It’s not every homeowner that gets the opportunity to build a dream home from the ground up. But if you find yourself in this enviable position and you have the funding and the drive to turn your dream into a reality, you’re going to want to make sure you do the job right from the get-go. You could, of course, continue adding on forever, a la Sarah Winchester, who reputedly hired contractors for non-stop construction spanning the course of 38 years, resulting in the Winchester Mystery Mansion. But since it’s unlikely that you’ll follow in her footsteps, it’s best to simply spend some time on the planning and hiring process to ensure that your house is completed in a timely manner. Here are just a few preparatory steps you’ll want to take.

  1. Get preapproved. Before you do anything else, you’re going to need to make sure you have the funding necessary to complete your project. The worst possible outcome would be running out of money when your house is only half done. So speak with lenders and see about getting preapproved for a loan. This will also allow you to set your budget so that you can create a game plan, allocate funds (for land, materials, labor, and so on), and even plan for potential overages. You really must have your finances in order before you pull the trigger on any major construction project.
  2. Select a parcel. Once you’ve got your funding in place, it’s time to look for that special lot of land on which your dream home will rest. And there’s a bit more to it than finding a pretty view. You need to know what’s around your parcel, for starters. Is it close to needed amenities like grocery stores, schools, and hospitals? Or is it near a landfill or other dump site? Is there access to power, water, and waste disposal or will you have to pay to have these services brought to you? Will you be able to place your structure to take advantage of sunlight, wind, or other sources of green energy (if that’s what you’re interested in)? These are all questions you need to ask when selecting a lot of land.
  3. Check out architects. There are two ways to go about planning your structure. One is to find a house you love and get the blueprints. In most cases they are a matter of public record so you can find them at the county clerk’s office. If the structure you covet is old, however, blueprints may have been lost over time. The other option is to hire an architect for the job. And chances are that a good architect can either mimic the home you want or create something new to meet your exact specifications.
  4. Get bids from builders. With a building plan in hand it’s time to find a construction company to take your project from concept to completion. And you’ll want to get bids from several builders. A good place to start is by finding homes or developments you like and then contacting the construction company that built them. Don’t forget that some builders specialize in certain project types, so if you’re interested in sustainable or energy-efficient building practices, you may have to seek out specific vendors.
  5. Plan for perfection. Your custom home may be a labor of love, but that doesn’t mean you want to spend the rest of your life tweaking it. In order to save time and money down the line, you need to spend time enough time on the planning process to ensure that you get the details down before you even start the process. Changing your mind will only lead to additional expense and delays. So when working with reputable builders like Varco Pruden Buildings, nail down your plans early so that there are no changes during the building process.

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