting the Right Budget and Filing All the Paperwork
The development of a quality design, detailed construction budget, and the preparation of documents ready for approvals and permits necessarily take time. The design and budgeting process should not be rushed, but also must be handled efficiently so as not to take longer than needed. After all, getting the project completed on time and on budget is the goal, right?
For larger projects, bank financing is almost always a key element along the pre-construction critical path. The bank’s timeline for pre-approval, appraisal and loan closing will dictate to a great degree the details of your pre-construction timeline. Talk to your bank early to understand what they will require of you and your builder, and how long it will take them to process the information.
Remember, new construction that relies on bank financing cannot commence until the loan is closed and the title company has inspected the lot, typically the last step in the process.
Once your well-planned and professionally orchestrated pre-construction process is successfully behind you, you will have the construction process to enjoy. And it will be an enjoyable experience when you have the right team, the right plan and the right expectations up front.