If you choose to build a custom home, you will be involved in every step of the design and build process, from designing the floor plan to choosing the right tile. After you secure your financing, you will need to build your team, find and purchase land in your desired location, study the applicable laws, develop your custom home design, and monitor the progress of the build.
Build a strong, reputable team. Your team should include an architect, contractor, subcontractors, landscape architect, real estate agent for land purchase and, possibly, an interior designer. A good design firm may be able to handle the architecture, contracting and interior design if you prefer. If you are able to complete any of these tasks, you will reduce your cost, but don’t take on jobs you are not qualified for or that you don’t feel comfortable doing. A great team will save you money and headaches during the building process.
Prior to purchasing your land, view your land options with your architect and contractor. In addition, have the land assessed for contamination, water availability and structure. If previous contamination claims have been filed on the land, have it assessed to see if the contamination has been removed. You will need to find out whether the utilities are available or if you must pay for them to be run to your property. If you are in a rural area, you should check for septic requirements. Finally, evaluate any existing structures on the land to determine if they need to be removed.
Prior to purchasing your land, identify its zoning regulations. As you develop your home design, you will need to understand building code, inspection and permitting requirements and ensure your contractors are adhering to these regulations. Finally, you should identify the insurance requirements during the building process and after your home has been built.
Conduct some research to determine your desired architectural design. Develop your floor plan based on your lifestyle and family’s current and future needs and desires. Your floor plan will include the number of stories, whether you will have a basement, each room and each room’s use. Each room’s space and features, such as window locations, fireplaces, storage or counter space, should also be identified.
Collect photos of homes and rooms you like. Then, make a list of everything you want in your home down to the most minute detail, such as light fixtures and finishes, and prioritize that list in case costs prohibit you from getting everything you want.
Your plan may also include any smart technology and green or ecofriendly design elements, such as renewable resources and high-efficiency appliances.
Monitor the Progress
Keep copies of the contractors’ insurances, building permits and inspection reports. Allow time flexibility, especially for inspection periods, but avoid making significant changes after the design has been approved and building has started.
After you have secured financing, develop an excellent build team. Then, purchase your land, learn the applicable laws, design your build plans and monitor the building process.