Is your vision of your dream home filled with ideas you simply never see in resale or new models? Maybe you want an indoor pool, or home dance studio. Maybe you want a huge yard with a putting green and swim spa. Maybe you crave a basement with a game room and home theater. The list goes on and on. Rarely, if ever, do you see these amenities in builder’s production homes. That means, to achieve your dream you must build it yourself. Before you drop everything and buy the first vacant land you see, and hire the first builder and architect you meet with, take the time to research and plan effectively. Custom home building is not an area for impulse decisions.
This series of articles will cover the key aspects of custom building, letting you know what to expect when you choose to build a custom home. First though, an overview of the process will be helpful. This introductory piece will briefly cover several key factors, which later articles will expand upon in detail.
PREPARE YOUR FINANCES
First and most important, you must determine how much you will spend on your new home. A custom home can be no more expensive to build than a new or resale home, but ultimately the final price is based on a few important variables: land, design and construction, and materials.
Financing a custom home can require a construction loan, which is something not all lenders offer. Also, construction loans can be considered risky, so financiers often require very good credit and a down payment of 20-25%. They can also demand cash reserves are in place in case the project exceeds its original budget. This is where it pays to shop around. Not all lenders have the same restrictions. Find the right lender for your project and you will be saving yourself both money and countless headaches along the way.
MEET WITH ARCHITECTS AND BUILDERS
You may have a strong idea of what you want your home to be like, which is good. Experienced architects and builders can make that idea a reality. Get involved with local architects. Discover who designed and built the homes you admire. Interview likely candidates and review their portfolio. Always ask for references, and make sure they are licensed and bonded.
Some buyers choose the architect first and then the builder, some vice versa. There is no one right way. Also, consider design/build firms which can offer both services under the same roof. Whatever you decide, the important thing is to be familiar with the people you are working with and have confidence in their ability to realize your vision.
Finally, before making any final decisions about your design and build team, ask candidates to tour some of their past and current projects. This could be the best determiner for you because you will see how they work and what their finished product look like. Remember that this is not a race, take your time and make the best decision for you and your needs.
PLAN FOR YOUR LAND
Do you already own the lot you will be building upon, or are you still searching for that just right location? If you do own the land, meet all prospective architects and builders at the land to discuss initial ideas and possible issues. For example, extensive pre-construction work may be needed to grade, run utilities, and secure building approvals. The more information you can give your design and build team the better. Meticulous up-front planning will save you both time and money, so prepare accordingly.
If you do not already own the land, your design and build team might be able to help. They may be familiar with locations that you are not, or they can refer you to Realtors with experience helping other buyers find that just right location. Just as before, do not rush into anything. Find the perfect location and you will love your home for years and years to come.
WHAT ABOUT THE NEIGHBORHOOD?
This may seem like more about finding the right land, but it is not. This is about the neighborhood your lot resides in, and the surrounding area. Is the location you chose gentrifying? Are the schools on the decline? What about crime? This is where a Realtor will be very helpful. They know their local community and neighborhoods, and can help you plan long term. You may think you will live in your custom home forever, but that is not always the case. You may choose to build another home, or retire in a different community. You may stay forever, but still should be concerned about passing a strong asset on to the next generation. Long-term planning is the smart way to build.
The neighborhood you choose will have a big impact on the future value of your home. Do not let a declining neighborhood ruin the value of your dream home. Buying land in exclusive developments is one way to protect your investment. Guard-gated, master-planned communities are a good choice because they have associations in place to protect property values by providing community maintenance and owner comfort and safety. Whatever your choice, make sure the long-term value of your home is safe by building in newer, upscale neighborhoods.
PREVENT COSTLY DELAYS AND OVER-LONG BUILD TIMES
Proper planning may have been mentioned a time or two so far, but it cannot be repeated enough. From the foundation pad to the final decorative touch, meticulous pre-planning will avoid costly delays during construction. Every detail should be in place before you break ground. That means every bit of flooring, every sink and faucet, every light switch and electrical outlet. The more items that are prearranged, the easier the build process will be on you and your wallet.
Builds that run long or go over budget are often due to improper planning on the part of the owner, architect, or builder. Major costs are incurred when something needs to be rush ordered, or even worse, ripped out and redone. Do not let this happen to you. Start with the right plan and you will succeed!
Finally, make sure you are aware of all local regulations governing your land and custom build. This is where an experienced and reputable design and build team can be very helpful. Having done this before, they anticipate such restrictions and know how to file for the proper permissions.
Some consider this the most fun part of the process. A new home is a blank canvas, waiting for the brush that is your inspiration. Whether you choose to hire a professional designer, or plan to furnish the home yourself, make the most of the experience with effective organization. Work with the whole home in mind. Room by room, and space by space, you should have a strong idea of the layout and flow. Bring sample build materials when you shop (stone, wood, paint, etc.) and request samples in return. If possible, secure all appliances from the same source, as well as furnishings. Work with your architect and builder, who may receive discounts or incentives.
If you choose to use a designer, select them just as you did your architect and builder. Interview candidates, review portfolios, and look at their past and current work. Remember also that you will be working with your design and build team under stressful situations with looming deadlines. Make sure you choose people based on compatibility as well as performance. If the best builder in the city is impossible to get along with, find the second best. Surround yourself with people with similar passions, even temperaments, and whom you trust to get the most out of the experience.
ASCAYA’S collection of more than three hundred custom lots climbs three-thousand feet into the scenic McCullough Range. Home to the most breath-taking views of the Las Vegas valley and Strip, these are among the most unique home sites in the country. This upscale guard-gated community will be home to some of the world’s finest desert-contemporary architecture and design, and offer an unparalleled luxury-living experience.
ASCAYA anticipated everything, from financing, to the build-ready lots with pre-run utilities, to the exciting Inspiration Room. Filled with design and architecture books and journals, this room is open to owners and their design teams. Here you can research, collaborate, and create your custom dream home. These services combine to offer the most forward-thinking and trouble-free way to custom build.
ASCAYA’S sales concierge is ready to assist in any way. These knowledgeable agents will help you through the process, and make you feel at ease. Tour the astounding lots and learn about the amazing Clubhouse and owner amenities waiting for you at ASCAYA.
DO NOT FEEL OVERWHELMED
While it may seem like a lot to take in at first, building your own custom home can be a very enjoyable and rewarding experience. Informing yourself about the process will make all the difference. Do you remember how good it felt buying your first new home? Now imagine how great it will feel to build your own custom dream home.
This is just a brief look at some of the larger aspects of building a custom home. As this series progresses we will examine these individual topics in much greater detail. Stay tuned for the next installment.