The Buyer's Timeline for Building a New Home

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Written by Guest | Last Updated November 16th, 2019
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Guest Post by Holly Welles

Buying a new home is an exciting milestone in anyone's life, but building one is even more notable. You create your house from the bottom up, choosing preferred designs and materials, and it comes alive before your eyes.

Seeing your creation manifest into reality is a thrilling experience. Before you jump straight in, however, you'll benefit from learning how the process goes. It requires patience, dedication, and open communication on all sides.

Homebuilding is different from homebuying in that you have more control over the home's aesthetic, the timeline, and the people you hire. Learn how to successfully tackle these responsibilities by checking out this guide to constructing a new house.

Take out a home construction loan

A short-term construction loan allows you to finance your home building expenses. This loan will last for a year or longer to give you enough time to build your house. Expect to put down at least 20 percent to earn your lender's trust. The builder will receive the money through a series of scheduled withdrawals — banks want to ensure their investments are sound. Once the entire process concludes, you'll need an end loan to pay off this first loan.

You'll need to meet a few requirements before borrowing money for construction. Secure a trusted and well-known builder, appraise the home value, and record the specifications. The builder will produce a book of specs for you, including everything from flooring materials to window dimensions.

The loan lender will have someone appraise your home's estimated value by analyzing the specs, the building plot, and similar homes nearby.

Contact a builder

Research builders with excellent histories and trustworthy reputations among their peers. If possible, visit homeowners of their previous projects and inquire about how the houses have stood up against time.

Looking at past projects online is convenient, but some investments require you to get thoroughly involved for suitable results. Talk to local real estate agents who've worked with these builders before. You can also check for liens on their records or previous complaints filed against them.

Select a house plan

What's your new home going to look like? You have an endless number of house plans to choose from — use any of them as the foundation to build your ideal residence. Whether you want two bathrooms or five, you can adjust existing plans to fit your vision. Some popular styles include coastal, Victorian, colonial, and contemporary.

The one you settle for will depend on several factors. How much space does your family need? Does your chosen building lot provide a solid foundation for the style? Will your rooms be big enough for their intended purposes? Consider these questions and many more before making a choice.

Check the HOA guidelines

Homeowners' associations establish numerous ground rules for buying and owning homes. Familiarize yourself with the ones relevant to your neighborhood before starting on your project. You may discover they don't allow gardens of a specific width, or bright green front doors are a no-go. These rules can catch you by surprise if you don't educate yourself beforehand.

Don't forget to study your local zoning laws. You don't want to set your heart on a plot of land, only to find it's not for residential use. However, zoning ordinances change often, which means your preferred building spot might become available at a later time.

Account for extra time

Weather incidents and unexpected construction issues frequently delay building projects. Be aware that your home might not be ready for move-in within the timeline you create. Plan a buffer zone of a few weeks to avoid being off-schedule. That way, you won't end up caught between two homes with no place to stay.
If you're stressed about going into a project with a vague timeline, brush away your fears. Dates get more precise as the process goes along, and you'll soon have a clear picture of your move-in day.

Do regular inspections

Hire an inspector to ensure the builders follow the appropriate codes and construction standards. There is no guarantee a new house will be flawless. If you catch issues early, you'll save a lot of money later on.

The hired inspector will examine the foundation first and come back periodically to check the framing, plumbing, and electrical. Their job ends with a final check of the finished product. This last inspection covers every aspect of your home — the insulation, HVAC, appliances, and more.

Conduct the final walkthrough

You, the inspector, and the builder will do the final walkthrough before you move in. Look for any damages or adjustments your builder will need to make before closing. You'll receive a thorough explanation of the home's features and warranties. Your builder will also inform you of the requirements on your end — including routine maintenance and performing the appropriate upkeep.

Construct your ideal home

Navigate the homebuilding process with confidence and ease with these helpful tips. Keep track of all expenses, guidelines, and local laws, so you can handle situations as they come. With hard work and a positive mindset, you'll soon be moving into the house of your dreams.

Holly Welles is a real estate writer and the blogger behind The Estate Update. You can find more of her tips on homeownership, finance, and investing on Twitter.

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