It’s official…We are building our next home!

There was a lot of thought that went into this —specifically, we know what we want. The current homes on the market are nice, however, we knew that in order to make it “ours” we would have to change out some pretty big features. In addition, the market is such a seller’s market right now, that by the time we were able to see the house, 13 other people have already put in offers. This put us in a “knee jerk reaction” that we don’t like making big decisions on. 

So we have decided to document our process of building a house! This option takes much longer (10 months to 1 year as of current). While this may be a bit different from builder to builder, I think the process should generally be the same.

There are 5 big steps in month 1 that need to be completed:

  1. Pre Approval From Bank
  2. Finding An Attorney
  3. Finding A Plot Of Land
  4. Choosing Your House Model Type
  5. Reviewing And Signing Contract

Pre Approval From Bank

Before you build or look to buy a home, its important to get a pre-approval letter from your bank or lender. We chose to go with our bank because its a bit easier for us. Since our bank has our information already, they could move a bit faster. Plus its nice to work with a team who already knows us and wee are familiar with them. 

One of the nice things that we liked about building is the fact that we only have to put down 10% now to get started and then when the home is complete and ready to be handed over to us, we can add an additional 10% (or more) down to avoid a PMI on our mortgage! (You need 20% down or more to avoid a PMI).

Finding An Attorney

This one is a bit more subjective. It’s really up to you on which attorney you would like to go with. Most builders don’t change their contracts, however, it’s a good idea to loop in an attorney at the beginning to do a double check. Plus, they can send along a RIDER to the contract. These are items that they would like added on for additional protection / phrasing that they like. 

Finding A Plot Of Land

This can be a bit more difficult. Some builders have already purchased the land and you can choose to build upon it. Sometimes this means that they have purchased the land, but not “opened it up” for sale with the village. So you would have to ask about timing with that. Otherwise, you need to drive around to see what is available. Be sure to ask about lot premiums! Some plots are more expensive than others due to size and location. 

The other important part about the plot of land is to ensure that you like it. Walk around it and see if you can “see” yourself living there. Look around the neighborhood at your possible neighbors. Are there any businesses near by that you would like? Are there schools, parks, baseball diamonds or public transportation nearby or would you like them far away? We made our choice by considering all of these. (which is very hard to do!) It takes a long time. Plus, there are so many great options to choose from. At one point, we had to just go with our heart. 

Choosing Your House Model Type

As we go down our list, the fun goes up, however, the difficulty does as well. Your builder has different house models to choose from. They also have models that are already built and you can walk through them. BE SURE TO WALK THROUGH THEM! On paper it looks amazing however, when walking through, we had to ask ourselves – does this really feel like our home? Is the floor plan too open? Can we get privacy when we need it? Where will the Christmas tree go?

We had our hearts set on a specific model. Even when we walked through it we liked it. However, after the excitement faded, we decided to go with a different model. Price was a factor, however, there was the privacy factor. Since our home is part of our office, we need to be able to have privacy and no noise when we are working / in meetings. In addition, we like to have some separation. We like the open areas for the kitchen and social spaces for entertaining, however, other places are nice to have your own space. Plus, our daughter gets her own walk in closet!

Reviewing And Signing The Contract

This is the part that made our heads spin as well as making us very nervous. Our builder requires 10% down at the time of the signing with a cashier’s check. That can be alot of money. In addition, you have to ensure that some of the changes you want to the model are spelled out in the contract at that time. There is no going back once that is set in place! So we decided to take a week to sleep on things to be absolutely sure that we wanted specific items. For example, we wanted to “future proof” this house by adding a rough in for a bathroom in the basement. This means that the pipes are going to be set up  in the basement for a bathroom, however, we will not have a bathroom installed at this time. If we never end up doing that, oh well, but at least we have the option!

Plan for about 2 hours at this point. Every page need to be examined. Every page with changes needs to be signed. Your current finances need to be disclosed. It was a scary process because there was just so much information we had to move on through. 

Once all that was done, we had a sigh of relief. We do understand that there is a great deal more work on the way, however, this was a huge first step.

Next month, we starting making some selections. Stay tuned!

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