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What to include in the planning dream notebook

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Dustin's Forum Posts: 9

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By Dustin in South Jordan, UT on 3/10/2010

So, I am in the planning stages of my dream notebook. My question for those who have done this before is what is your index or subjects that are included in the notebook?

So my experience in construction has been this.

Remodeled two homes (stripped down to the frame and redid everything).
Finished two basements (one I did all the work and one I acted as a general).
Had a GC friend build our house (he gave us all the old invoices of his subs).
The same GC and I, working together just finished a 12,000 square-foot commercial building.

So through those experiences, I am not scared at all by building on my own and am putting my book together. The comment on spending 1,000 hours planning is so true. When the GC built our house he would suddenly call up and say, "OK, you have one week to pick out your tile, carpet, paint and cabinets." We would run around with our heads cut off trying to make good choices, but ended up not getting the best deals, or getting colors we did not like. So before I do this, I want an awesome dream book. So here are the chapters I have so far.

1.  Budgeting - On the house we built I have the budget and house plans. Then I have a category with what I think we could do it for if I were doing it.

2.  Contractors -  through all these projects, I did I have a stack of contractors and the prices they gave the GC. My goal is to have three subs for every bid I do and make sure they at least match the old pricing. As a side note I have found that subs I have found on my own often are better priced than the one's the GC was using. The ones he used I noticed he was going for ease of use, not price; in other words ones that required little management (which is ironic because that's what I was paying him for) so some of my subs I have used before are better.

3.  Pricing - In our commercial building we were able to shave nearly $10,000 on the electrical bid by buying the components ourselves. I noticed a significant savings when I buy the supplies and hire them for the labor. Because of all the projects I have done in the past, Lowe's knows and loves me and always gives me an across the board 10% discount as well. One thing I want to do is accumulate pricing for all the supplies. I know this would be a daunting task, but plan on having a list of what I can normally get that supply for. Then if I see a deal on something, it would be worth it to buy it in advance and sit on it.

4  Dreams and Features - This is mostly my wife, but the dreaming phase of exactly what I want the new house to be like. 

So that's all I have. What am I missing? Those of you who have done this before, what additional chapters should I put in my book?

- Dustin


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By Cheryl in Ft. Collins, CO on 3/10/2010

In doing a lot of research for my dream build, I accumulated a lot of info on best practices for green/sustainable methods and materials that I keep as a separate file. New products are continually coming on the market and some are truly new, innovative, and sustainable, while others have changed nothing but their marketing campaign. Anyway, might be a good one for you to add if that is part of your goal.

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