Building a Custom Home: Helpful Hints from Choosing a Site to Finding a Builder – Part 1

By Suzanne Whitenight Pilcher, Marketing Coordinator, Long & Foster Companies.

Oct 201711

Building a Custom Home: Helpful Hints from Choosing a Site to Finding a Builder – Part 1

By Suzanne Whitenight Pilcher, Marketing Coordinator, Long & Foster Companies.

If you’ve always wanted to build the home of your dreams, perhaps with an indoor basketball court or yoga studio, then a custom home may be a good option for you. But where do you begin? How do you find the lot, the architect or the builder? How do you obtain financing? Since everyone’s situation is unique, the chronological order that you do these steps could vary.

In this blog series, we’ll share insight from experts who work in custom home building. Before you start on your journey to build a home, you’ll want to do some research and have a vision of the end result and its cost. A seasoned agent in new home construction can guide you along the way, so the overall process will be simpler and more enjoyable for you and your family.

Options for Finding Your Dream Home Site

If you’re looking for a home site in an area like Northern Virginia, where much of the land has already been built on, it can be challenging to find a lot in a good location that can accommodate the home you have in mind. John Jorgenson, a leading new homes agent in Long & Foster’s McLean, Virginia, office, often works with buyers who are planning to build new Stanley Martin Custom Homes on their lot. He partnered with Stanley Martin Custom Homes in 2006, and since then has been assisting their buyers in the process. Often Jorgenson helps his clients buy a tear-down property or vacant land where a new home can be built. A tear down is a lot where there’s an existing home that they’ll tear down and then build their dream home.

No matter if you’re buying a tear-down property or a vacant lot, Rob Westbrook of Westbrook Homes, a custom home builder in Northern Virginia, explained there are several key items to examine prior to purchasing a home site. “It’s all about the return on your investment,” Westbrook said.  “First, you’ll want to look at the zoning to be sure the size of the house you want to build is allowed on that lot. Then, make sure the home is in a desirable school district. Next, take a look at the neighborhood to be sure you are not the first one to build a new house on the block.”

“Why pay $1.8 million in a neighborhood where all of the other homes are not worth more than $700,000?,” added Westbrook.

Choosing Your Lot Along With Your Builder

In some markets, including the Richmond, Virginia, area, small custom, or semi-custom, builders are purchasing adjoining land parcels and then working with their clients to build homes on these lots. If you go this route in the new construction process, you can select the builder and the lot that best suits your needs. “If you choose to go with one of these builders, a real estate agent can help by providing their vision, experience and personal attention to the transaction,” said agent Kyle Yeatman in Long & Foster’s Westchester office in Midlothian, Virginia.

Whether you live in an area where lots are scarce or plentiful or you choose to purchase your lot from a builder, a good agent can help you make make wise decisions with an eye toward adding to your dream home’s future resale value.

Want more tips on custom home building? Check our blog next week for the second part of our series.

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