Building a new home on land your own is the ultimate dream for many people. If you’re one of them, this goal may be more attainable than you think. By participating in the site development and construction process, you can save money and build equity, even if you don’t have any prior experience. You can start the homebuilding process today by finding suitable land and learning more about what needs to happen at the site before a construction crew arrives.
Purchase the Land
Before you can start building, you must have land. Do a local land search and work with a qualified realtor who can help you find a suitable lot in the area you prefer to live. Some of the factors you might want to consider during your land search are:
- Asking price and property taxes
- Proximity to schools
- Accessibility from the road
- Neighborhood amenities
- Setbacks and other zoning restrictions
- Access to water, sewer, and utilities
- Planned future development in the area
- Landscape features like trees or rock ledges
Remember: You don’t need land to start dreaming and planning. In fact, you can decide which custom floor plan best matches your vision and make it your own while you’re in the process of searching for and purchasing land. The sooner you get started on customizing your new home, the sooner you can move in.
Understand Your Homeowner Responsibilities
If you have never built a new home before, there are a few homeowner responsibilities you might not know about. Learning about these in advance will save you time and money. Some of the work you might need to do before the construction process starts is:
- Permitting and regulatory approvals
- Installing a gravel driveway for construction vehicles
- Arranging for temporary water and electricity
- Providing a portable toilet
- Excavating the building pad
- Removing trees and clearing other landscaping
After construction begins, the crew does most of the building work, but there is still more you can do to keep costs low and build equity, such as:
- Doing the interior and exterior painting yourself
- Installing a rain drain system
- Arranging to have permanent utilities installed
- Backfilling around the foundation
- Installing a septic system
- Cleaning up construction debris around the site
- Installing features like decks, sidewalks, and driveways
- Grading and landscaping
- Finishing details in the home
Of course, if your budget allows and you don’t want to participate at this level, much or all of this work can be performed by qualified subcontractors or managed by your construction superintendent. However, by investing time and effort before and during construction, you earn more equity up front.
If this process feels intimidating, don’t worry. Our homeownership counselors will be with you every step of the way, from helping you find a real estate professional in your area to creating a detailed budget to securing financing. After you have purchased land, a construction superintendent will perform a free site evaluation that helps you determine what your homeowner responsibilities are and how much you can expect them to cost.