The American dream for many is being able to buy a home and fill it with furniture fit for a king. However, for some, it’s not just enough to buy a home. Being able to build your new home can be exciting, fun, and can be the dream itself for some. To build your new home takes discipline, skill, lots of planning, and lots of determination and research. You should consider the size and where the plot of land you plan on using to build on is, what you want out of your new home, and how long it should take to build.
To build your new home means many things, but stress shouldn’t be one of them. Homeowners typically spend between 1% and 4% of their home’s value on upgrades and repairs each year, and you can save ahead of time by making sure you have these 15 must-haves for building your new home in good shape and ready to go. These 15 essential items will help you plan out costs, keep your home in good shape, and allow you to better plan-ahead with contractors. Plus, maintaining them will allow you to keep your home running for years to come.
1. HVAC System
HVAC installation is essential when makings plans to build your new home. HVAC stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, and is an essential aspect of any home. A well-maintained HVAC system will allow your home to have well-circulated air, and keep your family breathing healthy air. HVAC installation can be done with the help of a contractor, and for a central air conditioning unit, costs range from $3,500 to $5,900. Don’t be dismayed at the price, it’s best to shell out on a good HVAC unit, to begin with, and later on save on the cost to repair a faulty HVAC.
2. Good Foundation
A good foundation is essential to build your new home. An unstable foundation built by shady contractors who cut corners will only cost you thousands of dollars in repairs later on. Even when buying a home, hiring an inspector to inspect your foundation is an expense that should not be spared. This is even more important when building your home, where your foundation is the crux of your dream home. Spend the time researching foundation installation, from concrete, to the wooden frame, drywall, and so on before building your new home.
3. Septic Tank
If you’re building your own home, chances are you have a plot of land dedicated solely to your project. Septic tank service is an essential must-have for your new home. In most cities, a septic tank is shared amongst a number of different homes. But if you’re going to build your new home from scratch, it’s worth knowing if your septic tank will be shared by other homes, or you’ll have to pay for your own. Having your own septic tank service can be good, to prevent plumbing problems. However, it means you have to clean your own septic tank, and be able to shell out money to repair any problems that arise from septic tank service. Research beforehand if your new home will need its own septic tank, or be shared with others.
4. Good Siding
Choosing siding for your new home is essential to save you costs on heating later on, and also to help you choose the overall look of your home. Siding is the “shingles” that make up the outer layer of your home. Siding, as mentioned, has many benefits, including protection from the weather, providing a look to your home, whether classic, country, or modern, and also has to be maintained from time to time. This siding will be added to the shell of your home, so it’s best to plan for both at the same time.
5. Good Roofing
Skimping on your roof is an incredibly bad idea, so researching the best roofing contractor to do your roof is essential when you build your new home. Roofing can now even save money by incorporating solar panels, and even have greener options. However, whatever roofing you choose, you must make sure that you choose roofing that will provide you with insulation, protection from the elements, and shingles that won’t crack or warp with the summer heat.
6. Built-In Alarms
Around the time your drywall is drying, your roofing is being installed, and before your home’s interior is finished, electrical systems will be installed in addition to outlets, other plumbing, and alarm systems. Installing an alarm system that’s hard-wired into your home is best done sooner. Even if your home isn’t completely done, having a built-in alarm system can help you spot looters that might want to make off with precious (and expensive) building materials. Alarm systems can help you feel safe about building your new home, and when installed early can be useful early on. You could also use an alarm system later on with services such as Ring or even Alexa, but do your research into the pros and cons of each alarm system.
7. Bathroom and Kitchen Appliances
Think about all the appliances you use every day- bathtubs, sinks, kitchen cabinets, stove, refrigerator. Usually, these bigger appliances are put into your home before it is completely built on the interior. Thus, it’s important to not leave these appliances to the very last minute when you build your new home. Unlike buying an already made home, you must still choose fixtures for your new kitchen design as well as your new bathroom design such as toilets and showers that still need to be built into the plumbing. Do your research on bathroom installation to better prepare your new home.
8. Proper Insulation
Insulation, like roofing and siding, all help you in keeping your home at a comfortable temperature, and can help you save on energy costs. Having insulation that provides you with energy efficiency is important when you build your new home. Do you plan to have an attic? A basement? It’s important to also factor in the costs of insulation for these as well. Insulation can come from fiberglass, cellulose, or foam. Whatever you choose, it’s important to consider the “r-value” of an insulation material. The R-Value is usually set by building codes, so research your local city or county for the specifics. Some materials offer more R-Value than others. For instance, spray-in foam offers better protection that blanket insulation typically used for building your new home. Consider the costs and pros and cons of both.
9. Install Doors and Windows
Like siding and roofing, doors and windows are the face of your home, and with so many options it’s easy to choose which will be right for you. Keep in mind, doors and windows must be replaced after 20 years, so it’s important to do proper maintenance such as cleaning and properly inspecting for damage to your windows and doors. In addition to the sliding mechanisms being damaged, cracked and broken doors and windows can allow burglars to get into your new home by not providing enough security. In addition, make sure your doors and windows have a proper seal to keep in the air and provide good heating.
10. Outside Walkways
During your doors and windows installation, you will need to install your outside driveways and walkways as well. This should involve extra planning, as well as be up to building codes to make sure your driveway is just the right size. Also, adding additional plants, greenery, and mailboxes might seem simple, but all must be approved by the local housing authority as well. Don’t assume you have the right to build outside of your home to your liking- sometimes you must compromise when you build your new home.
11. Install a Garage
It’s better to go ahead and start building your garage sooner rather than later. This is so you have enough space to be able to build, as well as make any proper customization necessary for your garage. For example, if you need a custom garage floor installation, how much will you have to put aside in money and your plot of land? How long will the garage itself take? How many cars will it be able to fit? Will it be apart or attached to your home? This question is especially important, to know how the foundation and interior of the home will be affected. Answering these questions early on will give you peace of mind and help you budget properly.
12. Install Proper Flooring
No matter what you choose are your foundation, keep in mind what flooring you’d like to have to build your new home. Flooring can add another layer of insulation, such as choosing carpet, or if you’d prefer cool laminate and wood flooring, these are great options as well. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to install flooring as you’re getting ready for your final inspection for occupancy. This is the most important inspection, and any defects in your flooring, foundation, etc. will set you back! Make sure your flooring does not have any cracks, your mirrors and shower doors and all other appliances are properly installed, and your electrical systems are all working.
13. Consider other Heating Options
Like the HVAC, it’s important to consider the living conditions of your home, and this includes a heating furnace. A heating furnace can be powered by different systems, but the most popular is a gas furnace. If you live in a particularly cold area, having a gas heating furnace can help save you money, as it is very cheap during the winter months. In addition, it’s great to have a furnace in order to not have to rely on small heating units and just have a central heating system. Talk to your contractors about the possibility of installing a furnace into your new home.
14. Contact Plumbing
As mentioned earlier, during inspections and final walk-throughs, everything must be in working order so your inspector can finally give you your certificate of occupancy. Even after you’ve done your foundation, installed insulation, doors, etc., it’s important to contact a plumbing service to take one final look at your home before your inspection. Clogged drains due to dust and building materials, backed-up toilets, anything can happen, and it’s especially important to be comfortable as well in your home. Consider this when putting the final touches and finishing building your new home.
15. Get the Keys
Though the final step of getting your keys might seem simple, there’s more to it than simply getting a keychain. Hiring a locksmith to help install locks on every single one of your windows, doors, even your garage and other outside areas is vital. This is your security, and the more time and effort you spend on getting the proper help of a locksmith, the better you will feel. When all is said and done, seek the help of a locksmith to help prepare your home for you to finally live, and store all your belongings in.
Enjoy your Unique Endeavors
After building your home, you can say you are one of the proud Americans to own a plot of land and have built your home from scratch. In addition, you went through all the proper installation procedures, building expenses, and kept up with all the costs to have your home truly be your own. Celebrate, and remember to maintain your home every couple of years. Roofing, siding, HVAC systems, furnaces, sewage systems, and appliances themselves need to be maintained in order to be in proper working condition and safe to use. In addition, maintain your home’s windows and doors every 15-20 years, and make changes as necessary. The more you maintain your home, the better you will continue to enjoy your home, and the better you will feel about making the right decision in building it yourself.