First Steps in Building a home
Building your dream home starts with careful planning.
When you're thinking about building a home, it's tempting to start by designing your dream house, but there are some essential steps that you need to take long before this. Before you even select your builder, you should have an accurate idea of whether you can afford to build a house in your preferred location and how involved you want to be in the house building process.
The first step is to decide who the general contractor will be for building your house. You can hire a builder who will organize everything for you and deliver a completed house, or you can run everything yourself. This involves all stages of house building from initial budget and schedule through design to the actual building of the house. You'll also have to schedule and interact with all the trades, buy the materials at the right time and perform quality control of adherence to building standards. You need to decide between the cost of a general contractor and the time commitment and responsibility of doing it yourself.
Your budget will govern all the rest of your decisions, so it's essential to spend time on it and to be ruthlessly honest when it comes to the numbers. In addition to calculating what mortgage payments you can afford and qualify for, include any down payment funds that you have and any other monies that you'll get during the time the house is being built. Also consider the costs of running the house, including taxes, utilities and maintenance. These will just be estimates until you complete your house design.
Whether you're hiring a general contractor to run the show for you or doing it yourself, be aware of all the costs associated with building a house, so you can make wise choices about priorities and upgrades. Some of the obvious costs are architect's fees, materials, labor and building permits. However, don't forget hidden costs such as construction upgrades and inspections, and unexpected events including cost overruns and fees for missing deadlines. Remember also to figure in any new appliances, furniture, flooring, and interior finishes, as well as lawn and landscaping. If you need to find alternate accommodation while your house is being built, add in those expenses, too.
Selecting the area where want to live is just the start to finding the perfect location for your new home. Make a list of all the facilities that you need to have access to, such as schools, shopping and public transport, and check the list against each location you're interested in. If you want to build in a mature neighborhood, check the local municipal guidelines about knocking down old houses and building new ones. If you're looking at a new subdivision, investigate any architectural guidelines you'll have to abide by. Consider also the shape of the plot of land you'll need. Do you want a corner lot, a pie-shaped lot with a large backyard or one with a large front garden space? If you have a young family, then look for locations which attract people with children and have green spaces or playgrounds. One important consideration that links to your costs decision is how much the taxes in each location are.