The South Puget Sound area is rich in breathtaking natural beauty and teeming with activity in the small communities that offer year-round festivals, parades, and events for the whole family. With easy access to beaches, lakes, mountains, and prairies, outdoor enthusiasts take advantage of the clean air and lush greenery. Sports fans enjoy attending professional and semiprofessional sporting events, or playing casually in the vast parks.
Whether perched along the coastal waters, nestled in bustling Olympia, or tucked away in a private inland lot, a new custom-built home in South Puget Sound is a great way to enjoy the region for a lifetime. If you are thinking of settling in the area or putting down deeper roots in a place you already know and love, why not do it in a home that was built just for you?
If this is an option you’re exploring, you probably have questions about the various steps involved in building a new custom home, and of course, the costs. Though everybody’s circumstances are unique, we’ve developed a list of things that everyone can expect to have to navigate, no matter what their situation, when building in South Puget Sound.
Getting Prequalified for Financing
Unless you plan to pay with cash, the first step in your homebuilding journey is to get prequalified for financing. This will help you determine your overall budget for the project. The cost of new construction includes more than just the house itself. You also have to factor in the purchase price of the land (if you don’t already own property), various permitting fees, and the costs associated with preparing the land for construction.
The prequalification process can go quickly if you have all the necessary information available. Be prepared with:
- Tax returns and W-2 forms
- Bank statements
- Employment history
- A list of assets such as retirement plans and stocks
- The value of real estate you currently own
The more information you have readily available and the faster you can respond to questions from a lender, the more quickly you will get prequalified.
In South Puget Sound, many financing options are available to you, including loans from the USDA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as conventional construction loans. Once you know how much you are able to borrow, you can make important decisions about the location and design of your new home.
If you don’t already own property, the next step is to find land suitable for building. Research various neighborhoods to learn more about the school systems, local amenities, and other features of the community. If you already have an idea of where you want to live, work with a realtor in the area to help you find a lot that matches your needs. Look for a realtor who specializes in selling land because he or she will be more knowledgeable about local regulations and might also know of land for sale that is not listed. Bear in mind that some neighborhoods have monthly homeowners association fees that should be included in your cost calculations.
When you have found land that you would like to purchase, make an offer with a 90-day close condition so you have time to do more research. If you’re working with Adair Homes, we offer a complimentary site visit to help you estimate the cost of site development, which is an important factor in your overall budget. This is also an opportunity for you to contact the city and county regulatory offices to ensure that you are able to build the home you want on the property and to learn more about the permitting process in the area.
Designing Your Home
Once you have secured land and determined how much it will cost for site development, you’ll know how much is left in your budget for the house. When you work with Adair Homes, this means selecting the floor plan that best matches your needs and customizing it for your family’s lifestyle. The floor plan you choose will depend on factors such as:
- How many bedrooms and bathrooms you need
- If there are views you want to maximize
- The size of your lot
- Your future plans for the property
- The features that support your lifestyle
When building a new custom home, it’s always a good idea to think about what your life will be like over the next 10 or 20 years, especially if you don’t plan to move out of the area. Will you need more bedrooms for additional children? Will your parents be moving in? Will you need single-floor living as you age? Building a new home is a significant investment, and it’s often more cost-effective to include as many features as you can during the build rather than add them later.
In addition to full custom-design services, Adair Homes offers more than 40 floor plans in the South Puget Sound area. Large ranch-style homes with open-concept floor plans and ample granite or quartz kitchen islands are some of our most popular designs, but the features and finishes are entirely up to you. Every floor plan can be upgraded with custom features, such as a gourmet kitchen, spa bathroom, fireplace, and access to outdoor decks or patios. Our Home Ownership Counselors will guide you through the entire design process to help you decide what makes the most sense to build so you can enjoy your home for a lifetime.
Going Through the Permitting Process
South Puget Sound includes Lewis, Thurston, Pierce, Mason, Pacific, and Grays Harbor counties. Each of these jurisdictions, and often the cities within them, has its own set of requirements for new construction. The best way to learn about these requirements is to visit the local jurisdiction to discuss your property to find out what types of permits are necessary and what types of studies are required to secure those permits. For example, when working with Thurston County, you will need to check for gopher soils and protected wildlife and trees, perform wetland studies, and provide engineered drainage plans. Pierce County requires engineered site and drainage plans, as well as fire suppression.
It’s also important to factor in the amount of time it takes to go through the permitting process when building a new home. Although it varies depending on the jurisdiction and your specific situation, most regulatory offices can give you a rough estimate of how long the typical permitting process takes.
Working with a builder who has years of experience in the area will help ensure that all the requirements are met, but because regulations are subject to change, it’s important to understand the current rules early in the building process.
Working with Consultants
In order to secure the necessary permits, you might have to hire consultants such as wetland specialists, environmental reviewers, and site engineers. Both the local jurisdiction and your builder can provide recommendations for local professionals to do this work. If you have options, get estimates from multiple consultants to compare costs. When possible, do as much of this research as possible before finalizing the land purchase to ensure that you are able to build on the property.
Working with Contractors
When you have secured all the necessary permits, the next step is to prepare the site for construction. This requires working with multiple contractors to complete all of the various tasks. Some of the site development contractors you might need to hire include:
- Well installers
- Septic designers and installers
- Local utility companies
- Concrete flatwork providers
Your construction superintendent will work closely with you to determine all of the necessary work, the order in which it should be completed, and the overall construction schedule. After the site work is complete, construction begins and the superintendent takes it from there.
The process of building a new home can feel overwhelming to anybody who has never done it before, which is why so many people choose Adair Homes. With decades of experience and dedicated Home Ownership Counselors who guide you through every step of the process, we are committed to making your journey a smooth one.
To get the financing process started, we recommend working with Alliance Financial Services, a lender that specializes in new-construction loans. They offer a broad range of financing options to fit various financial situations, including low or no down payments.
Adair Homes also offer the unique opportunity to build equity during the construction process. This means that you can get more home for your money and truly optimize your budget. The more you participate, the more equity you generate, so consider this as you explore your options for building a new home.