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A Quick Guide to Building Your Custom Home

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED ABOUT THE PROCESS THAT GOES INTO BUILDING YOUR OWN CUSTOM HOME?

Here are a few things to consider...

1. PLAN YOUR BUDGET. The first step is qualifying and knowing how much you can afford to spend and how much building your new custom home is likely going to cost. Early on, you should find out what size loan you qualify for. This will help you modify your custom design or scope of the project to meet your budget.

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2. CHOOSE YOUR LOT. You will need to choose the land before you start the design process. It's a good idea to have your Architect assist you with this as they have a professional eye for selecting the best buildable piece of land in your favorite neighborhood. Check out our recent video on "Choosing a Lot with the Northern Virginia Custom Home Builders".

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3. CHOOSE YOUR ARCHITECT. Hiring an Architect will save you time and money as well as streamline the building process. They will provide an accurate picture of how the project will turn out before construction begins. A good Architect can see obstacles in your project that you would never anticipate. There are several benefits to choosing a design build company.

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4. STEPS OF DESIGN. When you're creating a design for your new custom home, take the time to think about how you will use each space, circulation through and around the spaces and what is most important about each space. This is where your Architect can assist you.

5. DESIGN YOUR HOME. Get inspired by keeping a scrapbook, bookmark pictures in books and magazines, search the internet, and take pictures. Then, review your inspirations with your Architect to consolidate the ideas into a cohesive design. Your Architect will also work through several schematic design concepts to find the scheme that best fits your needs. See our video on "How to Choose Designers for Building".

6. CHOOSE YOUR BUILDER. You will need a team of experts to design and construct your new custom home. Key players will include an architect, a builder, civil engineer, surveyor, interior designer and landscape architect. The builder and their team of contractors are fundamental to the success of your project. Our video explains "What is an Architect-Builder and Why You Need One".

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7. FIX THE COST. You'll need to consider how the expenses of the project will be paid. There are several methods: 1) Times/Material Pricing is a standard labor rate per hour used, plus the actual cost of materials used; 2) Cost Estimate with Allowance Pricing is a convenient method of allocating construction funds to portions of the work that cannot be specified at the time of contracting; and 3) the Fixed Construction Pricing is "fixed" in advance and is independent of cost incurred in respect of the construction contract. This is the most preferred method by clients since it gives them the peace of mind of knowing costs upfront.
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A written contract that has been signed and dated by both the Architect and custom home builder should be acquired. The contract will include the starting and completion dates of construction, as well as entail the cost of the project.

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8. PERMITTING PROCESS. Prior to building, permits and zoning is required. These should be obtained by your builder so that it takes the liability off of you as the homeowner and keeps the responsibility with the builder. A meeting should be held with your builder to review the building schedule, review architectural plans and specifications, customize your special selections, and to ensure that you and the builder are on the same page.

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9. CONSTRUCTION. Now, the building of your new custom home begins. First, site preparation is done for the foundation being poured. The next steps are framing, installation of windows/doors, roofing, siding, rough electrical/plumbing/HVAC, insulation, drywall, trimming, painting, bathroom and kitchen cabinets installed, carpeting and flooring placed, main water/sewer hooked up, and punch list (to do’s) created.

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10. FINAL WALK-THROUGH. After your new custom home has been constructed, you’ll walk-through the home, along with the project manager, to make certain that the project meets your expectations. Click here for what to expect when walking through your new home.
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11. CLOSING DAY. On closing day, the property will legally be transferred to you. You will sign a number of documents that will be explained by your settlement agent or attorney. Once all of the signing is done, the house is yours. Congratulations! Your new custom home is ready and your keys are delivered. See more about Understanding the Closing Process.
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12. MOVE IN. Welcome to your new custom built home!

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