The Obstacles that Must be Overcome to Build a Home

by Marcus Pickett

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Many people have very specific ideas about what their dream home should be—so specific, in fact, that they feel compelled to build a home from scratch. While the prospect is exciting, it's also a difficult one to actualize. The idea of building a new home doesn't sound easy, but the real obstacles and costs are often the hidden ones. If you're thinking about how to build your own home, these are the things you'll have to deal with. None of these obstacles are insurmountable, but if you're not planning for them, they can absolutely blow the roof off any budget you might have and lead to nightmares during the construction—some can eventually land you in court, fighting for the last of your savings.

The Additional Costs to Build a Home
The biggest obstacle with building a home is often not the construction at all, but the economics. Home builders and real estate developers purchase and build entire subdivisions for a reason—it's cheaper. In many cases, it's a lot cheaper. A home builder can reduce his or her cost by doing everything wholesale. This includes not only the building materials, but the services of subcontractors as well. If you want to build a custom home, you're also going to need to pay an architect an extra couple thousand dollars to design your home. Lenders may require an extra down payment, and you could have to set up two separate loans to buy the lot and to commence the construction process.

That said, this is your new home, and you may not be able to find what you want in your local market. It's far from impossible to build a custom home, and if you're willing to take the time to talk to multiple home builders, companies that specialize in single home construction, and can do some of the leg work on finding subcontractors, you may very well be able to make the project a feasible one. You better know what you're getting into before you start, including the possibility of hiring a real estate attorney to protect the contracts you have with your home builder and any subcontractors.

Can You Build Your Own Home?
Probably not but, if you're even able to ask this question, you probably have skills and experience far beyond the typical DIYer. Even a home builder doesn't personally build a home from scratch. There are a series of contractors who all contribute to building a home. You may have the home improvement skills to build your own home's interior once the exterior has been designed and built. If you possess the skills to install your own plumbing, electrical wiring, and drywall, purchasing a partially prefabricated home may be your best bet. A prefab home building company can deliver a home built to spec that allows you to design and install the interior of your home. This may save you money in the long run and will allow you to personalize your home.

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A Plausible Home Building Scenario
First, you want to live in a more rural area or already own land on which you can build a home. There's nothing inherently advantageous about building in a rural area. In fact, it'll probably be more difficult to get the necessary materials out to the building site, but purchasing land in a rural area tends to be cheaper and less influenced by the economy of scale.

Next, you can do at least some of the work yourself. Again, a home builder will most likely need to hire a number of subcontractors, and if these subcontractors are only working on your home, it's going to cost more. If you can find a home builder who is willing to let you take over part of the construction, you might be able to make a custom home feasible.

The most common type of DIY structure is a log home. Because log homes are popular in more secluded areas, already use expensive materials, and may be constructed with less technical skill, many log home companies offer DIY kits, instruction, and services. Log homes may be little more than glorified log cabins, or they be can full-service, luxurious homes.

Marcus Pickett is a professional freelance writer for the home remodeling industry. He has published more than 600 articles on both regional and national topics within the home improvement industry.