Where to start – questions to think about.
So you want to build, but you have no idea where to start. Well, lets start with a basic list of things to consider.
- Have you sold your home yet, or are you currently living in a rental, or apartment?
- Do you have money saved?
- Are you going to build on land, or in a community?
- Do you want to build a completely custom home, or a spec home?
- Are you going to hire a builder to help you through the build, or are you going to self contract to save money?
SOO many questions and you haven’t even started yet! Haha! Welcome to the adventures of wanting to build! It can be stressful, but I hope to share with you all the different things that might come up from start to finish! It can be stressful, believe me, I just finished building my house in April 2020 during the start of the pandemic!
So lets break down each of these questions to help you figure out what works best for you and your family.
Have you sold your home yet, or are you currently living in a rental, or apartment?
We sold our home (for sale by owner so we didn’t have to pay realtor fees) when the market was good. This gave us money in our bank so we could pay for things out of pocket for our home, and this also gave us money to put a downpayment on our loan (Building101 Finances will be coming soon). We then rented a small home for a year while we were building. Which is pictured above. It was the cutest little cottage style home!
If you are living in a rental home already, or an apartment, the good news is you don’t have to wait on selling a home and you can stay where you are until your home is build. The bad news is that you need to save a lot of money to be able to put a down payment on your loan. That downpayment amount all depends on your bank, your loan amount, and how much you want your monthly mortgage to be. Which this kinda leads into our next question.
Do you have money saved?
So I have included reasons above on why it’s important to save money if you are renting, or living in an apartment. But it’s still important to save money even if you sold your home. You will always have surprise expenses when building. Prices have gone up for lumber about 80% since the pandemic. That is CRAZY! If you have extra money at the end of your build, then save it for things you can add on later, or maybe purchase new furniture!
Are you going to build on land, or in a community?
My sister and I bought 13 acres together and split it down the middle! We had the land surveyed before we purchased the land so we could purchase the land individually. We started building right aways, so we were able to close on our land and construction loan at one time. My sister is just starting to build, so she had to pay for closing costs on the land last year, and she had to pay for closing costs on her construction loan this year. So if you can try to close on both loans at the same time, it will save you a couple thousand dollars!!!
If you are building in a community, there are a couple of things I would consider. I would look around the neighborhood and figure out if the community. Is family friendly, or is it geared more towards older couples? Is it located near stores you will shop at, and do you like the schools located in that zone?
Do you want to build a custom home, or a spec home?
Since we built in the country, we built a completely custom home. We knew that this would be our forever home, so we wanted to make sure it was exactly what we wanted and it would grow with our family over the years. Although we knew building a custom home can get pricey, we worked really hard to stay within our budget. I’ll share more on saving and budgeting on a #building101 post soon! If you decide to build a spec home in a community, there will probably be restrictions. Also, anything you want will probably be extra money for any type of upgrade. There isn’t anything wrong with spec homes. They are definitely easier and less stressful to build than a custom home. Just keep those things in mind when deciding!
Are you going to hire a builder to help you through the build, or are you going to self contract to save money?
If you decide to go custom, then you have to decide if you are going to hire a builder, or if you are going to self contract. There are benefits and stress to both options, which is probably something you don’t want to hear!
So if you decide to go with a builder, you have to decide on a builder that would be a good fit for you. Remember, you will be working with them for the next 9 months or so. I’ve heard stories of home builders having horrible experiences with their builders. Some have even lead to suing their builders. That can be extra stress added on.
If you decide to self contract your build, then the positive side of this is that you can save some money because you won’t have any builder fees. But you will have the extra stress of finding and hiring workers. It could also take longer to build.
So these are all decisions you need to decide before even starting to build. Our next topic for #building101 is house plans! I’ll touch on how we created out own house plans house ideas. I will also link other websites to reference different house plans. Make sure to subscribe to emails so you can be notified of new posts!
Do you have any tips for where to start when building a new home for others reading? If so, comment them below!