Building A New Home Is An Emotional Journey As Well As A Process

Building A New Home Is An Emotional Journey As Well As A Process

When it comes to building a new home, you are taken on a creative, nerve-racking, exhilarating, busy, challenging, daunting, rewarding and emotional journey from start to finish.

Building a new home consists of three dimensions: (1) the processes involved, (2) the decisions/choices you make along the way, and (3) the emotions you feel throughout.

Most of us focus on the process and decisions dimensions and completely overlook the emotional dimension.

We have listed out some of the top-level aspects of each of these dimensions of the home building journey, and particularly the emotional dimension.

The Process Dimension

The process dimension encompasses the set of steps that you need to go thru on the way to finally moving into your new home. The major aspects of these dimensions are:

  • Awareness and Self-education. Spending hours researching on the internet and visiting display homes to understand the market, what is available, and how much you need to budget.
  • This is the when you commit and then go through the process of making all those decisions listed as part of the Decision Dimension below.
  • Selecting a Builder. This involves selecting the builder and the home design from the builder’s range or, if you are custom-building, selecting the custom home builder then working with that builder to design your home from scratch.
  • Arranging Finance and Signing a Contract. Once you have selected a builder, chosen or created the design the next steps involve getting the finance and signing a contract.
  • The building process. Finely, the building of your new home begins and progresses through the standard construction stages; Base (Foundations), Frame, Lockup, Fix and Completion and finely the long-awaited Handover.

The Decision Dimension

Building a new home involves an incredible number of large and small decisions. The first decision you need to make is right at the beginning. Do you buy an established home, renovate your existing home, do a knock down rebuild or build from scratch on a new location? Each of these decisions then have their long trail of related decisions.

If you decide to build you then must decide on:

  • Where you will build? Commute times to schools and work, type of community, access to services distance from family and friends and so on
  • What is important to have in your new home, and what is affordable?
  • How you will finance your build and who to finance with?
  • Project home or custom designed home?
  • If you are doing a knock down rebuild; where will you stay during the process?
  • If you are moving suburbs, will your children change schools?
  • Size of house and number of storeys?
  • Number and size of bedrooms?
  • Whether you need a study?
  • Floor plan?
  • Materials for exterior?
  • Types and colour trim of windows?
  • Interior style?
  • Exterior and interior colours?
  • Type of taps, benchtops, appliances, carpet, floorboards, tiles?
  • And… all the other decisions….

The Emotional Dimension

As your move through the process and make all the decision’s your need to make your will also experience the emotional dimension of home building.

This will be a roller coaster ride for most people.

Let’s look at some of the emotions you might feel at any time during the project.

Anxiety and Self Doubt

Anxiety is a natural emotional state for people engaging in new activities that they know little about; making large or difficult decisions or being dependent on people or processes that are not under our direct control. Building a new house brings all these factors into play:

  • Purchasing or building a new house is probably the largest single financial commitment that any of us will likely make in our lifetime.
  • Anxiety over large and small decisions
  • Nervousness about the entire building process and the performance of the builder.
  • The fear of taking on such a large amount of debt.

And with the anxiety we often experience self-doubt. We start to second guess all the decisions we have made during the design stage and about selecting your builder particularly as delays and design and construction issues arise.

The Sense of Being Overwhelmed

All the activities that arise in building your new home can often lead to the sense that there is too much to do and too little time and therefore a sense of being overwhelmed.

  • Many small and large decision need to be made, and the time to make the decisions can seem very short
  • Having to fit in a lot of new tasks into your already busy lifestyle: design appointments, home loan applications, demolition (If doing a knockdown and rebuild), home valuations, progress inspections, and progress payments).
  • Organising your relocation adds even more activities and decisions. These activities and decisions might relate to selling your existing home, finding rental accommodation, sorting out your children’s schools and sports, let alone managing transferring utility accounts, mail, IT connections.


Frustration is a very common emotion that people experience in building a new home.

  • You’ve made the big decision to build, but then whole process seems to take so long particularly if you are building a custom designed house.
  • Also you might find that cost, land characteristics and planning regulation may mean that some of the design features you want can’t be achieved.
  • Frustration with your partner arising from not being able to agree on decisions.
  • And then there is frustration once the building process commences. This is where you have very little control and the builder seems to take forever to get the various stages of construction started and finished.


Over the whole process you will also experience excitement as your move though each stage of the process.

  • You will feel anticipation and excitement at the very beginning; the whole idea of having a new home that you have chosen from the outset and even designed (In the case of a custom designed home).
  • Speaking to friends and family and sharing in the excitement of your new home project
  • There will be a buzz and excitement of choosing colours, new appliances and a great floor plan.
  • You will also feel the excitement and sheer anticipation when the time comes to finely move in to your new home.

Professional Tips

There are a few professional tips that will help you manage the Emotional Dimension of the home building journey

Remember you are not alone. Tens of thousands of people have been through the process. It is doable and achievable.

  • Tip 1: Don’t be too hard on yourself. Building is an emotional journey; recognize and acknowledge this. Don’t be surprised by your changing emotions.
  • Tip 2: Remember to separate the important from the unimportant and avoid being a drama queen.
  • Tip 3: When mistakes are made, or circumstances or plans change, don’t focus on the problem, but rather focus on the solution.
  • Tip 4: Maintain a clear line of communication between you and your builder. Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need, so ultimately you feel comfortable and there are no mis-understandings.
  • Tip 5: Don’t engage in wishful thinking. If the building agreement says that it will take a set number of days to build your home, accept this. If your home is completed and handed over sooner, this is a nice bonus. Don’t create stress for yourself organizing your life around an early finish that may or may not happen.
  • Tip 6: Accept there will be hiccups in the design and building progress, it’s all part of the journey.
  • Tip 7: And finally, accept that building your new home will be an adventurous journey, with ups and downs; and experiences that you will really like and some that you won’t be so keen on. But at the end of the journey you will look back and think that it was all worthwhile in taking that first step.

Related Articles