How to Build Your Own Home From the Ground Up
For many house hunters, purchasing an existing home is a fine option. And in most markets, there are plenty of options to choose from, so you’re bound to find one or two that fit your needs quite well.
But what if you have something really specific in mind? Or, what if you’re just not finding anything in the local market that fits the bill? Well, it just may end up being the case that you’ll need to build your own home.
Of course, building your own home is an extensive process, with plenty of room for error. So before embarking on your own custom home journey, read these tips to avoid common pitfalls.
Make a Home Building List
To start with, you’ll want to make a list of your goals. Where do you want your home to be built? Which design features are must-haves, and which are optional, should your budget allow for them? By separating needs from wants and prioritizing the most important aspects of your new home, you’ll gain clarity, and you’ll be better able to explain your needs to your architect.
Buy Some Land
To build a home, you’ll first need a place to put it. Check out local real estate listings for desirable lots that suit your needs. If you live in an urban area where available land is hard to find, you may be able to purchase a dilapidated home that happens to occupy a suitable lot.
You’ll have to add demolition and cleanup to your list of construction costs if you choose to go this route, but in the end, it may be better than purchasing a building site in an area you don’t like.
Plan Your Home’s Layout
For now, go wild. Get out some drafting paper or a 3D Drawing program like SketchUp. Design your dream home, from floor plans to exterior finish. You might have to compromise on some of the items on your wish list later, but this exercise will help you define your vision for the ideal home.
Find a Builder and an Architect
Your architect and builder will be two of your most important team members, so you’ll want to make sure they’re reputable and professional.
Your architect will help you refine your vision into an actionable blueprint. Your builder will supervise the construction of the home, and will handle cost breakdown and deal with any subcontracting issues that may arise.
Hiring a builder costs money, but it certainly makes the process of building your own home easier to deal with. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious, you can choose to act as your own builder. You’ll need to manage your costs carefully, and there’s always the risk that you’ll have to deal with unscrupulous contractors.
Create a Budget for Building Your Home
You know what you can afford to spend or borrow. Now it’s time to make sure the house you want can be built with the capital you have access to. Once you and your architect have agreed on a plan, your builder will separate that plan into specific construction phases, and get estimates from the contractors who will perform the work.
At this point, you should be able to get a fairly accurate picture of how much your home is going to cost. When creating a budget, you’ll want to factor in all of the necessary construction materials and labor, the utility charges and permits, and the fees for designers, landscapers, and other professionals.
Don’t forget to include a contingency of at least 10%. The contingency covers the unexpected costs that often arise when building a home. If you don’t use it, then great! But the last thing you want to do is to be forced to halt construction on your dream home due to unforeseen costs.
In any undertaking as involved as building a home, something’s bound to go awry. The important thing is to keep your cool. If you’ve assembled a good team, then everything will work out just fine in the end.
Once the construction process is underway, you might be tempted to change your mind on a few key details. Resist the urge as best you can, unless you simply can’t live without making a few alterations. Making changes mid-project can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful.
Enjoy Your New Home!
18-odd months later, your new home should be move-in ready. We hope it lives up to your every expectation. Now, it’s time to kick back and enjoy your unique home with the people you care most about!