You would never think about the complexity of preparation before building a new home unless someone actually offers some advice. I will be writing a series, in parts, concerning different aspects of building a home of your desire, rather than you searching for new home already pre-built.
Things You Will Need
Some studying to understand certain issues
Step 1As a couple, you need to take the time to find house plans before making any decisions. I spent two (2) years looking through plans. If you have an idea, you can hire an architect. However, that costs big money. It is cheaper to find a design that you really like and pursue it from there. During this search period, you take the time to learn what a plan looks like and what all the symbols mean in the drawing. This will help you understand the layout of the home. Once you have chosen one, you buy the plans from the architect and make sure you buy at least four (4) copies (mine cost $75 each, some cost more). You buy four (4) copies because you need one (1) for your files, two (2) for your contractor (onsite for the workers and subcontractors, and offsite for your contractor). The fourth (4th) one is for the lending institution so they can look at your design before they approve your "Construction Loan". You will not get those plans returned. A mortgage loan is different from a standard loan. The lending institution gives you money to give to your contractor for different phases of building completion. The final loan payment to the contractor is when he completes the home and landscaping.
Step 2When you select the plan for your future dream home, you start your search for a great contractor. To choose a great contractor, you should have certain criteria to base it on. An excellent contractor does not just build homes like, what I call, "Smurf Villages". All these homes look identical, except for color and some facial differences. A builder buys the land and develops it. He builds homes on "speculation". This means he hopes someone will purchase one as he builds (the village mentality). In my opinion, most of those contractors are limited in skills so they keep to usually three (3) styles to keep the complexity low and the profits high. When visitors come to your new home, you really have to go out of your way to make your home look different on the outside so that they can find your house compared to all the others in the "village".
Step 3Once you have chosen your tentative builder, you set up a meeting and you show him the plans. A discussion ensues, and you tell him what you prefer to see so he can make his estimates for the construction of your home. Remember he will be working for you. You will be living in that home, not him. Your decisions concerning all the issues are yours, not his. Allow him to show you a home he has built. If you are not satisfied with price, material, or even his attitude, find another contractor BEFORE you sign any contract. Your contractor needs a little time to look the plans over so he can give you estimates for your next meeting. Your contractor will give you an estimate as per square foot, once you agree upon tentative building finalities. At your second estimate meeting, you and your spouse take your plans, the estimates and go home to make your decisions. Do not leave your plans behind, in case you do not choose him as your builder. He does not have to know you have a spare at home.
Step 4As with any construction, adjustments always happen as you are building. You will add or subtract things in your plans. You will find that on occasion, you both will agree on something that was not in the plans at the beginning. Even though you have procured a "Construction Loan" from your lender, make sure you have a flexible budget, and the lender can get you more monies if you need it. Just remember that your monthly mortgage payment will get higher.
Step 5Your contractor will give you a breakdown of costs (.i.e. lights inside and out, flooring, carpeting, etc.) All these estimates are included in the total price of the home, minus your appliances. You may have a separate cost, for the land you are putting your house on. Make sure he includes landscape costs too. If your choice of the contractor is definite, sign the contract, but make sure your lender approves your loan request.
This is just the beginning of your long construction process. Prepare yourself and I recommend you keep a close eye on the construction. Please keep a good relationship with your contractor. I also recommend you teach yourself or inquire with experts, about every aspect of building, i.e. electrical, plumbing, and heating, etc. The reason behind this learning is if you are aware and understand each integral part, your contractor or subcontractor cannot "snow" you with their ways of installation. Part 2 will include points on basement walls and insulation, and the basic framing construction.