So, you've found the perfect land to build the home of your dreams. You can't wait to add in all those special features you've been eyeing in magazines to a place of your very own.
Even though it's natural to start jumping into design brainstorming, there are a few things you must work out before any construction can commence. Building a house from scratch comes with its challenges and complications, and you'll need to know exactly how to manage your build.
Let's explore five key steps towards your home-building journey.
1. Choose Your Dream Team
Your project needs the right team to flow smoothly.
According to the National Association of Home Builders, a home build typically costs in the range of $290 000, or $100 to $200 per square foot. So, this may mean you need to finance the project through a lender.
If you decide to go this route, it's best to work with a lender with whom you already have a relationship, such as your bank. They may be able to offer better rates on a construction loan. This is a short-term loan to help home builders. It has higher interest rates, as there is more risk for the lender due to there being no house already existing that can be used as collateral.
To get a construction loan, you will need to have a water-tight plan for your build in place, including a budget.
Otherwise, you'll need an architect, like AWII House, and a construction team. It can be more affordable to run your house design through your builder's firm.
Here are some tips for choosing the right construction team:
- Research reputable builders in the area. Check online, in the local newspaper, and via word of mouth.
- Be mindful of the kinds of houses they typically build and their price ranges.
- Look at a builder's experience and ask the right questions. How long have they been established? Is their licensing and insurance up to date? Do they have a portfolio and a track record?
- Always meet a representative from the firm in person for an informal interview. Ask about their processes including budget, if they work alongside architects and interior designers, how many people are on the team, and how long a typical build takes.2. Work Out Your Budget
Yes, it will be an expense to hire these professionals, we know, but nothing will happen without money on the table. Sit with your partner and work out what you can spend on this project. Do a lot of research into materials and what builders charge. And be extremely strict with your budget. Building a home often goes out of budget, so it's best to set a lower rate, knowing there will be some money to spare if the project exceeds the limit.
2. Decide on a Design
When you've got a team, you can start working on your design. This is the fun part but remember that what you see on Pinterest may not be what you get in the end. Some features may be complex or simply unaffordable.
Do a lot of “big sky” dreaming and research but be realistic when it comes to nailing the final design down. Do not go above budget at this stage; you will regret it later.
3. Settle on a Timeline
Don't kid yourself; building a home from scratch takes time. There are inevitable setbacks. Accept this and just go with the flow.
A build typically takes eight months, though it can be longer. It's best to try to get most of the work done in the dry season.
4. Track the Details
Keep records of everything - each purchase, each invoice - and go through them with a fine-toothed comb to check if anything is awry. Keep everything in writing, so if something goes wrong, you have a record of what was discussed.
5. Get Ready for your Dream House
Lastly, be sure to check in with your builder and inspect the site often. This may annoy the builder, but so what? You are paying them a lot of money to get it right!
If you notice anything wrong, bring it up immediately so you don't end up settling later.
Happy home building!