Everyone wants to live in their dream home. Some people are able to find the perfect house with powerful online home search tools, then win the property — even without being the highest bidder. Other buyers cannot find the right house on the market, so they learn how to find off-market homes. This allows them to avoid costly bidding wars and get access to a wider list of properties to see. 

But there are a lot of people who don’t want to move into an existing property. Instead, they choose to build their own home. By doing so, they can make sure that their dream home really does match all of their needs, without necessarily compromising what they want in a house. 

If you are thinking about selling your home and buying another, building a home might be the right option for you. Before you make any decisions, it’s important to ask yourself some vital questions. This way, you are less likely to invest a lot of time and money into constructing a home that you’ll be unhappy with. These questions will also help you avoid making costly mistakes that other new construction buyers make.

Here are 6 of the initial questions that you should ask yourself: 

1. Do I want to purchase an existing home or build a new one?

“Should I buy a home or build one?” This may seem like an obvious question to ask — but that’s because it’s incredibly important. If you are planning to move into a new home, you (and anyone else involved in the decision) should figure out if you want to construct a brand new home or purchase a house that’s already available. 

To answer this question, you might have to consider some pros and cons of each option. For instance: a benefit to building a new home is that you have a lot more control and customization options to suit your needs. However, some cons are that you will have to learn how to budget for building a new home and that it can take a long time to complete (more on that below!).

There is no right answer to this question, unfortunately — it depends entirely on your situation and your needs.

2. What are my ‘Must-haves’ in a new home?

One of the most common reasons that people choose to build is so they can completely customize their new home from the ground up. This freedom is great for anyone who wants to build their dream home!

However, it’s important to have a plan in mind. Constructing a house can be a huge commitment, and you’ll want to make sure that your new home meets all of your needs. Ask yourself what you need to have in a home, so you can work with the professionals to design a house that suits those needs. 

One way to do this is to think about what is making you move out of your current house. For instance, are you outgrowing your home and need to move up to a property that is larger, has more bedrooms, or is simply more valuable? Keep this need in mind when speaking to your architect and builder!

3. Where do I want to live?

Another great benefit of constructing your own home is the freedom to choose your neighborhood. Sometimes, people will find a house that they love, but it’s located in an area that they don’t like. If you build your own home, however, you can make sure it has everything you need and that you’ll love where you live!

This is a great chance to do some research on neighborhoods in your area and learn everything they have to offer. 

4. What do I plan to do with the new home?

Usually, the answer to this question is going to be, “I’m going to live in it, of course!” In some cases, however, people want to build a home for another purpose. 

Real estate developers will often build properties to sell or rent them, which can drastically change the way they are constructed. If you are interested in doing something similar, you will need to consider how to maximize the home’s value, rather than how it can suit your specific needs.

5. What do I plan to do with my current home?

More commonly, people design and construct a house so that they can live in it. In that case, you’ll need to decide what to do with your current home. The big split is whether you sell the home or turn it into an investment property. 

Selling your current home when you move up to the newly-built home is the more common course of action. When you put the property on the open market, you can get a lump sum that could help cover the costs of your construction loan, depending on what your home is worth. It’s also a popular option because it eliminates the stress of managing multiple properties.  

If you choose to turn your old home into an investment, you create the possibility of generating passive wealth. Rather than getting a single, large payment, you can create a system of smaller payments from your tenants. Over a longer period of time, you stand to make far more out of the home by renting it out instead of selling it. However, you also take on a lot of responsibilities as a landlord. Depending on your life situation, the added stress might not be worth the potential for long-term financial gains. 

6. Am I ready for the time commitment?

One of the most frustrating things about building your own home is that it takes a long time. Even if you are constructing a house on a simple pattern that the builder frequently uses, it can often take well over half a year for your home to be available for you to live in. The more you personalize the house, the longer it will take to build. 

If you want to move into a fully customized and personalized home, you can expect construction to take some time. The exact time frame will depend on the builder, architect, and agent with whom you are working. 

This means that building your own home can take a lot of forethought, planning, and commitment. Be prepared for the process to take a long time, and for there to be unexpected hiccups along the way that can delay the construction timeline. If you are on a time crunch and need to get out of your current home soon, you should consider an existing home, rather than talking to a builder. 

No matter whether you decide to purchase a house on the real estate market or build one yourself, you need an experienced negotiator on your side. Building or buying a house is a huge financial decision, and you’ll want to make sure that you get the best possible deal, in your ideal time frame, and with absolutely minimal stress. 

That’s where the local experts on the Keri Shull Team come in. We have the neighborhood knowledge you need to get the best possible deal on the perfect home! We also have tight connections with local partners including construction experts and lenders — so we can introduce you to the people you need to know!

It doesn’t matter if you are are looking for a home in the hottest neighborhoods in DC, finding the perfect place to live in Arlington VA, or building a house anywhere in the DMV — we are here for you! 

To learn how we can help you find or build your dream home, just click here and schedule a time to meet with one of our experts!