By Cathy Little
Where Do You Begin?
So you’re thinking of building a home in Loudoun. What should you do first? Buy land? Hire an architect? Or hire a builder? Land (as in single lots, not large tracts) is selling again and prices are on the rise, so your first impulse might be to run out and grab some before it gets too pricey.
Then again, you might not be quite ready to make that commitment. It might sound more appealing to sit down with an architect and put your dreams on paper.
Realistically, however, a custom home builder is in the best position to help you set up a budget for your land and house, with a clear knowledge of all the parts and pieces involved. Architects have vision but most are not aware of the hard costs of the components in your home. All too often, customers have brought us plans for homes that they will never be able to afford.
We also frequently see customers who have paid dearly for a piece of land without knowing whether it is buildable or what the cost of improvements (well, septic, driveways, grading, etc.) might be. (Take for example the client with the beautiful view from the mountainside who would never be able to get a concrete truck up the hill without spilling its contents!)
So, I recommend that you talk to a builder first. A good builder will get an idea of the level of quality you want in your home and the size you are looking for. With that information we can give you a general budget. Then you’re ready to talk to a mortgage banker who can determine what you can afford and can explain the unique construction-to-perm financing that you’ll need for this project. Now you’re ready to look for that land. Find a realtor familiar with the land listings in the area you want to live and start exploring the countryside. Once you’ve found the property of your dreams you’re ready to sit down with an architect, budget in hand, and design a home that best fits that lot as well as your desires. Finally, you can return to the builder to bring your dreams to reality. Be sure you find a builder who will help you navigate the process and who will build you a high-quality, energy-efficient home that will last.
Fairhaven Homes has built custom homes since 1997. Visit the website for more information – www.4Fairhaven.com.