Building Your Own Home

Building Your Own Home

Owning a place of your own somehow gives you a sense of security.  Some of us yearn for a place to raise a family.  You may also feel that a home is a good investment because you will be getting something tangible for the money you are just throwing away on rent now.  With words like economic downturn plaguing the news, you're probably more conscious of the way you spend your hard-earned money.  Whatever the reason for building your own home, it requires a lot of work and a lot of planning.  If you're not sure where to start, here is a simple process to get you started:

Determine your budget and finances.

Money plays an important role in determining the design, size and general layout of your house. Deciding on your budget is a great way to begin.  Go into it carefully.  Evaluate your finances and determine if the budget is appropriate for the design and size of your house. If you feel it's not, check and see if you could apply for a home loan or a mortgage.  If you don't want a loan, try to modify your house plan that would ultimately fit your budget.  It can be a real temptation to plan for a very big home and use the maximum loan power your bank or lending institution will grant you.  It is easy to think you will get the money to pay for that loan eventually or in the years to come.  But it pays to be realistic especially with money. 

Choose a lot or parcel of land.

This second step will determine your house plan.  But before you purchase your lot, make sure it's buildable meaning you can secure a building permit and other requirements.  Next you need the builder or the architect to evaluate factors like the land area, soil condition, drainage, the building code of the area and even the spot where the sun hits and the wind blows at certain times of the day before any construction work can be started.

Hire experts and professionals for the job at hand.

So you have finished deciding on your budget and lot, but before you hire people to do certain jobs, consider your capabilities and define your level of involvement in the project. Consider what professional services may be required for your project and what you can do without the need for outside help. After doing that, it's time to choose the right professionals to build your house. That would include the builder, the surveyor, engineer and the architect. Once you choose the builder or the contractor, the building company or the contractor usually chooses the rest of the team.  However, you could alternately hire your own architect.

Draw up the Plan and Design of the house.

It is important to define how you intend to live in your new place before drawing up the house plan.  While deciding on a plan for your house, it is crucial that you consider your needs and general lifestyle. If you work at home, assigning a room to be an office is best.  Are you a morning person? Then it's best to place your bedroom where the sun hits it in the morning.  Do you love the outdoors?  Then a house with wide windows and patios would be just the thing for you. Do you love to cook?  Then a modern spacious kitchen would make you truly happy.  Sketch a floor plan based on your lifestyle and what is important to you. You may also go for a stock plan from a catalogue if it fits your needs or you could get a customized plan for your house. If you choose the latter, a licensed architect would be a big help.

Finalize what building materials to use.

Select products and materials to be used in your home. Consider the style, cost, finish, installation, colour, model and maintenance.  Choosing the building materials can be very difficult because of the many factors you have to consider.  A lot of research has to be done and with too many choices in the market, the area of research is wide. Building materials commonly used for constructing a house, vary from lumber to concrete, plaster of Paris, aluminium and glass.  Go online to manufacturers' or suppliers' web sites to study their product lines. But there's nothing like seeing and touching the building materials firsthand so a visit to the warehouse or building depot should also be part of your material selection process.  One word of advice, try to select materials that are locally available, as it would prove to be cheaper and apt to the local climate.

Prepare the building contract.

After you have finalized the lot, plan and the team that would build your house, draw up a contract with the contractor. You may use a standard contracts used by the experts to better understand what conditions are important to you and just add on as you see fit.  The contract should include all the agreements and your specific requests like the start and the completion date, labour cost, building materials, safety insurance and any other charges and warranties involved in the process. Have an attorney review the contract before signing. 

Apply for necessary building permits.

Finally you should apply for a permit to build your house.  Expect your house plan and drawings to be scrutinized and questioned by the building department officials.  Be prepared to make some changes or corrections or even requests for additional information and site inspection during this period.  This would generally take time.  So while waiting, you could apply for temporary electricity required to run the equipment needed for the construction of your house. Periodically check on the progress of your building permit's application and show the officials that you're willing to cooperate.

After your house is built expect a final inspection from the local building official. If your house passed all inspection criteria then a building occupation permit would be issued out.