Building A New Home On Your Own Lot: What You Need To Know
Before deciding to build a home on your own lot, take our advice on how to choose a homebuilder to help ensure you don’t overlook anything critical.
Building a home on your own land can be one of the most satisfying experiences of your life — as long as you’re prepared. There are a lot of variables to consider, and you’ll need the help of professionals to ensure you don’t overlook the important details before breaking ground.
HIRE A HOMEBUILDER EARLY IN THE PROCESS
Our biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to build on their own lot is to consult a builder before buying land. Choosing to involve your builder early on in your decision-making has the potential to save you time, and a lot of money in the long-run.
Your home builder will not only help you determine the best placement of the home, but also whether or not you should build on a particular lot at all. You see, it’s easy to get swept up in the vision of your future home on an attractive piece of land, but there’s always a chance there are problems you don’t see right away – more on that a little later.
CHOOSING A BUILD-ON-YOUR-LOT HOMEBUILDER
There’s a lot of work that goes into choosing a trustworthy homebuilder, especially when you want to build on your own lot.
You need to look for a local team with visible experience in build-on-your-lot projects. These teams are more likely to keep your build on budget as well as bring a critical understanding of zoning laws, restrictions, and easements. Hiring locally is especially important if you’re planning to build in a rural area, where the rules are more than likely different than in-city.
What to look for in a builder:
- Experience – Do they do a lot of build-on-your-own-lot projects? Take time to ask for a reference or two and talk to them about their experiences.
- Floorplans – If you’re going to purchase your own lot first, it might be in your best interest, financially, to work with your builder to choose a floorplan they’ve done before, or customize any of their existing designs. The important thing to look for is options – do they have them, and are they flexible in delivering what you want?
- Purchasing-Power – A homebuilder with good connections is more likely to get you a competitive price on building materials, especially if you’re using one of their floorplans.
Starting with the initial inspection of your lot, your builder should be transparent and up-front about all the things that’ll have to happen BEFORE construction on your home begins. Things like removing earth, bringing dirt in, building a driveway or special foundation work should be discussed and factored into your project’s overall budget.
Tender documents and contracts
Tender documents must clearly identify any sustainability practices or materials certification requirements that are different from business as usual. Attach schedules to the tender documents that tenderers are required to sign.
Allaying builder concerns about the unfamiliar aspects of sustainable practice can reduce the amount they allow for unknown contingencies.
Areas of unknown risk can be accommodated through contingency sums or allowances that can be called on to cover unexpected costs. They are often used to cover unexpected subsoil and foundation related costs; increasingly they are being used to provide flexibility in choosing innovative sustainable technologies and practices.
Prime cost schedules
Another way to overcome risk aversion on the part of the builder is to ‘nominate’ subcontractors to supply and install innovative technologies and provide the builder with a ‘schedule of allowances’ (or ‘prime cost schedule’) to include in the tender.
Many designers choose and specify the exact make and model of important or high cost items such as windows and doors, solar hot water systems, smart metering and energy control systems, and on-site renewable energy generation. You or your designer can have these items quoted by preferred suppliers and nominated in the contract as prime cost schedule items to avoid substitution of inappropriate or substandard products by competitive tenderers.
SCHEDULE THE FIRST MEETING
Now that you’ve chosen a home builder you want to work with, it’s time to meet with them. The goal of your first meeting should be to establish exactly what styles & customizations you want.
If you already know what floorplans you’re interested in, you can arrive at the meeting ready to discuss these details:
- Foundation Types: With Reinbrecht, you have three options for your foundation: a slab, basement, or crawlspace. This decision can weigh on your budget and speed of the build.
- Interior Finishes: Floorcovering, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, plumbing fixtures, fireplaces, and trim packages are all interior finishes that will need to be specified by your preferences.
- Exterior Finishes: Doors, windows, roofing, brick/vinyl/stone, and decks/porches/patios are exterior factors that you’ll need selections for.
- Extras & Upgrades: Are you interested in upgrades like fireplaces, smart home technology, and crown molding?
If you don’t have your house plans, don’t worry. Refer back to your list of home necessities to help answer your home builder’s questions on your size, design, and budget needs. Your home builder will help you choose and customize a design that fits those needs from their library of available plans.
Discover How Long it Takes to Build on Your Lot
Building a new home takes four to six months if your home builder has already built your floor plan, but it can take significantly longer if you’re having a completely new design built or if you’re asking for extensive customization. So, if you have a specific time frame for moving, you’re likely to be better off with a semi-custom design rather than a completely custom-designed home.
“If you’re adding space to the house, we can usually turn that around quickly, but something more complicated could take a week or two to price out,” says Schumacher. “We average 122 days from putting in the foundation to finishing our houses, but bigger homes take a little longer.”
Homes builds modular homes, which can be faster to build, as well as less costly than other new homes. The parts are built off-site while the foundation for the home is under construction. Once the parts are delivered, says Rutherford, construction takes 45 to 60 days.
Experts and Professionals You Need for Home Building
Every one of us has that desire to own a house. But not all of us are able to attain such desire because of the lack of resources and money to spend for it. That is why, once we are able to save money for house construction, we would make sure that not a single cent will be wasted. You will be assured that all your savings will grow into a beautiful and cozy house if you pick the right people to work on your home’s building.
Do you know who these people are? We will be giving you a list of those people who can aid you with the construction. Do not just pick anyone who appears to know everything because that person might only need your money. So, before you hire people, know what kind of experts and professionals are really needed for house construction. Tap these people when you are ready to build your dream house:
Prior to the construction of your home, you would need an Architect to help you with the design. It would be hard to construct without a guide. That is why Architects are important for they are the ones who will design your house. Aside from the exterior design, they will also help you make good use of your existing space ensuring that there will be good traffic, function and accessibility to the entire home. You can also let the Architects know what you want for a home so that they can design something that would suit your taste. The Architects will provide you the blueprints of your home’s design.
- Civil Engineers.
While the Architects are dealing with the design, the Civil Engineers look into the structure of your house. They review the plans if it meets local building codes and check if it is structurally sound. Civil Engineers make sure that your house won’t collapse by checking on the foundation and the materials that you will be using. Engineers will be visiting your construction site from time to time to check if they follow the provisions in attaining a durable and stable house.
- Electrical Engineers.
Of course, you will be using electricity in your house. You cannot just let anyone do this because the arrangement and distribution of wires and other electrical items are crucial. You do not want to have a fire in your home due to faulty wirings. You will be seeing Electricians a lot of times during the construction. In the framing stage, they would be preparing the wires and boxes. After the drywall is done, they will now place the cover plates and other items to these boxes. Once that is done, they will be testing the electrical system to make sure it works well.
- Master Plumber.
Plumbers deal with water lines, sinks, faucets, drain lines and even gas lines for your cooking equipment. They would help you to have a good water and sewerage system in your house. Plumbers work on your kitchen and bathroom and other area where you need water and drainage.
Contractors are those people who are in charge of building the house. They are the ones who deal with other persons to work on the building. Most of the time, contractors have many crews that are knowledgeable of the construction process. Contractors are the ones who spend a majority of time taking care of the construction, watches laborers and workers on the site and supervise the work. So, make sure to choose a good contractor.