Following custom home building steps in the process of building your home is the best way to get the home you want. Skipping one step will make the next step precarious. Instead revisit your steps frequently. Keep on dreaming, journaling, exploring and planning continually as you move through the other steps. There are many pitfalls that can be avoided with careful step-by-step planning and close attention to detail. Below is a list of steps you can follow when planning.
It may sound strange, but the very first step is daydreaming. This step should be used continually throughout all the other steps. The purpose of daydreaming is to predict what will be needed.
Visualize walking into your dream home. What do you see around you? Where are the children? What will they be doing? Where will you put your jacket when you come into the door? Where will you sit? Where will your spouse sit?
Imagine yourself cooking a meal in the kitchen. Can you readily access all your supplies and cooking utensils? Where will you keep your pots and pans? Where do you keep your silverware?
Will you be having guests? Imagine an occasion when guests will come into your home. What sort of activities will they engage in? Where will they sit? Will they be helping out in the kitchen? Is the house roomy enough to accommodate your guests in at least most of the situations that might arise in your lifestyle?
Dream of the future, when your children are older and your lifestyle is more settled. How comfortable is your home with young adults, instead of toddlers for example. How would you re-arrange things as they grew? How comfortable will your home be when you and your spouse grow old?
By visualizing each scenario, you will start to form a mental image of what you want. As you journal and explore, your image will become more solid. For now, it is sufficient to daydream and imagine freely. Later as you progress in your plan, you must incorporate your day dreaming skills even more in order to make decisions on the smaller details of your home.
Keep a written and illustrated record of your entire building process. Start by taking notes of important features you invent in your daydreams. As you progress through the other steps, record design ideas, clip illustrations from magazines. Use Google image search to gather ideas and keep them in a computer file. Photograph local homes you like and features in your friend’s homes that you find appealing. Make drawings, collect illustrations and save floor plans.
Later, you will record actual selections in your journal to remember what exactly which materials you picked out. If you do not record your decisions you will forget, and imagine them differently later. Keep a clear record of everything, including color samples and sample material swatches. Samples do not have to fit neatly in a book either. I’ve seen builders give clients a sample brick before. It doesn’t fit in the book, but it certainly helped them to visualize their home.
There are many places to explore when planning to build a home. Explore existing homes in your area. Drive around and explore all the neighborhoods. Look at exteriors of houses and decide which architectural features appeal to you. Go to open houses. Ask a realtor friend to show you some of the homes in your area. Learn who built the homes that you especially like. Learn who built homes you do not like, and avoid those builders. Obtain a list of home builders and contractors in your area. Weed out the ones you are not as fond of. Ask local realtors, home building associations, and local subcontractors which contractors are best? Ask people who have recently built homes, which contractor they used and find out how they like their house.
When exploring, don’t forget to look in the basements of homes you tour, or check the crawl space. Look in the attic if it is at all accessible. Notice the lumber and the quality of construction. What are the wall thicknesses? How well do the moldings fit? Notice how the doors are hung, and if they tend to close well. Notice if they drift when left ajar, and if they seem durable. How easily do the cabinet drawers and doors open and close? Ask yourself if you feel comfortable in the home.
Explore magazines, and get ideas for your home. Explore on line to learn about building processes, look for design options you like. Explore building materials on line, and discover what different types of materials typically cost, how energy efficient they are, and what they look like.
If possible, explore a few home building sites, or at least park near-by and watch the process. Notice how things are done. Find out who the contractor or home builder is. Observing the process of home building, will help you understand what to expect when your own home is built.
Planning is a little different than exploring. Continue to explore, but start making a few tentative decisions about what you really want. Narrow your choices and start making a truly solid plan for kitchen layouts and floor plans. Decide on an architectural style, and move towards an exact floor plan. Decide on materials, and sketch out your home. Draw an elevation, which is a picture of each side of your home, to scale. Draw a floor plan. Make sketches of different rooms, and decide how large rooms need to be in order to accommodate furniture, people, and traffic patterns in the house.
Plan to visit a few of the contractors you really like, and discuss the building plans seriously. Consider school districts and neighborhoods. Decide where you would like to build your house. Making decisions is much easier at home before going to a building contractor. Once there, you may compromise some of the ideas you have in order to economize or because the builder has a better idea, but it is a good idea to have a solid, but not inflexible plan in mind when you visit the contractors.
Once at the home builder or contractor’s office, you will need to explain what you want exactly. Then you and the contractor will completely define the materials, and standards with which your home will be built. Write down exactly what he is offering, as well as the price he gives you. As you visit other contractors, make sure that the standards of building, and the quality and weight of materials is equal in all the quotes. The contractor will ask you to make choices on various materials. Write down all your selections as well as building specifications. Keep a written record of everything you choose.
You will also need to select a lot, and it is important that your home builder assist you in that decision. Selecting a lot requires a level of expertise that is rare in first time home buyers. The home builder will be able to insure that the lot fits your home.
Most people will need to obtain a loan. Your home builder or contractor will pre-qualify you for a loan, and assist you in finding financing. It is important that you be completely truthful with your home builder when pre-qualifying for a home loan. Financing your home will be a financial strain, but to keep that strain minimal, it is best to borrow less than the maximum amount you can afford, even if it means cutting down the scale of your dream home a little. In general, payments can be about 33% of your income. For a bit more comfort, go with 25% if you possibly can. That way one paycheck a month goes to the house payment. This is a lot more manageable for most families.
Your home builder or contractor will actually build your home. In most cases, you will not actually have to do anything, but it is a good idea to take an active roll. Your contractor and sub-contractor should be accustomed to seeing you visit several times a week.
Quietly keep an eye on what materials are being used, and if the standards agreed on by your home builder or contractor are being followed. If you see something you don’t understand, politely ask questions. Don’t be a pest, but do check on the progress of your home frequently, especially during the stages where walls are being put up. Make sure you see the entire home framed, before the walls go up. Framing is very important, so make sure the quality is to the standards of the building codes, and exactly what you specified.
Once the process is complete you will be able to move in and enjoy a home that is truly of your design, and which meets all the standards you specified. By actively engaging in the building process, you have become a real part of this home. Your home builder or building contractor will respect you if you have been kind and polite, and had sensible discussions with him about progress. This is the best way to get a great house. If you follow the custom home building steps, there should be no disappointment and no nasty surprises after you move in.