Thinking About a New Custom Home Next Year? Start Now.

February 14, 2019

Is 2020 the year for your dream home? Then 2019 is the time to begin planning.

Unlike buying a resale home or a house in a master-planned community, building a one-of-a-kind custom home is a lot more fun—but it’s never too early to get started.

A common misconception is to start the process with an architect or to begin work preparing your property. But for a more stress-free experience, you should start with your builder. Here are the steps to take this winter and spring to ensure you can move in early next year:

1. Nail down your budget.

Have a frank conversation with your partner and your accountant about what you can afford while still maintaining the other aspects of your lifestyle. Make sure you’re truly comfortable with your chosen budget range—it will make the rest of the process much more enjoyable! Your builder can help by providing a range for your dream that includes the home itself as well as the site development, taxes, and design costs. If you’re building on the Olympic Peninsula, schedule a Project Investment Study with Estes to determine what kind of home you can build for your budget.

2. Buy your land.

Mountain View Acreage on the Olympic Peninsula
View of the Olympic Mountains in Sequim

Naturally, a custom project needs land to be built on. If you don’t already have a parcel, securing property is the first step. Unsure about a potential property’s feasibility for building your dream home? Too much slope? Poor soils, landslide, or wetland? Can you get septic approval? Your Realtor should be able to help. With 30 years of experience, we can too—give us a call to schedule an appointment to discuss your property.

3. Secure a lender.

Choose a lender and get pre-approval for a construction loan. Be sure to choose a lender that understands new construction—the process, how draws work, appraisals, etc.—because it’s different than lending for a resale home. To make it easy, we’ve compiled a list of lenders we’ve worked with that understand the process and will help ensure it stays on track. Contact us for a custom construction approved lender list.

4. Start your wish list:

Bath with a view - custom home in Sequim Washington
Dreamy bath with a view

This is the fun part! It’s never too early to start gathering inspiration and ideas on what you like (and don’t like) for décor, style, products, and features. Tour other custom homes, browse magazines, search Houzz and Pinterest. Check out our recent blog post for tips on creating—and narrowing down—your wish list.

And finally, get to know the process: What steps does building a custom home involve? How is it different from your previous buying experiences? Let us walk you through it! Contact us to schedule a Custom Home Process Overview.