BUILDING A CUSTOM HOME | WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

There’s nothing more satisfying than seeing your vision become a reality. Building a custom home is loaded with many perks and can be very rewarding. Before you go off and start building, there are a few things you should know. Let’s dive in!

FINDING YOUR LOT

The first thing you need to do is find the area you want to call home and find a vacant lot to build on. You can find lots for sale on the market or off the market. If you take a drive in your desired area, note any vacant lots that are not currently for sale. You or your agent can always track down the owners to see if they are interested in selling.

One thing to note here… make sure the area supports the type of custom home you are wanting to build. For instance, if you are planning to build a $1.5 million custom home, it may not be best for you to build in an area where you are the only custom home around, surrounded by starter homes.

ESTABLISH YOUR TIMELINE & KNOW YOUR BUDGET

Next, you want to ask yourself if you are on a time schedule. Does this project need to be complete within 6 months to a year? Do you have all the time in the world to complete the project? And most importantly, roughly how long will your project take from start to finish? Knowing these answers will give you a baseline on when to start.

After you establish a rough timeline, know what your budget is for the project. Do you need to secure financing or are you paying cash? What about the lot you need to purchase? At this point you need to start talking with lenders and understand the different loan products they offer.

DIY OR HIRE A BUILDER?

You need to know if you are going to manage the project yourself and sub out the contractors or hire a custom home builder to manage the project for you. Each have their own pros and cons.

If you build the house yourself, you can likely save 30-40% in general contracting fees, but you have to manage everything yourself. And if you have no idea what you are looking at when it comes to construction, how will you know if something wasn’t done correctly? If you understand residential construction, go for it! Just something to think about…

EXISTING FLOOR PLANS OR ARCHITECT?

Next up is choosing your floor plans and elevations. If you want to explore existing floor plans to purchase you can run a simple Google search. Another fantastic place to look is Pinterest. If you are like me, it’s hard to imagine what something will look like without seeing a visual. Pinterest does a great job at this. You can see what other people have done and purchase existing floor plans from architects.

On the other hand, if you know there is no way you’ll find something that works for you, then you should consider hiring an architect. It’ll cost you quite a bit, but you are building a full blown custom home at this point, so it’s like a drop in the bucket. Schedule a meeting with an architect and get a feel for what they can help you with.

HIRING A DESIGNER

We are big advocates for designers and I would highly recommend hiring one if you are extremely indecisive or get overwhelmed easily. Designers do a fabulous job when selecting the interior finishes of a home. You should be able to see a 3D rendering for you to approve; and for me that’s awesome because I need to see visuals!

Seriously though, set up a consultation with a designer, you won’t be disappointed. I would like to recommend you to Nikole Starr in the Houston area. She is one of the best I have ever seen in the designer world.

AMENITY ADD-ONS – THINK AHEAD

Start thinking about all of the amenities you are wanting to include in the build or later in the future and plan accordingly. If you are thinking of building a lazy river with your pool or a basketball court now or in the future, you need to make sure the house and lot can fit those items.

How is the lot situated compared to where the home will be? Where can you add your lazy river or half court? Just some things to consider before you erect a permanent structure. It pays to think ahead!

SECURE FINANCING

We touched on this earlier, but are you financing any portion of this project or paying cash? Will the lender cover additional amenities such as a pool? What are the terms you are looking for?

Start calling lenders now and find out the different loan products available to you and what their respective requirements are.

EXIT STRATEGY

We live in a world where one thing is always certain… things are constantly changing! Life happens. Your job or business may call you elsewhere and you may need to relocate. Or you could make the decision that you no longer want the house anymore. Whatever the case is, you need to think ahead and have a good exit strategy.

Try not to get so unique and custom with the finishes in the house where you severely limit the pool of buyers. If you love dark green tile that’s great, but how will that color hold up in the future if you ever needed to sell? I know you might be thinking this goes against building a custom home, but try and keep product choices and colors to a more modern neutral tone.

You never know what the future holds in store for you!

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