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Before You Build: 5 Steps to Planning Your New Home
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, September 24, 2008 • Posted September 23, 2008 10:00 PM

When building a house, ideally, the weather will be perfect, all the materials will arrive on time and intact, and the trades people will be ready and on time. Unfortunately this is a very rare occasion. The weather could take a turn for the worse, materials could be late or items missing, the electrician could be held up at another job, or any number of things could go wrong. The point is that building a house can be a chaotic event.

What we have attempted to do is give you a 5 step guide to building a house and some idea what each step involves. While certain things must happen before others, like the foundation goes in before the roof, other things may be completed in a different order without creating many problems. It’s best to hire a professional to coordinate and keep your home on track.

Building a new home begins long before the foundation is poured. To avoid costly mistakes during the construction process, start with these five important steps. This is not a complete step by step building plan, only a simple guideline to get you started.

1. Plan Your Budget

Begin now to think about how much you can afford to spend and how much building your new home is likely to cost. Chances are you will need a construction loan and a mortgage. It's not too early to find out what size loan you qualify for. Also, knowing the approximate costs will help you modify your building plans to meet your budget.

Meet with builders who construct houses that are similar in size, quality, and features to the home you want. Builders will tell you how much per square foot they usually charge for home construction. They can also give you a ballpark idea of what your dream home might cost. However, it is important to know exactly what is included in the price. If you ask, some builders will provide you a list showing the materials they will use. The most expensive areas in a home are usually the bathrooms and the kitchen. The number of windows and the size and quality of windows can also affect the cost. Vaulted ceilings and high roof pitches can increase the cost of a home. Small details in the design of your home can make a big difference in the price.

2. Choose Your Lot or Land

Whether you are building your home in a suburban development or a site with sweeping hill country views, you will almost always need to choose the land before you select floor plans or other details. You (and any pros you hire) will need to investigate factors such as soil condition, drainage, zoning and building codes in the region. You can always design a home to suit a landscape, but you may not be able to alter a landscape to accommodate the specifications of predetermined house plans. The configuration of rooms, the placement of windows, the location of the driveway and many other design elements will be affected by the land you build on.

3. Line Up Your Team

You will need a team of experts to design and construct your house. Key players will include a builder, an excavator, a surveyor and a home designer or an architect. Many homeowners begin by selecting the builder or contractor. That pro then selects other members of the team. However, you may also opt to hire an architect or designer first (Check with your builder on these. They might be able to assist you or have them on their team). It is very important to make sure your Builder is licensed and insured, check on the TRCC site or call (877) 651-TRCC.

4. Pick A Plan

Many new homes are built using stock plans from a catalog. The builder or a home designer may make minor modifications in room size, window style or other details. A custom-designed home, on the other hand, is created specifically for the family which will live there. In some cases, custom-designed homes require the services of a licensed architect (check with your builder). Whether you opt for a stock or a custom design, you will be wise to choose a plan that will meet your needs for many years to come. Choose a plan that fits the characteristics of your land. It can be very expensive to haul in dirt or grade a lot to make it suitable for a plan. It's better to make the house fit the land rather than try to make the land fit the house. Also, the size and shape of your lot affects the type of home you can build on the lot. Blueprints Can Be Changed - Almost everyone who buys stock blueprints makes changes to them. Try to find something close to what you want and make changes to suit your needs.

5. Negotiate A Contract

Be sure to get a written contract which has been signed and dated by both the builder or contractor and the architect or designer. A contract for new home construction will describe the project in detail and include a listing of all the parts to be included in the house. Remember to amend the contract if you or your team makes any changes to the project later on. Make sure to include: The starting and completion dates; Information on how and when you must pay; Any warranties and guarantees of workmanship. Read the entire contract carefully. Ask questions.

Information taken from ABOUT.COM Architecture

For additional Help, Information, or Services contact Debbie at (830) 833-4249 or .

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