Tips for Building a House When You’ve Never Owned a Home Before

Photography by Lisa Russman

So, you are a first-time homebuyer, AND you want to build your own home? When you are sure that you are ready to become a homeowner, building your perfect home may be the best choice for you. While the process of building can be a bit different than buying a pre-owned home, it does not have to be scary. Knowing the most important things to consider when designing a house will help, which is why we have compiled this concise list of tips for building a house as a new homeowner.

Home Building Tips for First Time Homeowners

1. Do Your Research
If you have never owned a home before, you may not know what options are available or which type of design elements suit you. Start by looking at lots of houses. While online research is a great starting point, it is often much more beneficial to walk through homes, to feel what it is like to be in these spaces. Visit open houses and ask friends whose homes you admire to poke around a bit. Look for layouts you like, design ideas that catch your eye, and details that interest you. Take photos and keep a detailed list of your thoughts. The clearer you are about what you are looking for in each room of your new home, the easier it is for your residential architect to help you create a design that works for you.

2. Consider Your Needs Now — and For Later
The home you are building will last for decades, so you don’t only want to think about what you might want right now. Are you planning to start a family, or will your family someday get larger? Do you have lots of out-of-town guests, do you entertain a lot, or will you eventually need to care for an aging parent? All of these are factors that you can plan for when you initially envision your home. The list of things to consider when designing a house includes much more than your current lifestyle and needs, which is why creating a home with flexible spaces or the option to add on later could be necessary for some people. 

3. Hire the Right Pros
Building your first home is not the time to go it alone or figure it out along the way. Hiring a residential architect and, later, a contractor will be two important decisions you make when building your first home. These experts will be able to guide the process and give you the best advice on building a new home. Building a house is an immense undertaking, so you must have the best guidance possible. 

4. Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More
The most successful home builds and satisfied homeowners are the result of careful planning before construction even begins. Your architect will work with you to plan for the layout of your home on your lot, where the windows and doors will be, and how many square feet you will have. But these are just the basics. Get out your big list of design ideas (see Step 1) and start planning for all the details of your new home. Lighting, flooring, outlets, switches, flow, storage… everything needs to be concretely decided. Your contractor (and your budget) will thank you when you do not need to make changes after construction has started. 

Building a home is an exciting time that gives you many choices and allows you to create a house that meets your needs. And as first-timers, you have a lot to be excited about! Enjoy the process and be willing to listen to the advice of others, and you will end up with a home you adore!