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What to Know Before Building a House Feature Image
Posted on February 28, 2022 6 minute read

What to Know Before Building a House


What's in this article?

Set your wishlist, budget, and timeframe
Jump
Choose your home design method  
Jump
Find the right land
Jump
Pick a Project Manager
Jump
Get Started
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Building a home is an adventure. And like any adventure, being prepared and learning what may lurk behind every corner will help the process go as quick and smoothly as possible. 

There are many similarities with buying a home that is already built and creating one out of scratch. At the top of the list is making sure finances are in order. Income, employment history, debt, and credit score will all be weighed when trying to secure a loan. 

Homefinity has the resources to help with both processes. 

While the process to build a new home can be time-consuming and confusing, we’ve got some basics for people who always dreamed of building a home that meets their specific needs. 

Set your wishlist, budget, and timeframe

Whether working from set floorplans or going the completely custom route, the questions that need to be answered when deciding what must go into the home are seemingly endless. 

The home’s size, style, and features — from fireplaces to heated floors, to the color of countertops — are just some of the things that must be accounted for in order to get a working budget.

When designing a home, it’s a good idea and put in everything that comes to mind. Then, once the financial figures begin to come into focus, it’s time to scale back and really decide what’s necessary.  But be ready to make literally a thousand decisions as the process goes on. 

You will deal with many more people than you would if you were just buying a pre-built home. Be prepared to meet with architects, general contractors, insurance agents, and real estate agents, to name a few. 

It’s a huge, complicated undertaking that pays off for those who want to live in a house they designed themselves.

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Choose your home design method  

There are three options for people who want to build a house — custom, tract and speculative (spec). 

While tract and spec homes give buyers the option to customize, options are somewhat limited. Let’s take a closer look. 

Custom

A custom home is a home built exactly how the customer wants it on a plot of land already owned. It’s individually built according to the customers exact wishes. The only limitations are related to the budget, the imagination, and the skill of the contractors. 

Tract  

You’ve seen these housing plans everywhere, maybe carved out of old farm land. A tract home is a new home built by a developer who bought a bunch of land, divided it into lots, and is building a whole neighborhood house-by-house.  

These homes are customizable, but the customer usually has the option to choose from architectural offerings specific to that community. While the new homeowner has the option to choose the details that will go into the new home, the choices are limited to the aesthetic the developer went with. 

Speculative 

Spec homes are newly built homes that aren’t quite finished, allowing the buyer the option to customize the home in limited ways. They are not part of tracts. Fixtures, appliances, lighting, and color schemes are some of the things that the buyer can customize before moving in. 

These are good options for people who would like to have some customizable choices available to them, but do not want to wait for the home to be built from top to bottom

Find the right land

Choosing where to build your dream home is enormously important, and it goes beyond the quality of the neighborhood and school district. 

A real estate agent should be utilized to help find the right piece of property to build and answer any questions that will surely arise. 

Lots are categorized in the following three ways:

  • Build ready
  • Unimproved
  • Raw

Build-ready, also known as registered land, is a lot that is ready to go. Utilities and services are nearby and ready to be connected. Banks prefer to lend to folks with these lots. 

Unimproved lots do not have any active services, like water, running through it, which will add more cost and time to the project. And raw lots are usually not intended for immediate construction, and will add many months to the project. 

Also take notice of geographic features, such as extreme grading or if the property is on a flood plain. Don’t even try to build here. 

The lot should be secured before hiring an architect. A good architect will use the property as inspiration, taking the ideas you have and incorporating them seamlessly into a new home. 

Pick a Project Manager

After the architect designs your custom home, the project manager will be the one who makes it all happen. 

They’re the person responsible for hiring quality subcontractors, keeping the project on schedule, and making sure the subcontractors are doing proper work. They are on site as the home is being built.

The subcontractors are the people who actually do the building. They include experts in framing, HVAC, windows, roofing, landscaping, concrete and foundation, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, and everything else. 

A cost-saving alternative to a project manager is hiring a construction management company, which does many of the same things as a project manager, yet they are not always supervising on site. 

Get Started

Like buying a pre-built home, building a home is a gateway to building wealth

Building a custom home is a major achievement that requires the knowledge of many people. 

Homefinity has the resources, staff, and know-how to help you on your journey of building a house. 

Take the leap and get started with Homefinity today. 

Photo by cetteup on Unsplash


Some references sourced within this article have not been prepared by Fairway and are distributed for educational purposes only. The information is not guaranteed to be accurate and may not entirely represent the opinions of Fairway.