What to Know About Building a Custom Home

If you’re thinking about building a custom home instead of purchasing an existing property, there are many factors to take into consideration before you pull the trigger. You’ll want to carefully plan every detail, including how to find the right builder, understanding the timeline of a new construction project, when to put your current home on the market, and where you can stay if you need temporary housing to fill the gap.

Choosing the Right Home Builder

Architect Shaking Hands

The most important step when buying a custom-built home is deciding which builder to trust with the process. This decision will impact total cost, amount of customization options, construction time-frame, and your overall stress level. Below are some helpful tips that will ensure you find the best building company to construct your dream home.

Know What Home Features You Want

Start by planning out what you want in your home. Create a list of ideas before you seek estimates from builders. You’ll get a more accurate estimate if you can be very specific about what you want to include in your home and what materials you want to use. Even larger details like the size, type, and price range of home you want can narrow down which builders to consider.

Seek Trustworthy References

Ask friends, relatives, or co-workers who have opted for custom homes and gather all the information you can. Or talk to people in your neighborhood or employees of local hardware stores if you don’t know anyone with a custom home. Many builders will share customer referrals as well.

Interview Multiple Builders

Even if you personally know someone in the home building industry, it’s best to interview several builders for your upcoming project. Talk to at least three builders so you can compare bids and also learn more about the overall process. The more options you have in front of you, the better. Also, be sure to look beyond the bottom line and compare overall quality, experience, and reliability between potential builders. Sometimes, it’s worth it to spend a little bit more for a smoother and more stress-free experience.

Understanding the Custom Home Timeline

Before finalizing your decision, you’ll want to have a good understanding of the time it takes to build a custom home. The National Association of Home Builders found that the average completion time of a single-family house is around seven months, which includes about 25 days from authorization to the start of construction. But this is only the average, so your home could take longer to build based on factors like where you live and what kind of house you’re building.

Construction Delays Happen

As carefully planned as new home build projects are, some aspects can still be a bit unpredictable. Delays are often unavoidable, so it’s important to understand and plan for flexibility in your construction timeline.

The most common delays are due to unfavorable weather. For example, rain puts a stop to most building before a roof is installed, especially concrete work, which needs time to cure. Also, extreme temperatures can be unsafe for workers and could even damage certain materials used to build your home.

Your builder should have a more precise estimate of how long your new home will take to construct. Just be sure to plan for potential delays in the process, as these are common with new construction projects.

Custom Home Budgets

Your personal budget is one of the most important aspects of buying a new home, and the same goes for a new construction. To ensure that your new home comes in at a reasonable final cost, we suggest starting off with a price tag that’s comfortably under budget. It’s normal for custom-built homes to come in a little over the original budget, so that extra wiggle room will give you some peace of mind should any additional costs arise.

At any rate, it’s wise to leave some room in your budget to prepare for the unexpected or to allow changes throughout the building process. Here are some common reasons new constructions go over budget:

  • Changes in Design: Whether necessary or due to a change of heart, design changes are common.
  • Material Upgrades: Some homebuyers opt for finer materials during a construction process.
  • Unforeseen Issues: You may run into issues with the construction site or city ordinances.
  • Landscaping: Some homebuyers end up wanting more landscaping than originally planned.

When to Sell Your Current Home

Single-family home

Another thing to keep in mind when building a custom home is deciding when to put your current home on the market. Most homeowners don’t want to pay two mortgages at once, so closing before a new house is finished is a priority.

Recent data suggests that, once listed, the median home takes about 65 days to sell. However, real estate markets can vary widely by location and season. To get a better idea of how long it will take to sell your home, seek out the expertise of a local realtor who knows your market well.

Tips for Selling Your Home Quickly

When building a new house, the goal is to sell a current home as quickly as possible. Beyond factoring in how long it takes to sell a home, it’s also important to consider how long it will take to close on the sale. One recent study found it takes an average of 50 days to close on a home, so time is of the essence.

Follow these simple steps to sell your home quickly:

  • Hire the right real estate agent.
  • Price your home correctly from the beginning.
  • Clean your home and reduce clutter.
  • Have your home professionally staged.
  • Upgrade curb appeal.
  • Paint rooms in neutral colors.
  • Make simple upgrades like adding new hardware.

For more on these tips, visit our complete guide to selling your home quickly.

Living Options While Between Homes

Apartment Building

Real estate markets change all the time, and there’s a chance your current home could sell quickly after being placed on the market. Of course, selling quickly before you take on a new mortgage is good news. But if it sells too quickly, you could be left without a place to live. In that case, you’ll need to find a temporary place to live while between homes.

If you end up selling your current home before your custom-built home is ready, you have several options for temporary living. What you choose will ultimately depend on your budget and how long you need to live there. Take the time to compare the pros and cons of various temporary living options.

Extended Stay Hotels

One of the most common temporary housing options is an extended stay hotel. This option offers flexibility along with most of the amenities people are used to having in a home.

Pros

  • Easier to find than other short-term living options.
  • Completely furnished and often include kitchen appliances, utensils, and more.
  • Access to amenities like pools, gyms, and continental breakfast.

Cons

  • No permanent mailing address.
  • Not sleeping in your own bed.
  • Have to store the majority of your belongings.
  • Can be cramped for large families or families with pets.

Short-Term or Month-to-Month Rentals

If you need temporary housing for at least a few months, short-term apartment leases can be a great option that feels a bit more like home than an extended stay hotel.

Pros

  • Able to bring your own furniture and decorations.
  • Has a complete kitchen, unlike other temporary housing options.
  • Three and six-month leases are commonly available.

Cons

  • Less flexibility in terms of time frame than other temporary housing options.
  • Typically only offered for apartments, so it’s harder to find a house for rent.
  • Choosing an unfurnished apartment will include packing and unpacking multiple times.

Airbnb

Mostly known as a hotel alternative for overnight stays while traveling, Airbnb can be a great option for those who need long-term living arrangements. Airbnb sublets offer flexibility combined with the fun of a typical Airbnb rental.

Pros

  • No long-term commitments and excellent flexibility.
  • Easier to find than traditional sublets.
  • Both single rooms and entire homes are available for rent.

Cons

  • Can cost more than other options, especially when renting an entire home.
  • If you rent a single room, you’ll have roommates and less privacy.
  • If hosts are unresponsive, you’ll have to start your search over.

Staying with Family or Friends

As long as it’s an option, it can be tough to beat the convenience—not to mention the cost—of living with family or friends while between homes. This budget-friendly choice does have some negative aspects to it, though, so make sure you weigh the pros and cons first.

Pros

  • Easily the cheapest option, as it’s often completely free.
  • You know your roommates.
  • You can always leave and choose another option if it becomes a burden.

Cons

  • You might feel like you’re inconveniencing your hosts.
  • There’s less privacy than other temporary housing options.
  • Risk of damaging relationships if things don’t go well.

If you’re living in a temporary space while your new home is being built, you may need somewhere to store some of your belongings. Renting a storage unit is a great option for this living transition! Find self storage near you today with Extra Space Storage!

2 thoughts on “What to Consider When Building a Custom Home

  1. I appreciate you talking about knowing what features you would want to have added to your custom home. My wife and I have been thinking about having a house built and I would absolutely love it if I had one of those fake bookshelves that lead to a secret room. Thank you so much for the advice!

  2. My wife and I have been talking about how cool it would be for our next home to be custom built. Your suggestion to seek out references seems really helpful when finding a builder who can make our dream become a reality. If we decide to ask a builder for referrals, how many do you suggest we follow up on before determining whether or not that builder is the right candidate for our project?

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