If you have your eyes on a particular piece of land, want to build in an established neighborhood, already have a set of floorplans, or want to be heavily involved in each step of your home’s design, then consider a custom home. The good news when working with a custom home builder? When building a new home, your choices are nearly unlimited; the main restrictions are your budget and any building code or zoning limitations. If you find that freedom to create a home from a blank sheet of paper to be exciting, then building a custom home is likely for you.
Once you select a custom builder, you can supply your own floorplan or work with an architect to design a home from scratch. Be prepared to select custom woodwork and to select nearly any type of appliance, flooring and cabinet.
As a custom home buyer you can select most details of your home. You can work closely with the architect and custom home builder to site your home and to design a floorplan that works around existing trees on your land and that places your windows to take advantage of the best views.
The good news when working with a custom home builder? When building a new home, your choices are nearly unlimited; the main restrictions are your budget and any building code or zoning limitations. If you find that freedom to create a home from a blank sheet of paper to be exciting, then building a custom home is likely for you.
The key to working with a custom builder is to establish a realistic budget and to stick to it, even when you’re enticed by a lovely but higher-cost option. While most buyers realize that additional customization will increase the home’s price, unexpected land-related costs can take you by surprise, so it pays to do your homework.
At one end of the scale, you may hold the deed to a flat suburban lot with in-ground utilities already available at the curb. Such a finished lot is ready to build on.
On the other hand, you may be considering wooded, rural or steep hillside property. While such
is no doubt scenic, the upfront costs of preparing previously undeveloped rural land for construction is typically a significant additional cost in addition to the purchase price of the land. Site prep – building a driveway, bringing in water, electric and sewage lines, and excavating the foundation – can be quite expensive. Your custom home builder and architect can help you estimate those costs, too.
Even if you’re building on already developed land, you and your architect and custom home builder need to carefully research zoning or deed restrictions. For example, you may be required to site your home on particular part of the lot and to keep all structures a certain distance from the property line – leaving insufficient room for that three-car garage you want. To avoid surprises, have an attorney clarify all restrictions and get estimates on site work (either via the custom home builder or on your own) before completing a land purchase.
Because the process of building a custom home is, not surprisingly, truly customized, you’ll typically spends a lot more time designing and constructing your new home than you would if you work with a production builder.
During each stage of design, you’ll have a very wide range of choices to make your home truly unique. Given the many choices involved, it’s not unusual for custom home buyers to experience a few more emotional ups and downs than a production home buyer may experience in their new home journey. That said, knowing what to expect at each stage – and especially what choices you’ll make and when – can make your custom home process smooth and result in the home you've always dreamed about.