As a potential homebuyer, you’ve likely assessed dozen of homes already on the market. In the process, you discover they don’t quite fit your needs in terms of features, layout and energy efficiency. After doing some research, you find that having a custom home built would resolve many of your concerns. Between designing and building a property from the ground up, what should you know about the process?

Understanding Financing

With a typical property, the cost encompasses the existing structure and surrounding land. With a custom home, the price tag includes more factors:

  • Individually sourcing all materials
  • Designing and building the property
  • All appliances inside
  • Breaking ground and construction

As a result, you’ll need to procure a construction loan before the process takes off, to finance both the home and the land you’re purchasing. For lenders, construction loans come with more risks, so you should be prepared with:

  • An excellent credit score
  • A down payment between 20 and 25 percent
  • Greater cash reserves to finance any issues that extend the construction period

Shopping Around

As your vision begins to materialize and you secure your financial footing, you’ll need to interview architects and builders. In some cases, both parties are separate entities that work together while in others, a firm does it all. At this stage, you’re advised to ask for quotes and examples of work, compare prices and request references before you make a final choice.

Considering Land and Design

Generally, the first step is to draw up architectural plans, taking every aspect of your vision and budget into account. Since your home doesn’t exist solely on a flat plane, all parties need to consider the land early on in the process. As such, you should ideally walk through the site with your architect and builder to factor in any design and structural issues. Together, determine how much preconstruction work is needed and figure out where utilities, a driveway and your septic system should be placed.

Design wise, the architect may make recommendations for how to angle the property and place windows to enhance the views and take advantage of sunlight and shadows.

Planning and Budget

Your budget influences much of the planning stage: The type of dwelling, how many floors your property will have and which materials you’ll use. As such, you should discuss every detail with the architect and builder before the project begins and prepare for any issues that may impact cost, such as structural changes or an unavailable material.

Have a contract drawn up between yourself, the architect and the builder. Be sure to outline:

  • The duties and responsibilities of each party
  • What services everyone should perform
  • The project’s timetable
  • A payment schedule
  • Specific models and costs of appliances and features

If the costs cannot be detailed, be sure to specify an allotment toward each aspect of the process.

Along with these factors, you might have to do some research. Often, you’ll find that the city or county may restrict where you can build and the type of property you can construct.

Breaking Ground and Construction

Pre-construction begins once the builders break ground, then start the excavation process. Excavation involves clearing the building site of trees, rocks and debris, leveling the ground and digging a hole for the foundation. At this point, the builders will run any water and sewer lines to the basement they’re about to construct.

The foundation comes next. The builders pour concrete over the hole they’ve just dug and from here, your basement, underground plumbing and floors take shape. However, the concrete has to cure. In colder weather, the concrete takes a couple of weeks to set. In summer, only a week may be needed.

At this point, your home’s foundation is set for framing and construction and slowly, you’ll start to see the home materialize. Upon completion, the builder should do a walkthrough to ensure the property suits your vision, discuss any warranties and touch on general maintenance and upkeep. From start to finish, the process of constructing a custom home generally takes at least a year.

Are you in the market for a custom home? Consider By Carrier’s range of properties and communities. To discuss our services, give us a call today.

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