I Want to Build a House On My Land, Where Do I Start?

by | Feb 19, 2024 | Build Anywhere | 0 comments

You’ve decided it’s time to build a house on your land. Now you’re wondering, where do I start? The following guide, prepared for you by our CMS Homes Build Anywhere experts, answers this question and many other FAQs to get you on the road to building a dream home on your land.

How to Build a Home on Your Land in 10 Steps

These 10 steps will guide you down the road to building a home on your land. Maybe you have the land already, but if you don’t, finding the perfect parcel of land to build on adds one more step to the process. You can find a lot on your own, or in many cases, work with the building company to find the plot of land. For example, at CMS Homes in Troy, Missouri, we know what’s for sale and where, so we help our home-building clients who want to build on their land find the lot and build the house, so they don’t have the responsibility of the complex process all on their own.

Follow these 10 steps to help you move forward with building your dream home.

  1. Evaluate your lifestyle
  2. Get a written mortgage estimate from a lender
  3. Set a budget
  4. Research home-building companies
  5. Schedule home builder consultations
  6. Select builder and begin designing your home
  7. Visit the construction site
  8. Finalize your home’s design and sign the Build Agreement
  9. Communicate and stay informed throughout the build
  10. Move into your newly built home

Step 1: Evaluate Your Lifestyle

If you think you’re ready to build a house on land that you already own or are in the process of buying, the next step would be to evaluate your lifestyle. Are both your work and home life steady enough to support this exciting, complex endeavor? Can you commit to the lengthy process and be readily available? If the answer is yes to all, here are nine more steps to making your dream come true!

Step 2: Get a Mortgage Estimate

Ah, financing. Nobody enjoys this part, but before you take any further steps, sit down with a reputable, local mortgage broker to learn exactly what you can afford. According to our estimate, roughly 80% of our customers come to CMS Homes with a bigger estimated budget than they can truly afford. When you get into the mortgage process, you will be surprised how interest rates, down payment, credit score, income-to-debt ratio, ability to repay the loan, consistent employment, and other factors affect your budget. Even if you’ve purchased many homes before — it’s different every time.

You may also want to factor in a construction loan or bridge loan if you have not sold your current home and want to start building. Some builders won’t write a contract with a home-sale contingency, and others won’t require a construction loan. For example, if you were to build with CMS Homes’ Build Anywhere program, we do not want you to get a construction loan. It complicated things. We offer our Easy Build Program so you can skip this complicated step and build your dream house with less stress and an easier closing.

Step 3: Set a Home Building Budget

Now that you’ve hashed out the mortgage details with your lender, get a written commitment for permanent financing. This provides a maximum budget to keep you on track throughout the process.

Step 4: Research Home Building Companies

Do you plan to build your house using multiple contractors and manage it all yourself? Or would you rather work with one building company that takes care of the entire build? If you’ve opted to enlist the expertise of a local, reliable home building company to bring your vision to life, we commend you! Working with one entity is a smart decision that streamlines the process, creates layers of efficiency and protection, saves you a lot of personal responsibility and stress, and provides everything you need to end up with a home that’s built to your satisfaction.

To find the best home building partner for you, research companies that will build on your land — many home builders only build in their community developments. Look for those with a solid reputation, years of experience, and a portfolio that aligns with your style and preferences. Read reviews and testimonials, browse websites looking for knowledge and quality, and ask for recommendations from friends, family, real estate professionals, and your mortgage broker. Once you’ve narrowed your selection, visit their display homes or offices to get a feel for their operation and team.

Working with one home building company streamlines the process, creates efficiency, offers protection, saves you valuable time, minimizes stress, and ensures you get a home that’s built to your satisfaction.

Step 5: Schedule Home Builder Consultations

Once you’ve narrowed your list of potential home builders, schedule consultations with your top choices.

  • During these meetings, discuss your vision, budget, and timeline.
  • Ask questions about their level of experience, their processes, and any additional services they offer.
  • Understand their warranties.
  • Learn how much down payment you need and if they will write a contract that’s contingent on selling your home.
  • Pay attention to communication style, responsiveness, and willingness to listen to your needs.
  • Find out how in-depth your responsibilities will be to keep the process moving forward.
  • Who handles the site work, such as surveying, excavating, tree removal, soil removal or fill, utility work, topography, and more?
  • Do you need an architect, interior designer, and contractors or do they have them on staff?
  • Does the builder have home plan designs you can start with, do they create a design and architectural plan from scratch, or do you have to bring your own?
  • At the end of your consultation, will you walk away with a free comprehensive estimate that includes allowances for unexpected things?

You want to be able to compare estimates from the consultations. Make sure they are apples-to-apples and as complete as possible, with the understanding that you will make further material and feature selections, finalize the design process, and get a total cost once you select your builder. We recommend working with the builder you feel most comfortable with, rather than going by price. You will be spending the next 6–12 months with these people — it’s important to go with your instincts.

Review proposals carefully. Compare pricing, processes, inclusions, allowances, and contract terms, and pay close attention to the fine print, warranties, and potential additional costs to avoid hidden surprises.

A mortgage broker's hand holding a calculator, showing it to a young woman who is sitting opposite. Broker is holding a pen, using it to point to a figure on the screen. There are house plans and keys on the desk.

Step 6: Choose Your Home Builder & Start Designing Your Home

Once you’ve thoroughly evaluated your options, choose the home building company that best aligns with your vision, budget, and expectations. Work closely with their team of architects and designers to design your dream home. What style of architecture appeals to you? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? What kind of amenities are essential? Consider your lifestyle, future plans, and preferences. This vision will serve as your guiding light throughout the process as you provide input on floor plans, layouts, finishes, and fixtures. This will be your home — ensure the final design reflects your preferences and lifestyle. Take advantage of the expertise and guidance offered by the builder to make informed decisions throughout the process.

Step 7: Visit the Construction Site

While you’re designing your new home, you’ll want to visit the construction site with the builder to determine if any site conditions exist that could impact the size and style of your home, the cost of construction, and where your new home will be placed on the lot. There will be costs to excavate and prepare the land for home construction; there’s no way to know these costs without a site visit.

If you purchase the lot with the builder’s assistance as part of the home-building process, this step is often done early on to ensure the home you want to build will fit on the lot and the zoning is exactly as you need it to be.

Step 8: Finalize Design & Sign Build Agreement

Once the site visit is complete and the home design is finalized, it’s time to provide a deposit and sign the contract or Build Agreement. This is typically when you provide the final loan commitment from your lender, sign off on all build documents and specifications, and sign any waivers. Within a few months, the build begins, and you’ll be on your way to living in your customized home on your land.

Step 9: Communicate & Stay Informed

Throughout the construction process, stay in regular communication with the builder and monitor progress closely. Visit the construction site regularly to observe the workmanship, address any concerns, and make decisions on any necessary changes or upgrades right away. Open and frequent communication is the key to a successful home construction project.

See how Kevin, a CMS Homes Project Manager, facilitates the entire process so you can be free to live your life and leave the details to us!

Step 10: Move into Your Newly Built Home on Your Dream Property

After months of planning and construction, the day will finally arrive when you can move into your brand-new home on your dream property. When it’s time, you will conduct a final walkthrough with your home builder to ensure that everything meets your expectations and that any remaining tasks are completed to your satisfaction

Celebrate this milestone and begin creating lasting memories in your beautiful new home!

Now You Know How to Build a Home on Your Own Land & We Can Help

Building a house on your land is an exciting journey that requires careful planning, communication, and collaboration. By following these steps and working closely with your chosen builder, you can turn your dream home into a reality and enjoy the satisfaction of owning a custom-built masterpiece. Here’s to the beginning of a new chapter in your life!

If you live in the Troy, Missouri, area, CMS Homes is here to provide knowledge and support and help you navigate the Build Anywhere process smoothly so you can achieve your goal of owning the perfect home. When you sit down with one of our specialists, you will leave your first meeting with a free, comprehensive estimate and the confidence to move forward with building a home on your own land. So go ahead and contact us today without obligation.

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