If you have distinctive tastes and unique requirements in home design, you may be ready to build a custom home on your own lot. So how do you begin?

Doing your homework before you start can achieve the results you expect and save you time and money. Here are some valuable tips to consider when you decide to build the custom home of your dreams.

Tip #1: Pick the Right Builder

Research custom builders in the Daytona area by learning about their track record and their reputation in the industry. Find out how long the company has been in business and whether it is financially stable. Ask for a list of references and follow up to learn about other people’s experiences when working with this builder. Then go online for additional comments about the company.

Tip #2: Know the Value of the Land

It makes sense to work with a builder who has a good relationship with an area realtor when it comes to choosing a lot for your custom home. The realtor should have access to a list of suitable lots currently available and understand the market value of vacant land. Your builder can team up with the realtor to help you appreciate city and county regulations when building a residence on a vacant lot. They can also tell you about any building restrictions from the local community.

Tip #3: All Lots are Not the Same

Some lots are more suitable than others for the custom home you intend to build. An experienced builder should have the expertise determine if the lot can be used for the purpose you have in mind. Ask the builder to meet you on the lot to determine if the grading, well and septic conditions, drainage and soil conditions are in “buildable” condition. The builder should be able to advise you about any clearing that may be necessary. Remember, additional work means additional costs to you.

Tip #4: Make a Wish List

Take the time to compose a wish list for your new custom home before you meet with the builder. Look at websites like Pinterest, thumb through home and garden magazines and visit showrooms to get ideas. Keep a notebook and start a file of information for easy reference, both on paper and/or online. Another good way to come up with ideas is to consider the home you are living in right now. Jot down what you love about your home, and what you don’t. Does your current home fit your lifestyle? Comparing your present home with your dream home is a good conversation starter with the builder.

Tip #5: Choose the “Design-Build” Method

Design-build means that the builder delivers both the design and the construction services you need when building your custom home. When the designers and construction professionals work together as a team, you benefit from a seamless process. The design-build method is more likely to result in innovative solutions and produce a better product for a superior result.

Tip #6: Customize or Build from Scratch? You Decide

Customizing an existing layout can save you money. Visit model homes by the builder and ask if it is feasible to blend two or three plans to achieve your design goals. Or, you might want to select a lot and build your new dream home from scratch. Be sure to confirm that you and your builder are on the same page, and that your builder is capable of producing what you expect.

Tip #7: Assess the Cost

Once you have had multiple conversations with the builder, he can come up with a plan and a projected price per square foot. Your builder will ask you what you envision for your new home. Be specific about the size and style of the home, interior and exterior features, the type of architecture and the finishes you imagine. Then you will receive an itemized estimate before construction begins. Look for features, options, finishes, permitting, inspections and work site costs in writing. A detailed cost estimate can prove invaluable when comparing costs and deciding on a builder.

Tip #8: Making Changes

Changes once construction begins can be time consuming and costly, so take the time to make informed decisions in advance. However, builders understand that there may be some changes as construction progresses. Some changes are easy fixes, while others may incur a significant cost to you. Remember that there will be change order fees if you switch things up during construction.

Tip #9: Ask about the Timeline

Ask your builder for the milestones that will keep the project on track for a timely completion. The projected completion date from the time the building permit is received is generally between 16 and 36 weeks. To hasten the process, make sure to make all your decisions and choices as quickly as possible.

Tip #10 Financing your Custom Home

Most people building a custom home will need to get a construction loan from a bank or another lender. The builder will draw a portion of the funds as it is needed at each construction phase. As each stage of construction is completed, it is inspected and the next draw is released to the builder. When the last of the construction funds is drawn and the project is complete, your lender will convert your loan into a more conventional “permanent” loan.

Building your Custom Home

When you decide to build a custom home on your own lot, contact the experienced professionals at Cooperative Real Estate Pros. We have a strong relationship with ICI Homes, the award-winning custom builder specializing in coastal areas near Florida’s Daytona Beach. Let us help you find the right lot and guide you through the process of creating your dream home. Please call Cooperative Real Estate Pros at 386-931-4683 and we will help you with all your real estate needs.