Building your own home on your own land is a dream for many, but the process may seem complicated and daunting. If you want to build a house, you’ll need to be well-prepared first. At True Built Home, we have worked with numerous clients throughout the process of building their new home–from going over floor plans to putting the last finishing touches on their kitchen cabinets and doors. We hope this guide will include everything you’ll need to know about building a home.
Build Home on Your Land
Choosing a Piece of Land to Build Your Home
Maybe you already own a piece of land, in which case we can work with what you’ve got. For many people, however, shopping for the right plot of land is one of the most important steps in the journey towards their new dream home. You may choose many things after you’ve built your house–your furniture and decor, your landscaping–but not the location of your property!
Deciding where to buy land is a highly personal decision, and it depends upon your individual needs. Do you want to find a remote rural location, or would you prefer the convenience that comes with a suburban lot? Does your dream property fit into your budget? It’s better to think these things through early in the process of looking for land.
How Do You Calculate How Much Land I’ll Need for My House?
Unless you plan to buy a large piece of rural land, you’ll probably have to think about the land-to-building ratio, or in layman’s terms: What percentage of your lot will your house take up? Many times, your local municipality will determine that. For more precise numbers, you’ll have to check local building regulations in the area where you plan to buy land. Different areas may have varying regulations about what percentage of the lot a house can occupy.
Once you have acquired your land, then we can get started on the home building process.
While the House Is Being Constructed, Where Will I Live?
Be sure to consider and make arrangements for where you will live while your new home is under construction, and even accounting for unexpected delays. If you are renting, will you be able to continue doing so without exceeding your budget? If you’ll be staying with family members, will they be able to accommodate you until you can move into your new house? In some cases, you may be allowed to stay on your land in a temporary dwelling like a mobile home or yurt.
Typically, it could take up to 9 months (we estimate roughly 270 days or more) to build a new house on a ready-to-build lot, from foundation to finishing touches, although several factors may influence the length of the project, such as utility hookups, weather, road access, scheduling, and other variables. With any type of construction, it’s good to keep a flexible outlook because there are so many moving pieces.
What Licenses and Permits Will I Need to Build a House on My Own Land?
The necessary licenses and permits will depend on your local building regulations, so check with the relevant authorities and be sure to comply with all the requirements to the letter. You don’t want to face penalties for failing to obtain the required permits. When you look for a home builder, choose one that has plenty of experience building in compliance with the local codes.
When you use a reliable local home builder like True Built Home, our in-house design team will plan for your local building requirements, along with taking into consideration other factors, such as snow load or wind zones.
Why Do I Need to Follow Building Codes?
To put it simply, you need to follow building codes because you want your project to be free of problems. Avoiding penalties is just one consideration. Following all health and safety standards when building a new home will give you peace of mind and also help if you wanted to sell your property in the future. When you contract with a reputable builder like True Built Home, you will not need to worry, since we ensure that your house follows all building codes.
How Do I Get a Certified Copy of a Proposed Zoning Map or Zoning Text Amendment?
Generally, you would need to contact someone in your local Land Use division. Make sure you follow instructions precisely when submitting any applications.
Hire a Home Builder Early in the Process
Once you have your land, you’ll need to find a construction company that will help you with the process of building a home. You might see many home builders in your area from which you can choose, so let’s examine what you should look for in the builder you hire.
What Do I Look for in a Builder?
Excellent recommendations are always a powerful deciding factor in choosing a builder, but you should also trust your own impression as you make a choice. You want a builder who is honest, transparent, accessible, and focused on you and your needs. And you want no surprises. When you build a house, you need to know precisely what you’ll get.
Here are a few specific considerations you’ll want to take into account:
First, you want to hire a contractor with plenty of experience: one who knows how to build homes efficiently, who has a skilled team, and who knows what building materials are the best. Don’t just settle for what you see in a model home–many times you will see upgrades that aren’t included in your home as standard features. You might ask to see sample homes this company has constructed so you can get a better feel for its work and estimate whether this construction company would be right for you. You can also ask for testimonials from their past clients so that you know what to expect.
Second, look for a construction company that offers a variety of floor plans and design options to accommodate your vision. Moreover, a conscientious home builder will give you solid, realistic advice on design, giving input on what really suits your needs, not just what you like.
At True Built Home, our pre-designed homes are highly versatile and come in almost any number of square feet, from just under 500 to over 3,500. Whether you envision your family in a rambler ranch home or prefer a compact two-story house, you are sure to find what you like with us. Plus, all of our home plans can be customized. Our in-house design team can work with you to build the home you want.
A trustworthy home builder will be transparent with you as the two (or more) of you sit down to discuss your budget and decide on a floor plan. You should expect to receive an honest price estimate per square foot and a detailed account of any factors that might influence costs.
Don’t base your decision solely on the cheapest cost per square foot price. If you’re trying to use cost per square foot as a means of comparing estimates between home builders, you might be comparing apples to oranges. Do you know all of the costs and materials that each builder includes in their pricing?
The design of a home, such as its size and shape, obviously influences construction costs. However, the cost per square foot for a new home is even more greatly impacted by the construction quality, grade of materials, and level of interior finishing of the home. This involves the quality of the cabinetry, countertop material, plumbing fixtures and finishes, lighting, flooring, and HVAC systems, as well as the level of molding and trim, the grade of siding and roofing products, the number and efficiency of the windows and doors and the extent of energy-efficient features included. Make sure you know what standard features are included in the pricing.
Remember, cost per square foot is only useful when you know everything included in the builder’s cost. Be sure to consider all the costs associated with how you want your house finished, not just built. True Built Home will give you an accurate quote based on your build location and any customizations that you want to make.
At True Built Home, we build pre-designed, fully customizable, high-quality homes. The building phase is when concept and creation merge, resulting in your new home. Building your new home is an exciting and important endeavor, and True Built Home wants the process to be as smooth and enjoyable as possible. That is why we provide each of our clients with access to a secure website with all of the details of their new home.
Our state-of-the-art platform allows you to access your plans, documentation and photos, selections and messaging with the production team. The sophisticated, yet easy-to-use portal is where you will see your home project from start to finish, along with calendar events for all parties involved. For example, if the framer completed the job quicker than expected, then, with a click of a button, your Project Manager can easily adjust the schedule. You can stay up-to-date with an app, or through text and email.
Depending on the lot type, location, home layout, and custom features, each structure has a unique building time. We will keep in touch with you throughout all the stages of the construction process, including:
- Site preparation and excavation
- Rough-in mechanicals: plumbing, wiring, and ductwork
- Exterior finish: siding, gutters, soffits, etc
- Insulation and drywall
- Carpentry and painting, interior doors and woodwork, cabinets, and countertops
- Flooring, carpeting, finishing touches, lighting, and plumbing fixtures
- A walk-through tour of your new home
How Do I Estimate My Budget When Building My Own House?
Budget is one of the first things you’ll need to consider when you make plans to build a house. It will include the floor-plan costs and any upgraded features or customizations that you might like to include.
Construction costs will vary significantly among home builders. A basic rule of thumb, however, is that the more customizable features you opt for and add-on to the basic floor plan, the higher the price will go. Depending on the choices you make, you can expect to pay anywhere from $100 to $200 per square foot. Rambler or ranch-style houses may cost slightly more than two-story houses because they require more foundation and roofing materials.
One thing to consider is that adding some upgrades or customizations that you really want to your home are really not that expensive when you consider it over the course of your mortgage loan.
You can count on a lower budget if you work with a design-build construction company, compared to hiring a separate architect and interior designer. But make sure you understand what the price includes and how much any upgrades would cost.
Building a home is a major expense, and often people, especially first-time buyers, won’t be able to pay out of pocket and will need a loan. If you takeout a loan, you’ll need to anticipate paying between 15% and 20% more than your initial estimate for contingencies.
If You Must Pay Off a Loan, Consider Your Lifestyle Preferences
When you take out a loan for your home, you’ll need a plan to pay it off. It might be tempting to think you will tighten your belt and pay a house loan off quickly, but consider your lifestyle and how much you would be willing to give up, at least temporarily, to be debt-free. Think of things such as:
- Your average monthly expenses: food, utilities, gas, and vehicle expenses
- Your lifestyle habits: vacations, coffee, eating out, etc.
- Subscriptions: cable, Netflix, data plans
Add a margin for unexpected expenses and then sit down and calculate how much you would be able to reasonably pay back each month, and how much time it would take you to repay the loan in full. This will help you choose whether you can purchase a larger home design or a more affordable option.
Preparing for Unforeseen Costs
When you set a budget for building your new home, always leave a safety cushion. Some things may cost more than you initially expected that they would. You may find out that you need a longer driveway than usual, a well, or a septic tank. Maybe your lot will require extra, unforeseen work, such as tree removal before it is ready to build upon. When building the home, you might decide on some luxury upgrades along the way–or opt to use more energy-efficient materials in your home construction, which may increase costs. Costs for concrete and lumber can fluctuate before you finalize your plans to build, so make sure you budget for those contingencies.
Why Choose True Built Home?
If you search “homes to build Pacific Northwest,” you’ll see a long list of home builders. So what makes True Built Home stand out?
Since 2008, numerous clients in the Pacific Northwest have entrusted True Built Homes with their dream home project. When you work with us as your home builder, you know exactly what you will get. We operate with transparency in everything, always striving to build better-quality homes and give you the best value for your money. Our motto is that we want to build a home that you want to live in, and we make sure that we use high-quality brands and materials in our homes. We tell you exactly what is, and what isn’t included in our Standard Features. Our in-house designers will help you decide on one of our customizable floor plans, and our proficient home builder team will execute the project on your lot from start to finish.
When we build a house, our first priority is your satisfaction–we want you to fall in love with your new home and enjoy it for many years to come. For this reason, we use non-combustible, moisture-resistant Hardie Cemplank siding, Mohawk flooring, Moen faucets, Aristokraft cabinets, and many other high-quality building materials for your home.
At True Built Home, we believe in keeping the client involved in every stage of the work. With our state-of-the-art construction software, you will have access to all the details of your new home, at all times. You will be able to get updates and progress on your home whenever you wish, look at pictures, review decisions, and communicate with the design and construction team from any smartphone, tablet, or computer.
At True Built Home, we are always happy to answer any questions you might have. We are eager to help you build the home you envision! Contact us for a free initial consultation and estimate, and we can start building for your future, today!