So You Want to Build a New Home: 5 Steps to Get it Right

For decades, the American dream has been to own your own home. But some people want to take things a step further and build their dream home. While the results can be amazing, going into home building without being fully prepared is a surefire way to attract insanity.

Here are 5 steps to successfully build your dream home and keep your sanity intact.

  1. Buy the Right Piece of Land

When you buy a vacant piece of land, you’re buying the surrounding area and community that go along with it. So know what your needs are before signing on any dotted lines. For instance, if you’re buying rural acreage and have school-aged children, you’ll want to know what school district you’ll be a part of. How far will you be from a center of town? From your job? From the fire department? If you’re buying a vacant lot in the main town or city, find out about any local HOA fees, rules and regulations you’ll be expected to follow.

When you find the right land and the perfect community, you’ve hit pay dirt.

  1. Develop a Construction Budget

It’s equally important, if not more so, to create a budget when building your home as it is when buying a traditional house. But, if you’ve never built a home before, it can be difficult to know exactly what the costs will be. Let’s take a look at some of the most common costs to factor in:

  • Site Preparation – If you’re building on a flat lot, there won’t be much in the way of preparation. But if you’ve purchased rural acreage, there will be expenses with clearing trees, large rocks, grading, and hauling away dirt.
  • Permit Fees – Taking a look at zoning laws and building codes may uncover the need for permits. Depending on where you’re building, these permits can be pricey.
  • Time of Year – The time of year you build can significantly impact the construction costs. During months where labor is in demand, prices will most likely be lower to remain competitive. But building during an “off” time, such as in the dead of winter in New Hampshire, may push the prices up.
  • Cost overruns – You’ll find that the finished cost of a home is typically more than the original bid price. This happens when the home builders decide they have fallen in love with higher-end flooring, a vaulted ceiling, and more deluxe landscaping. Every time you change your mind from the original plan, an increase in price is the result. It’s best to work with your home builder to create as detailed a construction contract as possible and stick with it. This is how you will maintain your budget. That being said, it’s always a good idea to allow an additional 10% to cover unexpected costs.
  1. Buy a Quality House Plan

Imagine going to hear a philharmonic orchestra play. As the noise of the crowd dies down and the orchestra ceases their tuning and warming up, there is, for a second, that electric silence that happens right before the conductor takes the podium. When she does, the orchestra begins playing, and every single musician is playing a different piece of music. The result is a cacophonous disaster.

The same thing can happen to your building project without a quality house plan. That plan is like a sheet of music and it keeps the hundred or so people involved with the construction of your home on the same page. This original plan is what your construction contract is based on and what building officials and suppliers will work from.

The better your plan, the less likely you’ll run into confusion, conflicts, and delays down the road. Detailed upfront planning will make for a less stressful building process and ensure that in the end your home is everything you desired.

  1. Hire the Right Builder

It’s critical that you choose the right home builder for your project. This person will have (or at least should have) a vast understanding of construction, building codes and ordinances. They are also the ones who will manage the most critical aspects of the process like working with banks, dealing with building inspectors and local jurisdictions, and obtain the certificate of occupancy so you don’t have to.

We’ve created a guide to help you find the right home builder for your project.

  1. Be Flexible

You’ll most likely start out with a grand vision of how you want your home to be. But along the way, challenges will crop up that need to be dealt with. Maybe the landscaper you selected is difficult to work with or the countertops you fell in love with are on backorder. Being flexible and able to go with the flow with save you a lot of heartaches and headaches during the building process.

By keeping these five points in mind, building your house from scratch can be a positive experience and one that results in owning the home of your dreams.

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