Pandemic or not, custom homes are maintaining their appeal with buyers in the US. In the first quarter of 2021, there were a total of 36,000 custom building starts according to Census Data from the Quarterly Starts and Completions by Purpose and Design.
It’s a dream for many to create a highly personalized home, but the time, money, and mental space it demands can turn that dream into a nightmare. That is, unless the vision is well-planned from the start.
If you’re thinking about building a custom home but not sure how to get there, check our list for tips on building a home that’s 100% your idea.
In this stage it’s very much your job to dream—and dream big. Dream it, then start scaling back so you can categorize your dreams, needs, wants, and don’t wants. What's most important to you? Get visual on Pinterest.
It helps to mentally walk through each room of your current home. What’s working? What drives you nuts? Then start thinking of ways to improve with your future home, including:
What's your range? Once that’s set, add about 10% for unexpected costs. It’s not if, but when these will arise. If there aren’t additional funds to keep things moving, you’ll be adding more time and money to the original plan.
Also be sure to have your hard and soft costs accounted for. Hard costs are those associated with physical building construction, while soft costs are intangible, and typically associated with the planning, permitting, and financing.
Some budget items to consider:
You’ve got a vision and the beginnings of a plan, now comes the task of making a timeline so everyone has a goal in mind and a basic understanding of what’s ahead. Since custom homes are just that, custom, there’s no set timeline but a rough estimate is six months (unlikely) to two years (more likely). Here’s a starting point for your plan:
Pre-construction: 9-12 months
Construction: 12 months give or take
Do you have your lot already? Congratulations!
Still looking? Consider doing a site analysis with an architect before you buy to help you assess the possibilities including light and elevation. Here are some other factors to consider:
Last and most certainly not least is choosing your team of professionals. This group will either get you to the finish line with little friction or set you and the project back. Nothing is perfect but feeling good about who you hire should be the No. 1 priority, not cost.
Go with that gut feeling and remember that trust is everything. Here are some tips for finding the right professionals, including contractors, architects, engineers, electricians, drafters, and plumbers.
This post contains a lot of info, but it’s designed to help, not hinder the process. Get everything in line and you’ll be ahead of the game. Here are some final items to keep in mind.