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House Building Checklist and Planning Guide for New Homeowners

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house building checklist

Have you finally decided to build your own home? Congratulation! As a client, you have a big task ahead of you. In order for the project to succeed and not turn out to be a hair-raising failure in the end, there are a few things you need to consider when building a house. A checklist is particularly useful for this, especially if you are looking for tips on individual points.

Building a house is one of the largest projects of newly married couples, families and numerous other people who move to their permanent home and no longer want to rent it. There are a number of points that come up to you in this work that you must bear in mind so that you are not faced with a structural and financial disaster.

For this reason, it is advisable to use a checklist, as it lists valuable tips and tricks on the individual aspects. So you can check the individual points and change them if necessary to make the construction of your dream home as effective as possible. This efficiency is essential in order to save costs, time and planning requirements.

Choosing Land for Building a House

One of the most important points when building a house is choosing the right piece of land. Numerous problems can creep in here if you decide too early or do not look carefully enough. The following tips can help you with this:

  1. Include the environment in the planning. Are there kindergartens, schools and a good connection to the train station? Is the property close to a noisy freeway or is it even on a busy road, which could be detrimental to your health? You should consider how you want to live and whether the environment is suitable for it. If you want to build a house in a big city like Cologne or Munich, for example, you have to expect a higher level of noise pollution, but you are close to the action.
  2. Visit the possible property during the week and on weekends at different times of the day, even at night. This allows you to see exactly how the space is developing over the course of the day and week.
  3. Weather Influence: Get information about the weather affecting the property. The location and orientation determine how humid, warm or windy the property will be. Possible deficits, for example due to a northern hillside location that hardly gets any sun and therefore requires higher thermal insulation, can be eliminated in advance. The direction of the compass should be considered in relation to the amount of light:
  • North: hardly any direct sun, but cooler, more humid and plenty of shade, often unsuitable for gardens
  • East: a lot of sun in the morning, which decreases more and more over the course of the day
  • West: no sun in the morning, but a lot in the evening
  • South: lots of sun, hardly any shade and very warm, blinds are recommended here
  1. Condition: adapt your house construction to the property. For example, if you choose a slope, you have to build differently than if you choose flat land. This can drive up the price accordingly, especially if you want to “smooth out” a large part of the slope. In addition, costs for the access routes and electrical and water installations are saved when the property is developed. The harder it is to achieve, the higher the cost and time it can take.
  1. Size: Find a plot of land the size of which you want, but which does not exceed your capital. Especially in well-developed, modern locations and so-called “rich districts”, the price of land can rise sharply the larger they are.
  2. Old stocks: as soon as there are old stocks on the property, they must be checked and removed, which can eat a big hole in your wallet. Here you should definitely reconsider whether the demolition is worthwhile, because in most cases you still need a permit and, more rarely, you even have to dispose of harmful substances such as formaldehyde-containing materials made of wood.
  3. Type of property: is it a residential or commercial property or are both forms permitted on one property. This point is more important than many people think, because you are not allowed to inhabit a purely commercial property.

Home Development planning

A possible development plan is closely related to the selection of the property and the implementation of your dream home. A development plan is understood to mean certain regulations of the local administration and building planning authorities, which, for example, determine the dimensions of a house in a specific neighborhood.

The main purpose of the regulations is to preserve the character of the neighborhood and to offer the neighbors sufficient peace and quiet. Using the development plan, you can see directly what is possible and what is not. Pay particular attention to the following points:

In addition to the property, construction financing is the most important point before the actual house construction. The financing regulates all aspects related to the price and should be carried out conscientiously and thoroughly. When building a house, there are many costs that have to be considered, but above all the available financial framework. The following overview will help you to determine the maximum amount you can spend on your house without spending too much.

  1. First find out the cost of the land in the following way:
  • land transfer tax
  • Purchase price of the property
  • broker’s commission plus VAT
  • notary plus VAT
  • development plus VAT
  • felling of trees or removal of large stones plus VAT
  • surveying plus VAT

Now add your available share capital plus possible borrowed capital and subtract the costs for the property from this amount. The final amount is then available for building the house.

This invoice makes it easier for you to keep track of costs. So you should always plan the property beforehand in order to determine your final capital for the construction of your own four walls. With this amount, the construction companies know exactly how much they have available when planning. This not only makes planning easier, but you never spend too much and in the end you still have enough capital for the interior design.

When choosing the type of house, the cheap and expensive projects are different. Depending on the type of house, you can get away particularly cheaply or pay high sums, the more personalized it becomes. You can choose between the following methods:

  1. Prefabricated house / model house: the name describes these houses very well. You can view them via information material and in so-called model house parks and get a good insight into the rooms and the space requirements. Since these models are ready-made concepts, you save high planning and material costs, but you can hardly make any changes. If you can accept a finished house and create your personal touch through the interior design of the garden, you can implement the house building quite cheaply.
  2. Architect: an architect is the choice for people who have a high capital available or who want to implement difficult and particularly luxurious building projects. Planning with an architect can take weeks to months, because really all aspects, from the room distribution to the placement of all cables, are planned here. You can expect high costs and a lot of time and planning effort, especially if you deviate from the classic standards in terms of design. Round walls, for example, are much more difficult to plan than many builders initially think.

The right building partner is just as important as the choice of the house type. The building partner is the one who builds the house for you and is paid by you for it.

Typically, in modern house construction there are numerous things that are difficult to implement and therefore Baupartner is recommended, as you cannot implement all the installations or construction steps on your own. You can choose between the following options:

  1. Construction planner: with a construction planner you can lean back and look forward to a suitable house in the end. The building planner takes your wishes in relation to the property and the house and implements them after consultation with you. Construction planners are slightly more expensive than prefabricated house manufacturers, but they use the same resources. But you don’t have to worry about purchasing the property yourself, which can save you a lot of work. When choosing a building planner, you should make sure that they are reputable. A comparison is therefore definitely necessary.
  2. Manufacturers of prefabricated houses: Manufacturers of prefabricated houses, on the other hand, only deliver the parts that were previously manufactured in a factory. These companies will finally assemble the house on the property you have already acquired. This method is quite inexpensive, as you have to look for and purchase the property yourself, which does not cost the company any planning or brokerage costs. So if you already have a plot of land, this method is particularly worthwhile as long as you put in some work yourself.
  1. Alternatively, you can choose and hire the craftsmen yourself. Please note, however, that you will usually have to put a lot of effort into this method, as you have to compare experts and installers with each other before you make a decision. This method is often used when an architect is hired, as no prefabricated houses are used here. As you can see, an architect’s house is very complex and expensive.

If you decide on a building planner or prefabricated house manufacturer, you definitely need reference objects with which you can view the quality and implementation of the houses. You should also contractually protect yourself against a possible bankruptcy of the contractual partners so that you do not have to bear further costs in the event of a sudden construction stop. Make sure to address this point and if that is not possible, you should look for another provider.

Material, energy efficiency, room layout

With regard to the material, the energy efficiency and the premises, there are several points to consider, which you can read off from the checklist. These would be:

  1. Building material: nowadays the selection of the building material is a decisive factor for the energy efficiency of the building. Do not spare any effort to talk to a professional about the possibilities beforehand, because for some houses the use of wood is completely worthwhile, while for others masonry might be more effective. All of these points also have an impact on the insulation materials and seals that are used.
  2. Compact means energy efficient . The more compact the house is, the more energy you save because the heat distribution is better regulated. Here you can use a simple trick:
  • divide the volume (cubic meters) of the house by the living space (square meters)
  • if the result is below 4, the energy efficiency is good
  • if the result is a value above 5, the energy efficiency is poor

Energy consumption value

You can find more information on the energy consumption value of a house here: Energy consumption value

  1. Simple designs save energy. For example, a square house with a flat roof requires little insulation and heat distribution is much easier than a house that has a large, inhabited roof, numerous hallways or even a tower. Simple design literally pays off, saves money and saves planning measures.
  2. The shape of the roof is important because it defines the possible use. If you choose a high-gable roof and then set up an attic as living space, the cost of the material and insulation is much higher. The numerous roof types are associated with different costs and time expenditure and more planning for the structural engineer if you want a particularly large or steep roof.
  3. Basements must be planned just as precisely as roofs , as these are under the actual house and must not collapse. The planning for this primarily includes the right sealing against moisture and cold.
  4. The wrong size of the rooms can quickly lead to problems and frustration. Unless you want to immediately start building a castle that is a veritable nightmare in terms of insulation and drafts, consider the following sizes, which have been found to be particularly effective:
  • Living room: at least 20 m²
  • Living room with combined dining room: at least 50 m²
  • Bedroom: about 16 m², together with a large wardrobe at least 20 m²
  • Children’s room: at least 10 m² with additional space for a larger bed and a desk as children get older

Kitchens and bathrooms vary greatly in number of sizes and can range from small kitchenettes to 50 square meters. Since kitchens and bathrooms are sealed differently, completely different planning is necessary here. This is also the case with attics, basements and special rooms that are used for other purposes, for example your hobby.

  1. The arrangement of the rooms should be chosen wisely. So it makes sense to connect kitchens, living and dining rooms with each other, while bathrooms, bedrooms and children’s rooms should form a unit. For this reason, kitchens are usually built on the ground floor and bathrooms on the first and second floors. If these are on top of each other, you can easily connect the rooms with cables and save costs.

Essential: the building contract

The building contract also belongs in the checklist for building a house. This regulates everything relating to services, payments and the course of construction work. Above all, legal questions are clarified via the construction contract, for example if there are problems with the house after construction. The most important points are:

  • precise recording of the intended use of materials such as paint for the walls or wooden beams for the roof
  • Scope of services
  • Building materials (quality, type)
  • Equipment level
  • Company name and exact address of the company or the individual craftsmen
  • liable person of the company or the craftsman
  • Managing directors
  • Contact person of the company or the individual craftsman
  • Contractual penalties, for example due to delays in performance
  • these penalties only concern the fault of the contractor
  • start of building
  • Construction time (max.)
  • Time or date of final acceptance
  • these construction times are usually planned and suggested by the construction company or the architect
  • possible buffer times that give the builder leeway when building a house
  • Payment intervals
  • Limitation of construction water and electricity costs for the builder

As for the payment intervals, it is important to know that these are paid in separate parts. For example, when you finish the floor slab, next you pay for the basic walls and so on. The installments have a maximum contribution, which is regulated in Section 3 of the Real Estate Agents and Builders Ordinance (MaBV) . Go through these points conscientiously with the construction company, because this is the only way you will not experience any nasty surprises in the event of complications and the project will progress quickly through the checklist.

Tip: please note that changes during the construction period are difficult to implement and are associated with extremely high costs. If construction times have been set, every change delays the project, which affects not only the construction company, but also suppliers and other companies involved.

Construction site: tips and tricks

The following tips and tricks will ensure that the construction work runs smoothly, which above all saves you money:

  1. In some countries, the client bears the client’s risk with regard to the building site. If complications arise due to a lack of a subsoil survey, you have to pay out of your own cash, which can quickly settle in the four to five-digit range. For this reason, it is essential to have a subsoil survey carried out that examines the following points:
  • load capacity
  • Stratified water
  • Groundwater
  • Soil contamination

Soil surveys are a must if you want to build a basement. On average, the expert opinion can cost in the range of 1,500 to 3,500 euros, in large cities it is usually even more expensive.

  1. In most cases, you as the building owner have to commission the following preparations:
  • Site log
  • Toilet construction
  • Real estate clean-up
  • Felling trees and removing other plants
  • Erection of the site fence
  • Renting the container for rubble and waste
  • Site electricity and water connection

Approval for construction site access so that public sidewalks are not damaged and are safely cordoned off

Development of the property if it is difficult to reach, for example through a temporary gravel path
Without this, the construction company cannot work. If you have decided on a building planner, he will take over these points.

  1. Hire a building surveyor. These are quite expensive, on average 100 to 250 euros per hour, but they are worth the effort. He will appear three or four times on the construction site and check whether there are any defects or construction errors. Do not do without a building expert, as he will tell you exactly if something needs to be improved in the house.

You can find more information on the subject of building experts and building experts and the costs you would have to pay for an assignment here: Costs – building experts

  1. Only take on your own work if you really have the necessary knowledge. Remember: the less you disturb the professionals in the implementation of your home, the better. Only do small jobs on the house, but don’t overdo it, unless you are involved in this area yourself, for example as an electrician. This applies not only to the work that occurs during the building of the house, but also afterwards. There are always necessary repairs and maintenance work that should be carried out by a professional. This includes work on the roof, as the risk of falling is very high here, or repairs to sanitary facilities, as these have to be very robust in order to avoid any water damage.