The approach of the New Year is often a nudge for many of us to consider our future plans and dreams. Maybe you’ve been entertaining the idea of finally building your dream home. It’s a wonderful thought, but should you build a custom home in 2020? That’s not the kind of decision you want to make without some serious reflection. Here are some questions you’ll want to answer before you make your decision.
Why Do You Really Want to Do This?
Building a custom home is kind of a big deal. You’re probably not pursuing that idea on a whim. That’s why it’s good to give some thought to why you want to take on this kind of project in the first place. It’s good to be reminded about your intents and purposes as you make a commitment. In addition, thinking about why you want to build will help you make better decisions about how and what you’re going to build. So, why do you want to build a custom home?
- Are there changes in your family situation? Family changes are one of the most common reasons for building a new home. Perhaps your family situation has changed, and your current home no longer meets your needs.
- Do you have a growing family? Your current home may have been perfectly adequate for a small family. Maybe you have more kids now than your current home can handle (or are planning to have more). You may need more space to accommodate more people.
- Has your lifestyle changed? It may be that you used to go out more for entertainment. Maybe the way you entertain now is by having friends over. If that describes you, you’re in good company! According to a recent Growth from Knowledge article, half of Americans entertain guests in their homes at least once a month. Perhaps your current home isn’t ideally designed to let you do that comfortably.
- Are you thinking about your future? These days more Americans are planning ahead for their housing needs as they age. An increasing number of them plan to stay in their homes longer (rather than move to a retirement community). What many of them are doing is making sure that their homes will be safe, comfortable, and convenient as they age. They may not need some of the features they build in right now, but they have them in place for the future. They know that it’s better to build with the future in mind than to try to retrofit a home later.
What Will Make This Home Your Dream Home?
When you’re building a custom home, you get to design it and build it to meet your specific needs, wants, and desires. Your home doesn’t have to look or feel like anybody else’s home. Think about exactly what elements you will want to include so that your home makes you comfortable and “at home.” Check out this article that takes a look at custom home features your family will love. You may glean some new ideas—or modify the ideas listed here to better suit your needs and taste.
As you think about the features you may want to include in your new home, you can divide them into categories. “Must-have” features are non-negotiable items. You’ll want to make sure these features are in place. “Nice-to-have” features are things you can add as your budget allows.
Is the Timing Right for You?
You may be familiar with the old proverb: “There is a time for every purpose . . .” How do you know if this is the right time to build a custom home? Often, when people think about timing with regard to building a home. While that’s smart (and we’ll talk about that in a bit), good timing also has to do with what else is going on in your life. Building a custom home is a fairly involved process (Here’s an article that explores what you can expect when building a custom home in the Twin Cities.) that is going to demand a significant amount of your attention and time. It’s a fun, exciting, and rewarding experience, but if your family is facing other challenges, it may be hard to give the building process the attention it requires.
Does it Make Financial Sense?
Naturally, there is a significant financial investment associated with building a custom home. Many homeowners look at the current interest rates for home loans and try to gauge whether they are headed up or down. The fact is that nobody can project that with any degree of certainty. We’re homebuilders, not financial prognosticators. What we can say is that current rates are still extremely affordable.
A more important issue when it comes to the financial aspect of building a new home is having an accurate picture of how much home you can really afford. Creating a realistic budget not only helps keep you from over-extending yourself, but it also helps you plan the particulars of your new home. That's why it may be wise to qualify for your loan first. That way you know exactly where your boundaries are, and you can work with your builder to design a home within those boundaries. Another advantage of doing that is that you'll be ready to move whenever you're ready. You (and your builder) won't be held up waiting for loan approval.
Another part of the financial picture has to do with the so-called “soft” benefits of building your home. While it’s impossible to say exactly how much your new home will accrue in value over time, by building now, you will enjoy the benefits of living for years in a safe, convenient, comfortable home that’s designed around your lifestyle. It’s hard to but a dollar figure on what that is worth.
Are You Prepared for This Kind of Project?
There is one additional thing to consider before deciding whether now is the right time to build. You'll want to make sure you're prepared for this kind of project. The more you can educate yourself about the process ahead of time, the less stress you’ll face down the road. You’ll want to consider topics such as:
- How to Create a Realistic Budget
- Selecting a Team to Build Your Home
- Choosing a Home Site
- Creating a Floor Plan
- Negotiating a Contract
We address all of these topics in our free Custom Home Guide eBook. Contact us to request your free, no-obligation copy and begin preparing yourself to build the home of your dreams!