Beyond excited and a little scared. That was me as we planned to build our home. My husband, on the other hand, was a confident carpenter. I had no idea what to expect. And Kenney couldn’t wait to get started. We didn’t start completely from scratch. We took an unfinished partial house and doubled it’s size and then some.
Now, on the other side of our build, we’d like to share with you some tips as you are planning to build your home or remodeling project.
Budget, budget, budget
First and foremost you’ll need to determine your overall budget. We had a budget that was set for us so we worked within that the best we could. Unless you’ve won the lottery, you’re like most people and will have to save your pennies and plan. You’ll need money for land, house plans, any survey work, property adjustment lines, well, sewer, home building materials & labor, and interior work such as drywall, paint, finish woodwork, tile, flooring, etc. the list goes on and on. Oh, and don’t forget the landscaping.
According to homeadvisor.com, the national average for building your own home is $288,233 which breaks it down to roughly $150 per square foot for a 2,000 square foot home. Of course that all depends on where you are located in the U.S. and what type of home you are building.
How many bathrooms would you like? A bathroom starts around $10,000 give or take. Are you removing walls? If they’re support walls you’ll need a beam in its place. And those can be pricey. But if you’re a fan of Fixer Upper like me, taking down walls ain’t no thing. Are you able to do any of the work yourself? You’ll want to consider cost of equipment you’ll need to rent. In our case my husband was talented enough that we didn’t need to sub out anything. Another thing to consider in your budget is how long you plan to be there? Is this your forever home or an investment to get you where you’d like to be?
This is the fun part! Dream! Dream BIG! You can always pair down later to match your budget. Gather ideas of how you’d like your home to look. Make a Pinterest board of home ideas. Cut ideas out of magazines. Go to home shows. And my fave — a date night at Home Depot. If you’re remodeling, assess what you have now and what you’d like to add. What’s missing that your family needs?
We started with an unfinished house with 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom on the 2nd floor. We decided we wanted a master bedroom on the first floor. Our house had the space for a kitchen but nothing there. So that was a must. Maybe you’d like to plan for parents living with you, so an elevator shaft would be something to consider. If we had the budget and time, we would have added that.
Find a builder
Or build it yourself like we did. There are a ton of builders out there. Ask your friends and neighbors for referrals. Do your research and find one that you love because you’ll be putting your dreams in their hands. I was lucky — my husband drew the plans for our home and built it. We had help from neighbors and family but Kenney did the majority of it and I’m so proud of him. Especially since it was a year after his back surgery! (Not a good idea!)
Get your drawings and permits
You can’t start building until you know how it’s going to look, so the drawings are very important. This is the literal blueprint for your home and it outlines every detail your builder will need. You’ll need to take your finished plans to the county to get all the permits. Every state, every county has their own requirements. The permit process can take some time — weeks, months, so keep that in mind. Ours took about a month to secure all the permits.
You can buy your materials in stages as you build to help ease the cost all at once. We purchased a lot of our materials from our local lumber mill and Home Depot.
As you are planning to build your home, don’t forget to have fun! I know it’s a stressful undertaking but try to enjoy the ride. Take lots and lots of photos and notes as you go along. You’ll be glad you did. You won’t believe how fast it goes. It seems like it’s going to take forever when you’re in the midst of it. But it will be done before you know it and the pictures of the process are so fun to look back on. It means so much to me that we have a home that we built ourselves.
Good luck and let me know how it goes!