Building a Custom Designed Home – Step 1: The Perfect Plan
So, you’ve decided to build a custom home, woo-hoo!! Building a custom home is such a wonderful experience. It allows you to see your own imagination come to life in a home that is uniquely crafted for you and your family.
Now, where should you start?
You’ve probably already got some ideas in mind of what you’re wanting in terms of the floor plan or layout for your new home. Whether it’s three bedrooms on the main floor, or a mudroom off the garage to hide the family’s jackets and boots from guests, or maybe your kids are all grown up so having an office on the main floor is more important than an extra bedroom. Whatever it is, that idea in your head about what you want in your new home – that’s your wish list. So, before you get too far into the process, sit down with your family and write down everything that is on your wish list for your home.
Questions to ask yourself?
- Where do you want to live? (Smalltown, big city, close to parks and green space, close to schools, close to work, close to family, etc.)
- Have you picked a lot yet? Finding the right lot is crucial when thinking about your floor plan because the home will have to be drawn up to suit the lot.
- How many square feet do you want in your home?
- Bungalow or a two-storey?
- Do you want to have more bedrooms in your home, or would it be of more value to you to have that space for something else?
- Would you like to have walk-in closets in all of the bedrooms? Maybe just in the master?
- Are you wanting a 2 car garage, or 3, or more?
- Do you prefer an open concept layout or more closed off?
- Which direction do you want your windows to face in the living room? Do you want lots of sun, or not?
- Is a walk through pantry from the garage to the kitchen to allow you to put groceries away easily something you’d like?
- If a young family goes through A LOT of laundries, maybe it would make sense to have your laundry room close to the bedrooms?
- Is a wet bar in the basement something you’d like to make entertaining a breeze?
- What else do you have in mind for the home that’s important to you?
The perfect plan:
Once you have an idea of what type of home you’re wanting, we can show you a bunch of different plan options. We’ve got plenty of plans for you to look through at the office to give you a better idea of the kind of floor plan layouts and exterior looks that you like.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with designing your plan and need some inspiration,Emerald Park Homes Pinterest and Houzz boards are a great place find ideas. The Houzz board has photos of most of recently completed homes that you can browse through.
Before they get too far into the design process of your plan, it’s always a good idea to arrange a meeting with your builder. Together they can sit down and make sure that the kind of house you have in mind is going to fit into your budget. They will also be able to help you pick out the right lot for you and your family. It’s important to pick your lot early on as the house plan will have to be tailored specifically to the lot.
Designing your plan:
After you’ve determined your budget and chosen your lot, their team of designers will work together with you and their dedicated designer to take the ideas of what you like from all the different plans you’ve looked at and put them together into one perfect plan. If you find a plan that they have already had drawn and built before – like a show home perhaps – and you love it, you can always change it around and tweak it a bit to customize it to fit what you are looking for as an option as well.
After consulting with the designer to talk about your plan, they will create a preliminary plan for your home.
From there, they will take you through a virtual walk-through of your home so you can get a feel of what is really going to look and feel like once it is built.
You can make any kind of changes that you’d like to it. Once you’ve given it the thumbs up then it is ready for us to analyze and start working on pricing it out for you.
Keep in mind:
** Preliminary plans are one of the first steps to getting you a quote for your new home. But, it’s worth mentioning that there are other decisions that need to be made in order for us to do so accurately. Like what kind of finishings you will be wanting in your home, etc. But we’ll get into that elsewhere.
Whether you’re planning on building your dream home or buying a used home, the process to determine whether or not you are financially ready is the same either way. If you are financially ready to buy a home, then you are ready to build a home.
So, how do you determine if you are financially ready?
1. You should start by comparing how much you are currently spending on expenses and any debt payments to the amount of money you have saved up.
In other words, you need to get an idea of what your net worth is in order to know where you stand financially. You can do this by making a list! (We love our lists around here, that’s for sure!) Write down everything that you own that is considered an asset (your savings, investments, vehicles, home, etc.). Now write down all of your debts (student loans, credit card debt, your mortgage, etc.) and subtract them from your assets, and you have your net worth. Don’t worry about your income in this equation, this is just to give you an idea of your financial health.
2. Think about how much can you afford to spend on housing each month without risking your financial health.
Is what you’re spending now on housing about where you need to stay to keep your budget intact, or can you afford a bit more? The nice thing about building your own home is that you can make sure that you’re paying for what you actually want to have in your new home and not extras that you will never use. When you purchase a used home, that isn’t always the case. For example, if granite countertops are not important to you and you would rather not spend the money, but the previous owners installed new granite countertops… Guess what? The cost of that home included those expensive granite countertops.
3. Look into your credit score.
What is the status of your credit score currently like? Your credit score is a number that signals your financial health and is an important factor that lenders use when they are analyzing your credit for a mortgage. According to Equifax, a credit score of 660 to 900 is generally what you need for your credit score to be considered to be good, very good, or excellent.
4. Consider how much money you will need for the upfront costs of building a home.
Generally, you will need a down payment of at least 10%. This is where a lot of people think that building a home differs from buying a home. People often think that building a home requires interim or progress payments – which, many people are not in the financial position to comply with. However, that is not always the case.
We’re happy to inform you that, with Emerald Park Homes, in most cases, will finance your build to possession day (On approved credit).
Giving you time to sell your existing property without having to worry about paying progress payments or obtaining costly interim financing.
5. Now it’s time to shop around for a pre-approved mortgage amount with a bank, broker or lender.
Getting pre-approved for a mortgage is an important step to take before you get too far into the building or buying process. It helps you get an idea of what sort of budget you have to work with to build your new home.
There are two basic affordability rules that will determine how much you can spend on your new home without risking your financial situation:
- Your monthly housing costs should be at or under 32% of your gross monthly income.
- Your monthly debt load (including your mortgage) should be at or under 40% of your gross monthly income.
Fellow Trusted Regina Partners, MacKay & McLean have some great information on a list of things you’ll need to have to get a mortgage.