Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on Jun 29, 2017 8:00:00 AM
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For many homeowners, the prospect of upgrading to a custom home built on their ideal piece of land seems like a dream. But in fact, nearly a quarter of all homes built in the U.S. each year are custom—proof that with the right homebuilder, a custom-built home is well within reach.

Maybe you and your family are looking to upgrade to a larger home or downsize to a more manageable home plan. Or perhaps it’s time for a more functional layout and higher-quality, luxury finishes. Whatever your motivation, now is the ideal time to explore a custom home.

Of course, building a custom home is much different from purchasing an older, pre-owned one. As you consider building a custom home, be sure to keep these three key factors in mind:

Land

A custom home gives you the freedom to build wherever you like. You can find the perfect piece of acreage far outside of the city limits, within a town or suburb, or somewhere in between. Or you can build on property that you already own.

If you don’t already own the land, finding the right property is a lot like traditional house hunting: You can partner with a realtor who is experienced in your area and understands the key features of undeveloped land. He or she can take into account your wishes for the size of the property, natural features, location, and, of course, budget. To ensure you can find the land you want, be sure to partner with a homebuilder that has years of experience throughout the Pacific Northwest and offers an entire network of preferred real estate partners that will help you find your ideal location.

Home design

Of course, one of the key benefits of a custom home is the opportunity to make it your own, from top to bottom. Depending on your family’s needs, you can customize a floor plan to include more or less square footage, extra bedrooms, an expanded kitchen, additional living areas or bathrooms, and more. You can increase the number of windows, double the size of the garage, and add a back porch.

Once you’ve settled on a floor plan, you also have the freedom to add the custom features and finishes that suit your tastes and lifestyle. These include Craftsman-style exteriors, upgraded cabinetry and countertops, gourmet kitchen appliances, hardwood flooring, and custom paint palettes.

Making all of these choices may initially sound overwhelming, but keep in mind that a custom homebuilder will offer professional design assistance throughout the process. Be sure to seek out a builder that is willing to work closely with you throughout each stage of the project. In addition, look for a company that has a strong presence in the Pacific Northwest, with conveniently located design centers to make the process simple.

Financing

There are some key differences in financing a custom home versus a prebuilt one. As you may have already experienced, most lenders require a 20 percent down payment for a traditional home loan. If you don’t have that much to put down, you would be required to have private mortgage insurance until you reach 20 percent equity.

However, when building a new custom home, many homebuyers can qualify for a construction loan with little or no money down. That’s because building a custom home gives you the opportunity to create “move-in equity.”

By taking on certain site-development projects, such as painting the interior and exterior of the home, you can reduce the overall cost of the build. Through this DIY process, you can create instant equity—up to 20 percent or more—before you even move into your new home. If you purchased a prebuilt home, it might take three or more years to reach that level of equity.

As you consider building a custom home, don’t let the newness of the process deter you from your goal of creating the house of your dreams. Tens of thousands of homebuyers choose the custom route every year. With the right homebuilder, building a custom home is easy, fulfilling, and even fun. And in the end, you get to live in the home you and your family have been dreaming of.

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