Building a custom home is a new experience for most people, so it’s natural to have a lot of questions. We talked to Adair homeowner
1) How did you choose the location for your home?
Jared Benson: Proximity to work, the desire to have a 3-5 acre plot, price, and ease of building (lower cost of pre-construction items) influenced the decision.
2) What parts (if any) of the site development process did you DIY? What parts did you hire out to contractors? Are there any tips you’d give other homeowners as far as what they can DIY, or what you recommend they hire out?
JB: We did the trenching for utilities, driveway digout, landscaping, exterior flatwork, interior/exterior paint, and some excavating (mostly moving dirt around). We hired contractors for everything else.
In terms of recommendations for others, it depends on what you are competent at doing. Sweat equity is called sweat equity for a reason, it’s typically not a really easy thing to do. Personally, I probably wouldn’t dig out my own driveway again, but now I know how to do it, so might venture to do it again on a future build. It all depends on ability and time availability. Doing as much DIY as possible on my two Adair homes has lead to great equity in my existing home.
3) What was the biggest challenge of the process/build? Is there anything you would do differently in hindsight?
JB: This last build, it seems like everything was a little slower. Contractors weren’t able to show up back-to-back like our first build. This was a frustrating part of the process.
4) When did you start your build and when did you move in? Looking back, is there anything that could have sped up the process?
JB: I think the foundation was poured in May/June, we moved in December 15, so 5-6 months from foundation to move in. Prior to foundation pour, there was a delay in getting started due to a misunderstanding between me and the county regarding grading permit.
How to speed up the process? More contractors that are available to be scheduled back-to-back. On the DIY side, making sure that owners understand the various permits that are needed and in what order (the mistake was on me, I don’t blame Adair for that).
6) What did you enjoy most about going through the custom building process? What part was the most fun?
JB: Moving in was the best part. The second home also allowed us to select finishes and architecture changes that we weren’t able to select on the first home, due to budget. So this home really is the way we want it to be. That was a fun process, to truly select and “design” the home that we wanted,
7) Are there any other tips or advice you’d give to others who may be looking into building a custom home?
JB: Whatever your DIY budget is, add a 10% buffer. Whatever you think you can do regarding DIY, add 25% time to your estimate.
8) What are you most excited about for your new home? (E.g. holidays, hosting parties, bigger space, etc.)
JB: Even though I’d like to build one more home, in order to be mortgage free (the magic of building equity with every sale), the current home is growing on me in terms of seeing the family grow up on the property and not going through the hassle of building and moving again. Happy with the home, but continue to make home and property improvements.
9) If someone was hesitant to build a custom home with Adair, what would you tell them, based on your own experience?
JB: It’s worth it from an equity perspective, if you’re willing to put in time and effort to do as many of the DIY items as possible.
10) Is this your first custom home or have you built custom before?
JB: We’ve built two Adair homes up until now.
Building a new home can be challenging at times, but moving into the home of your dreams makes all of the effort worth it. Read more about the experiences Adair homeowners have had during the building process and get more free homebuilding tips in our Resource Center.