A Home Buyer’s Guide: What to Expect When Having a Home Built
You’ve finally made the decision to purchase a new home. Congratulations! The choice is monumental, for both you and your wallet. It is important to be in love with what you pay for because houses don’t come by cheap.
The first big decision of home buying is deciding whether you want a home off the market or a home built just for you. Both reap different benefits, so this it is important to consider your options. If you’ve made the decision to get your home built for you, then it is important to be prepared for the process. Sure, the idea of starting from scratch can be daunting but rest assured, the process can be broken down into just a few steps. The best part is, you’ve already started!
Step 1: Time for Homework
If you’re already out of school, just thinking about having to do homework again probably gives you shivers. However, it is important know what you’re getting yourself into.
After you’ve decided to have your home built, you have to find someone to do it. It is important to find a home builder that can perform according to your needs. A good idea would be to view the builder’s work in any form you can get it. Perhaps your builder keeps a portfolio of finished homes or has a model home to take you to. Or, you can drive by the builder’s previous projects. If you’re lucky, you might even catch the homeowners outside so you can ask a few questions about their experience with the builder. Either way, you want to make sure you like what your builder can do.
Around this time, you should also be thinking of whereto build it. You should consider areas that accommodate for your needs, too. Do you want to be close to your place of work, or near the best schools in town? Do you want a lot of land, or to be in a subdivision? Perhaps you want a corner lot so you only have one neighbor. There are a lot of things to consider here, so take your time and look around. Think, if you had to stand in one place for a few decades, where do you want to be?
Step 2: Show Me the Money!
Yep, it’s time to talk about the thing that rules the entirety of this process: money.
Before you fall in love with a home style or fancy marble countertops, you want to be certain that you can afford it. You should have an idea of where you stand financially, and therefore how you plan to fund your new prospects.
If you need some help, you should request a home loan from a bank. Common lenders include TD Bank and Wells Fargo. Getting pre-approved for a loan will provide you with a price range and an insurance rate. This will also give you an idea of how much you’ll need for a down payment. Being able to dazzle and charm on paper is important when trying to get a lender to give you money. Depending on how high your credit score is, you could land a mortgage with a down payment as low as 3.5%.
Step 3: Options, Options, Options!
A’las, you’re at the fun part!
The biggest benefit of getting a house built as opposed to buying one off the market is that you get to choose everything. Your new home will embody your personality and preferences. Once your ducks are in a row financially and geographically, you can get down to the nitty gritty details
You’ll first choose from your builder’s floor plan options and articulate what you want your house to look like. If you are getting a custom home, you’ll be able to work side by side to create a new floor plan that suits your preferences. You’ll decide on bedrooms, bathrooms, and how many floors you want.
Then, you get to dig even deeper. You’ll choose faucets, countertops, paint colors, light fixtures, and just about everything else. The inside of your home is your oyster. It will be where you reside for decades to come, so you want to choose things you’ll be happy with. A good idea would be to do some research and weigh your options to make sure you are choosing things that you feel flow well together throughout the house.
Step 4: Down and Dirty
After you have mapped out for your builder how you want everything to look and turn out, it is time for him/her to get to work. The homebuilding process typically takes 6 to 10 months to complete depending on the floor plan.
This waiting game can get stressful for a homebuyer, so it is important to keep in touch with your builder and his/her team. To do so, you can ask to be sent progress photos of the house or even ask to stop in for a visit.
During the time of waiting for your home to be built, you should also be saving up some more money. After the closing day, you’ll probably want to start decorating or at least fill up the rooms with some furniture. During these months, you can shop around for the innards of your new home.
Step 5: Close the Curtains and Kick Your Feet Up
Once the house is complete, you’ll have your closing day. On this day, you will become the owner of the property and finalize funding. The settlement requires a lot of signatures from both the seller and homebuyer, so make sure you get your wrist ready. You’ll be signing mortgage documents, legal disclosures, tax records. The seller will sign the house deed to you and voila, it’s yours!
The date you can move in will be disclosed within your contract terms. You may be able to get the keys and move in on the same day, or you may have to wait several more weeks. Once you’re in, however, you’ll be able to enjoy the creation of your choices and your builders’ hands.