by Ken Pieper


You have been dreaming of this for months, even years, correct? You want to create and build your own home and this can be a very exciting event in one’s life. I have personally enjoyed this journey in my life so I do speak from experience. Looking back on that time did I do everything right, make the correct decisions? Well actually, we really enjoyed every step of our journey and lived in a wonderful home for several years. This stated, could I have made more informed decisions? Absolutely! I have carefully examined the whole of the journey of mine and many others and would like to share the more analytical approach that we took in the process in the steps outlined below.

STEP ONE: Defining where we want to live. 

This can be a daunting task in itself. Urban, rural, planned community, golf course development are just a few and can be expanded to different locations of our country. They really need to be discussed thoroughly as each offer advantages and obstacles.

STEP TWO: The budget.

This is so important in the process of defining exactly where you are comfortable in the expense of your housing budget. The concept of “want and need” really becomes a factor here in this discussion. Remain realistic and don’t place yourself into the house owning you rather than living in a home you are both living within easily and can afford.

STEP THREE: The matrix of your home.

How many bedrooms, baths, open living house plan, style, shape, these elements of the home are what I refer to as the matrix of the house. Again, plan for the future and remember that this process from start to finish of selecting the location, the design of the house, and the actual construction process take time. Create the house plan for when you will actually move into your new home and how long you plan to live there. 

STEP FOUR: The Design of the Home.

There are two major avenues for achieving this step. You can hire an Architect or Residential Designer to create along with you the custom home that you desire. The other alternative and the more cost effective directive is to select a “Stock Plan” or “Previously Designed House Plan” from the many online service such as ours. Creating from scratch can be very time consuming and costly, but you can achieve much of your personal desires in the final home. Selecting a house plan that really comes very close to the “matrix” of the home you want to live in is really cost effective and a more time sensitive approach. Additionally, many  house plan companies such as ours, offer a modification service to the consumer that will allow you to customize the Stock Plan to more your thoughts. I would also caution here though that the modifications i.e. “mods” can become time consuming and costly in themselves. We alter many of our customers plan selection to more closely fit their individual requirements.

“I have carefully examined the whole of the journey of mine and many others and would like to share the more analytical approach that we took in the process.”

STEP FIVE: Selecting your builder.

Interview several, but narrow your selection to only two or possibly three and tour their most recently completed projects. Ask for their last three clients, not just the best ones but the the last ones, for a more realistic qualifying response. Understand completely what their construction and financial transaction process involves. Define exactly before contracting with this company what your responsibilities are as to what the construction activities exactly entail and exactly what and when you expect the builder to deliver.  Your first responsibility is to provide the builder with the house plan construction documents, making sure you are presenting the correct and defined information required for them to understand exactly what you are expecting in the final home. Just a note here that your construction documents, the actual house plans, are the most important instrument of contract you will have with the builder. Define exactly what your builder is including in the price contracted with you. Understand completely the builders warranty program. And finally, be assured that you have the confidence and trust in the company you are hiring. Without this totally, don’t sign any agreement!

STEP SIX: Patience.

I cannot stress this one item more strongly. The adventure you are embarking on requires time and expense. I want this journey to be one of your best, but this process really needs to be consumed in small, well defined and executed steps. Becoming impatient or stressed with the process or with the individuals that you are working with adds nothing beneficial to this adventure. There are many more considerations that could be added to this list, but I know  if you just follow these steps above, I believe you will appreciate and understand the “road map” more clearly and make wise and informed decisions.

Until next time, enjoy the journey!

Ken Pieper

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