Beginners Guide to Designing and Building Your Home

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Owning your own home in the United States has always been part of realizing the "American Dream," and this trend does not seem to change anytime soon.

In fact, in the latest analysis by Nerd Wallet, 32% of Americans said they plan to buy a house in the next five years, while 15% have bought a house in the past five years.

Americans do not intend to give up homeownership, which leads us to ask:

Are people looking for new housing plans to buy existing homes, or do they want to design and build their own homes?

If you are reading this house building guide, you might ask yourself the same question.

Is it worth designing and building your own home, or just buying an existing home and moving in?

There are nuances to building your own custom house or buying an existing house. If you are not sure which party you belong to, that's fine!

In this article, we will explore the advantages and disadvantages of both. We will also study the entire process of designing and building our own houses.

If you are excited when considering a building or buying your next house, please continue reading our house building guide.

Table of Contents:

  1. Pros of Purchasing a Home
  2. Cons of Purchasing a Home
  3. Pros of Building Your Home
  4. Cons of Building Your Home
  5. Pros and Cons of Using Contractors
  6. Trades Used in Building Homes
  7. Steps for Designing Your Home
    1. Inspiration
    2. Initial Design
    3. Final Design
    4. Construction
  8. Conclusion

1. Pros of Purchasing an Existing Home

Now that we have understood the pros and cons of building our own home let's look at the pros and cons of buying an existing home.

The following are some of the main reasons to buy an existing home:

Faster schedule

Even if the average time to close a house is 30-45 days, it is usually faster than building your own house. As long as there are no significant problems, you should be able to move into the purchased house relatively quickly.

No "option overload."

One of the most challenging parts of designing your own house is that you have unlimited options. Working with a custom home builder is helpful, but there are still many decisions to be made.

Mature Landscaping

Most of the existing houses have built a beautifying environment on the property. Depending on age, there may also be mature trees or hedges. This usually means that you only need to maintain the existing landscape rather than designing and planting it.

Price is fixed

If you are approved for a fixed amount of financing and have a specific housing budget, buying a house will become easier. When buying an existing home, especially when using a reputable real estate agent, there are few surcharges or budget surprises.

Less stress

Since the house is already built, buying an existing house usually reduces stress and time. It does not require design work, floor plan layout, or contracting.

On the other hand, buying an existing house can eliminate most situations through a simple "what you see is what you get" method.

2. Cons of Purchasing an Existing Home

Although there are many benefits to buying an existing home, it is not always smooth sailing.

Here are some reasons why people tend to design their own houses instead of buying them:

Hidden problem

Whenever you buy an existing house, you will face potentially unseen or unknown problems when you buy it. These issues include maintenance issues, but more challenging is health concerns such as asbestos, mold, or odor.

Potential maintenance issues

Before purchasing an existing house, it is best to have a licensed house inspector conduct a thorough investigation of the house. This allows you to understand any potential problems or maintenance issues before buying a house.

This includes roofs, water heaters, pumps, sewer systems, AC and heating units, plumbing, electrical and structural issues.

However, since the house and its components are not brand new and used, the existing house will always have more maintenance.

Location problem

Although it is impossible to find a ready-made house in your "dream place," it usually takes more time and usually costs more.

Usually, cheaper houses nearby are priced accordingly due to where they are located, such as a less desirable area because of noisy highways, heavy commuting areas, commercial real estate, or other forms of intrusive buildings.

May not save energy

Older houses are generally less energy efficient in terms of electrical appliances and actual house structure. Leaking doors and windows or insufficient insulation can cause higher electricity bills.

If equipment needs to be upgraded due to low energy efficiency, this cost should be considered in the budget.

Customization is limited

Because you are buying a house that has already been built, it is almost impossible to customize unless you are able and willing to retrofit an existing house. Although you can choose to remodel, sometimes it is easier to build your own house from scratch.

Ultimately, whether you want to buy an existing house or build a house yourself is up to you and your family.

Please continue reading some practical tips to simplify this task if you plan to build your own house. If you plan to buy an existing house, please feel free to continue reading!

3. Pros of Building a Custom Home

Building a new house allows you to start from scratch and have a clean start. You can choose the options you have always wanted in your dreamer, customize and design!

Let us first look at the advantages of building a house by ourselves.

Whether you are designing your own house or using a custom house builder, it is exciting to think about the possibilities of building your own house!

When designing your own house, the possibilities for customization are endless. From the floor plan to the size of the closet, you can fully control every detail of the new house!

Custom financing options

Custom house builders usually have mortgage subsidiaries or branches that provide financing for custom clothing. This includes prepayments, loan fees, and even interest rates tailored to your budget and circumstances.

More location options

Because you are starting from scratch, you can choose more options from the location. At this stage, it is essential to consider the needs and wishes of your family.

Do you want an urban or rural environment? What do you think is the ideal way to commute to get off work? Do you like a wooded or open environment? These are some of the questions that should be answered when choosing a location.

Brand new home

There is no better feeling than moving into your brand new home! You can fall asleep on the first night because it has never been used. You also don't have to worry about old roofs, bad smells, leaking windows, or other maintenance issues.

Modern decoration and decoration

No need to worry that your house will soon become obsolete! Instead, you can design a modern-style house with updated features. Maintenance-free

One of the beauties of building your own house is that it should be maintenance-free for many years.

If it is built right, then you are able to enjoy your new home for years before you need to worry about replacing your water heater, roof, or other parts of your home.

These savings in maintenance costs are significant when you consider the cost of building your own home because older homes may require expensive maintenance or repairs.

Technical Update

Building a new house allows you to design and optimize modern technologies such as security systems, modern entertainment systems, and communications. Older houses usually need to be refurbished to match the newer technology.

Warranty scope

Many older houses require repairs that are not covered by any warranty. However, when you build your own house, you must first provide a complete warranty for all building components. You can also choose to purchase an extended warranty for specific materials.

Environmentally friendly and efficient

Many new houses are built to be energy efficient and have a small ecological footprint. Efficient houses require less energy to heat and cool.

They can also have high-efficiency hot water systems, low-flow sanitary equipment, solar energy, bamboo flooring, and other environmentally friendly designs.

4. Cons of Building a Custom House

Although designing and building their own house seems to be an ideal choice, most people still buy an existing house rather than build it themselves.

Why is it like this?

Although building a new house has many advantages, there are also some disadvantages.

Choosing a bad contractor

Whether you choose to work with a custom home builder or play the role of a general contractor yourself, your new home can only be as good as the builder of your choice.

Take the time to research the contractor of your choice. Read customer reviews, understand their guarantees, and find out everything possible about them.

Potential red tape

Before starting the actual construction, a lot of paperwork and red tape are required. Most of the cases occurred during obtaining the necessary building permits and required inspections from local authorities with jurisdiction.

If the requirements are met, this process usually goes smoothly, but it does cause potential problems with documents or drawings. If these problems arise, it will postpone the construction schedule.

Construction time

It takes a lot of time from the beginning to the completion of the new home. This schedule will only increase if you have to purchase land first.

The design, permitting, site preparation, construction, completion of work, and other miscellaneous items for constructing a new house takes a lot of time. Depending on the time and place of the year, the weather will also delay construction.

If you work directly with custom home builders, they will solve most of these problems for you.

Upgrades and additional fees will increase costs.

When you design your own house, it is fun to think of all the extra facilities you want, but these come at a price. Almost all functions in your home can be upgraded, but every function increases the cost of the new house.

The price is not negotiable.

Building a new house requires a lot of initial investment. You need to buy land and build everything on site. The construction of a new house also requires payment of permit fees and other costs.

Because the cost is based on materials and construction time, the price of a new house is usually fixed and not as negotiable as an existing house.

5. Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Contractors

If you study whether you should hire a contractor (also known as a house builder), you will find many different opinions.

Many people use house builders to do most of the construction work, but let us quickly understand some of the pros and cons of using contractors:

Advantages:

  • You will answer all questions about the process.
  • Since the contractor will arrange the work, the work will usually proceed more quickly.
  • The right contractor will bring a team of experts to work on your house.
  • Hiring a reputable contractor can relieve most of your stress.

Disadvantages:

  • Hiring a contractor usually costs more than doing it yourself.
  • Hiring bad contractors can cause construction or schedule problems.

Cost considerations: Although the goal of a house builder is to get an average of 15-25% profit on a construction project, this does not mean that you save this cost immediately after building your own house and hiring your subcontractor.

Many custom housebuilders have teams that are made up of experienced subcontractors, strong construction teams, and wholesale prices when building houses. In this way, they can buy the same materials cheaper and build houses in less working time.

Therefore, if you build your own house, the estimated cost savings is close to 10-15%, which is the premise of assuming everything is normal. If something goes wrong, your savings will soon diminish.

Many homeowners know how much time, pressure, and schedule it takes to build a house. Find the preferred way to hire a reputable contractor.

6. Trades That Are Used To Build Custom Homes

Even if you rent a custom house builder for the project, it will help you know some of the necessary industries and types of jobs used to build a house.

This list is not included but can help you better understand the steps to make your dream home a reality.

External industry:

  • Roofer: Roofing is an indispensable part of this stage. After all, no one wants a new house with a leaky roof! The reputable roof construction staff correctly installed the waterproof and moisture-proof roof beautifully.
  • External supply: A staff member is responsible for completing the external work and installing parts such as windows, doors, siding, soffits, and other parts. Sometimes this is the same staff as the framer, and sometimes it is the staff who specializes in the product.
  • Planner: The team constructed the main structure of the house according to the blueprint. Many architects have a unique process when constructing a house, which usually depends on the size and preferences of the team members or geographical factors.
  • Masonry: Masons and concrete workers lay the foundation for the house. If bricks, stone, stucco, or other mason products are used, they can also help build the exterior of the house.
  • Excavator: The excavator cleans all the trees, rocks, and debris on the construction site. They also level the site and prepare for the foundation.

Internal industry:

  • Electrician: Correct wiring is essential for safety and functionality, and experienced electricians will plan and safely install electrical systems following the National Electrical Code.
  • Finishing carpenter: The finishing carpenter performs finishing around windows, doors, floors, crown moldings (if applicable), and sometimes around cabinets.
  • Painter: Once the internal structure is completed, the painter paints the walls, ceilings, and decorations. The color is usually chosen at the design stage.
  • Plumber: The experienced plumbing team will comply with all specifications and requirements when installing leak-proof plumbing and drainage systems.
  • Drywall: The drywall team hung and taped the drywall to provide a smooth and seamless wall.
  • Flooring: The flooring team installs carpet, hardwood, vinyl, ceramic tiles, and other types of flooring as specified in the building plan.
  • Cabinets: A professional team will install cabinets in your bathroom, kitchen, and any other position in the cabinet plan. Choose the style, color, and location of the cabinets during the design stage.

As you can see, building your own house requires many types of transactions and experience!

Many contractors have their teams do most of the external work. They hire professional subcontractors to complete detailed internal decoration work, such as painting, flooring, etc.

7. Steps to Designing and Building a Custom Home

When preparing to design your own house, you need to make sure you are not deterred by "option overload." Sometimes homeowners want to build their own houses, but they are at a loss for these choices, and as a result, they don't know where to start the design process.

Fortunately, you don't have to be a victim of option overload!

Here are some practical tips to guide you through each step of the design process.

Inspiration

  • Check real estate listings: check local real estate listings, pictures, and open houses. These provide you with examples of different styles and functions.
  • Tour: Many house builders and contractors have model houses or new houses for tours. These provide practical ideas about design, layout, and decoration ideas.
  • Online search: If you want to have certain features in your new home, search for websites, pictures, and videos to utilize these features in your design.
  • Browse magazines: Pick a few family magazines and track the required features, styles, and layouts.

Initial design

  • Make a budget: Before talking to a local custom house builder, think about the budget first. Talking to your banker or mortgage lender can help you determine your budget for building a new house.
  • Itemize rooms and items: Many people find it helpful to list the rooms in a new house and the contents of each room. This helps determine the size of the room, the necessary closet space, and the necessary or optional rooms or functions.
  • Know your necessities: Know how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, the storage space you need, the layout you need, the functions of a family concept, and other necessities.
  • Develop an overall floor plan: It helps to understand the overall floor plan required. Many house builders will have general plans that may be modified to fit what you are looking for. You may also find various floor plans on websites, magazines, and even other homes.
  • Find a building: After laying out the ideal floor plan, you need to find a building that suits your floor plan and needs. Many custom house builders provide site management assistance to help evaluate the house, determine the location of the house, and arrange other details such as sewers, water, etc.
  • Work with an architect or contractor: Even if you are confident that your design covers all the foundations, you should still work with an architect or contractor to ensure that you have not missed anything. Sometimes this is necessary for the licensing process.

Construction

  • Visit the construction site: While building the house, try to visit the house several times. Make sure to follow established safety procedures when visiting. Well-known house builders usually arrange visits during critical stages of development to keep communication open and informative.
  • Raise related questions: Ask questions at any time during the construction process. This will give you peace of mind when helping you maintain and resell the house in the future. Two-way communication with your home contractor is essential.
  • Trustall of the experts: If you decided to pick out a reputable contractor after doing your research, then it is up to you to trust them in building your home. Their goal is to use their knowledge and innovative technology to provide you with the best accommodation.

8. Conclusion

Designing and building your own house is exciting!

It requires work, time, and planning, but it will result in you decorating a fully customized house precisely as you and your family want.

If you hire a reputable contractor, the process should be almost painless and stress-free. There will always be mistakes in construction projects, but knowing that there are experienced house builders around you will give you peace of mind.

For more than two decades, we have been making the dream house of our customers a reality. We cherish every customer during the design, construction, and inspection process.

If you are looking for a custom home builder in Houston, Texas, San Antonio, Waterfront Realty, or other parts of Central Texas, please contact us immediately. We look forward to working with you in the process of designing and building your dream home!

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