Custom Home Construction

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Custom Built Homes

Custom home building has probably been in the back of your mind for a while. If you could design and build your own house, you would make it fit you perfectly. It would be your dream home.

Like many people, you think that “someday” you’ll look for land and a contractor get the process started. Only someday just keeps getting put off as other things get in the way. Plus, you may think that custom home building is harder than it really is.

In reality, building your own home isn’t as hard as you think. Here are some tips to get started.

5 Tips for Getting Started on Custom Home Building

1. Figure Out What You Want

You may have a general sense of what you are looking for in your custom home, but you’ll soon find that you need more than that. You need details. You need to decide on all the big stuff and the tiny nick picky things.

One thing that can really help is to see several custom homes with your own eyes. If you’ve never been to a Tour of Homes event, make plans to go! You’ll tour several homes and you’ll notice different things in the houses you may have never thought of before. You can also meet the contractors who built the homes and ask them questions.

Really nail down how big you want the house, the layout, the style, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, what type of flooring, etc. Every detail from the height of the ceilings to the type of doors to how the walkway looks.

2. Hire a Good General Contractor

A general contractor is the main person in charge of your project. Finding a good one is key. In his book Sawdust to Satisfaction, author and experienced contractor Michael Baum goes through all the details to finding a good contractor for your job. Here are a few main points from his book:

  • Ask for referrals, search online, attend a Tour of Homes, or you’re your local homebuilders’ association for names of possible contractors in your area.
  • Call and meet them in person. Interview them to see if they listen to you and would be a good fit with what you want out of the process.
  • Check out the contractor’s reputation, past projects, BBB rating, licenses, etc.

This process can take some time, but it’s well worth the effort to find a contractor who you can trust and work with on one of the most important projects in your life!

Image of the book Sawdust to Satisfaction: How to Choose the Right General Contractor Every Time!

Read Michael A. Baum's book because it will help you select the right general contractor for your project.

3. Finalize Finances

It’s important to calculate what you can afford to build and how the finances will layout during and after the building process.

Talk about financing with your contractor, who may be able to guide you through some good options.

It’s similar to getting a mortgage loan on an already built house - but, with some other options.

Custom Home Costs

Find out what it really costs for custom home construction. Check-out the Houzz “Real Remodeling Costs” app to discover actual project costs in your area.

4. Get a Strong Building Plan in Place

Many homeowners are anxious to see the ground broken already, but it’s important to be patient. The planning stage is one of the most important parts of the process. Also, you don’t want to be changing your mind a lot after construction starts because that can be expensive and cause delays. So sit down with your contractor, who can help you nail down all the plans you need to get down to make your dream a reality.

Your contractor can help you figure out where to build or which architect to use, unless you already have those things in mind, and all the other nitty gritty things that come with building a new home. As in any business transaction, be sure to get everything in writing so everything is clear.

5. Plan on Being Involved Throughout the Process

Some homeowners take a hands-off approach once building starts, most likely because they’re not sure what they’re supposed to be doing other than waiting. But homeowners should definitely be very involved all the way to the finish line. It’s still your home, even though it’s not finished, so you need to be present as much as possible to oversee that the work is getting done as you want it. So as you get started on the journey, be sure to allow time several times a week, or even every day, to visit the site, talk to your contractor, pick out materials, etc.

Custom home building may seem like a scary process. Perhaps you’ve even heard some horror stories. Thankfully those are few and far between. By and large, homeowners who choose to build would do it again in a heartbeat. They key is to do it right by planning carefully and finding a good contractor to help you through your journey.

Get Started

With all of that in place, you should be ready to start demolition. Expect a few hiccups along the way—a total remodel job never happens without them—but if you’ve planned ahead and are ready for them, you and your contractor can work through them just fine. Read about Michael Baum here.

Call Michael Baum now at (562) 424-2286

Custom Home Construction FAQ

Q: How much does it cost to build a custom home?

A: The cost of building a custom home can vary greatly depending on factors such as location, size, materials, finishes, and complexity of design. On average, you can expect to pay between $100 and $400 per square foot, with more luxurious homes costing even more. It's essential to establish a budget early on and work closely with your builder to ensure you stay within it.

Q: How long does it take to build a custom home?

A: The timeline for building a custom home can range from 10 months to 2 years, depending on factors like complexity, weather, permits, and construction schedules. A well-organized construction team and clear communication can help expedite the process.

Q: What is the process for building a custom home?

A: The process typically involves several steps: finding land, creating a design, obtaining permits, securing financing, choosing a builder, and overseeing construction. Throughout each step, you'll work closely with your builder, architect, and other professionals to ensure your vision comes to life.

Q: Do I need an architect to design my custom home?

A: Hiring an architect can significantly benefit your project. Architects bring expertise in design, functionality, and building codes, helping you create a home that meets your needs and complies with local regulations.

Q: How do I choose the right builder for my custom home?

A: Research builders in your area, check their credentials, read reviews, and ask for references. Interview potential builders to ensure they understand your vision and can communicate effectively. Make sure they have experience with projects similar to yours and are licensed and insured. Here's a helpful resource for choosing the right general contractor every time.

Q: Can I make changes to the design during construction?

A: It's possible to make changes during construction, but it can lead to additional costs and delays. It's best to go ahead and finalize your design before construction begins to ensure the need for changes later on.

Q: What kind of warranty can I expect for my custom home?

A: Warranties vary depending on your builder and location. Typically, you can expect a one-year warranty on workmanship and materials, with extended warranties available for specific components such as appliances, HVAC systems, and roofing.

Q: What permits do I need for building a custom home?

A: Permits depend on your location and the scope of your project. Generally, you'll need a building permit, electrical permit, plumbing permit, and possibly a zoning permit. Your builder or architect can help you navigate the permitting process.

Q: How energy-efficient can I make my custom home?

A: You can make your custom home very energy-efficient by incorporating features like high-performance insulation, energy-efficient windows, solar panels, and Energy Star-rated appliances. Consult with your builder and architect to determine the best energy-saving strategies for your home.

Q: How do I secure financing for my custom home?

A: Securing financing for a custom home often involves obtaining a construction loan, which is a short-term loan that converts into a mortgage once construction is complete. Shop around for the best rates and terms, and consult with your builder or financial advisor for guidance.

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