There are many things to know as you think about building a custom home. Here is a rundown of some things to weigh before you actually start to build a new home...
Define your dream custom home.
Take the time to really think about what you want your dream home to look like. What will best fit your desired lifestyle? What do you hope to accomplish through living in this place?
- What style of architecture appeals to you? Modern, Greek Revival, Federal, ranch, Craftsman, Charleston single, Tidewater style, or something unique and totally customized?
- What rooms are must-haves? Decide how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and living areas you need. Think about a laundry room, playroom, mudroom, dining room, formal living room, and eat-in space for the kitchen. Does your family need an office or study area? Do you need certain accommodations for your pets?
- How many square feet do you need? Your project’s cost is often based per square foot. Your taxes, and electric bill are all greatly affected by the size of your home. Also, look at the size of other homes in the neighborhood. It may be difficult for your house to sell at a favorable price later if it is much bigger and nicer than the others.
- Do you plan to sell the home in a few years? If so, be sure to design a home that is resellable in the future. Keep in mind that the more unique and customized a house is for your specific tastes, the more difficult it can be to find an interested buyer later.
- Consider universal design, especially if you want to stay in your home for a long time. Universal design allows you to “age in place.” It is much easier to address potential accessibility and safety issues in the planning stages than to try to change an existing home later.
- Decide if you are interested in a multi-generational home. Multi-generational homes are becoming increasingly popular. They offer financial savings and allow greater connection and potentially stronger relationships for your family. You can pool resources together to create a joint dream home, if that would work best for your family. Then you can help take care of each other when there are childcare needs or health issues for older family members.
- Think about going green. Some states require a degree of “green” building in their building codes. But you may be interested in investing in a home that will exceed your state and local requirements for energy efficiency. If a green home is important to you, be sure that you choose a home builder who is certified in green building.
- Consider what weather issues might you have to deal with in your area. Think about building a house that can withstand floods, hurricanes, extreme cold/heat, or even earthquakes, depending on where you build. You may decide to try to address some of these issues as you design and build your home.
Select a location.
Will you build on your own lot or buy a lot from your builder? What features of a location are most important to you and your family?
- Proximity to your job/family/existing friends/activities.
- Closeness to businesses and conveniences.
- School district and private schools nearby if you plan to have children who will need to an education outside of the home.
- Size of the property.
- Amount of parking space you will need now and in the future.
- Views - mountains, beach, forest, lake, stream, meadow, city, or neighbors houses.
- Proximity to other homes and how much privacy you and your family prefer.
- Rural/suburban/city lifestyle.
- Needs of pets and animals.
- Access to public transportation, interstates, and airports.
Take stock of your financial situation.
Set a realistic budget. Few things are more stressful than feeling financially strained. You can enjoy a dream home without breaking the bank as you focus on your biggest priorities for your new home.
- Think through all of the different taxes, fees, and expenses before committing to a project.
- Include a fudge factor of 10-15% or more above what you expect the project to cost.
- Start saving money ahead of time.
- Use a house affordability calculator to help you accurately estimate what you can truly afford.
- Speak to a trusted financial counselor who can help you determine a reasonable and realistic budget.
- Get multiple estimates from different banks for mortgage loans to minimize your interest rate.
- Consider what property taxes, insurance, and utilities will cost once the home is built, as well.
Choose a trusted home builder.
This is one of the most important decisions you will make. You’ll want to have the best home builder for your family to help you reach your goals.
- Ask your friends for referrals for home builders they liked.
- Ask questions about the things that matter most to you up front.
- Ask for written information about policies and materials builders will use.
- Speak to clients of the builders you are interested in and ask about customer service, communication, timeliness, and whether the customers’ expectations were met or not.
- Visit homes built by your short list of top builders. Verify that they do quality work.
- Choose a home builder who is familiar with the area and county where you are building, if possible.
- Get to know your potential builder’s philosophy and communication style.
- Ask about the home builder’s contacts and relationships with contractors and vendors.
- Verify that your home builder is transparent and honest.
- Observe whether the home builder responds in a timely fashion to your requests before you sign a contract.
- Choose your specific house and floor plan.
- Your home builder may also have customization house plans you may like.
- Try to make as many decisions as possible ahead of time because if you change plans in the middle of the build, this will often create delays and additional expenses.
Make sure to consider issues with your home such as...
- Square footage.
- Number of stories.
- Number and type of rooms.
- Storage in each room.
- Carport/garage and size.
- Number of and type of fireplaces.
- Architectural features in each room.
- Orientation of the house and various rooms to the landscape, street, and natural sunlight.
Decide on the finishes and details of your home.
The sky’s the limit with a custom home! You can make your house exactly what you want it to be down to the smallest detail. You can choose everything yourself. You can ask your home builder for guidance. Or you could hire an interior designer to help with your home design. Share your decisions and desires clearly with your builder before the build so that everyone can be on the same page. You’ll choose things like:
- Exterior and interior surfaces, materials, trim options, and colors.
- Roofing materials, colors, and skylights.
- Exterior and interior doors, hinges, and doorknobs.
- Type and arrangement of windows and any film or tint.
- Type of insulation for the attic and inside the walls.
- Light fixtures, bathroom/kitchen fixtures, countertops, cabinets, flooring, and appliances.
- Landscaping and light-scaping options.
- Gutters and drainage options.
- Patio, decking, porch, driveway, and/or sidewalk designs and materials.
- Swimming pool or water features.
One day you will get to move into your incredible new home and enjoy all of the hard work you and your building team put into the home building process. How wonderful it will be to start building a new life together in your glorious custom dream home!
Looking for Luxury Home Builders in SC?
Blythe Building Company is honored to serve home buyers in the Midlands of South Carolina. Lee Blythe is a Certified Master Builder with over 15 years of experience building in Lexington, Columbia, Irmo, Ballentine, and the surrounding area. We have over 100 houses under our belts.
If you are looking for a potential custom home builder (Columbia SC area), we invite you to contact us today. We’d love to see if our company might be a wonderful fit for your family’s needs.
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