Building your custom home is always an exciting time, whether it’s your first or fifth home. But where do we start? Do we need a design? Should we have a lot picked out first? What about an architect? What about a builder? These are all good questions and they will all need to be answered in time. But, what is square one? Your budget! Nothing else matters if you can’t afford it or don’t want to pay for it. We all know that cash is king, but the reality is that most people finance their new construction. To help with determining your budget, talk to some of the lenders in your area that specialize in new home construction loans. They will help you establish how much money you can qualify to borrow.
While you are going through the qualifying process, it’s very helpful to connect with a builder that you feel comfortable with. Lenders want to know your builder before the construction loan is finalized. They want to know that your builder has a track record and that the project will be completed per plan, within a reasonable time period, and within the allotted budget.
When taking the first step with a lender, most people don’t have a set of working drawings (plans). If they haven’t already done so, this is when I see a lot of people start a scrapbook of ideas, make lists, clip magazine photos and search the web for more ideas. An experienced builder can help you make decisions or compromises and he or she can reign you in when you stray too far from the budget. You, along with your Lender and Builder are determining how much money you have to work with, and you are starting to conceptualize your new home. Soon it will be time to bring a Designer or Architect into the mix.