9 Steps to Building Your Custom Home

Designing your dream home is just one step in a larger process. It's easy to be overwhelmed - after all, moving to a new home has been designated the 7th most stressful life event one will experience... and that doesn't include most of the steps below. We are here to help make a critical step in the process easier: designing your dream home. 

The following steps will guide you on the path to building your home. These are high-level details, and it's essential to spend time on each step. Some of these can happen on a parallel path as well - it's up to you!

  1. Determine your budget: Before you go down the path of building a house, it's important to determine and feel confident in your budget. Building a home doesn't have to be more expensive than buying one - do your research and you can save a lot of money and time. Your budget should include your "build budget," which is exclusive of your plot of land and any fees or permits that go with it. Check out our post on build cost here.

  2. Find land: It might seem obvious, but an early step in building a house is finding the right land plot to fit your needs. This is called site selection, and it is a key part of the process as your dream home needs to work on the land you decide to build on. It's important to consider physical, environmental, and aesthetic factors, as well as local codes, as you select your site. Read more on tips for site selection here.

  3. Zoning compliance review: There is a local planning board in pretty much every community you might look to live in. These planning boards work with the government to set local zoning ordinances to regulate land use, balancing the needs of homeowners, businesses, and other community priorities. There are three core zoning districts: Residential, Commercial, and Industrial. These districts are divided into sub-districts with different rules depending on the location and needs of the community. These regulations can control everything from the minimum lot size to building height to if the home can be used as a multifamily or even include things like an "in-law" suite on the property. Once you find a property you love, pick up a copy of the zoning map and ordinances at the local town hall or online. Sometimes special exceptions exist - these will be noted and can be applied for and granted by committee. 

  4. Purchase your land: Once you find your unique site, it's time to buy it. Depending on the price, some experts recommend paying in cash. If that's not an option, you will need to secure a land loan. Financing will depend on the land itself. If the land is in the wild and doesn't have immediate access to things like sewage lines, it will be more expensive to finance. Once you agree on a price with the seller, you will sign a land purchase agreement and, ultimately, receive a deed that transfers the land's title from the owner to you.

  5. Design and develop your house plan: This is where we can help you! Designing your future home is a tall order, and while it is a component of getting started, it doesn't have to be stressful. At Boutique Home Plans, we focus on creating a stress-free experience where you provide inspiration and input to the house plan design process. We do the heavy lifting - bringing your vision to life on paper! What's more, we do it all at a fraction of the cost of a traditional architect. Learn more about our custom house plans here.

  6. Finalize your detailed cost-to-build estimate: We will provide you with a cost-to-build estimate as we design your house plan. This number will be a range made up of several considerations.

  7. Get bids from a General Contractor: Once your house plan is complete and signed off on, it's time to get building! A General Contractor will be your partner in coordinating the actual construction of your home in your local area. It is vital to select a General Contractor with knowledge of your local area and regulations, and, ideally, experience constructing the type of home you are building. Since your General Contractor will be an integral part of the process (and a big cost), make sure you get quotes from several companies before making a selection. 

  8. Start building your house: Once you retain a General Contractor, they will guide you through the build process, including everything from laying the foundation to framing the house plan to installing electric, plumbing, and HVAC needs to final finishes. This is usually the longest step in the process. Depending on the complexities of the building and time of year, it can take 6-18 months to build your home.

  9.  Finalize and move in: Finally, the moment you have been waiting for... moving in to your dream home and enjoying the fruits of your labor! This is undoubtedly the most exciting part of building your own home. We encourage you to enjoy the process and make the most of it along the way.

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