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Buying A Custom Home: Important Questions To Answer

A beautiful example of a model home's kitchen from Heartwood Builders

Custom homes represent the best kind of customization you can have. The ability to craft the home of your dreams from the ground up is second to none. However, before you rush to start your custom home journey, you need to ensure that you’re prepared for a custom home. 

In this article, we’ll walk through the most important questions you need to answer before you start getting your custom home built. 

Understanding The Reality Of Custom Homes 

Before you can know which questions to answer, it helps to understand what the reality of new construction is. In a normal home purchase, the home and lot that is included in the cost of the home itself. In a custom home purchase, however, that may not be the case. You may have to find the lot yourself, or the home builder will need to find one and include that cost in the home. 

The amount of customization that buyers can have also varies widely based on the builder. Some home builders, like Heartwood Builders, build completely custom homes, while others may have a set of templates that they use that can be customized somewhat. When choosing a custom builder, be sure to ask just how custom your home can be before getting started. 

Lastly, ensuring the quality of the home builder itself is a crucial part of the buying process. Are the companies they use up to par and responsive? Do their previous customers enjoy their homes 5, 10, or 20 years later? Do they stay close to their building schedule? These are just a few of the questions you should try to have answered before settling on a builder and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on your new home. 

Identifying Your Wants Vs. Needs 

The most important tip for any homebuyer, whether they buy custom or not, is to identify your needs versus what you want. It helps to make a simple chart or list, and write down what you can and can’t live without. 

Over the years, we’ve seen countless home buyers who didn’t fully consider what they wanted or needed in a home, which led to increased costs down the line. Taking a few minutes to chart out what you need in your home can save you thousands in construction or renovation costs. 

When identifying your wants and needs, it helps to prophesy a little bit. Think about what you expect your home to look like in 5 or 10 years. Do you anticipate children, or a new hobby or career? Do you want solar power or want an environmentally-friendly home? Contemplating how the future may go can help inform the decisions you make when designing the layout of your home. 

Your Budget: Lenders, Furnishings, And Warranties

One of the biggest pitfalls we notice in the custom home industry is not having a budget. Like with most customizable things, it is incredibly easy to get carried away with the options available. However, maintaining a budget and sticking to it is a clear roadmap for long-term success. 

When looking for a home loan, have the lender walk you through how the total monthly expenses may look in the short and long-term. If you plan on making more money in the future, a loan with gradually increasing payments may save you more money than a fixed-rate loan. Never take on a loan that would take on too much of your monthly income. 

As stated earlier, many custom homes need to have the lot they are on bought separately, either by the homebuyer themself or the home builder. After the home is finished, you’ll need to consider furnishings, landscaping, and other costs if the home builder does not offer them. Having all the expenses charted can save you stress and money so you can enjoy the process of building your home from scratch. 

Have The Home Inspected 

The last tip would be to have the home inspected by a professional. Home inspections allow you to ensure everything about the home is up-to-code and your standards before you fully close on the home. While most custom home builders will have a final walkthrough with you, it doesn’t hurt to have a third-party with your interests in mind take a look. 

If you fear to seem rude, don’t worry. Any custom home builder who stands by their work won’t mind a home inspection. In fact, most may even encourage that you have the home inspected. With such a massive investment, it only makes sense that you verify that the home is in tip-top shape for you and your family. 

Let Heartwood Builders Craft Your Home

At Heartwood Builders, we pride ourselves on the work we’ve done across the greater Seattle area. If you’re in the market for a brand-new home, our team can build it. Contact us today for any questions or to get started on your new home!

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