Custom home tips: How to build a house

Household 4 min read

From scouring the housing market to visiting countless open houses, a lot of homebuyers aren’t finding what they’re looking for. Because of this, it’s no wonder that many are deciding to go with a custom home. After all, what could be better than a house built completely under your direction? If you’re considering building a custom home, here are a few tips to help you navigate the process.

Create a budget for your home and then expect to pay more

Just like any other large purchase, it’s important to create a budget. Knowing your budget is essential to understanding how big you can make your home, where it should be built, and what fixtures you’d like to add. Your budget should include:

  • Land costs
  • Local fees and taxes
  • Engineering and design fees
  • Home construction costs
  • Landscaping costs
  • Interior design costs
  • Furnishing costs
  • A contingent budget for unexpected costs

No matter how much you expect to spend on your home, it’s likely to cost more. Sometimes builders don’t include costs for electrical and gas meters or window coverings. Additionally, you should account for unforeseen events. For example, you may want the flexibility to change your mind if you don’t like certain materials or fittings.

Your budget will also be determined by what a lender approves you for. If you’re not paying cash for your dream home, you’ll have to get a loan or mortgage from a lender. You’ll want to review your financials, such as your credit report, to ensure you’re in good standing and are eligible for a loan. Since every lender may have different underwriting requirements, terms, and interest rates, it’s important to compare multiple lenders and mortgage options to decide which loan is best for you.

Determine a time frame

While you may want your home completed as soon as possible, having a general date you’d like the project completed by is important. Account for any specific dates you may need to work around. For instance, if you’re having a baby, you may need to move in before the baby is born.

Unfortunately, you also need to plan for delays. When dealing with construction, you’re bound to have setbacks that push back your closing date. For example, if you live in a rainy or cold climate, a snowstorm may prevent workers from working on your project for a few days. Essentially, try to be flexible and prepare financially during the home building process.

Determine the features, style, and design that match your needs

Start by thinking about your style and what features are most important to you. Is there a specific theme or architectural style that you’re drawn to?

Next, determine what materials, colors, flooring, cabinets, and other accents you like. Also, decide what special features you may want to include in your design, such as a fireplace, central sound system, heated floors, pool, or central vacuum system. By creating your vision for your dream home, you’ll be able to effectively communicate your desires to your team of professionals when it comes time to build the property.

Build a superstar team of professionals

Hiring the right team of professionals is crucial to helping you design and build your dream home. You can build your superstar team with an architect and a contractor, or a builder who’s a one-stop shop.

Before you hire your team, ask to see their portfolios and request to speak with some of their past clients. Their portfolios and client feedback will give you an idea of the quality of their work and the experiences their clients had. For instance, if you’re looking for a contemporary home, you may want to avoid local home builders who have experience with traditional home designs. Ultimately, the builder you select should have experience building the type of home you want and should be licensed and insured.

You may also want to hire additional team members, such as a kitchen and bath designer or a landscape architect.

Carefully monitor the building process

Make sure your builder or contractor has all of the proper liability insurance policies and building permits.

Additionally, try to visit the property as much as possible. Keeping tabs on the building process will help you spot errors. While your construction manager may do a good job of managing workers, it’s easy to make mistakes. If you’re constantly checking in, you’ll have a greater chance of making corrections before they become bigger issues.

Hire an independent inspector

Generally, your contractor or builder is responsible for scheduling the inspections required by the municipality, but you can opt to hire an independent inspector instead. They may pay more attention to details since they’re not associated with the builder.

You’ll want to hire them for the three main phases of the home’s construction: foundation preparation, framing, and the final walkthrough. Good inspectors will provide detailed documentation of any issues they find with the property. You’ve poured your heart, soul, and hard-earned money into this property, and it’s important to make sure everything runs smoothly and that there aren’t any issues you’ll need to address at a later time.

The bottom line

Building a home is a huge undertaking, but by using these custom home tips, properly preparing, budgeting, and using professional guidance, you can create the home of your dreams. Keep in mind that problems may arise, but it’s important not to sweat the small stuff. Instead, try to keep a level head and enjoy the ride.

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