There is nothing as rewarding as designing and building your dream home from scratch.
Compared to prebuilt and existing homes, it’s a unique and exciting experience. Building a
custom home gives you the flexibility to tailor your home according to preferences and concept.
Lest we drift into fairytales, you should know that custom homes aren’t all castles and rainbows.
Even if you’re experienced in hands-on DIY projects, it can be an overwhelming and very
demanding experience. Custom builds involve numerous decision-making and hence requires
your involvement all through the building process.
Nevertheless, custom building a home doesn’t have to be such a daunting task. If you’re
considering breaking ground and building from scratch, here’s a compilation of crucial things
you should know to get ahead some common but costly landmines.
1. A detailed schedule is your guideline
Drafting a schedule before you build a home is the way to go. A detailed schedule is the subject
to every contingency you might encounter. Building a custom home can take from 6 months to
over a year depending on the scale of the construction. But with a schedule for the timeline of
each activity you are better equipped to complete the building on time and within budget. Your
schedule should cover weather conditions, timelines for each stage, and scheduling contractors.
You should understand that your ideal schedule may not pan out as expected especially if it’s
not strictly followed.
2. Have A Plan
A lot of people think finding a contractor is the first step but it actually follows after choosing a
patch of land and designing your layout. Develop a house plan before you go to a builder. Most
building contractors have an on-staff architect or can help link you up with one. While outlining
your plan with the architect, consider everything you need to add the house. Adequate planning
gives you a clear picture of the process, and saves time and money.
3. Consider The Stand Position And Functionality Of Your Floor Plan
Decide on the direction your house and rooms will face carefully. Assess the sun’s position in all
seasons depending on your climate. Rooms facing south are likely to always remain cold, but
the ones facing west might receive intense afternoon sun rays.
It’s also important to diligently view your floor plan from a functionality perspective. You want
your home to not just be beautiful, but also to be highly functional for your everyday living. Go
through your day to day activities and determine where and how they will be taking place.
Considering these details during the planning phase will save you so much stress and money in
the long run.
4. Set A Budget
Before you start building your dream home, you should know that custom builds often cost more
than expected. Don’t be upset when your project goes over budget, your contractor might not
necessarily be ripping you off. We’ve found out that 3 things that often causes punches a hole in
your budget include unanticipated site problems, material preferences and change orders.
Therefore talk to your contractor about how much you are willing to spend and set aside some
extra money for unforeseen expenses. Get a quote of all amenities you plan to install, cost of
materials, labor costs, and taxes. Also remember to include cables, fences, electric meters, and
letter boxes which are often forgotten.
While building your dream home, you will likely need extra financing. While we at Lolark
Contractors are known for completing projects on time and within budget, even we can’t predict
You can consider obtaining a construction loan from your bank to cover the project and pay
builders at specific stages. Hence, you might want to be present at every stage to ensure that
the project doesn’t go overboard the budget.
5. Know Your Limitations
Surprising as it may sound, but just because you have Youtube and Pinterest doesn’t mean you
have all the know-how and tools you need to build a custom home.
The good thing about hiring a professional contractor or designer is experience. They have
encountered more problems and have learned the hard way. They also have an extensive
library of information, connections, and sources that make custom home building a cakewalk.
Ask your contractors practical and difficult questions, bring your own ideas to the table, and
make them have a plan B. There’s a reason you hired them in the first place.
6. Choose The Right Trio: Architect, Builder, And Designer
Who you hire to work on the project is key to determining the quality of your home. While the
Trio [Architect, Builder, and Designer] may seem like the same, they have different roles to play
in the building process. From a lay man’s perspective:
An architect plans, designs and engineers the layout of the home.
Builders take the architects plans and build your home according to your preferences.
Designers are better trained in getting the little details right. They oversee the interior layout,
finishing and details to create a functional and beautiful space.
You will work with these individuals for over six months. Therefore, it’s important to make the
right choice to avoid encountering problems during the project. Make enough inquiries and
consider the work experience, personality, price, and building style before hiring.
7. Design With Your Future in Mind
Don’t design your home with “right now” in mind. There is a fine line between what you want
now, and what you’ll need later. So you need to have a 5 to 10 year perspective if you’re
building a home you want to stay in. As your family expands, so those your housing needs.
Consider what you might need down the line: additional bedrooms, laundry room, home office.
8. Build With A Resale Mind
You might be thinking; ‘Is it not too early to be talking about reselling?’ Well, the answer lies in
fact that the future is so unpredictable, therefore, you need to be very open-minded. Consider
what a potential buyer would appreciate in a home and its prevalent value.
Invest in a functional kitchen, bathroom, right flooring, ensuite bedroom and storage to attract
potential buyers in future. Desist from spending on too many upgrades to avoid overpricing the
9. Outdoor Spaces
Incorporating a lawn or garden in your outside spaces can improve your home’s value quite
significantly. Consider growing shrubs, evergreens and flowers to enhance aesthetic
appearance. Likewise, you may want to include an irrigation system to water the plants, outdoor
furniture, lighting, patios, decks, and garages based on your budget.
10. Invest in fixtures and storage
It is hard to know where to allot funds when building a new home. At Lolark, we advise our
clients to invest in fixtures and storage spaces. These are the parts that stick around in your
home, even when changing your decor. No one gets that excited about planning their storage
spaces. However, storage is key real estate in a home.
Also by investing in higher-quality fixtures and adequate storage, you’ll just have to swap out
finishes and colors to give the house a new look without having to make major changes – or
11. Finish Building before moving in
This might come across as an obvious piece of advice, but when you are near the end of a long
build, you can’t just wait to move-in. Initial plans to finish the basement or landscape your
backyard seem can hold up if they are delaying your move-in date.
It’s advisable to finished everything before moving in because those last few items can take
more time and money to complete afterwards. It’s much easier to finish projects when you
already have contractors there, than paying them to come back later. Stick to your plan and get
all of those little jobs done before spending your first night in the house.
12. It’s stressful but worth it
Building your own home is not for the faint hearted, but for those brave enough to undertake the
task, the rewards are immeasurable.
Building your custom home can be stressful as it constitutes a continuous back-and-forth
between needs, wants, and compromises. It’s easy to let the stress get best of you, especially
when debating the priorities of finishes or merits of floor layouts. But if you don’t lose focus on
the main goal – a home where you can reside, grow, love and make memories – it’s easier to
see what really matters.
Building a house might seem like a strenuous task, as a matter of fact, it is. But by diligent
planning for the long-term and putting these guidelines to practice, it can be the best thing to do
for your family. Plan every step of the way and keep an open mind. Don’t forget to give yourself
plenty of storage space, you won’t regret it. Trust me.