We Know About Every Surprise That Can Come With a Teardown

photography by Lisa Russman

You want to be as prepared as possible before going into a full-on teardown and rebuild, right? If we were you, we’d want to know about all the possible surprises before jumping into a big project, too. After working with hundreds of families, we’ve gathered up lots of goodies to keep you aware and prepared for your new construction home!

Get to know your neighbors

This might seem somewhat arbitrary but we’ve actually seen cases where neighbors can be quite nosey and annoyed by your construction. One great way to manage this is with donuts and coffee! Bring by some Dunkin, say hello, and let them know how excited you are to be their new neighbor. You don’t have to get into the nitty-gritty of your plans but with more people on board and grateful for your presence the better. And, when it comes time for the demo, keep signs posted with clear boundaries so people know to stay off the property for their safety. Yes, they shouldn’t be on your property, to begin with, but just trust us, this will save you a headache!

Read every single word

Yes, we mean it. When it comes to your contract with your architecture firm, with your builders, and every drawing – read them. It’s critical that you participate fully in checking, double, and triple-checking measurements, lists, materials, costs, etc. Oh, and it’s even better if you ask a ton of questions upfront. Your team will not be frustrated with you! You’re about to head into a full teardown and rebuild and you deserve the chance to think it completely through. What you worry is the most obvious question and feel super weird asking – just ask it! You may catch an error right at the beginning of your project vs. waiting until something costs you more time and money by not speaking up.

You and your partner are the most important people

If you take away anything from our advice, take away this one. Go into your teardown knowing who you want to be responsible for what when it comes to your project. No, you’re not project managers but you will be the homeowners so you’ll be quite involved. Who’s better at email? Who’s the best to go word by word through each contract? Does one have more time to visit your property periodically? Schedule times to meet with each other about “business” and also schedule dates, fun, and leisure – especially during this process. If the whole point of your project is to create a space for family, then let’s keep family the top priority!

Know what to get started on early

Gas, water, and power – get moving on this right away. Since you’re tearing down you’re home that means lots of work for the utility companies. They may have to completely remove and replace anything existing or add additional lines based on the size of your new home. We highly suggest you get them as much detail as you can right away so you can fully understand the effect of their work on your budget and your timeline.

Now we know this part might be tough but have all of your finishes selected before the foundation is even poured. Yes, we do mean right down to the cabinet pulls. You would be surprised what the impact could be on your custom home build when you change your mind even on just a hardware decision. 

We’ve talked with happy customers, parents, working professionals and we’ve heard it all. This is meant as a guide to protect you from those surprises you just wouldn’t know about before you engage in a teardown. We know this process can actually be really fun and rewarding and we hope for you to get the most out of it with a lot less of the stress!