My Students’ Blog

Building Your Own Home

By Tevita Stajduhar

Have you searched the web looking for a house to buy? Perhaps you’ve found houses that you have liked but they don’t quite feel like home. Have you ever looked into building your own house? This might be the solution to you. Building your own house has many steps, but, in the end, the house is yours and it will end up completely to your own wants and needs.

The first step to building your own house is getting in contact with a real estate agent. If you contact a good real estate agent, they will know if the land is prone to flooding, if water and electricity will be accessible, and what type of building restrictions are in place in that area. There’s many different steps to buying your own land. When buying your own land you need to know how much it costs. First you would probably need to get a land loan to buy the land. When getting a land loan, the typical down payment will be between 15 and 25 percent. The average cost of purchasing land was $76,500 based on HomeAdvisors data. This isn’t counting for the 1.5-3 thousand dollars you’ll spend on land prep and breaking ground. According to Sophia Stajduhar, who made her own home with her husband, they were able to keep costs down to $150/per square foot by doing most of the ground work themselves. This would be double to triple the cost in the current market compared to 2017.

House Foundation Types, Uses, and Pros and Cons

When it comes to costs you should know that you’ll find trouble when trying to get a construction loan from the bank, especially on raw land. Things you can do to increase your chances of getting a loan is showing your lender a list of construction details like building materials and floor plans. The down payment on a construction loan can go from 20% to 25%. This down payment is so high because of the high risk that comes with building something that isn’t built yet. If you can get a qualified home builder, have a solid and thorough project plan, and can spend enough money for a large down payment your loan problems will be a lot easier.

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Home Building Process - NewHomeSource

Now that you have the land and the loan for the house it’s time to start building your new home. First, you’ll need to prep your build site to start construction. This begins by clearing your site of brush and other debris, down to ground level. Another thing to do is alter the land so water flow does not go through your site and corrode your materials. This can be done by adding a ditch or another way to divert the water. After diverting the water and leveling the land it’s time to dig some more. The contractor would dig a trench deep enough for frost footings(special concrete footings) which are usually about a foot and to protect the building from colder weather where the ground freezes and prevent frost heave. Next, an inspector would come and inspect the trenches to make sure they’re the right length and diameter. After that it is time to put footing drains which are there to keep water away from the footers. The contractor would then add vertical foundation walls on the footings using concrete. The last step to this process would be waterproofing the whole foundation and making holes in the foundation for water pipes and lines for draining. After the foundation there’s more concrete to be laid down. Your contractor will install insulation which is usually foam board slabs and then at least 4 inches of gravel on top of that. After the gravel is a plastic vapor barrier and wire mesh reinforcement. Then a slab of concrete is added on top of that to finish the foundation. 

While expensive it will be worth it when you have the home of your dreams just how you want it to be.

How Long Does It Take to Build a New Construction House? - Moving.com

Coming towards the end of the building process is the framing. During this process a carpenter crew will frame the floors, walls, roof, and ceiling. After framing, the windows and doors will be installed and the building will be sheathed. Sheathing is the outer layer of wood on a building being constructed, this is to protect the building and also gives the structure shape. The siding surface is then installed and wrapped in some form of weather guard. The next part of the framing process is finishing the roof and adding flashings and roof shingles. Then electricians and plumbers come in and do rough-in work installing circuits, pipes, and ceiling surfaces. THe last part of the framing process is installing the insulation. 

The next step of building your own house is installing drywall. This includes taping the drywall seams, mudding with a joint compound and finishing all the needed sanding. Interior walls and ceilings are then primed and after that trim moldings are installed. This includes the doors and window moldings. Then, all the cabinets are installed in all the rooms where they would be wanted. 

After the whole installation process is an easy but also long task, painting. Painting the walls and ceilings can be done by a painter but you can save money by doing it yourself. After painting, kitchen and bathroom countertops and cabinets are installed. Then electrical and plumbing hook ups are finished and done, this can be done by you if you’re skilled in this area, but it is highly recommended that you find an electrician to do it.

1,872,251 Flooring Stock Photos, Pictures & Royalty-Free Images - iStock

The last part of building your home before finishing it is flooring. There’s many choices to flooring like tile, hardwood, carpet, or any other type of flooring that you want. THis is also another step that you can save money on by doing it yourself. 

This next part of this blog is covering the cost. The buying of the land is approximately $76,500 overall.  The drawing up of plans and getting permits would be about $7000. The prepping and building of the foundation of the house would be about $15,000 but this varies on the cost of materials at the moment. The framing of the home could be up to $50,000, but this too varies on the price of materials. The cost of external elements like the sidings of walls, and openings, like window and door finishes, would be another $50,000. Installing the plumbing and AC things like pipes and ducts would cost around $52,000. The interior finishes like cabinets, painting, and appliances would be about $112,500.  Finalizing and landscaping can also cost up to $20,000, but that’s including a paved driveway, a deck, and a patio. The cost of many things has been increasing, though, with Covid-19 affecting everything right now. Sophia Stajduhar also says that issues to building right now are supply shortages and contractors pushing back, due to lack of labor and having to make up for lost time because of Covid restrictions.

That is the end of this article, and I hope that you have more knowledge about how to build your own home and have an idea about how much it will cost which would be about $383,000. Buying your own home can be a difficult process but also one that is super rewarding and worth it when it is all said and done. This is how to build your own home. While expensive it will be worth it when you have the home of your dreams just how you want it to be. This is important because you might want to start saving your money now in a savings account or building credit so when it comes to loans you’ll have less trouble when trying to build your own home.

Here are sources where you can find out more about mortgages and building your own home.

5 Things to Know Before Buying Land to Build a House

Getting a Mortgage When Building Your Own Home

A Step-by-Step Guide to the Home Building Process

How Much Does It Cost To Build A House?

Building Your Own Home: a Step-by-Step Guide

How Much Does It Cost To Build A House?

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