Building a custom home starts long before the foundation has been poured. Finding a competent, honest builder and developing a solid plan will make the construction process more efficient and fun. Start with these five steps to avoid costly mistakes in the construction process. Ask questions as you transition from your dream home to a real one and be sure to share your progress with those who have been through the construction process.
Budget Your Budget
Budgeting should begin as soon as you decide to build your home. Create a realistic estimate of what you can spend and the cost of building a custom home. Budgeting is about balancing what you want with a realistic assessment on your ability to pay.
You will probably need both a construction and mortgage loan. You can find out what size loan you qualify for based on income and other financial obligations. Most banks and financial institutions will prequalify you to get a construction loan. This will give you an idea of how much you can spend. This early stage also involves determining the cost of different components, such as the land, the architect, designer, general contractor, construction materials, appliances, and interior features.
It is important to begin this process many months in advance of the construction. Before signing a contract with a contractor, it’s common to spend up to two years researching the issue.
Beware of banks that want to loan you more than you can pay back. This was one of many reasons for the financial crisis of 2008. It is not necessary to build a home that exceeds the maximum amount of the loan approved by the bank. It is best to keep your house costs well below the maximum loan amount. A financial advisor can help you determine the amount of money that you are comfortable spending on your home.
Cost overruns are inevitable. Costs are almost always higher than originally planned in construction. Often, this happens because building materials cost change or you make changes during the design phase. Budget for a buffer so that you don’t lose your money if the budget goes over.
Check references and get at least three bids from contractors. The bulk of the cost of building a house is usually the money that you pay to a contractor who will oversee all of the subcontractors and laborers who work on your home. It is important to find a balance between choosing a contractor that is affordable, and also one who uses quality materials. You can start by asking for references from friends who are satisfied with the custom home builder they hired. Then, carefully interview three of them. This will give you an idea of how much your home is likely to cost.
Comparative shopping for materials. You will want to be involved in the process, even though the general contractor usually chooses the majority of building materials, amenities, and appliances. Take note of your preferences, such as granite countertops. This will help you communicate them to the builder that you ultimately choose.
Hidden Costs in Building a Custom Home
The hidden costs of home ownership can be shocking to first-time homeowners. The first time you build a home, there are many start-up costs, including furniture, garden and lawn equipment, window coverings, Internet and media wiring, and other items. Home ownership also comes with monthly costs that may surprise you if you are not prepared. These include homeowner’s coverage, property taxes and lawn care services. These expenses may be shocking if you have been renting up until now.
Select Your Lot
Talk to realtors about the land costs of the area you’re considering if you haven’t yet purchased a lot for your home. Land prices vary widely depending on the local land cost.
You will need to select the land first, before choosing floor plans and other details. You will (and anyone you hire) need to research factors like soil conditions, drainage, building codes, and zoning in the area. If your house needs to be modified to fit into the land, costs will increase. Stock blueprints will save you money if the house can fit on the lot.
Choose a House Plan
Stock plans are used to build many new homes. These can be found in a catalog or online. It can be difficult to find the perfect plan. You can start by deciding what style of house you prefer. You can get ideas from catalogs and, if needed, ask a professional to help you select the right stock plan. Home designers can make minor changes to stock plans, such as changing the size of rooms, the window style, or other details. Stock home plans can be modified by some builders.
A custom-designed house, on the contrary, is built specifically for the family that will be living there, and the land it sits on. Most custom-designed houses require the assistance of an architect. They ask questions such as “Where is the Sun in relation to the Lot? What direction are the predominant breezes? How can we reduce our heating and cooling expenses over the long term?” Your architect will also want to know your lifestyle and preferences.
It’s important to select a plan which will serve your needs well into the future, whether you choose a standard or custom design. For example, a young couple might want to prepare for the possibility of adding more family members. An older homeowner may need to consider their needs as they age.
Line up Your Team
After selecting a budget, building site and design, you can begin to assemble the experts who will design and build your home. A home builder, a surveyor, an excavation frim and, if needed, a home designer or an architect can be key players. Most homeowners start by choosing the general contractor (builder). The pro will then choose the other team members.
How involved can you (will you) be in the process of building your home? It is possible for a homeowner to act as their own general contractor. In this case, you will be hiring and supervising all the subcontractors–excavators, carpenters, concrete contractors, etc.–yourself. This is not a method for the faint of heart, but it can save money and be rewarding for the right person.
What about non-traditional construction?
The construction of your home is not determined by the appearance. The traditional frame construction isn’t the only option. You cannot expect all traditional builders, or all architects, to be real experts at everything. To build traditional houses in a nontraditional way, you need a team of experts who are familiar with that method. Find the best architect and builder to realize your vision.
Negotiate a contract
Get written and signed contracts from each professional who is involved in the construction of your home. This means at least a contract between you and the general contractor/builder as well as with any architect or home designer if they’re involved.
What is in a construction contract? The “specs” will be listed in the contract. It will include the details of the construction project and the list of parts that are to be used in the home. Your house may be constructed with cheaper materials if you don’t have detailed specs. As part of your contract negotiations, make sure you have the specifications sorted out. If you or your contractor make any changes to the project, remember to amend the contract.
The Bottom Line
It can be exciting to complete the initial steps of building a custom home in Myrtle Beach, but it is also an opportunity to assess whether new construction is right for you. It is hard work and can cause disruptions in your daily life as well as those of others. It may be less stressful to buy an existing house, whether it’s a home built on-spec or one that was pre-existing. You may decide that remodeling your current home is the best option.
Sometimes, the decision to build a home is made for the wrong reason. A new home is unlikely to “fix” a troubled relationship or life. Analyzing your motives is a good first step. You are building a home because someone else has asked you to. Are you building a house to distract yourself from a problem in your life? Are you able to handle the added stress? Why are you building a house? Reflecting on your own needs can help you become more aware of yourself and save you a lot of headaches.
If your self-examination passes these tests then you can be confident that your home will meet your expectations and those of your family.
Call Dawol Homes now if you’re looking for a reliable custom home builder to help with your new home construction.
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9404 Hwy 17 Bypass,
Murrells Inlet, SC 29576
Dawol Homes Sales Office
3100 Dick Pond Rd # E
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
We build homes in: Cypress River Plantation, Waterway Palms, Waterbridge, Murrells Inlet, Collins Creek, Bellwood Landing, Carolina Forest, Plantation Lakes, North Myrtle Beach, Socastee, Surfside Beach, Pawleys Island, Litchfield Plantation