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Breaking Ground: What to Know About Home-Building

Building a new home is challenging, costly, often stressful — and absolutely worth it to many who go that route. Even accounting for the long process from the design stage to moving day, the advantages of building over buying a prebuilt home are clear. Owners have the opportunity to customize the build, lower maintenance costs, reduce worries over urgent repairs or code issues and enjoy a modern design.

Regardless, it is a significant financial decision and commitment. These are important points to consider before and after you break ground on your dream home.

Researching and financing

New Home Construction

Where do you want to build? What’s the size of the home? What’s the current cost of lumber? How easy is it to attain supplies in your area? There are seemingly endless questions when building a new home, and the answers can have significant impacts on the final cost of the project. It will take research and likely the help of professionals, such as a real estate agent or contractor, to help determine just how much the project will be and to adequately prepare for the project.

How you’ll pay for it, of course, is another important question. Most builds will require financing, and there are several types of new construction mortgages and funding solutions with fixed or adjustable rates to make your dream home a reality. Additionally, a home equity bridge installment loan can assist with a down payment by using equity from an existing home that has yet to sell. You can also finance the lot of the future home.

Permits, codes and regulations

Different municipalities can have wildly varying permitting rules and costs, and there sometimes can be a longer wait time than expected, depending on the permitting authority’s application backlog. Contractors and subcontractors should know what types of permits are required for your project and file the permits when necessary. If you are building without the assistance of a contractor, you will need to learn the rules or consult with a professional.

Additionally, the project must follow current building codes, and there may be specific community regulations or ordinances that address items such as height, fencing or exterior colors. A municipality’s planning commission or homeowners’ association (HOA), if your neighborhood has one, should have these details.


It might be the most important question to ask in the entire process — do I have the right builder? Finding a general contractor who will produce a quality home that meets your expectations on time and on budget is a decision you don’t want to make twice.

Do your research, comparing local builders through reviews, their experience, credentials and testimonials from former clients. Interview them to understand their personalities and ask more pointed questions related to the project at hand. Ask about their relationships with subcontractors and other building professionals, such as electricians and plumbers.

When you’re ready to hire a contractor, ensure documentation is in place that sets the stage for responsibilities, a timeframe and payment. You may want to have an attorney review the contract before signing to ensure everything is correctly drafted.

Have patience and be prepared to adjust

During construction, it’s normally not a question of if there will be any roadblocks but when. Be it an accident suffered by a worker, measurement mistake, misread blueprint, price jump or supply issue, the unexpected should be expected. Those moments will require close attention to the contract, communication with your contractor and some patience.

Building a new home, particularly custom structures with unique features, can be a meticulous process but worth it in the end, if it results in your dream home.

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