The location of your home is just as important as the home itself. Before you move into the initial stages of your build, you'll need to choose a plot of land which supports your vision. It isn't always quick, and it isn't always easy, but when you find the perfect spot, you'll see the time and effort were well worth it.
So what's involved in the process, both before and after acquiring your plot of land? How do you select the ideal location for your build, and once you have, what comes next? We'll walk you through everything you need to know and more, making the homebuilding process simple and straightforward.
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1. Calculate Your Budget
Before you can begin your search, you'll need to calculate your budget. It's the foundation of your future decisions, creating structure so you don't overspend. You have a lot to cover, including the cost of the land, local taxes and fees, design and engineering costs, as well as the construction of the home itself.
Beyond these expenses, it's also smart to have a contingency fund between 10 to 20 percent of your expected costs. Start with a spreadsheet and organize your budget with separate columns for each expense. You can reference this sheet as you continue, updating and modifying it when necessary.
2. Choose Affordable Land
Among your range of options, you have to consider the issue of price. Even if you find an attractive plot which appears perfect for your plans, you don't want to begin your build with debt. You might have to compromise, but in the end, you'll see just how crucial this simple suggestion is to your success later on.
As you browse your areas of interest, look into foreclosures, "for sale by owner" properties, and opportunities for free land. You'll likely locate an attractive property that doesn't fall outside the limits of your budget. With a little looking, you'll come across something great at an affordable price.
3. Determine the Distance
You might take pride and satisfaction in your self-sufficiency, but you don't want to purchase a plot too far from a local town. After all, you'll have to drive to the markets in your area if you intend to sell your homesteading goods. Distance will only make it more difficult to make that type of trip.
Then again, this suggestion may or may not seem relevant depending on your goals. In some situations, your distance from the general population won't matter as much. Even so, you should think carefully about the inconvenience of living far from a town or city and some of the complications it could cause.
4. Learn the Area's Details
Once you've narrowed down your choices, you'll need to see if they accommodate your lifestyle. Answer these three questions as you continue your search.
- Does the property have access to a source of water from a nearby city, creek or well?
- Does the property have access to a state-maintained or privately owned road?
- Does the property have access to utilities such as electricity, or is it off the grid?
Your quality of life will depend on the availability of clean drinking water, safe routes of transportation, and certain utilities. You'll also need to research the area's zoning laws and learn if they permit agriculture. Accounting for these essential details will keep you from making any costly mistakes.
5. Select the Best Builder
You're investing a substantial sum of money in your build, and you should only entrust it to experienced professionals. When assembling your team, search for a builder with a long history of helping people like you. Reach out to their past clients and ask them about their experience.
As you interview your potential builder, ask them about the subcontractors they work with. Their expertise is just as important as the builder's expertise, and you don't want to bring them into your project if they lack the right qualifications. Background checks are crucial.
6. Manage the Paperwork
In most situations, your builder will reach out to your local municipality to ensure you have the proper permits before starting a build. Obtaining the necessary permits is absolutely critical, and you can't begin unless you have them. After you've secured these permits, you'll need to acquire insurance.
General liability insurance and workman's compensation insurance are both necessary, protecting both you and the builder throughout the project. Should any workplace injuries take place on your jobsite, you aren't responsible, which will save you a significant amount of money in court fees.
7. Finalize Your New Build
You'll have to make many decisions throughout your build ranging from the building materials you'd like for your homestead to the location of outlets. Other considerations include landscaping and final cleanup.
With all of these responsibilities and obligations competing for your time, it may feel a little overwhelming. As long as you approach your build with care and attention to detail, you can feel confident in your decisions as you move closer to completion. Just take things step by step.