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Building A Custom Home On Your Own Lot

If you have your heart set on a certain piece of land or already have home plans, you may want to consider hiring a custom home builder.

Building a custom home is different than building with a production builder. If you build custom, you can:

  • Build on your own lot or land you buy.
  • You can work with any architect you choose and any builder willing to build on your lot. You can also choose a company that has both a design and construction process.
  • You can use your own floor plans or have a set made for you from scratch.
  • You can choose all the interior products in each category rather than selecting from a production builders menu.

You should expect to pay more for a custom home than a production model of the same size and general floor plan. The reason is that a custom builder does not enjoy the same discounts for buying in bulk quantities that a production builder does. The actual price will always depend on the size of the home, the design, the products and finishes you choose and the lot you purchase.

A great place to start when selecting a custom builder is to see pictures of past homes they have built. Perhaps you can even visit a few and talk to the current occupant to see how satisfied they are with the home and how the build process went.

Once you select a custom home builder, you can give him your own floor plan or hire an architect to design the home to your specifications.  When working with an architect and custom builder, you can select most details of your home including the placement of the home on the lot and placement of the windows in order to take advantage of the best views. With a custom home build, your choices are almost unlimited. The main restrictions are budget and any building code or zoning limitations.

When working with a custom builder, establish a budget and then stick to it. Additional customization will increase the home’s price and unexpected land related items can take you by surprise, so it pays to do your homework regarding the budget.

With regards to selecting a lot, you have two options, a flat lot with the in-ground utilities already run to the curbside and is ready to build on or a wooded rural or hillside property. This land is certainly scenic but the costs of preparing rural land can be a significant additional cost on top of the purchase price of the lot. The preparation of the land, bringing in water, building a driveway, sewage and electric lines, and excavating the land for the foundation can be quite expensive. The builder should be able to help you estimate the costs.

If you are building on an already developed lot, you and your builder need to research the zoning or deed restrictions.  For example, you may have to site your home in a particular part of the lot and keep the structures a certain distance from the property line. Have an attorney clarify all restrictions before purchasing the land.

During all the stages of the design process, you will have a variety of choices to make. Given the many choices involved, it is not unusual for a custom home buyer to have a few more emotional ups and downs than a production home buyer may have. Knowing what to expect at each stage and knowing the types of choices you will face, can make the custom home building process smoother and you will be much happier with the results for the home you have always dreamed about.

Using the information above, you should be ready to decide on a either a custom or production home as the path you want to take to your dream home. A good production or custom home builder will each deliver a high quality home that is in line with your taste and style and with a much better energy efficiency and indoor air quality than a typical existing home. In the end, the difference comes down to how many choices you would like to make to determine the look and feel of your new home.