June 21, 2012
Building a New Home: Where to Start
Building a new home is an exciting time in your life. The builder may pour the foundation and frame the house, but you are who truly makes a new house a home. Building a home for a builder is routine and they are there to build your home structurally, however you as the home buyer are the ultimate decision maker. If you are unable to make a decision the builder is then forced to make them for you. To ensure that your dream house gets built to your standards follow these guidelines:
- Create a budget. What can you afford? You will most likely need a construction loan and a mortgage. Therefore, it is important that you talk to your lender to see what size loan you qualify for. The amount you borrow plus your cash investment will equal your total budget. Always remember to leave some “wiggle room” in your budget. Things happen and issues will arise in the building process so you want to make sure you are prepared for them.
- Choose a lot. Research, research, research! Find an available lot in your price range. You need to choose a lot before you can select floor plans and other design details for your home. It is in your best interest to hire a housing consultant such as an architect to inform you on factors such as soil conditions, zoning, building codes and solar orientation for your future home.
- Gather your dream team. Significant players include a builder, excavator, surveyor, architect and/or an interior designer. Your dream team will design a house for you based on the needs of your lifestyle, quality of amenities and budget constraints to maximize the investment value of your new custom home.
- Negotiate and understand your contract. It is important to get a written contract signed by all parties involved in the building process including the builder/contractor, architect/designer and yourself. The contract should include a description of the project in detail and include all the parts to be listed in the house (materials). It is very important that any changes made to the project later on are revised/added to the contract.
- Be Patient. The unexpected occurs so being flexible is imperative. Communication between you and your design team is essential in the building process. In the end the reward is that you have what you want, the way you want it.
When searching for a builder one of the first places you should visit is their website. They should have a portfolio link showing past work. If you are enthusiastic about what you see, they may be a good fit for you. You should then give them a call to schedule an appointment to ask questions such as:
- What is your price range?
- What types of floor plans do you offer and can you customize them?
- How many years have you been in business?
- Will I have access to the home during the building process?