You dream of having a custom home, and think it’s do-able.  But where do you start?  What do you need to organize before you can actually break ground?  Looking at plans? Interviewing builders?  What do you do first?  Follow these simple steps and stay on track with your budget and schedule.

1.Purchase the lot.  Finding one can take some time, and you want to make sure it’s the perfect spot.  We recommend completing a feasibility analysis of the site so there are no budget surprises down the road.  Site preparation costs may include environmental issues and municipal zoning. Also consider running utilities to a new home site, particularly if you’re looking to purchase remote cottage land – it could be expensive to run services to the lot.

2. Secure financing.  Whether it’s selling your current home to free up equity, or arranging private financing, know what funds you have, and be open with your building team (architects, designer, builder) as to your budget.

3. Know your design style. Collect photographs of dream rooms, gather sample drawings, do sketches, make a Pinterest or Houzz board with your favourite finishes – anything to show your architect/builder so they understand your design style. The more information they have, the more efficient the pre-construction phase will be.  Which leads to:

4. Prepare drawings.  Spend time interviewing several architects, checking references and getting your initial drawings completed. We can certainly recommend several architects for you.  An experienced builder can recommend an architect/home designer who matches your design style.

5. Find the right builder.  This can be done concurrently while interviewing architects.  It’s ideal if you have both your architect and builder working together during the pre-construction phase.  Your builder can help keep your budget in line with each new drawing.  Source your builder well ahead of your anticipated start date.  Good builders are very busy during prime construction months and need to be secured in advance.  For the Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Custom Home Builder, check out our blog post:  http://constructconserve.com/top-10-questions-to-ask-your-custom-home-builder/

6. Plan your home base.  Whether you are constructing an addition to your current home, doing a tear down, or building on an empty lot decide where you are going to live during construction. This is a good conversation to have with your builder, who can shed light on whether it’s possible to remain in the dwelling or not. Remember to factor in the very early mornings that contractors will arrive at your home, the noise, dust and overall impact on your life.

Following these simple steps will ensure a smooth transition to the fun part:  breaking ground!