How To Build A Home That Will Last

Whether new construction or a major renovation, taking the time to build a home that will last will save you money in the long run. These tips will help.

For some families, there’s no such thing as a home that will last. They move around on a regular basis. Over time, some people may even crave the excitement of relocating.

When it comes to your family, though, moving around on a regular basis is a bad idea for a few reasons:

  • For one, you want your kids to have a stable sense of belonging. That isn’t going to happen if you uproot them every five minutes (or every five years).
  • Moving too often is also bad news from a monetary point of view. While property is a fantastic way to make money, you only achieve that goal if you stick around long enough to see increasing prices. Otherwise, you might as well be tossing money down the drain.

For these reasons, you may find it beneficial to settle in a home to last generations when your kids are young. Isn’t there something wonderful about the idea of their growing up and becoming adults in one house? To increase the chances that your family can do this, read on for tips on how to buy, renovate, or build a home that will last your family for decades to come.

This is a collaboration post. However, please know I stand behind everything written here, and only include links to products/services/resources I’m willing to recommend personally.

Choose durable materials

First, choose durable materials for every improvement. You don’t want to skimp on home repairs when shoddy materials could come back to bite you down the road. If you’re going to fix or replace something, you won’t want to have to do so again in five more years.

Want to know what I mean? Don’t go for the cheapest carpet, linoleum, or pressed-wood product for your flooring! You don’t have to buy top of the line, but you want something that will be durable. The more kids and/or pets you have, the more important a product’s longevity is. Choosing something that’s not only durable but also easy to keep clean is equally important.

Same goes for appliances. Again, you don’t need the fanciest or most expensive model out there. But if you’re getting a new appliance anyway, you’re better off getting a slightly better model upfront if it has better energy-efficiency ratings, lower repair costs over time, and a better overall track record than the off-brand options.

So do your homework first. Seek the advice of contractors you’re interviewing. Ask around among friends or neighbors who’ve undergone similar experiences in recent years. Do some research online to see what industry professionals recommend for materials. (Personally, we always start by checking out the unbiased reviews at Consumer Reports via our online subscription.)

And if at all possible, try to time these projects for when you can save some money. (Consumer Reports buying guides are great for this.) We try to save appliance and paint upgrades for late May, because many U.S. retailers have major sales around Memorial Day. Likewise, if you have an indoor project to accomplish, you may have better luck booking a contractor in the fall or early winter months, when outdoor construction tends to slow down.

Leave it to the professionals

The DIY route can be soooooo tempting. Do me a favor: Unless you KNOW you have the time AND APTITUDE to take this on, just don’t go there. Not only will you probably not have the best tools for the job, but it’s almost certain to take you a lot longer than you’d anticipated. That time could be better spent on your family, other pressing home concerns, or (ahem) your paying job.

Example: As I’ve written before, I love a good DIY paint project. But the main reason for this is because I worked my way through school spending summers on a professional paint crew.

For building a home from scratch, or major home renovations, remember this: Looking up how to do something online can’t make up for lack of experience.

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Instead of trying to install that hardwood floor yourself, hire someone with both experience and tools. Rather than trying to hang your own siding, get a pro like a Hardie siding contractor to install it for you. Hiring a professional greatly upps the odds that your durable materials will last as long (and as well!) as they’re supposed to. And if anything DOES go wrong, getting the pros to fix it is just a call away (and probably guaranteed anyway!).

Ensure you have room to grow

If you’re building a new home from scratch, or even if you’re just contemplating a move, it’s worth trying to think ahead beyond the next 5-10 years if possible. As I noted above, relocating on a regular basis can be costly and time-consuming. Therefore, it’s worth thinking about not only what your family’s needs are today, but what they could be down the line.

If you move into a property with space to grow, there’s no reason it can’t fit your whole family. Ideally, you’ll even have room to host extended family when you become grandparents someday. On the other hand, maybe it’s worth considering the future potential to add an in-law apartment for your own parents to retire to.

Although this may require some rezoning and special permits, several of our neighbors have done this recently, and it makes perfect sense.

Whether new construction or a major renovation, taking the time to build a home that will last will save you money in the long run. These tips will help.
Just two of the in-law apartments that families near us have added on recently for grandparents.

So whether you’re building new or looking to buy, keep in mind things like extension potential – whether that’s a second story, an add-on porch or bedroom, attic conversion or basement finishing, or the ability to add a separate apartment off the side or back. Then, you can bet that house will serve your family for many years to come.

Your turn:

Have you built you own home? Or undertaken any major renovations in recent years? What is your best tip for anyone contemplating a major home-building or renovation project? Let us know in the comments!

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Whether new construction or a major renovation, taking the time to build a home that will last will save you money in the long run. These tips will help.

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31 thoughts on “How To Build A Home That Will Last”

  1. After 25 years in our home, we will be moving on as the kids are grown and we need to downsize. Even though I’m a broker,I’ve always believed to let the professionals do their bit. I always hired qualified people to do work on our home… It’s been good and I’m looking forward to the next phase.

    1. Congrats on downsizing! You’ve definitely learned over time the importance of NOT trying to do things yourself that would be better left to the pros!

  2. Now that we have kids, I absolutely don’t want to move around. We found a house that we love that will be our forever home. We do have renovations left to do but we are doing them one at a time.

    1. Then I wish you lots of patience as you take care of them, one by one. Almost a decade into our “forever” home and we, too, are still slowly knocking off those projects, little by little – it’s a long haul but it’s so worth it!

  3. This is some really great advice to ensure that your home withstands. So many people make repairs or build their homes with cheap materials. In the long run, you are just going to be spending more – so you might as well do it right the first time.

  4. Our next house will be the home we are in for a long time! I agree diy can be tempting but it’s so much easier to have a professional

  5. Wow, today marks 3 months since we moved to our new home. It was such a beautiful feeling to design everything and see the house being built from scratch. One thing, I would say, I will not be moving anytime soon. Moving is too stressful in my opinion.

  6. I look forward to having a forever home. We would love to have a few acres of land so that we could grow fruit trees, have a veggie garden and let the kids run free. That is the priority!

    1. YES! I wish we had MORE land for gardening, but we do pretty well with our tiny veggie garden and the berry bushes we’ve planted 🙂

  7. It’s good to invest in quality things that will last. We have had a lot of things break or wear out in a short amount of time and it is very frustrating.

  8. Ann F. Snook-Moreau

    My hubby and I have been mulling over the idea of buying a house but probably won’t build a new one. My parents built one years ago and I love the outcome but we want to stay in the city and there’s just no room for new homes!

    1. So true! In so many areas, at least in the US, there are so many cool new options available for city-dwellers/city-dwelling that make this a much better option now than 20 or even 10 years ago! – walkable neighborhoods, better transit, etc. I miss being able to walk to Central Market year-round for fresh produce from our days living in the city limits…

  9. My husband and I want our next move to be our “forever home”. We are hoping to buy property, around 10-20+ acres, and have our dream house built on it. It would have plenty of room to expand, and we could have exactly what we want. Our first home was new construction, but it was from a builder in a new community, so we only had certain options. Durable is definitely a must when it comes to your home!!

    1. YES! I really wanted to build our home, but it was during the market downturn and between that + time pressures of being pregnant/in a too small house for the two of us, let alone the 3 of us, it just was NOT an option. But I hope you-all can get to this goal sooner rather than later! 🙂

  10. We’ve moved house quite a lot in the past, but not so much since we had our daughter. The problem in the UK is that property in some parts of the country is ridiculously expensive so when you’re young and buying your first house you just can’t afford to buy a ‘forever home’ which means you have to move several times to get what you really want…

    1. That is definitely the case in many parts of the US, too! At least if you’re able to stay in a somewhat similar area, that helps. My daughter keeps losing friends at school because we are in a huge district and they move 5 miles, they get put in a different elementary school – it breaks her heart every time, and she’s not even the one moving!

  11. LMFAO -well shit. Maybe Landon and I should have built our house from the GROUND UP as opposed to buying something already built. He totally wanted to buy a fixer upper when we were looking for places, but I totally wasn’t into that idea FULL-ON (a room, sure). ALAS, what do we get when we move into a house that is “BUILT REALLY WELL”… MASSIVE amounts of water damage due to corners being cut in places NO ONE could see! hahaahhaahahahahahhaahah! Oh well! At least Landon and I got to re-do our bathroom (which needed work), which should be ready THIS WEEKEND!

    1. Yup. Our four months of house hell over the summer and flooding on two floors (which is all repaired now but is STILL NOT PUT BACK TOGETHER grr) was apparently the result of a previous homeowner DIYing the internal plumbing of the water line to the freezer/ice machine. Am so happy with your repairs being almost DONE, and a tad jealous of your new bathroom (we soooo need a new master-bath, and not just because it’s currently mid-1980s mauve i kid you not!) – BUT – I know your pain, sister, I know your pain. Enjoy that bathroom!

  12. I agree with all your tips and I think they apply to any home you might have be it for 5 years or for a lifetime. I don’t necessarily agree that it’s not good to move around. My family and I love moving and it provides us so many opportunities that we would miss if we stayed in one place forever. We have more friends, know more people and are able to explore so much more of this beautiful country because we move to different places. It helps our kids learn to adapt to change and make friends. I feel like it helps prepare them for life. I also feel like it helps our family relationships stay close and strong. My kids are still little so as they get older we probably wont move as much, but I still believe it’s a good experience over all.

    1. Glad you chimed in! You have some excellent points overall. I moved around a lot BEFORE I had kids, and the thought of doing this now is just so daunting (kids come with a LOT of stuff). But since our family was already far-flung, we travel lots – both to see family, AND with our kids *and extended family* to other places both in the U.S. and around the world – whenever we can. Our kids have been teaching themselves Spanish with an app since visiting Mexico and Puerto Rico, and they’re now starting to learn Hawaiian because we plan to travel there next year. SO I guess some of these same benefits have come to our family via a different route. Thanks so much for your thoughts on this!

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