Published: Oct 11, 2019 | Updated: Jul 06, 2020

I Want to Build a House! Where Do I Start?

How to navigate the new home building process—for beginner home buyers.

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Building a new home can feel a bit daunting when you first begin to think about it. Especially if you’ve never been a home buyer before. But once you are familiar with the steps you need to take, the entire construction process becomes much more manageable.

9 steps to building a new home

1. Brainstorm and dream with your spouse/partner or family about what you need and want

It will be critical that you are both on board with the plans before you get started. Make sure that neither of you would rather buy an existing home or stay where you are with some home improvements. Both of you will be investing significant time, effort, and money into this dream house. Make sure you are on the same page about wanting to build a new home and that you are ready to act as a team.

Talk through all of the things everyone wants most, the needs of each member of the family, the needs of the pets, and the things that you and your family do not want in a new home. Have a general idea of what architectural style, how many rooms, how many bedrooms, and how many square feet, approximately, your family will need.

2. Examine your financial situation to see if you are ready

Check your credit score and savings account. Is your credit score healthy? Do you have significant savings? Plan to put down, ideally, about 10-20% of the cost of the home as a down-payment. Keep in mind that a 20% down-payment is the magic number where you won’t have to pay PMI every month along with your mortgage payment.

If you have too much debt, or you don’t have enough savings, take a bit of time to pay off debt and build up some savings so that you are ready to have a custom home built.

Or, perhaps you already own a house and you can sell that house and use the profit from it as your down payment on your new dream house. Be sure to include all of the additional costs you will encounter in building a new home, not simply a price per square foot.

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3. Choose a great lot to build on

Some people already have a lot. Others choose a lot on their own with the help of a real estate agent and then find a builder. Some people buy a lot from their builder. Your builder may have a preference, so it may be a good idea to check with them.

Make sure you find a location that is perfect for your family's needs, a view you love, and a neighborhood that is a good fit. Think about the direction of sunlight and how you want different rooms oriented on the property. And think through issues like whether the lot is on a floodplain or how much work may need to be done to get the lot ready for building.

4. Find a reputable custom home builder near you

Building a custom home can be an exciting adventure if you hire the right full-service team. Be sure to choose an expert builder with local building experience who is familiar with your area’s building codes and zoning laws. You want someone who will pay attention to detail and be a perfectionist. Ask to see previous work they have done and ask for references. Make sure they are licensed and in good standing as professionals.

Your trusted home builder in SC can walk you through the building process ahead of time so that you know what to expect. They can help you understand the cost to build the house you desire. They can act as your general contractor and single contact point so that your stress level is much lower.

5. Choose the house plan you want

Another step for building a new home is choosing the design that is best for you. Some people design their own dream home themselves using an app. Others hire their own architect. Still others ask their custom home builder for potential house plan options, which may save a good bit of money compared to hiring an architect. Even if you choose an option from your home builder, you can still customize it so that the floor plan meets your specific needs. 

You get to choose whether you want a concrete slab type of foundation, a crawl space, or a finished basement. You can choose the style of architecture you’d prefer. The sky's the limit with a custom home!

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6. Work with your home builder to decide on materials, finishes, and colors

Once you know what plan you desire, you get to design the finishing touches that will make your home perfect for your family. You get to choose the energy efficiency of your home as you decide on the windows, the insulation, and the roofing material. the shutters, And you also get to be involved in the fun part of selecting every detail inside and outside the home before construction begins to make the home the masterpiece you desire for it to be.

If you'd prefer, you can hire an interior designer to help make these decisions for you. This will take a lot of decisions off of your plate. But it will also give you a professional, put-together look you and your family will love for years to come.

7. Monitor the progress of the home construction

As your home is built, you will want to check in with your builder regularly and walk through the home at certain intervals to make sure that the build is progressing well and to address any concerns or questions you may have. A reputable builder should welcome you examining the progress of the construction.

8. Go through the final home inspection

Once the home is finished, you will go through one final walk through and the builder will have one final inspection by the local inspectors. You will make sure that everything is done to your satisfaction and to code.

You and the inspector will address any problems you find and once you, the builder, and the inspectors are all satisfied, you can close on the house.

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9. Close on your new home and move in!

Meet with your bank and builder to close on your house with your lender. Now you are the proud owner of the home you helped bring into being. This is the best part! You will be ready to move in and enjoy your beautiful new dream home and start creating wonderful memories with your family.

Whatever you decide, we hope you will find the house that is just the right fit for your family at this stage in your life.


Are you ready to build a home in Columbia, SC?

Contact us today and let’s get started on your dream home!

We are a luxury home builder in areas like Blythewood, Forest Acres, downtown Columbia, West Columbia, Pinewood, Lake Murray, Lexington, Irmo, Ballentine, Chapin, and more.

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