So, you are tired of looking at what is currently for sale but know that now is the time to become a homeowner. You have a few options: move to a different place, buy in a development that is currently under construction, or find the perfect lot and build a custom home. You’ve decided to find your ideal plot of land and build a home that is designed to work for you and your lifestyle, but where do you start? Here are tips for buying land and building a home.
1. Set Up a Budget and Expect to Go Over It
The first of the tips for buying land and building a home is to set a budget. You need to know how far your money will go and know that most new construction goes over the planned budget because the raw materials and manpower are not fixed costs. You need to price out your architect, builder, roofer, HVAC services, plumbers, and electrician fees. Your architect and builder should be able to guide you on researching other contractors like plumbers, electricians, roofers, and painters because they know the contractors they typically hire as subcontractors. They can also help you budget for the material costs for the concrete in your foundation and the timber skeleton of your home since that factors into their contracts on a regular basis.
While they can guide you and provide an estimate for the entire cost of the home build, remember it is only an estimate, and you should be prepared to go over that estimate by at least half. By having more money already set aside, you will be ready for weather delays and material cost increases, and if the costs stay on-budget, you will have more money available for the finishing touches like landscaping and high-end fixtures.
2. Find that Perfect Custom Home Building Company
So, you’ve got the money sorted. The second of the tips for buying land and building a home is deciding to go with the builder you’ve been talking with or finding another team. It is really important to hire a custom home building company you want to work with ready to go when you find the piece of land that makes you feel at home. The builder should be able to understand your vision and values. If you are looking to build a tiny house, then you don’t want a builder who builds mansions. If you are focused on sustainable living, then you want your builder to share your commitment by using recycled materials. Say you have a more traditional style; you do not want a builder that primarily makes modern style homes. Most home builders will have an architect they work closely with that can really help with planning out the space.
3. Hire an Architect
If your builder does not have an architect they work with regularly, then the third of the tips for buying land and building a home is finding an architect to help create your dream house. Most builders do the nuts and bolts of creating a home and are the practical part of home construction, but for the art and understanding of space, you need the architect. You need to find an architect that can translate your ideas about natural light, layout, and storage into a plan that your builder can follow. They will interpret your idea for an open concept kitchen and dining area leading to a living room with vaulted ceilings into a well-considered plan based on the space you have available while including enough space for your storage needs.
4. Choosing the Lot for Your New Home
Once you have found a builder and architect who share your vision, you can move on to the fourth of the tips for buying land and building a home: finding that perfect piece of land. Your builder and architect may have some ideas on lot styles that will suit your plans so bring them along on your search. Even if they are not on the hunt with you, there are some key things to remember when finding the land to build on.
Firstly, you really want to look for a level piece of land because it can drive up your costs if you have to flatten out a piece of land. Another factor to consider is how wooded the lot is and if those trees are old growth with a vibrant canopy that can provide shade to your home in warmer weather and lower the costs of running air conditioning systems in your house. You should also look for underground streams or springs that could impact your foundation or become a feature of your landscaping. A spring or water source on your new lot could mean you could drill a well instead of having your residential plumbing hooked up to the city’s water/sewer system. Drilling a well and putting in a septic system could really drive up your construction costs, and those costs may not be recovered in the savings of avoiding the water/sewer bills through your municipality.
5. Permits and Insurance
You’ve found your beautiful, wooded lot with an underground spring that you will build into a delightful little irrigation system for your future garden. Now, you need to follow the fifth of the tips for buying land and building a home: get your permits in order so that you can get a certificate of occupancy once your house is built. You will need a permit for all the work being done, this is how the municipality can verify that the work was supposed to be done to code and that your building is structurally sound. Obtaining permits is part of the duties of the builder as the main contractor you’ve hired but the homeowner needs to confirm that the permits were properly obtained. Otherwise, you may void your insurance policy.
Another thing your builder and other contractors will have is insurance to protect them from injury claims and cost overages or delays. In theory, the builder’s insurance policies should also cover you, but it is better to have your own insurance policy. Having your own policy provides you the peace of mind knowing you have something to fall back on if your build is severely delayed or if someone gets injured working on your property.
6. Getting Down to Business
Now that your paperwork is in order, it is time for the sixth of the tips for buying land and building a home: getting your contractors in order. Your builder will have a team of contractors they work with regularly and they will be crawling all over your building site. They are called subcontractors who may have their own team of employees. Your builder may use this team as a way to keep costs lower, but you should do your research on all of these subcontractors. If your builder doesn’t have a roster of subcontractors they work with then you need to work with your builder to find and hire contractors to complete the build of your home.
Typically, the first contractors you will hire are going to be the team that prepares the lot. This may be the least expensive part of the build if you found a flat lot with nothing on it to clear away. This is also when you will either install utility hookups or have the utilities turned on if they are already available to your land. Once the lot is cleared, the next crew you will be working with will lay the foundation according to the plans drawn up by your architect. This could be a slab with no storage under the house, a crawlspace with some storage, or a basement that could have storage or additional rooms. You will want to be sure the foundation crew knows what they are doing because foundation repairs can be costly. Once your foundation is laid, you get to see the home go up.
7. Framing and Exterior
The seventh of the tips for buying land and building a home involves getting your home vertical through the framing. Your crew will put together the skeleton of your home so you will be able to walk into an open-air version of your house. When you inspect this step of the building process, you want to make sure all the floor trusses are in place. You will be able to really feel how big your living room will be and what it is like to move from one room to another. If you feel that the flow needs to be changed, this is where you can discuss with your architect and builder the structural impact of these changes as well as the costs any changes will cause. After the skeleton of your home goes up, it is time to put on the shell.
Putting on the exterior of your home is done by a new set of contractors. Depending on what you put on your exterior, you will have a team of bricklayers or siding installation technicians. Putting on the skin of the siding, stucco, or bricks is the first step. Then the roofers come in to put on your new roofing. You really want to check on the house after the siding and roof are put on. If you have a roof leak or water leaking between the siding and the frame of the house, it can lead to mold and rot. After you are satisfied with the roof and siding, it is time to install the doors and windows. While the builder handles the windows and doors, you may want to contact a new garage door company to make sure your garage door works properly. Making sure the windows and doors are properly sealed is just as important as inspecting the siding and roof work as leaks from any of this work can cause real structural problems. Once the exterior contractors are done, you move on to the interior contractors.
8. Making the Inside Work
Your team of interior contractors is the plumbers, electricians, and insulation and HVAC services. The eighth of the tips for buying land and building a home is to work with these professionals to make the inside of your house functional. Firstly, the electrician will wire the house and make sure all your outlets are where you plan to have them. The electrician will also make sure there are proper hookups for your kitchen appliances, washer, dryer, and all the light fixtures. Next, the plumbers get to work first by themselves plumbing in all the lines for the sinks, showers, and toilets.
Then, the plumbers and HVAC team get together to work on heating, especially if you have forced hot water or steam heating. At this stage, you may need custom metal fabrication services to be sure all your pipes are properly made with the proper supports. The metal fabricator will help you choose the correct type of pipes for your climate, and they can also create some custom finishes for your home. Then the HVAC team works to install the insulation and make sure your heating system is properly ventilated. If your climate makes air conditioning necessary, your HVAC team will be sure it is properly installed. Once the systems are up and running, it is time for your cost-cutting options.
9. Interior Design
The final tip of the tips for buying land and building a home involves the interior design of your new house. With the walls ready for paint, the floors ready for your chosen flooring, and plumbing ready for final fixtures, many homeowners decide to save money by putting their sweat into this step. Most people have the ability to screw on handles and drawer pulls for their cabinetry, and there are so many creative options for these that may not be standard from the builder. Painting is a skill that a lot of people have the steady hand and ability to do. Tape off areas you don’t want to be painted and paint yourself to save money. You can also find savings by installing your own flooring with such easy flooring options as click-together tile or wood laminate. Ambitious homeowners can even lay tile on their own. Once the interior is all set, you can get your driveway done and decide if you want to move in or do your landscaping first.
In order to move in, you need an inspection and certificate of occupancy. The yard does not need to be complete before you get your certificate of occupancy, so you can take your time and plan out your new garden or butterfly refuge while you adjust to living in your new home. Besides, after all that painting and grouting putting those finishing touches in, you need a break.
If you’re interested in starting a new life in a new home, consider these tips for buying land and building a home. With the help of a professional team, you can make your dream home a reality.