Things to Think About When Building a Custom Home

Guest Blog | Haas Properties

When buying a new home, why is it so hard to find a perfect home that matches your dreams exactly?  It may be because there is only a slight probability that any home you find will completely satisfy all of your criteria. On the other hand, it may also be because it is almost impossible for someone else to design a home that perfectly mirrors your dream home.

Whatever the reason, this happens because the standard method for buying homes is very limiting. It boxes you into choices that have been made by other people. Also, the design of a typical new tract home is not to give homeowners maximum satisfaction but to help production builders make the most profit.  As a result, if you are a buyer who wants a home that is a unique expression of yourself, you may find yourself frustrated. You may feel like you’ll never find the home that has all of the special features you want. Or, you could build that home yourself!

Not all by yourself, of course.  You’ll need the help of a custom home builder.  And building your own home from scratch is not such a bad idea!

The advantage of a custom home

A custom home – that is, a home you design and build from start to finish – is the only way to have a home that is a true reflection of your lifestyle. It is the one path to homeownership that gives you complete control of every aspect of the property, explains Haas Properties, from location, to design, materials and appliances.

And it is the natural path to follow when you are accustomed to the finer things in life and want a home that stands out from other homes in the neighborhood. Custom homes afford their owners the highest level of flexibility; the only limits to what you can do are your imagination and your budget.

What you should know when building a custom home

Although building a custom home offers many benefits, like all good things in life, it also comes with unique challenges. Given that you have to think through every aspect of the home by yourself, custom homes require additional work.

Because a custom home is unique, the process of acquiring one is also different.  Buyers who build a custom home have to do more work than people buying a production or tract home. To help you navigate this process and avoid the mistakes people make when building custom homes, we have outlined some essential tips.

1.    Plan everything before you do anything:  New home construction is a project with many moving parts. But the chaos of the whole process can be minimized when you have planned every aspect of the project. When building a custom home, you should expect decision fatigue. But the stress of going over every detail with a fine-tooth comb is better than the cost of having too many change orders.

2.    Budget before you design:  Another common problem with custom home projects is that project costs quickly run out of control. The number one reason why people abandon custom home projects is that project owners don’t have a well-defined budget. And because items are not assigned an actual cost, the owner soon finds that he or she is overspending.  Following a detailed Pre-Construction Process is essential!

3.    Your builder is your most important ally:  Not every home builder can build a custom home. When looking for a contractor for your custom home, choosing one with experience and good communication skills is critical. A good builder will make the process of building the home easier by helping you avoid costly mistakes. And if you can find a design/build company, that is even better.

4.    Find a designer/builder before you buy a lot:  The first thing people do when they want to build a custom home is to go out and buy the land. But a custom home often needs custom land. Not every lot will accommodate the elements you want to include in the home. Buy the lot only after you have determined what you want in the house and ensured that you could do it on that land.

5.    Things to include in your design:  Here are some design mistakes to avoid: design with your future in mind (what do you expect to happen in the next 5-10 years); design for your needs before you think of your wants; and design with an eye on the possibility of selling the home in the future.

6.    Your schedule is a guesstimate:  Whatever can go wrong in a building project will often go wrong. Most times, these are not fatal errors but events that will affect your project timeline. But, if you have an excellent contractor and who has helped you prepare for this eventuality, you should come through unscathed.

7.    Financing can be a challenge:  Financing a custom home project is a little tricky. The standard mortgage will not work. Instead, you may have to use a construction loan. If you do this, make sure you can convert the construction loan you get into a permanent mortgage afterwards.

Finally, be prepared for bumps in the road. You are walking a path you have never walked, so it is only natural that delays or unforeseen problems will come up. But with a good team and the right attitude, you can resolve most issues.

Cheers!