Jul 24 2012
When it comes to building a new home, the building process begins long before you break ground and pour the foundation. Discover six things you should do to prepare for your new home before construction begins.
- Decide on the type of home. People build homes for all types of reasons – family home, stepping up from a starter home, downsizing to an empty-nester, vacation home, rental property, weekend retreat, etc. Determine what type of home you plan to build.
- Determine your budget. Think about how much you can afford to spend on your new home and how much your new home will cost. Start checking with lenders to find out what size construction loan and mortgage you’re qualified to obtain. Knowing how much money you’ll be able to borrow and the likely cost of your new home will help you plan your building budget. Once you know what you can spend, you’ll have to determine how much of your budget can be spent on the lot and how much of your budget can be spent on construction, materials, etc.
- Hire a team of professionals. Assemble a team of professionals with expertise in the construction business. Your team will include the following professionals as well as others: your builder/general contractor, excavator, building inspector, carpenter(s), electrician, plumber, surveyor and maybe even a residential designer or engineer should you need to make adjustments to your house plans. If you begin by hiring the builder/general contractor, this expert will be able to provide advice about hiring other pros or may even have a crew of pros that he/she works with on a regular basis. Tip: Do not settle for the first builder you meet. It is important to interview more than one general contractor/builder, ask for references, proof of insurance, etc. Additionally, get a good feel for the kind of person each builder is and if this professional is someone you can work with and talk to on a daily basis for the next 6 to 9 months (or maybe even longer.) Finally, ask yourself, “Is this a person you can trust with handling and coordinating all of the details for your future dream home?”
- Select a lot. Regardless if you plan to build in a neighborhood, on mountainside or along a country road, it is often best to choose your lot before you select a house plan. You’ll have to consider the parameters of the lot such as the maximum width and depth, the grade of the lot, physical features on the lot, etc. when choosing your floor plan. Knowing the “lay of the land” will help you select a floor plan that best suits your needs and fits the lot. Additionally, you and your team of pros will need to study factors about the lot such as zoning, drainage, soil conditions and building codes specified for the community as well as geographic and climactic requirements.
- Choose a house plan. Make a list of needs and wants for your future home such as total finished square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, special rooms such as an office, convenient features like a kitchen island/snack bar, the width and depth of your lot, preferred architectural style and the type of foundation you’ll need. Now search pre-drawn house plan collections like those found at www.TheHousePlanShop.com to narrow your selection. Most websites have a search tool to make it easy to eliminate floor plans that do not offer your specified criteria. Keep in mind pre-draw/stock home plans can often be modified with the help of a modification team, local residential designer or even your builder. If you find a floor plan you like, but it isn’t quite what you need, discuss your minor modifications with your builder or contact the supplier of the house plan to see if they can make modifications for you. At The HousePlanShop, LLC, we offer a modification service by which you can obtain a free quote for your changes before you purchase plans giving you an opportunity to learn how much things will cost before you make your final decision on a floor plan.
- Draw up a contract. After you’ve determined your budget, selected a team of professionals, chosen a lot and purchased a house plan, you’ll need to draw up a construction contract. The contract should be written and signed and dated by you and your general contractor/builder. The construction contract will describe the construction of the home in detail and list all parts of the home to be included. If you or your builder make any changes to the project scope, it is necessary that you amend the contract. Keeping a written record of the scope of the construction project will help you as the home owner know what things have been completed, what still needs to be done and if any problems need to be resolved.
Following this list steps to complete before you break ground for your new home will help ensure your home building project gets off to a good start.