Sometimes you have to start your home search from the ground up, literally. Maybe you want a particularly unique style of home, or already have a piece of land you love and want to build upon. Maybe you want to move into a brand new home just being built in a budding new planned community. That’s why, to build your dream home, you need to know the steps involved so you can as prepared as possible.

Taking the process one step at a time is the best way to keep you from getting overwhelmed, so here are steps to building a house.

Step 1: Buy Land to Build

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The first thing you have to do is find that perfect piece of land. It is typically easier to look in a development community first since they have the landmarked already, and it’s ready to go. Once you choose the development, their sales agent will tell you which lots are still available.

Keep in mind the “better” lots may have an additional premium, so the large conservation lot with the beautiful view of the pond is probably going to have a substantial additional charge.

When looking at land, check for these common things:

Check for Water Capabilities

To build your dream home, you’re going to need some water. When looking for a plot of land outside of a planned community make sure of these things:

  • The land can either be linked into an existing sewer and water network or,
  • The land is acceptably suited for septic and well.
  • Often, land already tested and “perced” (short for percolation tested) or has an existing well will be more expensive as the land has already been improved with these additions done.

Tip: Going to the health department will give you crucial information on the permits bestowed by the Health Department that verify things like gallons per minute yield on a well, or how many bedrooms the land will perc for.

Check the Lands CCR (Covenants, Codes, Restrictions)

If you are looking for land for a specific purpose, like building a kennel, make sure there are no existing covenants, codes, and restrictions. These rules run with the land, so if the CCRs say no to pig farms, you cannot start a potbelly pig breeding farm. Nothing is worse than having everything in place to build your dream home, only to find out too late you can’t even use the land how you dreamed.

CCR information can be found in the land records department of your local courthouse or county building.

Check Zoning Regulations

Also, zoning regulations are very important to check to make sure you can use the property as you wish without running into zoning issues. For example, some agricultural areas allow for a wine tasting room at a vineyard, but there may be restrictions on the days and hours they operate.

Check the Homeowners Associations for Rules

If you are building within an established neighborhood, also ask to see what the Homeowner’s Association rules are to make sure you are OK with their provisions. Make sure there are no deal-breakers in the rules before deciding to buy, not after.

Step 2: Pick a Builder

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Picking a builder is incredibly important when you want to build your dream home. You want to make sure the builder is not just the right fit for you, but for the project itself, your lender, and the neighborhood you plan to build in. There are a couple of different types of builders so let’s go over those.

Planned Neighborhood Builders

Once you have determined where you want to build, the next step is figuring out who is going to build your home. If it’s a planned neighborhood built by an already-determined builder, then it’s an easy choice. What will happen is you will go to the neighborhood and they will have a model home all tricked out with every bell and whistle you can imagine. Always make certain that you know what rooms are options and how much those options cost.

Also, it’s very easy to get overly excited designing your home and then end up way over budget, especially when picking out kitchen cabinets, appliances, fixtures, and adding on optional rooms like sunrooms and finished basements. Be intentional, have a plan, and stick to it.

Custom Home Builders

If you are looking for a custom home builder to build your home based on your specifics, look for the one with the best reputation for providing a quality product on time and within budget.

It is very important to call these past clients so you can ask about their experiences. Also, ask these things:

  • What they thought was the best part of using that builder
  • How easy was the process to navigate?
  • Was the builder communicative?
  • Did the builder they stay on budget?
  • How things are working out with the home since they moved it.
  • Are they pleased with the finished product
  • If they had the option to do it again, would they close the same builder?

Always look up the prospective builder on sites such as the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and other ratings organizations to get a general idea of the experiences had by other people.

Step 3: Get Your Builder Approved by a Lender

Your lender is also going to want to vet out your chosen builder to make sure they are comfortable lending money out on your new home build project. Lenders will typically check the financial stability of the construction company to make certain their investment is your home is safe.

Step 4: Find the Right Financing to Build Your Dream Home

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Financing the new home build is another time where building in a neighborhood is different from a custom home builder.

Building within an established new development is often an easier lending process. The builder may have incentives to use their preferred lender, but there is nothing that states you have to use them. You will most likely need to put down some form of deposit that will be credited towards the total at closing.

Closing on a finished new home is nearly identical to purchasing an already existing home and can be done once a final certificate of occupancy is issued.

When you are doing a custom build, the process is a little different. Many people opt for what is called a “Construction Loan” where the bank allows a certain sum of money for the completion of a certain point of the home before allotting more.

This gives the bank more control of the process and keeps the buyer from earning interest on the entire loan amount from the very beginning, saving them money in the long run.

And as always, if you need a lender, reach out to us here at Solarity. We love helping our members build their dream home, and would love to help you.