Wanting to build a house?
Step by Step Guide on What To Expect.
1. Find the land you love. If that’s a neighborhood, then the developer will walk you through everything step by step. It is definitely one of the perks. If you are wanting to find land on your own, here are some suggestions. Work with a realtor if you must but also don’t rule out knocking on a door and learning your areas. Drive by open lots and look on the tax records. Do some digging. You’d be amazed what a little homework can do and in turn the deals you can make happen by approaching owners themselves. (FYI: That’s coming from a realtor house household. I’m giving you a tip 😉
2. Make the choice to work with a contractor/builder. This is up to you. Most people go this route. If you know crews and can handle getting qualified skilled workers, have at it, but it is HARD WORK. Contractors are worth the money to me. Better skilled workers usually work for contractors and are trustworthy. Interview local builders. Ask around in your area for suggestions. Facebook groups for your town have given me so many suggestions for great workers over the years. Interview your contractor and price our price per square foot. Get estimates. Its ok to do your research.
3. Start your dream board. Pinterest away, lady! Look up house plans online. Imagine yourself walking through your future home. What layout is most important to you. Is the living room the main focus of your home or do you really want a large pantry? Make lists of what’s most important to your needs. Search for plans online. Houseplans.com or eplans.com are some great resources. one of my favorites is southern living house plans too. It is cheaper to purchase plans online and have them sent to your builder. Most builders can take a plan and either modify the existing plan to meet your needs or have their architects draw up something similar. If nothing suits your needs, which was the case for me, then hiring an architect may be something you also need to do. Again price them out and ask for suggestions. Ours charged about $1.24 a square foot for his rendering. Luckily for us, we had an amazing family friend who happened to be one.
4. Set budgets. Know ahead of time what you want to spend. Don’t forget to include the price of the land. Again, if you are in a neighborhood they usually all come in pone package land included in the final price but if you’re looking for land on your own, you will have to include that in your budgeting totals. Research local sq for foot price to build in your area. This varies all over the country. Your contractor will help you with budgeting too. He will know what you can spend on tile and flooring and choices you can make will be easier once you know what you can spend. But overall, know your end goal and what is the most you can spend. Also, know you may go over that. I would fluff your budget 10k. I know that sounds ludicrous but if you know it going in it will better help you in the end.
5 Once your plan is set get those quotes from at least 3 builders. Don’t sell yourself short. There is room to get the best deal and bargain with them.
6. Go ahead and contact and be in touch with a bank about land loans and construction loans. This too will take time. It’s good to get things going on the front end so you aren’t disappointed in the end. Know what you are approved for and find out about the best loans out there.
7. Once you have that in place, the land found, the plan is chosen, the loan in place and the contractor (tired yet) the builder should then guide you on permits etc. We went to our county department and first got our land surveyed and then plotted. It was a long process. Certain city guidelines are different but prepare yourself for months of legwork before breaking ground. A site has to “perk” so we put a contingency on our land being “perked” for 3 bedrooms. Again, certain cities are different but you have to find out what the soil can handle as far as bathrooms. You will also have to a lot for sewer and electricity access. Some areas may already have electricity and water at the street. This wasn’t the case for our property. Each of the entities for use was under different government departments and all took time. I don’t say that to scare you out of the process but if you work with a good builder, he or she should be able to walk you through this process and or do it all for you. Just be aware it takes time.
8. Breaking Ground. This means the land is cleared, the lot is cleared, all building permits are a go, and the site is prepped for footers. We ran into a lot of rock (common to our area) and it took longer than expected having to bring out rock cutters etc.
9. Footers will go first for a crawlspace or a slab depending on what you build. Then slowly the rest of the process takes place, framing, electrical, plumbing, drywall, etc. Our build took 7-8 months. I think that is pretty typical if you’re using an independent contractor.
10. Visit your site often. During the building process, I think I changed two or three rooms. Once I walked through them framed, I was able to see how the room felt and altered quite a bit. I remember also arching the kitchen entry at the last minute. It was the best decision I ever made. All that to say, walk through imagine the way it will look and check in often. Don’t be afraid to ask for a change. SO much better to ask during framing than later on.
11. I mentioned it above, but expect to go over budget. If you fluff your total ahead of time it won’t be such a blow in the end. Expect the build to take time and expect the last few months to be long and drawn out.
12. Once EVERYTHING is finished it has to pass codes and inspections. During each process framing electrical etc an inspector will come to approve each stage. When everything is complete a final inspector will come and make sure everything is up to codes as a complete project. Again, depending on where you are building this too can take time. I found it was most grueling in the end seeing your home completely done but waiting on someone’s to come to inspect it. It is stressful but worth it.
14. Enjoy the MOVE. Can anyone enjoy moving? After the process and ups and downs of building its easy to just stress yourself out in the final move and not recognize how hard you worked and how far you’ve come. Enjoy the process, its unique to you and what a blessing to get to build something to enjoy with those you love. Not many people can ever get that experience.
15. Finally, as I sit a years later in my build, I am still finding things I wish I would’ve added, a few more closets, a different tile choice, etc. Nothing can ever be exactly perfect. Your taste and style changes as you evolve as trends come and go. A home no matter how new is always a work in progress.