Building a new custom home can feel like a huge step of faith—particularly if it’s the first time you’ve taken on a project of this kind. It doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience, however. There’s a logical progression to the process and knowing what the steps are can take a lot of anxiety out of what should be a really enjoyable experience.
Let’s take a brief look at some of the major steps in the homebuilding process.
Begin with Your Budget
If may seem like a buzz-kill, but you really need to start the process by thinking about money. Setting a realistic budget up front saves you a lot of aggravation later on. Set it too high, and you can end up with a home you can’t really afford. Set it too low, and you can end up with a home you don’t really want to live in. There are a ton of free mortgage calculators available (here’s one from Zillow), but your budget should be about more than what your monthly payment will be. Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount you can truly afford before moving on to other steps.
You’ll want to figure out what you want from your home. That will include style, size, layout, and finishes. There are tons of ideas on sites such as houzz.com and Pinterest, but deciding on the look of your home should take a back seat (at least initially) to deciding on what kind of home fits your lifestyle. Set some parameters before you start collecting ideas. How much space will you need? How many bedrooms? How many baths? Do you want single-level living or do you want bedrooms on a separate floor?
Selecting a Builder
Most homeowners will tell you that who you choose to build your home is just as important as what plan you use to build. You’ll be spending a lot of time with your builder (and relying on him/her for advice) so take your time to make sure you find a builder you are comfortable with. Here’s a helpful article on how to ask a builder’s past customer about their experience with the builder.
Choosing and Refining the Plan
Once you’ve selected your builder, you’ll want to work together to come up with the right plan for your home. Often builders have suggested floor plans to get you started (you can take a look at ours here). But when you’re building a custom home, you may want to make modifications to the plan. Take your time here! Talk about your desires and needs with your builder, and refine your plan before you start building. It will make the process go much more smoothly and it can save you a lot of money if you don’t have to change plans after construction starts.
This stage is where you start to see your dream come true! Your builder will still have questions for you so you’ll want to make sure you’re available to keep things moving forward. This can be a tough time for homeowners, because often the initial structure doesn’t look like the finished project. Sometimes the home looks smaller when the foundation is dug or when the framing begins. Don’t panic! Talk to your builder about any concerns before you start making changes to your plan. Make sure you make time to meet with your builder regularly to avoid any surprises.
Inspection and Move-in
When construction is complete, you’ll walk through your new home with your builder to make sure everything is right. Your goal isn’t to find every little imperfection (but you shouldn’t settle for things that aren’t right, either). Once everything meets your approval you get to move in and enjoy your new home! And don’t worry, a quality builder will stand behind his/her work and take care of any issues covered in the warranty.
Sure, building a new home is still a bit of a step of faith, but our goal is to make that step as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.