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A Guide to Building Your Custom Home

You’re ready for a new home. You know what you want and, just as important, what you don’t. You’ve decided new construction is your best option, but you’re worried it will be too complicated, expensive or time-consuming.

To simplify the process, imagine your new home is a giant jigsaw puzzle. You know what you want the finished “picture” to be. Now you just need help putting all the pieces together.

With a clear understanding of your preferred location, type of home, building timeline and cost, the first step is to choose your builder. Here are some important factors to consider before beginning:

--Choose your location. This includes the community, the view and the likelihood of any changes to the surrounding area that could impact future value. Unlike flooring or paint color, your homesite can’t be changed if you tire of it later.

--Decide on the type of home you want, based on the size of your family (now and in the future) and what features are most important—the must-haves and the would-like-to-haves.

--Choose an experienced home builder—one who will understand your needs, engage in your vision, respect your budget and value your time. Do your research and, if possible, visit other homes the company has built.

--Schedule your first meeting. It’s important to establish a “comfort level.” If the meeting doesn’t go well, it probably won’t get better during the many months it takes to build. The relationship needs to be one of clear communication and respectful interaction—on both sides.

--Make an in-depth assessment of your finances and the budget you want to set. Often our wish list exceeds our financial reality. While it’s good to get everything you’d like in your new home—that’s why you’re building—you want to be able to sleep well at night. Convey this honestly to your builder and be certain to get as much “up front” pricing as possible. You won’t be happy with costly last-minute surprises.

--Be realistic in your expectations. Much of what you see on TV home design programs or decorating websites are not feasible in the “real world.” Your builder wants to make your dreams come true, but understand the limit to their “magic.”

--Be involved and available. Make sure your builder can contact you with questions or issues that need your input or approval. If you move or leave town for extended periods during the building process, let them know to avoid confusion or disappointment.

--Realize that weather, product discontinuation and other unavoidable factors may arise. Be a good partner with your builder and have confidence that everyone involved is working to make you happy.  

These are just a few important items to consider. Most of all, building your dream home should be a positive experience from beginning to end—with a firm grasp on reality—and a place of pride and satisfaction for you and your family for many years to come.

Norma Stoltz has been in the home building business since 2002 and is Sales Manager for Executive Homes, Inc.

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