Top 7 Key Factors To Consider When Building Your Dream Home
I've just built my first home and really enjoyed the entire experience. I’d always wanted to build a house and when I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for in the pre-owned market, I began contemplating the next step. As a long-time real estate agent, I was familiar with many great builders. But ultimately, it came down to seven key factors that I believe make or break a homebuilding project.
1. The first factor is a somewhat obvious one: location, location, location. Identify the area or neighborhood you believe will fit your lifestyle and be a good place to call home. Things to consider include traffic, proximity to shopping and medical facilities as well as other nearby amenities that are important to you.
2. Not far behind location is the price range in which you are comfortable per the budget you are working with and willing to spend. There is a lot involved in analyzing this part of the process. Do you have to sell your existing home to buy? What size home would best fit your needs? Where will you be most comfortable? What are home values like in the immediate area you are considering? Most of this can be determined on your own with a loan officer to outline your options or limitations.
3. Next, and critically important to your peace of mind and expectations to deliver your dream home, is the builder you select to build your home. This decision should be is based on reputation, track record, financial stability, reviews, follow-up warranty and what features are included in standard pricing.
There are three types of builders to consider: track builders (standard floor plans and selections), semi-custom builders (a wide variety of floor plans with some limitations) and custom builders (broad choices and a variety of options). Take time to review types of builders to make your decision, and this will prove significant to making the process run smoothly.
4. The lot or land you select may be a variable that is simplistic or complicated, depending on how you made your first three decisions. Trees, topography, size, view and costs all may enter into this choice. You’ll want to ask a lot of questions, starting with standard as well as premium lot pricing, tree placement with the floor plan under consideration, and easements/setbacks to be aware of on the property.
5. Depending on the builder you select, the design and features aspect of building your home can be the most fun and rewarding part of the process thus far. I truly loved it. You get to choose the size of the home, the number of bedrooms and baths and any additional rooms like a recreation room or study. Also in the mix is the architecture, roof lines, style and any custom features you want to include. Resources such as basic sketches, books, Google searches, social media and builder plans will keep you hopping as you determine the direction you will go in.
6. Decorative selections may easily be the most overwhelming part of the whole process. Narrowing down your ideas to fit the plan you’ve selected and realizing you’ll live with your decisions for years to come make this a challenging opportunity. Many builders provide you with a decorator for guidance, or you can bring in your own consultant or friend. At the end of the day, you have to be comfortable with what you’ve chosen. My biggest challenge was trying to envision the finished product. Deep breathing — and having a decorator with a calm demeanor who worked for the builder — made the process much more tolerable. I did research on my own to narrow down options to aid in the selection process.
7. Lastly is the construction element — where you finally see your blood, sweat and tears come to fruition. From the first board up to the pour of the foundation, to framing, the roof, sheetrock, cabinets, flooring, painting and fixtures, your head will spin with anticipation and excitement for what’s coming next. I was fortunate to have a builder who walked me through each step and communicated with me regularly, which made the construction phase of homebuilding empowering. If you are not so fortunate, I’ve heard and experienced as an agent involved in new home transactions, it can be tough to enjoy. This reinforces the importance of the builder selection, the expectations and agreed communications you want to experience upfront. This should be part of your homework and, if possible, follow-up. I live not far from my new home and have gone by weekly to create a memory book of the building process. Find a method that works for you and your builder that satisfies your desired level of involvement in the process.
Building a home can and should be a rewarding and positive experience. The good news is, you don’t have to know everything. You can rely on others who have been through it before to make homebuilding a memorable experience. Homeownership is a part of the American dream, and building a home is a reinforcement of the opportunities ou