The transition from renting to owning a home is the most significant leap you will make in your life. You will finally be able to stick a nail into the wall without being afraid it will affect your lease. You won’t have to pay rent each month. You will be able to decorate as you like. However, this fascinating project doesn’t come without its challenges. While building a home brings numerous perks, including being able to have a say when it comes to the floor plan, it is also a budget-wrecking minefield paved with potential errors, stress, and difficult choices. As you are still inexperienced in this area, we’ll try to guide you through it safely.
The budget as the starting point of everything
Even though you have probably saved money for your house for years, and you have a decent and stable job now, building a house is not as easy as signing a check. The first step toward successful budgeting is to calculate how much cash you currently have. After that, you need to explore additional financing options. This could include getting a construction home loan, which can differ depending on your specific situation. In some states, first-time homeowners are entitled to various initiatives, like government assistance. Once you figure this out, you can move on to establishing what kind of property you can afford.
Decide on the type of home
Since you are not buying an already built and designed house, you have the right to choose between various types of buildings. Depending on your needs and the number of family members, you might need a single or double-story property. You can go with a tiny home with practical storage solutions or move into a property designed for a large family, where each member has their bedroom and bathroom.
Project home or custom built?
This is an important decision to make since it can affect all the aspects of the construction process, including the budget, the timeframe, and the communication with the contractors. Both of these options have their advantages; you need to decide what is more important to you. Here are some things you need to know before you decide:
- Project builders build at a large scale, and they offer a series of standard designs.
- Custom builders prepare architectural plans specifically for the needs of the client.
- Project construction is often more affordable, but keep an eye on hidden costs.
- Project builders will construct the house in nine months at the most, while custom builders often need up to 18 months.
Choosing the right builder
Your choice of builder can make or break the entire experience. After you decide between the project and custom property, you need to find the best company in the branch. To find a reliable builder you need to check the company’s licenses, accreditation, and of course, reputation. You will see that by checking online reviews, visiting some of the previously built properties, and referring to various builder associations and departments of trading. Here is a short checklist of the things you should consider when selecting the company that will build your new home:
- Credentials: we’ve already mentioned these. They include licenses and insurance.
- References: Read about past work and feedback, but also check for official complaints against the builder.
- Display home: Project builders offer tours of display homes to get a clear picture of what your home could look like. With custom builders, you will have to ask to visit some of the built houses.
- Style: some builders are proficient at building specific types of homes (e.g., bungalows). You need to make sure the company you hire can give you what you need.
- Price: Compare several different offers, but remember that the cheapest is not always the best.
- Communication: You will be working with the builder for months, so you need to feel comfortable. The key to a successful project is fruitful communication.
A design for ages
You need to understand that deciding on the house design very much differs from choosing a rental property. In the latter case, your decision is temporary, while in the first, it is something you will have to live with for years, decades, and possibly forever. The first thing to choose is the square footage, and then you can move on to the floor plan. Make a list of priorities and potential upgrades. If you like to cook, a spacious kitchen is a must. If you have young kids, you should think of the future. All of them will probably need their rooms one day. Try to have the basic things figured out from the start because making significant changes in the middle of the construction could cost you a lot of time and money.
Additions to consider
While it is difficult to change the complete layout of the house, you can decide on additions as the construction is moving on. Some of the upgrades you should consider are prolonging the kitchen bench to over-hang, adding an entertainment set up for a hanging TV, additional power point, window coverings, electrical and gas meters, etc.
Think about the environment
The construction industry surely leaves its mark on the planet. Since this is a planet you are living on, and your descendants will live on, you should think about the consequences of your project. Make sure your builder is using sustainable materials, such as recycled stone, bamboo, reclaimed wood, and recycled insulation. Also, you should invest in energy-efficient items, and features, such as LED lighting, solar power, smart home technologies and Energy Star rated appliances. These may seem like unnecessary costs at first, but they will pay off in the future, by bringing you significant energy savings.
Keep resale in mind
While currently, it may seem that you will live in this house forever, this doesn’t have to be the case, and it usually is not. One day, when you expand your family, get a job opportunity in another city or decide to buy a retirement home, you will have to sell your house. When that day comes, you will want to get the best possible price. This approach includes investing in designs that bring the biggest return on investment, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and curb appeal.
Considering these critical issues is the first step toward your first home. We are sure you are very excited but try to focus and base your decisions on reason instead of emotions. Good luck!