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Building Your Very First Custom Home
So you decided you want to build your very first custom home and you found that perfect piece of land. Wait!! Before you dive in and purchase that Lot you fell in love with the great views there are several things you need to consider because once you start there is no turning back unless of course you are OK with losing money and time. First and foremost find a builder that is a land whisperer that is willing to walk the land with you and determined if the property is an easy affordable built because a tall foundation will eat up a very large portion of your budget. Then its the contract the builder will give you, and the construction loan. Take into account where you are financially plus the impact all of this will have on you and your family for the next year or so.
Lets talk a bit about cost which are closing, renting and moving. Consider how many times you will have to move your stuff and/or put in storage. You will move twice unless you are currently renting. If you have a house to sell there are cost associated with that such as realtor's fees, closing cost and moving. You will set up a construction loan which comes with a closing cost. Then one last closing cost when the construction loan converts into a normal 30 year mortgage. Another item you should know is while you are paying rent you will also be paying a monthly mini mortgage that grows with each construction draw as your house is being built. So planning is very important. Did I just take the fun out of building your own home. I hope not because its like having a baby. When your beautiful home is delivered to you all the pain will melt away. Yes I said pain as there are labor pains. Well depending how involved you get in the construction.
Your Involvement in construction depends on how detail you want to get with the process. Communication in the beginning is crucial to a happy built. There are lots of moving parts and you want to make sure your builder completely understands your vision and what you want, and I mean to the toilet. So when the foundation is poured your pipes are in the right place. As the old saying goes "a painted pictures goes a long way".
Selecting your builder is very important as not all builders are the same in the style of house they build to the contract you will receive. Wikipedia has a simple explanation on contracts. Due your research and learn. Make sure you understand and when in doubt contact a real estate attorney.
OKAY you did your first steps and found your builder and the land. You have your contract, funds are in order now you are ready to design your home. Remember your builder needs to capture your vision and have experience with the style of home you want. For example do you want a modern home or traditional style home. It will be up to you to communicate and know what you want. If you are not sure google away and look at may homes. Houzzis a good place to start.
Now you are all set, excited and ready to begin planing your home. An easy way is to take a floor plan that your builder may have within his/her portfolio and simply modify it to fit your liking. However if you have vision and are brave designing your own home from scratch is most exciting. The engineers will take your drawings and put it into a cad (computer-aided design) program. Then magic happens, it becomes real and you get your blueprints. Its amazing to see your sketches become the real deal....from a vision to realty.
One of the nicest parts in building your own home is seeing it come alive, it is so utterly cool to see your vision on paper and then seeing it built before your very own eyes. While you are designing away make certain you meet any restrictions that may be imposed on that property for example; Deed Restrictions, HOA, County and/or City restrictions. Some of the guidelines you and your builder will have to follow are setbacks, height restrictions and aesthetics just to name a few. Your builder will be of great help with this. He will ensure all restrictions are met as this is his area of expertise which is the reason you hired him so it all goes smoothly and everyone is happy. Inspections are a big deal and things must be completed to code. Your builder will setup the inspections with the city. Here is Jonestown TX web pageon inspection as an example. Some cities have an online website that you may log in and see what inspection is next per the building schedule and see the results as they are coming to pass. Again here is City of Jonestown TX online portal called MyGovermentOline.
While all the prep is happening such as paper work, design, ordering of materials, setting up permits and such by your builder you should be busy on gathering information on what your finishes will be. Meaning all the stuff that goes in the house that you will see for example, paint color, wall texture, windows, doors, door hardware, door entries trim, which way the door is going to open, flooring, bathtub, showers, sinks, appliances, cabinets, counter tops, tiles, roof material, exterior finishes, faucets, toilets, fans, lighting, appliances, and on and on. Ahhh! Don't let time just pass because in the beginning it seems that nothing is happening. You don't want to be the one that when your builder ask you about your paint color choices you have not a clue. Anyhow rest assure your builder is busy at his end making sure all subcontractors are scheduled and materials arrive on time.
Its important that you create a spreadsheet or some method to help you keep track of monies being spent from that construction loan. Its very easy to forget or lose a receipt if you purchased items outside of the construction loan. Then at the eighth month your not left scratching your head trying to remember. So get it going and help yourself alleviate some of that stress. At the end of construction when you get your certificate of occupancy you are going to want to reconcile with the bank that held your construction loan. Remember, unless you are a cash buyer, that loan will be converted in a traditional mortgage loan.
Disappointments...One of the down sides with custom built and it happens with most people are the expensive and unreachable items you wanted to have in your home like floating stairs. Or a change in design because you decided to add a few more windows while construction is underway and it'll cost to much to re-due. The city comes back and says you can't have underground electric so now you have an overhanging electric cables coming to the top of your house with a pole erected in front of your beautiful house. What do you do :(. Here are some tips to help out with disappointments such as these. For the expensive unreachable items look for alternatives that will look just as jazzy as the name brand. Visit your local stores, shop online and go thrifting. You would be surprise what you will find for a bargain. The re-dues that cost to much simply enjoy your beautiful home and know there is NOT one that is perfect. Look towards the future and plan for the items you wanted to re-due like adding those windows. And that pole in front of your home just know that landscaping does wonders to the curb appeal by bringing attention to your gorgeous home.
Celebrate your achievements and have fun! Take lots of pictures form the start to the end. You will enjoy going back and reminiscing how your new construction home was built while you are sharing with family and friends.
I am based in the greater Northwest Austin, TX area and I am determined to be the real estate consultant of choice and have some fun while we are looking for your next home or Lot. Just to share a b....
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