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Build Livable's Owner Notes + Courses for Homeowners

Ode to the Homeowner

Published 9 months ago • 2 min read

Welcome to Owner Notes, a free newsletter for anyone planning on (or dreaming about) building a custom home.

👉 If you enjoy Owner Notes, share this link with pals or read past issues.


Hello friends!

I recently shared a free download of our new ebook Working with Construction Pros. I'd love to know what you think if you've read it. If you purchased it on Amazon, please consider a quick review.

🌞🌞🌞🌞🌞

It's summer and you're probably taking some time off and enjoying the weather. We are too. We won't be in touch for a few weeks. I want to leave you with a few thoughts on the experience of being a homeowner. The text below is a section from Working with Construction Pros.

The Power Paradox

Building a new home requires equal parts foolishness and bravery. You are foolish enough to believe it will work and brave enough to see it through, whatever the outcome. After all, building a custom home is one of life’s most expensive projects, and it has so few assurances.

Ambiguity is at the heart of the homeowner’s experience. In most projects, no one knows exactly what it will cost or how long it will take to complete. It’s simply too big, with too many moving parts and unknowns. As my friend, James, put it, “Nothing is cheaper or faster than you expect.” Yet, you push through.

“Why? Because you can see the future. You can envision a better life, and that life starts in a home built for you and your lifestyle and daily rituals. Building a new home is a bet you make on manifesting a better future.

Let’s take a moment to consider the paradoxical position of the homeowner. Because it is your money being spent, you have bottom-line authority. Your approval is required daily or weekly for the project to keep rolling. Along with decisions about materials and finishes, you have the power to stop the project, hire and fire, and change course on a whim. If you want purple ceilings and green floors, that’s what you’ll get. It’s an enormous amount of power.

At the same time, homeowners are usually the least experienced people on the team. Architects and builders spend their lives earning the experience required to build beautiful, safe, and efficient homes. Homeowners, on the other hand, dive in and learn on the job. We do our best to make educated decisions, but it’s a challenge when we’re new to the construction process. Even with the help of amazing partners, our inexperience can easily lead to avoidable mistakes and missed opportunities that impact the budget.

That’s the paradox. The homeowner is often the least equipped to make informed decisions and in the most need to make them reliably. Put another way, we’re well-positioned to choose poorly. We have the unique power, as the source of funding, to screw everything up and not realize it until it’s too late. This possibility looms over every decision we make.

Homeowners have always started projects without experience, context, or clear expectations. We’ve always been the wild card. The frustration, anxiety, and stress we inevitably face is like an initiation. In the end, we have the home, and the emotional scars to show for it. We are the ones who made it through.

I believe there is a better way. You can’t easily change the ambiguity of construction, or force the team to work faster, but you can develop the right mindset, plan ahead, and build the confidence you need to overcome the roadblocks and frustrations.

You have the power to build a home that exceeds your expectations. It is possible to stay on schedule and under budget, but it doesn't come quickly or easily. The key is using your power responsibly and finding the most productive ways to work with your team.

Download the ebook

I hope you have a delightful summer. I'll be in touch again soon! 🌞

Lee LeFever, Build Livable


Build Livable's Owner Notes + Courses for Homeowners

We're homeowners helping homeowners navigate custom home construction via online education. Owner Notes is a weekly email with expert tips and advice for anyone planning (or dreaming about) building a custom home.

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