Find An Agent

7 Key Questions to Ask When Building a New Home

Building a new home from scratch is a major financial and emotional undertaking. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to maximize your chances of building your dream home successfully.
Building a new home from scratch is a major financial and emotional undertaking. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself to maximize your chances of building your dream home successfully.

Building a new home is an exciting prospect for many. Most people are used to choosing from pre-built homes and having to make compromises based on what’s available. Constructing your own house after that gives you the opportunity to finally live in a place that is designed to fit your unique needs.

That said, constructing a home comes with its own set of challenges. It’s now your responsibility to make decisions about every aspect of the project, right from choosing a lot to selecting the finishing that you want for the countertops. Given the magnitude of the undertaking, it’s important that you ask yourself a few questions before diving into the project.

Do I Have the Time to Build a New Home?

Building a new home takes a long time. The most basic houses can take half a year to build and more elaborate constructions can take as long as two years to reach completion.

One of the main reasons people building a new home end up in stressful situations is because they underestimate how long the process can take. It leads to friction between clients and builders, which can then have an impact on the construction itself.

Before you go through with the decision to build a home, ensure that you’re not in any kind of rush to relocate. Builders will often give you optimistic timelines but that doesn’t necessarily mean that your house will be delivered exactly when promised.

Am I Ready to Put Down Roots at This Location?

Building a new home is a major commitment. It’s a commitment not just in terms of time and money, but also to the area where your home is going to be located.

Before you can go forward with the decision, you need to know that you like where your lot is located. It should give you access to all of the things that really matter, like schools, your workplace, staples, and so on.

It’s also important to know whether you have a stable enough lifestyle to justify building your own home. You will find yourself attached to the home after all the money, sweat, and tears you’ve invested in it. So it makes sense to build one only if you know that you will stick around long enough to enjoy the fruits of that investment.

What do I Really Need from a Home?

This is a question that will guide most of the choices that you will make with regard to the construction of the house. That includes things like where the lot is located, how many bedrooms there are, and what kind of design elements are used.

The answer to this question will depend primarily on the size of your family and the budget that is available to you. Each of your family members is a stakeholder in the undertaking and their needs should be accommodated as much as possible. Listing the non-negotiable requirements and conveying those things to your builder is key to building a new home you actually like.

Have I Taken All the Costs into Account?

Building a home from the ground up is a popular choice because it appears a lot more affordable than buying an existing piece of property. And it can be, but make sure that you accurately account for all of the expenses that come with constructing your own home.

One of the ways you can easily go over the budget is by not accounting for the variation in prices of some of the materials that will be required for the construction. Similarly, the land may require surveying or permits, the fees for which will have to come out of your pocket. Find out exactly what your obligations are and keep some wiggle room in the budget so that a surprise fee or increased cost doesn’t halt the operation.

Have I Chosen the Right Builder?

This is easily the most important decision you will make when it comes to building a new home. The importance of choosing a dependable builder cannot be overstated it’s a decision that you should take your time with.

Finding builders in any residential area is easy but it’s up to you to do your homework and review the credentials of each of them. Ask each builder if it would be possible for you to talk to their previous clients and see some of the homes they have built in the past. Find out who will be overseeing the construction of your home and who your point of contact will be.

Know that if any builder makes claims that sound too good to be true, they probably are.

Does the Builder Provide Financing or a Warranty?

In certain cases, builders will provide financing to sweeten the pot for potential customers. But they may not mention it until you explicitly ask if they offer clients financing options. So make sure to ask each builder if they have any such programs and weigh them against what you get from other lenders.

Builders also offer warranties to their clients. The terms of the warranty will vary from builder to builder. They generally cover the upkeep of home components such as plumbing, HVAC, and electrical wiring. Read the service contract before signing with a builder so that you know exactly what kind of coverage you get and for how long.

Which are the Standard Features and Services and Which Ones Come at an Additional Cost?

When you get a quote from a builder, it’s for a specific list of home features and services rendered to the client. You need to know exactly what you get at that base price and which aspects of the build you will need to pay extra money for.

For example, the amount that you pay may not cover the finishing of the countertops or floors. You may want to install certain appliances but the builder may not support that. Landscaping could be one of your priorities but the contract may not include it. To avoid misunderstandings over things like that, talk to your builder beforehand and go over what you can expect to get for the quoted amount and what you will need to pay extra for.

If you’re raising funds to build a new home by selling an existing one, you should do so by hiring a Clever Partner Agent. Our agents save home sellers thousands of dollars by charging only a 1% commission. Partner Agents are also great negotiators and make sure that you get the best possible price on your home. All of that money can be used to build your new house exactly how you want to.

Visit our website to connect with a Clever Partner Agent near you.


Reuven Shechter

Reuven Shechter is the Outreach Coordinator at Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top real estate agents to help save on commission. He spreads the word about Clever, disseminating studies to journalists and developing relationships with media outlets. Reuven is passionate about investing in real estate and creating lasting success for families. His writing has been featured in Max Real Estate Exposure, Leverage Marketing, and more.

See all Reuven's Posts

Find Your Dream Home With A Top Agent And Save Thousands

Learn how you could save thousands when you buy a home with Clever!