Ten Steps to Build the Home of Your Dreams

May 19, 2017 at 7:28 AM Leave a comment

There are many reasons to design and build your own house.

Are you an environmentalist in search of a green, energy efficient residence, a chef looking for an enormous, state of the art kitchen or a nature lover in search of majestic views? All of these are great reasons to build a house from the ground up, but you don’t need a special justification to start with a blank canvas. Sometimes the simple desire to customize your own home is all you need.

Have you ever walked around your house and considered all of the things you’d like to change if you had the time and money to do so? Perhaps you desire a luxurious master bath complete with a freestanding tub, a laundry room on the same level as your bedroom or a spacious kitchen complete with dual ovens, ice-makers and island cook-tops.

Maybe you’ve put a lot of time and thought into renovating your current home. Perhaps you’ve attempted to design workarounds for those layouts or envisioned removing or bumping out walls. Unfortunately, many homes cannot be modified due to their underlying structure.

Sometimes in order to achieve your dream home you have to design and build it yourself.

So what do you need to consider before starting your own self-build project. Here are a few important points to think about before jumping in:

Calculate Your Budget

Before you design your new custom home or contact a builder you’ll need to calculate your total home-building budget. Figure out how much you can comfortably afford to spend without jeopardizing your lifestyle. Take into account all of the items you currently pay for each month including all discretionary expenses. As a custom homebuyer, you will get to choose how much you want to spend on specific home features. Do you want to upgrade your kitchen with state-of-the-art appliances or spend more on luxury bathroom materials and one-of-a-kind fixtures and bathtubs? Think about these decisions as you plan your budget.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Construction projects can easily run over schedule and over budget. After completing your budget add an additional 10 to 15 percent to cover anything and everything extra. You cannot begin to imagine how many choices and decisions you will make on a custom-built home. What type of flooring do you want to use? Will you choose laminate, wood or bamboo? The prices for each and every decision can differ dramatically. Try to factor these choices into your budget then add a contingency buffer to your budget for unexpected upgrades and changes.

Choose Your Land

Before you can construct a house you need to pick the plot of land it will reside upon. Think carefully about where you want to build. Do you want to live near the ocean, in the woods or in a neighborhood right outside the city? Do you need a large house for a big family or a small, cozy house for just the two of you? You need to make sure the plot of land is large enough to support your needs. In most cases you will want to search for empty plots of land, but don’t rule out houses that can be torn down. Remember that land has intrinsic value even if the current property is in a complete state of disrepair. If you need help with this step review the tips found on the self-build portal.

Design the Layout

Before you meet with an architect think about the overall layout of your future home. How many bathrooms do you need to support? Do you want his-and-her sinks, a freestanding tub and a walk in shower? How many bedrooms do you want? How many of them should be designed as master suites and how large should they be? What would you like your kitchen, living room and dining spaces to look like? Snap photos of homes you admire or take to the Internet and save off pictures from Pinterest of the layouts you love. It helps to provide visuals to your architect and builder.

Find an Architect

The architect holds a crucial role in the building of your new home. He or she will be responsible for ensuring all designs are compliant with building regulations. In most cases this is not a one-and-done job. The architect will need to remain on hand to alter and tweak designs until you are satisfied with the entire layout. Without the right blueprints you cannot build your dream home. Think carefully about whom you hire. Find someone whose work matches your desired style. Make sure you feel comfortable speaking with this person about your design decisions as well as changes to their plans.

Find a Builder

Expect to spend a fair amount of time searching for a builder before you hire one. Request a portfolio of work, but more importantly ask to tour recently built homes and make certain to speak to new home buyers. Ask the homeowners about builder communication, (how often were they updated on issues and problems), and what did they think about the work that was completed. Find a builder you trust. You will forge an ongoing relationship with this person that will continue week after week and month after month until the work is complete. You need to feel comfortable with the decisions they make on site as well as their ability to understand and respond to your concerns.

Secure Financing

While most lenders understand the basic rules of financing homes, not all lenders under the complexities of mortgages and loans required for self built homes. Search for a lender that is comfortable handling construction loans. Keep in mind that it takes more money to qualify for a custom home. Your lender will require a higher credit score, a larger down payment and will most likely want to see a fair amount of cash reserves that can cover any extra costs that may arise.

Obtain Insurance

In order to protect yourself and your new-found investment you’ll need to purchase specialized insurance known as self build insurance. When building a house, you need to be prepared for the unexpected. While most construction jobs go off without a hitch some do encounter problems. Self-build insurance covers you from both liability and physical damage. It ensures you are protected from minor and major disasters and covers problems like on-site injuries or storm damage during construction. It even covers unthinkable acts like materials being stolen from your property before the work is completed or damage that may occur to neighboring properties.

Pay Over Time

Before signing a contract design an agreed upon payment schedule. Never pay the full price for work up front, even if you can pay in cash. You’ll want to pay in installments to ensure you are happy with the builder’s progress. If you provide the lump sum up front you lose your ability to negotiate and make changes along the way. Once the builder has your money in hand they will have more control over your new home then you do.

Visit the Work Site as Often as Possible

During construction visit the site of your new home as often as possible. As your house is built board-by-board and floor-by-floor you may find issues in the work being performed or even problems with the architectural design. It’s one thing to see the blueprints on paper. It is an entirely different thing to walk around inside of the rooms and see how everything fits together. Make sure you visit often to get a feel for the layout so you can make tweaks to the design as necessary. Visiting often will often keep your builder working. If they know you are onsite they are more likely to show up to work and continue to maintain progress on your new home.

Additional Costs

Considering adding an underground pool or hot tub to your new home? Make certain you have enough space for these extra amenities then ensure you understand the logistics of installation. Not sure where to begin? Click here to read more.

Constructing a self-built home isn’t easy, but when the last nail is hammered in and the final coat of paint dries you will find yourself unlocking the door to your new home. Welcome to the home of your dreams.

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