The Custom Homebuilding Process

Building your new custom home can be a thrilling process. But success comes to those who are informed and prepared. can connect you with builders in your area that are happy to talk to you regardless of where you are in your decision process. Contact them, ask questions, look at their work, talk to their customers, and get yourself familiar and comfortable with your area builders and find the one that understands your needs.

Tips and Information for Building Your New Home

What is your budget?

You’ll need to have some idea of how much you are willing to invest in your home. The custom build process offers many “opportunities” to change and upgrade along the way, so it’s a good idea to add an upgrade and change budget that is reserved for adding in the upgraded cabinets or that beautiful mahogany front door. If you’re not sure where to begin with determining your budget, talk to some lenders in your area that specialize in new home construction loans and ask them to help you determine what you can qualify for (if you will be financing the house). Most homebuilders also offer services or assistance with budgeting and financing

Where do you want to build?

Location. Location. Location, right? While you man not be thinking about resale value of your custom home, you’ll certainly want to know that the area or neighborhood is one where you can be happy. Talk to your prospective neighbors, drive the streets, visit the stores and amenities that you’ll be frequenting once you move in. Also ask your builder for their input on lots, locations, schools, commute times, and amenities.

Do you have to have the lot first?

With most builders, No. Even “Build on your lot” homebuilders often have lot inventories or are affiliated with real estate professionals who can help you find the perfect property for your custom home.

What about area schools and amenities?

If you have kids, you know that the right fit for your child is a very important factor in choosing your new home location. Your state probably offers data on school districts and important stats on average class size, test scores, area demographics, and other key information that you need to know. Builders and real estate professionals also have access to this information and are usually happy to provide that for you. As for amenities, there are many city, neighborhood, and area guides freely available online. Also check with the local Chamber of Commerce or Tourism office.

What do you want to build?

You don’t have to know before talking to a builder, but start thinking about the things that are important to you: a particular style, outdoor spaces, storage, formal or informal, comfortable or elegant, and so on. Start a list, keep a scrapbook, and start clipping photos from magazines, newspapers, or the web. Your builder may also have idea books, plans, past work, or other material to help you narrow in on your unique needs and style.

Build for life: Do you need any special accommodations?

If you are retired or a middle of life homebuyer, you should be thinking of how long you plan to stay in your custom home and whether or not you should design for your later years. Some things to think about are single-level plans, wider doorways and hallways, and other ease-of-life and convenience features and design.

How involved do you want to be?

It’s YOUR dream home, so yes, you’ll be involved. You should talk to your builder about the level of involvement you want to have in the process. Many builders can accommodate homebuyer involvement from the usual color, style, plan, fixtures choices all the way to allowing you to do some of the finish-out. Know what you’d like to do and talk to your builder about your desires and expectations.

What is your time frame?

The typical custom homebuilding process is longer that a production-built home, so know that going in. Time frames can range from 4 months to a year or more. Know your patience and comfort level and tell your builder. You should also make plans for how and when to begin selling your existing home; and where you might live if there is a gap between sale and move-in.

Additional Articles on home buying and building:

Choosing a Builder Means Asking Questions
New Home Floor Plan Trends
Futureproof Your Home
Regional Trends in New Home Design
Building on a Solid Foundation

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