Essential Steps to Building a Custom Home

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  Homeowner Preparation is Key

Most people know what they want in their new home and see Dennis to discuss those ideas and iron out the wrinkles. However, some people in the very early planning stages have a need to sort through so many choices. The steps below were compiled by one of our many homeowners to assist those people. We hope you find them useful for organizing your home building project.

  1. Custom home vs. Market home.  The differences between these two types of homes is important and will impact your feelings about your home and its future market value. Chiefly, market homes have simple exterior and interior styling with standard features and floor plans all designed to reduce the cost of construction. Buyers of market homes have few feature choices, design options and less space between their neighbors. Deciding to build a custom home allows the buyer to purchase a larger lot and to get numerous upgrade features (like better construction materials and building practices, better insulation packages, larger individualized kitchens, baths, and family rooms, and better quality windows). Of course, personalized architecture from the outside to the inside is the hallmark of a custom home.

  2. Check your finances and calculate what you can comfortably afford for a downpayment and as a mortgage.  This will help you decide on the lot size as well as the approximate size of the home. Some homeowners use a price per square foot rule of thumb to estimate building costs (excluding the lot). Depending on the features you choose, this cost can range from $90 to $140/sq. ft. or even higher. Click here to use a Mortgage Calculator.

  3. Pre-qualify for a loan through a financial institution.  It's never too soon to find out for sure what you can afford.

  4. Scope locations, neighborhoods, towns.  Narrow down your list of favorite areas for lots by picking the best school districts, reasonable drive times to work and shopping, and affordable tax areas.

  5. Ask for and read all lot covenants and building restrictions on size, style, and construction quality before purchasing your dream lot.

  6. Research home designs.  Obtain back copies of home plan magazines. Primarily, look for floor plans that work best for you. Secondarily, look for any house front style that you like. It's more important to first pick the best floor plan sketching desirable alterations than choosing the best exterior design and being "stuck" with the associated floor plan. Later, you'll choose a designer architect to fit your favorite exterior to your best floor plan.

  7. Ranch or two-story.  If a two-story, then master on first or master on second. If this is your dream home and you have plans to retire (someday) with this home, it's a good bet that you'll want a first floor master suite.

  8. Exterior features.  Decide between brick and siding. Hipped roof lines or straight gables. Drive around lots of neighborhoods and take lots of pictures. Doing this step will help you picture what looks good from the front. Discovering what is "appealing from the curb" will make selling your home later a snap.

  9. Interior features.  Room sizes. Kitchen, nook and family room combinations. Kitchen arrangements. Visit model homes, attend Homearama and the annual Cincinnati or Dayton Home Show for lots of interior ideas.

  10. Arrange financing.  Understand rate locks and ask about lock extensions in case your project is not finished on time or your existing residence has not sold. Ask about front end vs. back end closings and which is safer to you. Ask about the bank's opinion on transferring your lot to the builder before you build and discover which practice is safer to you as lot owner and future homeowner.

  11. Gather Builder Names.  Ask friends, family and locals from the neighborhoods surrounding your lot. Look for a builder that is smaller and local to your area. Remember smaller and local means personal attention will be applied to your project. Look for builders that allow you to maintain ownership of your lot. Include DW Homes and Dennis Wesselman on your short list.

  12. Call Dennis!  You can work with him. He is reasonable. He does quality work. He has practical experience. He has the best pricing. And, he will be present on your project every day. Call now!

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