Looking for a new home is an exciting time and one that requires a certain level of serious decision making. Building your own home, on the other hand, requires all the serious decision making of buying a home and then some. This is because there is so much that needs to be considered when building your own home. Finding the right piece of land, finding a local builder you want to work with, choosing the style of your home and design of each room, and making sure you have all the proper permits is all part of the process.
However, by building a home, you are much more likely to create the perfect home for you and your family than if you were to buy a home already and upgrade the space to fit your taste and your family. That said, you’re going to need to be prepared for lots of decisions. Since lots of decisions are going to be made, here’s what you need to know about building your own home.
Don’t Get Discouraged
For many, building your own home isn’t the first option. Often, people are looking to buy a house rather than build their own. However, trying to find a home to buy can be a frustrating process sometimes if you’re unable to find the perfect area with the perfect house that meets your family’s needs that hasn’t already been secured by another family. But don’t get discouraged! What you need to know about building your own home is that it’s a process. Whether you weren’t able to find the home you wanted on the market or you knew all along you were going to build your own, remember that it’s going to take time and effort to make it into your dream house. Try not to get discouraged along the way if something you wanted is now too far out of your budget or for whatever reason, can’t be done. When everything is said and done, this will be where you and your family grow for years and it’s important to remember the end goal.
When searching for a home or for land to build your own, you’re going to want to work with a real estate agent. They will be able to able you most easily locate any land that might be available for building. Especially if you are looking to build in a location that you’re less familiar with, a real estate agent will know what’s available and what isn’t much easier and faster than if you were to try and do it yourself.
The land you choose to purchase is going to be an extremely important decision because it’s where your house will be! This means you’ll need to research what county and town it’s in, what your taxes will be, what school districts are available should you have or plan to have children, relation to other family members, and whether they have private or public utilities. Is your land on public water and sewage or will you need your own septic tank, leech fields, and later down the line, your own sewer cleaning service so your tank is cleaned regularly? Most home septic tanks require cleaning every three to five years. Or do you live in a town where water and sewer are included and you’d need to research your monthly payment for these services? These questions are all part of what you need to know when building your own home.
Find a Building Contractor
The next part of what you need to know about building your own home is how to find a building contractor and who they will be. Your realtor, if you worked with one to find the land, will also be able to help you find an affordable building contractor. It’s also possible there will be contact information for a building contractor on the land you buy. Should you not want to work with a realtor, you can find these services online and see what may work best for you.
Once you’ve established who your building contractor will be, the first thing you’ll need to do is pick a housing design. Based on the size and type of house you buy, you’ll likely be given a handful of predesigned options that you can then work off of. Start asking yourself beforehand whether you want a ranch, a more traditional colonial-style house, or a more modern, contemporary style house.
A building contractor will take care of certain aspects and decisions for you. If they’ve worked in the area, they’ll likely already know what permits will be required for building. Even if they aren’t local, it’ll be easy for them to find this out for you. The building contractor will then subcontract different trade contractors to do your electrical installation, plumbing services, the foundation, and your roofing services.
However, some of these basic home functions can be personalized. For example, you could have your heating and air conditioning service all installed but choose not to add the air conditioning unit, which is something that could be added later on if you’re looking for places to save money, as long as they added all the ducts necessary for central air. Another example would be if you wanted extra outlets in a particular room. Additionally, if you need high speed internet or another high-tech option available now for homes, this is a conversation you’ll need to have with the electrician. The builder and electrician will have a standard they install, but you can have a say in adding some outlets or additional resources should you want or need that.
Decisions, Decisions, Decisions
What you need to know about building your own home is that you’re going to want to decide as many things as possible before you go to build. This is because similarly, there will be second level decisions for almost all these basic functions of your home. For example, even though a contractor will likely be taking care of your roofing for you, you have the option of deciding which type of shingles you want to use, what type and color of siding you’re going to want on your house, and even decisions regarding your gutters will need to be made.
What you need to know about building your own home is that you’ll have to decide if you want anything other than the standard options. Just like if you want to make changes to your heating services, you’ll have to decide if you want a different sized furnace or if you want to include a generator as a backup. Similarly, if you want to consider a solar power system, that’s something you’ll need to communicate with your builder so that they can incorporate it into your electrical plan. All of these things are going to need to be though on beforehand so you know what you want when you go to build and have as little unknowns as possible when the building process is happening. If you’re unsure about certain critical decisions to building your home, for instance, if you had forgotten to mention to your builder you wanted solar power incorporated, you may have to undo work that’s already been done or cause delays in finishing projects which will cost you more money in the long run. Having a plan and as many decisions made before starting the building process will be an important part of what you need to know about building your own home.
Moving into the kitchen, bathrooms, and potentially other rooms, personalizations to your plumbing is also a decision you’re going to have to make. For example, if you are an artist, you may want to have an extra line of running water into that room. Even if not, you are going to choose which type of fixture you use for your sinks in each room and your showers in bathrooms. For many, the kitchen is one of the most fun rooms to design. Kitchens are super important for homebuyers. They want it to be as functional and aesthetically pleasing as possible. Deciding which appliances you want and even what lighting fixtures you’re going to use are all personalization decisions to your electric plan. Additionally, decisions regarding cabinetry and countertops will be important to make as well, although these types of decisions have more leniency as they can be decided along the way and won’t impact groundwork already established if you change your mind.
The basic building blocks to your home are going to allow for a certain level of personalization on them, as mentioned. And while they are the foundation of the home, meaning they’re required for a house to become a functioning home, there is more to building a home than just having the basics. Once you’ve got the bones of your home set, then you can move on to even more personal touches like furniture, wall color, and even decorations. What you need to know about building your own home is that personalization is key. You’re going to want to make the space yours and you now have an entirely bare home to do that with.
Unlike the bones of your home that the contractors will mostly cover for you, the personalization side is well, all you. This part of building your own home should be likely the most fun and enjoyable part. Something to consider is the type of flooring you’re going to want. Are you going to want hardwood, carpet, tiling, or a combination of the three? What colors? Which rooms? Before even getting into decorating, don’t overlook the ground you’ll be standing on.
Another thing to consider is whether you want double sinks for your bathroom vanities or a single sink. Do you want an open tile enclosure shower or a standard tub with a surround insert? Also, what kind of front door do you want? And where do you want your windows and what kind of windows do you want? Even though these aren’t necessarily the bones of the home, these are personalization decisions you’re going to need to consider.
Aside from having fun with it, how much money you have left for the furniture and appliances you may want can be based upon the final sale agreement for the house you made with the builder. This means appliances may be “built-in” to the total price of the house already, which is something you’ll want to know. Personalization is an area where you can save money by not buying the newest and biggest appliances or furniture if need be. Family hand me downs, thrift store finds, or discount furniture stores offer a wide array of furniture you can use to complete your home. Though this may save you some money, you also don’t have to go this route. If you have the means or enough money built-in, buy the more expensive furniture. Regardless, as mentioned before, what you need to know about building your own home is that it’s all about you and what is going to work best for your family.
Another part of what you need to know about building your own home is that once you’ve gotten established inside, you’ll need to consider what you’re going to do with the outside of your property. Things to consider will be whether or not the contractors put in a lawn for you or if that’s something you’ll have to do on your own. Did you have them pour a driveway for you or is yours dirt and/or stone currently? Did you want a front porch or a back deck or patio? Do you want room for a pool to be installed later down the line? Are you into landscaping? Or perhaps is there space for a vegetable garden? All of these things will need to be considered as well, although they aren’t of the highest importance.
There are truly so many decisions that need to be considered and so much that encompasses what you need to know about building your own home. What you need to know about building your own home is even more complex than what’s written here, but this will give you a good start if you’re considering building. The options can be overwhelming and the price may be as well, so make sure you’re prepared for that. But be sure to remember any minor changes that are too expensive upfront can be added later. Most importantly, you’re going to want to make sure you’re set on the basics and have a plan for how to accomplish it.