If you’re building a home for the first time, you may feel like you are in unfamiliar territory. The experience can be exciting and a little scary at the same time and there is a lot to learn. That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the things to consider when you’re building a home for the first time.
Understand the difference between a custom home, a semi-custom home and a spec home
A custom home is one that is made expressly for you, the owner. It reflects the style and amenities you want, inside and out. Your choices for design and finish level are endless. The costs tend to be a little higher with a custom home but you get exactly what you want.
A semi-custom home is built from a builder’s plan that has a handful of pre-determined floor plan options to choose from in order to customize it slightly to your needs. Typically, you will also have a handful of choices on your finish selections as well. Semi-custom homes tend to be built in subdivision type neighborhoods.
A spec home is built from a builder’s plan with the goal to sell it. This type of home is often designed for a wide appeal. If you buy a spec home before it’s finished, you may be able to have the builder add some of the touches you’d like to see – like a certain paint scheme or the flooring. But the floor plan is already established and so is the lot where the home is built. Many of the finish selections are also pre-determined by the builder.
Spec homes can be a good choice for buyers who are looking for a finished or nearly finished home that they can move into in the near future. Semi-custom homes tend to be more cost effective and tend to appeal to people who like the subdivision lifestyle where the homes have a similar look and feel. Building a custom home tends to appeal to a variety of people for a variety of reasons. Some people are drawn toward building a custom home because they know what they want and can’t find it in the market. Many others want to build custom because they have a lifelong dream of creating a special, one-of-a-kind home for themselves and their family. If this is sounds like you, a custom home is right for you.
Know your budget and try to stick to it
To keep your spending within the limits you’ve set, pay attention to the aspects that will affect the overall cost. Some of these include:
- Home design options. Customization options: All of these play a big part in making your new home special. Talk to your builder about these and any special features you’d like to see (like a wine room or elevator) and ask for recommendations on getting there cost-effectively. A custom home builder like LaBram can show you a wide variety of options across many categories, so you can confidently make a decision without the dreaded FOMO (fear of missing out).
Choose the right lot
- Building in a flood zone. Where you build your home will affect the cost of the home. If you can, find a lot in a non-flood zone that doesn’t need an elevated building. This will have a lower cost of construction compared with elevated homes.
- Maximize your views. If you are searching for the perfect lot that has a gorgeous view of the water or golf course, you may want to consider an elevated home that gives you the height you need to maximize your views.
You have favorable financing options
As a first-time home builder, you will want to know about the construction-to-permanent loan. This financing plan gives you the funds you need to build your home and then converts that loan into your mortgage. Some banks specialize in these types of loans, and we can offer advice on who to contact.
The loan will cover construction costs, along with the purchase of the lot (if you don’t already own it). And, if you do own the lot, it can wrap the cost of the lot and lot equity into the construction loan. It can also include the costs for features like a pool, dock or seawall.
Partner with the right home builder
You need a home builder you can trust to do everything necessary throughout the construction, and do it at a high level. You also want to work with a company that has a long track record of quality work. A couple of things you can do to vet a candidate:
- Interview your builder. Make them show you examples of their work. Ask about their process for ensuring you are kept in the loop during the entire build process.
- Take a driving tour of your prospective builder’s homes. Ask your builder if they can provide a list of homes they have built so that you can drive by and look at them. And, if possibly, have them take you inside one or two homes they’ve built or are currently building. This will let you see the quality of their work, and it may give you fresh ideas for your own home.
- Read their reviews. Research the builder and make sure their client reviews are on point.
Overall, you want to do your research before you build. That will give you the peace of mind that each decision you’ve made is the right one. A qualified home builder that has your best interests as their first priority will help you make those decisions. The earlier you involve your builder in this journey, the better the outcome.
Let LaBram be your guide
Navigating the ins and outs and challenges of building a home for this first time is a lot easier when you have the right partner. Contact us and let’s talk about your goals. We are the Tampa Bay area’s leading custom home builder, and we love educating first-time home builders and making their dreams come true.