The process of building a house is much like a lot of very worthy things in life: complex and (frequently) lengthy, but ultimately extremely rewarding. There is something special about having your own house built, instead of moving into an already-built home or into a place that has seen generations come and live in it before. The ability to customize your new environment – and the power to bring your desired specifications, needs, and wants to your new living space – offers a different degree of ownership.
Before all of that gets settled, however, the process of building a house can be a long and winding one. That’s where we come in! In this blog post, we’ll take you on a guided journey of the process of building a house – looking at all the specific steps one needs to take to get into their dream home. Let’s dive in here:
- STEP ONE: Decide if building a house is the right way to go. Before you go plunging into the process of building a house, it’s important to take a step back and decide if this is really the best option. Building your home is rewarding, for sure – but it’s also a lot of work. The process of planning, selecting, scouting, purchasing, monitoring, and developing is not only a huge commitment in terms of effort, but it’s also a huge commitment in terms of time. For those with busy schedules – perhaps people at the start of their careers – that level of time and effort might not really fit into the rest of your life. If that’s the case, perhaps purchasing an already-built home might work better with everything else going in your lives. The bottom line? The process of building a house is a serious commitment; make sure you’re up for it before you get started!
- STEP TWO: Get organized. If you do decide that building a house is right for you, effective organization is the first thing to do. Get a sense of your finances. Explore how much capital you’ll have for the homeownership process, and how much you’re willing to spend. Check-in with your attorney, bank, financial advisor, even your friends, and family. Make a list of all of the different steps you need to take in your life to get ready for the build, and lay out a timeline to get a sense of when you see this project finishing. Another crucial part of this organization step? Try to find a homebuilding mentor. Ask around – friends, family, and colleagues – and find someone who’s actually built their own home to serve as a trusted advisor for the homebuilding process. Having someone who’s “been there and done that” in their personal life can be extremely valuable, especially when it comes to the specific intricacies of your local real estate environment.
- STEP THREE: Decide where you’re going to build. You’ll have to answer one of the most basic questions when it comes to the process of building a house – where are you actually going to put it?!? In order to build your house, you’re going to have to purchase a plot of land suitable for your needs. Many times, this is the trickiest part of the process. Are you going to look for a plot of land with an existing home on it that must be demolished first – or go for a place without any construction on it? The same questions apply to your land selection as they would in choosing the location for a home. Where do you need to be for your job/social life/family desires? Are there any environmental concerns with the land itself or the surrounding area that may cause a problem either now or in the future? Is it enough space – not only for the home itself but for a backyard (for kids or pets) or a garage (for storage or vehicles)? How about the zoning rights of that plot of land – is it okay for a house and whatever other additions you might want to make for it? All of these concerns need to get addressed before you purchase the land.
- STEP FOUR: Find an architect. Here’s where the trickiest balance comes in with the process of building a house: weighing your desires for your dream home with the realities of finances. In this case, it’s always a good idea to enlist some professional help when it comes to a design. The first crucial team member you’ll need? An architect. An architect can help you translate your dreams and desires into something tangible and real – letting you know what’s doable when it comes to your dream house and suggesting other elements and features that you might not have even considered. It’s essential you have a good, productive relationship with your architect; let them know you welcome their ideas and suggestions, but be firm in asserting that this is YOUR project. Ask around for recommendations on architects (either solo practitioners or firms), and go with the architect or firm you feel you have the best relationship with.
- STEP FIVE: Find your builder. Unless you’re going to build the entire house yourself (and get all the materials and deal with all the subcontractors…), you’re going to need a building firm that can execute the design that you and your architect put together. Just as it is with the architect, trust and rapport are essential for your relationship with your builder in the process of building a house. Speak to them about your budget, your specific needs, and your timeline, and make sure you’re crystal-clear on each of these elements. Let them know the expectations of them and any of the pertinent details they need to know. Once you’re sure you’ve found the right partner, let them loose to start doing the work. They’ll be able to take care of a great deal of the project’s legwork – acquiring materials, scheduling labor, working with contractors and subcontractors, and more.
- STEP SIX: Monitor the construction. After you’ve got the finances set and found the right architect and builder, it’s time to take a step back and let the house grow – while keeping an eye on the progress. You don’t have to be on-site with your new house every day – that’s excessive, and would probably get in the way of the professionals. However, it is essential that you schedule regular visits to check in on the construction, get an accurate sense of the building timeline, and deal with any design problems or flaws that come up during the process. Hopefully, your good working relationship with the house builder and the house architect will help to make the process smooth and easy. Once everyone’s all set, you’ll be able to move in and start living in your own custom-built house!
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