The 9 steps to follow:
1. Do some soul searching
Building a home from scratch isn’t for everyone. It can be a long and arduous journey. It can also be incredibly rewarding. Before you commit to the process, make sure that you (and your partner or kids) are cut out for what lies ahead. Money, patience, and time may be stretched thin. Perseverance and kindness will be required, as will a sense of stability in your life, relationship, and family.
2. Assess your wants and needs
Your new home will be a reflection of you and your family. Therefore, it’s important to figure out where you most want to live, and what you most value in a home. A family of introverts? Better make sure everyone has their own room. A family of socialites? Better create a huge kitchen with adjacent mudroom for all the visitors traipsing through the house.
3. Gather information
Talk to people who have built their own homes. Talk to architects. Talk to general contractors. Talk to house builders. Talk to modular home specialists. Cast your net wide and gather as much information as you possibly can on the topic of home building. This will aid in all your future decisions.
4. Choose a location
Deciding where you want to build your house and buying a lot will be one of your first concrete steps toward the home of your dreams. There are many factors involved in choosing a plot of land and there can be many hidden costs. Don’t forget to get a “site prep” estimate for your piece of land. This will detail what kind of preparation the lot needs before your build begins. Also, make sure you find out how close the utilities are and how much it will cost to connect them to your new home. Many people have been surprised by these extra costs and many a house-building project has been derailed.
5. Set a budget
Assessing your finances and creating a budget for a new house is a job in itself! You may want to ask a money savvy friend or a financing specialist help you come up with some realistic numbers. Always factor in a contingency amount of at least 10%.
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6. Secure your financing
There’s more to financing a new home than simply acquiring a mortgage. You also have the option of taking advantage of new construction loans and financing packages that your builder may offer. These can be used to fund the purchase and construction of your new home before you sell the home you’re currently living in. Shop around for the right offering for you and make sure that the monthly payments fit within your budget.
7. Hire the right people
Having a team that makes you feel confident, and who are assembled and ready for the job, is half the battle. Ensure you are happy with your design plans, your builder, and your general contractor. Follow your gut.
8. Sweat the small stuffYou are going to be asked to make literally hundreds of decisions. Mull over each one. They are all important details that will make your home uniquely yours.
9. Ride the hiccups
Once the decision is made, the lot is bought, the permits and money are secured, and your people are on the ground, remind yourself that there may be a few storms (metaphorical and literal) to weather. Staying calm and maintaining your sense of humor can work wonders on the hard days. This is where having the right team in place pays off. You want to be surrounded by people who can truly work together, with the end goal always in sight.
Deciding to build your own home isn’t a decision that can be made overnight and it isn’t a hobby for the weekends. It will likely mean devoting much of your free time and patience toward the house project over a period of many months. For those who truly want to be part of creating the house of their dreams, the pay-off is huge. Good luck with your decision and the initial steps in your process!
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