Building Your Own Home: Essential Considerations

When you buy a finished home, you get someone else’s idea of what a home means. Even if it’s great, it’s never quite in line with what a home means to you. Building your own home, on the other hand, allows you to make it exactly to your liking. You get to choose everything, from the land and landscaping to the design and materials used.

Of course, building a house is a significant undertaking. Mistakes will be a big headache and will cost you a great deal of time and money. To make it all easier, Home by Designs offers this mini-guide with the essential considerations first-time builders should make before getting started:

Your responsibilities: Builder-owner or individual projects

If you decide to be a contractor and build your own home, you’ll be dubbed a “builder-owner.” You will need to apply for an owner-builder exemption, sign a building permit application, network with a team of subcontractors, be ready for inspections, and do all the work a general contractor performs. Needless to say, this is a full-time job.

Alternatively, you could outsource the main building work to a licensed professional and work on individual projects that you care about, especially yourself. For instance, you could do landscaping, outdoor seating, painting, wallpapers, carpeting, and other cosmetic work yourself.

Establish a budget first 

Building your dream home without having a budget is how you get into debt. It’s crucial to get on top of your financial situation and establish a budget first. A myriad of factors affects your home’s cost – the location, styling, features, permissions necessary, neighborhood restrictions, interiors, and more. Fortress Home reports the average cost to build a 1,500-square-foot house is $185,000. They also offer a house-building calculator you can use.

Financing and taking out a construction loan 

You may need a construction loan to build your new home. This is different from a regular home loan – the credit score, income, and other requirements are far more stringent. You need to double-check your appeal as a borrower before approaching a lender. You could consider a construction-to-permanent loan. The construction-to-permanent loan lender will pay you (the builder) as the work is completed, and the cost will be converted into the mortgage once you close on your home. InvestingAnswers explains construction loans in detail.

Finding appropriate land

A lot more goes into picking land for your home than you might think. There might be zoning or building restrictions in place – you need to check with the government to be sure residential builds are permitted. You will have to make sure utilities are readily available and affordable. Last, but not least, you will need to evaluate the land itself. It needs to be accessible and geographically capable of supporting a house.

Essential home design considerations

You may have several ideas of how you want your home to be. You will need to design a floor planwith all the rooms and features you want. This is a plan an architect makes, typically, although you can make it yourself (which is not recommended unless you have experience). Your floor plan will shape your dream home – you must make it as perfect as possible. If you need inspiration for your home’s design, you can browse the Home by Designs collection of beautiful home ideas to see a variety of home styles suitable for several price ranges.

Hiring an interior designer

A professional can help refine your interior design and correct mistakes if any. Hiring an interior designer can be a worthwhile investment. They work with you, your contractor(s), and your architect to create an aesthetically pleasing, sound, safe, and functional plan. Keep in mind that how much you’ll pay an interior designer will be determined by your location and the professional’s experience, education, and specialty. You can expect to pay the most in states like New York, California, Florida, Texas, and Georgia. Click here for more info on hiring interior designers.


As you can tell, a great deal of planning and preparation goes into building your own home. It’s a good idea to talk to people with experience in the journey before you begin. For instance, you could consult with a contractor, a realtor, an owner-builder, for pointers on how to best proceed. Hiring professionals like an interior designer will make the process significantly easier.

Written by: Megan Cooper at Real Life Home

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