Building A Custom Home: Where to Begin?

The adventure of building a new home can be a daunting prospect indeed: So daunting that even knowing where to begin can easily lead to a heightened state of stress and anxiety.

As a builder, I can understand this – for many of our clients the process is new, the monetary commitment is high and the prospects of committing a costly mistake are seemingly so great that many simply succumb to that proverbial state known as “paralysis by analysis.”

So how do we move off-center and what practical steps should be taken in arriving at the decision to build?

A Three-step Process

While much about building a new home is a mystery to our buyers, from “our” (Copperleaf) perspective, building isn’t complex at all. We do it every day. And we do it well. And by partnering with us we can make this task much more stress-free and exciting than you ever thought possible. In reality, it’s all about a “process.” Just as a house is proverbially built “brick by brick” so is the process that leads to building.

Here are the top 3 building blocks to get your new home underway:

1. Secure Funding. 

The first step in the build process is to determine a budget. And the best way to do this is to sit down with a lender and begin identifying just how much you have to spend. Folks who begin visiting model homes prior to determining their budget are setting themselves up for failure – knowing how much you have to spend will give you confidence in determining what you want and what you are willing to spend to get it.

If you think you’re ready to take this step, be sure to speak with us about meeting with one of our preferred lenders. Typically lenders require a down payment of 20% on new home financing. However, we have lender programs requiring just 10% and they will include the 5% deposit required by Copperleaf as part of that 10% down payment.

2. Procuring the right lot.

In choosing the right lot, it is always wise to investigate HOA (homeowners association) fees, property tax rates and local zoning requirements. Following this, personal options such as location, view, lot size, slope of the lot, etc., all enter into the decision making process. 

If you have any doubts about whether the lot will facilitate building the type and size of home you intend to build, this is the time to get the builder involved – often we will be able to consult with you on whether the lot will facilitate a “walk-out-basement” or if it will require additional funding for added excavation expense, retaining walls, soils mitigation, or an extended driveway.

Lastly, it is always wise to insert a clause in your lot contract offer that purchase is contingent upon soils testing – a test that can range in costs from $750-$1200 and is worth every cent (Note: With Copperleaf, this expense is refunded at time of build).  

Discovering how expansive the soils beneath your foundation are is critical to ensuring your foundation is engineered correctly. We at Copperleaf Homes can mitigate most soil conditions, but such mitigation can significantly increase your excavation expense, a cost you’ll need to consider in calculating the overall amount of the build.

The soils testing process is simple and we will handle coordinating it with the engineers at our foundation company on your behalf. With proper testing up front, before you have to make a final purchase decision on your land we’ll be able to inform you of the need and cost should mitigation be necessary. This one step could save you thousands of dollars in money best spent on your home rather in your land.

Never purchase a lot without first having a soils test performed!

3.  Obtaining an architectural design of your new home.

Copperleaf Homes works with some of the most highly prized architects in the business. And, in most instances, we will have your home designed prior to you even closing on your lot…and we’ll do it all on our dime! 

Imagine… we’ll take you to one of our award-winning architects, design an initial concept rendering of your home and give you a firm price to build it, all prior to you closing on your lot. 

How simple is that? Within a very short time, Copperleaf Homes will provide you with the majority of the information necessary to make your home building venture a reality: location, design and price.

Summary Conclusion

As you can see, when you partner with Copperleaf Homes, the steps to building a fully custom home are not that daunting at all as we’ll walk with you through 1) funding 2) procuring the right lot and 3) home design. 

So what do you say? – Let’s build that house!