My husband, Jason, is a custom home builder. We are in the process of building our third family home together in the last 8 years. We’ve got the process pretty much down pat by now. 😉
A lot of money, time, and decision-making goes into building a house, but it’s definitely a fun and exciting process! We are asked all sorts of questions pertaining to building, so I thought I’d share some of our top tips for getting started here (these are pretty basic and each tip could easily become its own blog post!).
1. Select a Builder
If you don’t know where to begin, ask around and do an internet search. You want a builder with good recommendations. If you love the look of your friend’s/neighbor’s/aunt’s house, ask who the builder is. See if the builder can provide other references and a portfolio of past projects. And this seems self-explanatory, but make sure you like the look of their work. You wouldn’t commission and artist to paint a mural if you didn’t like their previous creations. Lastly, keep in mind you’ll be working with this builder for 6-12 months, so make sure it’s someone you can get along with!
2. Come up with a budget
All aspects of building your house will boil down to the budget. This will determine how big you can go and the quality of finishes you’ll be able to choose. If you are going to stick to a budget, you’re going to have to be very disciplined. There are some gorgeous tiles, wood floors, marbles, etc. out that will absolutely make you swoon, but they’ll very likely blow your budget. You’ll likely have to make some compromises during the process to stay within budget. Keep that in mind from the get-go so you are not disappointed if you have to let certain things go.
3. Determine a Size and Number of BR/BA
Once you’ve set a budget you’ll want to focus on the size and layout of your house. How many bedrooms and bathrooms would you like and can you afford? Do you want one story or two? All bedrooms on one floor or some upstairs and downstairs? For instance, we prefer our master bedroom on the ground floor and all the kids upstairs. That’s just our preference, though. Some builders can create house plans for you (Jason offers this service and enjoys the design aspect very much!). In other cases you may need or wish to work with an architect.
4. Don’t Stress over Tiny Details
I am not exaggerating when I say you will have to make A LOT OF DECISIONS while building your home. If it is a complete custom build, you will chose everything from windows to ceiling fans and light fixtures to faucets. You will literally have to pick everything AND the kitchen sink. It can become overwhelming really quickly. And frankly, you’d never give the guest bathroom faucet a second thought if you walked through a model home. Don’t lose sleep over it. For things that you aren’t that particular on (toilets, for instance), ask your builder if there is a model he/she has used in the past with good results. Same goes with flooring and counter tops. There are THOUSANDS of choices, so ask for guidance if you are getting lost in a sea of samples. If you can afford to work with a designer, go for it! Pinterest is great for inspiration, too.
5. Where to Splurge? Where to save?
Invest in your lot. Location, location, location, folks! If you ever decide to sell your house, a prime lot is going to make it much more valuable. Jason says not to spend too much on things that will eventually have to be replaced. You might not want to go with the super deluxe AC unit because all AC units will have to be replaced sooner or later. Other things are just personal preference. We don’t blow our budget on appliances. We’ve done our research and have found some sharp looking kitchen appliances that are great quality but a fraction of the price of Wolf or Viking. Prioritize- most people cannot afford top-of-the-line everything, nor is it necessary. The finished product will look amazing once it all comes together.
Hopefully these tips will get you started. There really is a lot that goes into building a house, but a good builder will be with you every step of the way. Ask questions and enjoy the process!