A couple has sketched out what their dream home looks like and is comparing it against the architectural drawings.

A common dream among many people is to build their very own custom home. If you are considering this yourself, the most advantageous first step is to get a clear picture of everything involved. To help with this, it is important to talk to everyone involved, including the bank, the jurisdiction, a realtor, contractors, and most importantly, a team of design professionals.

The following is a list of the questions which should be asked by the homeowner:

Question 1: Can I afford my new custom home?

Though the idea of having a custom home sounds great to everyone, affordability is often the number one question. Because the actual cost can sometimes differ from the estimated cost, it's better to keep a margin of around 10% for unseen situations. Ample research is critical and should be done well before starting the actual work. A good and experienced design professional can help you in the process by telling some of the ways you can utilize your money well.

Question 2: Have you weighed all the pros and cons while building a new custom home?

Everything comes with some sets of pros and cons attached to it. It becomes important before you start with your dream project to know and weigh all the pros and cons. Every project takes time for its completion. Sometimes, unseen circumstances come along the way causing delays. But it's important to have a rough estimate when the project would be complete. It’s important to be patient in such projects.

Question 3: What are your needs and wants?

Differentiate between your needs and wants. Needs include the things which are a must in your new custom home. Wants include the things which are not the necessities rather the desires, so make a list of the items you need and desire. Rank the items in order of  importance and keep the budget in mind as you prioritize this list. Be honest to yourself and know what you need and want and how you can afford it.

Question 4: Are you aware of the local builders in your locality?

Choosing that one builder for your new custom home will make your dream house come true. Make a list of all the local builders with a good amount of experience. Collect information about their past and conduct an interview. Take time to analyze and then finally decide. From making the foundation to giving the keys to you as per your requirement, the team has to do a lot of important work. Therefore, choose wisely.

Question 5: Are you aware of the homeowners' guidelines and fees?

Every locality has some sort of rules and regulations which are to be followed by the homeowner. Before starting, make sure to get a new custom home permit. Apart from the planning commission and building regulation fee, there is an additional fee known as a mitigation fee as per the area. Make a list of all these compulsory items and pay all of them so that there is no interruption later.

Question 6: How to make your new custom home energy efficient?

Hiring a team with expertise in structural, civil and foundational engineering apart from design professionals is an investment which will help the homeowners in the long run. One should save money on service bills. So it's advisable to check for energy and cost-efficient appliances. Check out some latest smart insulation present in the market. One can make the windows and doors highly insulated to control heat movement. A good heating and cooling system should be chosen. Utilize the sun as a renewable resource by having a solar panel.

Engineers and other design professionals are collaborating on a project.

Question 7: Is the legal paperwork comprehensive?

Nobody likes paperwork, but it is quite important, because it later saves you from all sorts of legal problems which are not good to face. So before the project is started, make sure all the legal work is completed. Keep all the proof and important documents with you. 

Question 8: Is your home warranty proof?

All structural engineering, civil engineering and foundation engineering teams provide you with some warranty. One should know about the warranty and don’t miss to negotiate. Ask for more warranty for some special areas in your new custom home. Also, ask how they would deal with borderline warranty items.

Question 9: What is the expected time frame and how would the team ensure not to exceed the time limit?

It’s better to get a basic time frame up till when you would you get the possession. Often due to unavoidable circumstances, it is tough to get all the work done on a pre-decided date. Talk to their previous clients to understand how efficient they are. A properly written schedule with step by step plan before the work commences can be helpful. Communication often tells about progress and helps you to get an idea about the completion. It's highly advisable to discuss the media of communication with your builder in advance.

Question 10: What is the site visiting policy?

While the construction period is on, many of the homeowners would like to visit the site. This can be due to curiosity or on-site evaluation of the project. The sites are hazardous with several types of machinery and also compacted with people and a lot of work. Hence, the builders generally ask the homeowners to avoid unplanned visits. Sometimes, the homeowners come and start having conversations with the workers leading to a lot of mess and delay. Hence, it becomes important to discuss this question with the team beforehand.

How do I get started? The right end-to-end guidance is essential to designing and building your home as you imagined it. Design Everest's skilled and experienced team can help you navigate this journey a lot easier! Contact us now and we will provide you a FREE Consultation with a quote. We also provide virtual on-sites and virtual consultations.

Sources/References:

*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with members of Design Everest.

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