Most everyone has an image of the designer dream home they aspire to build tucked into some corner of their mind. Only a handful of people imagine that such a home can be a reality in their lives.
Building horror stories and rising costs keep many homeowners at bay, restricting their dreams and imagination. While there certainly are headaches throughout the building process, taking a few specific steps in the very beginning will alleviate unnecessary pains along the way.
The very first step in building is examining your budget. Set the limit in the very beginning and be determined to stick to it. It is recommended that you have approximately 10% of your total budget set aside to use for unexpected expenses, contractor payment, and the occasional upgraded feature. Remember to be flexible when it comes to spending your money – the more limited the budget the greater the compromises made on what features can be incorporated in the building.
Choosing a Lot
While it is certainly exciting to sort through floor plans in search of the perfect dream home, be careful not to put the cart before the horse, or in this case, the house before the foundation. The lot has the potential to dictate what kind of home can be built. Many home plans can be modified to fit your lot, however alterations only go so far and can cost quite a bit.
If you do not already have a lot, begin looking in areas that interest you.
- Are the lots within your budget?
- Are they in close proximity to family and friends – or not far enough away?
- Is this a place you are willing to invest in and live long-term?
You want your dream home to reflect your family, yet you also want to fit the personality of the neighborhood.
Be sure to check local building codes and homeowner associations as some local codes limit house style, design, and even the location of the home within the lot itself. In addition to reviewing these regulations, talk to other homeowners in the area and see what they say. Their personal experiences may lead you to purchase or look elsewhere.
Find a New House Plan
Choosing a Plan
When it comes time to choose the floor plans of your soon-to-be-built dream home, there are a number of options that may be brought to your attention. One is custom building your dream plan, which will require greater investment, time, and extensive knowledge of what you want and need in a home. Sometimes when choosing a lot in a subdivision that is being newly constructed, the contractor or builder may have you choose from a determined set of plans. The last option is most popular, when you build on a lot with a stock plan of your choosing.
This last alternative allows you to choose your dream home without struggling to work on the design yourself. There are numerous plans available online, allowing you to browse leisurely until the perfect fit is found for your family. Houseplansandmore.com has more than 15,000 plans in dozens of styles to choose from.
When sifting through the available plans, be sure to keep in mind square footage, building codes, storage necessities, and the furniture you already own. So often homeowners build the home with an attractive layout only to find later that furniture they own does not work with the home they built. Save yourself this headache by listing what furniture you will be retaining and what furniture will be purchased. Then plot the placement before purchasing plans to ensure what you have will work with what you want.
Choosing a Builder
A good builder is the most important piece in the homebuilding puzzle. It is absolutely critical that you and your contractor have open lines of communication. You want to give them your ideas, talk to them frequently and clearly, and be certain they fully understand your dream home vision. It is also pertinent that your contractor understands and respects any budget limitations you have. Be prepared for delays, but do not hesitate to ask questions and require explanations. Very good and very bad things can happen in the shortest amount of time, so make frequent visits to the building site and be available by phone the rest of the time.
This important relationship between you and your contractor will require you to research builders carefully. Ask around for opinions from friends or family members who have recently built. Call various builders and ask for references and available open houses. You want to know they will do great work while being easy to interact with.
Once the builder is chosen, the house plans have been reviewed, and work has begun on the lot you have chosen, many other tasks will arise. In the end, all the hard work, frustration, and delays will be well worth it. Breathe deeply, be flexible, patient and realistic, and soon you will be the proud owner of your designer dream home.
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