Whether you grew up in Hunterdon County or find yourself in the fortunate position of having relocated to this northeastern gem, fewer communities have more to offer--from endless acres of wildlife ranges and parks to apple orchards, bountiful vineyards and nearby coastlines.
That said, the secret seems to be out, and while simply existing in the area has loads of benefits, choosing to build a custom home here can bring even greater satisfaction. So let's take a look at what you need to know before constructing your forever home in Hunterdon County, New Jersey.
Why Hunterdon County?
A recent U.S. News article reporting livability variables all over the country rates Hunterdon County in the top percent of several significant categories, including resident health, education, economy, and public safety.
In fact, the area received an overall score of 81, beating the state average of 58.5 and national average of 47.4. Of course, these scores come as no surprise to locals, who have seen citizens flourish for decades--most public schools score 8 or higher on the GreatSchools scale, the majority of residents own a home, and Hunterdon County consistently ranks as one of the top three places to live in New Jersey.
Custom Home vs. a Traditional Home
If you step into a contemporary pre-built house, you'll seeing a builder's take on modern trends and conveniences. With a set number of floor plans and limited personalization, these houses represent simplicity and ease...but mostly for the builder.
When you choose to customize, on the other hand, you get a home that meets your needs on your terms with the design and amenities you value most. While a custom home can create more work for the buyer (and might take longer to build), the outcome is often more desirable and long-lasting.
[Related: New Construction Walk-Through [What You Need to Know Before Moving In]
Tips for Choosing a Lot
Often an underestimated aspect of home building, the lot you choose has tremendous effect on many daily conveniences. For example, your home's proximity to major roads/highways can greatly affect mental health (lengthy commutes create stress and anxiety), and how the sun hits the windows can make or break an evening dinner party (large west-facing windows can be blinding and heat-inducing).
In addition, understanding the permitting process, sewer line locations, and other local particulars (like wildlife protections) is essential for a smooth home construction process. With the right builder, many of these factors take care of themselves.
- View the lot with your builder or with a land planner before going through with the purchase; both types of professionals can help you identify potential issues that could stand in the way of building your dream home.
- Pay attention to factors like sounds and smells when viewing your plot of land for the first time. Noise and scents from nearby roads and businesses can affect your comfort when your home is finally in place.
- Make the drive between your plot of land and your place of work, to gauge how long the commute will be in the mornings.
- Consider nearby bodies of water that could flood during times of rain; contact your insurance company to find out how much flood insurance will cost when you build your home on the property.
Choosing a Custom Home Builder in Hunterdon County
A custom home is not a temporary dwelling but an investment that will add value to your life as you and your loved ones change and evolve. With the right partner by your side, all things are made easier and more accessible. So, when it comes to selecting a custom home builder, consider these factors:
- Experience in the area. Hire a builder who understands the legalities and logistics of Hunterdon County specifically, to avoid delays and problems with the building process.
- Communication. There's nothing more frustrating than getting strung along by a business that doesn't understand your needs or listen to your input. Look for a contractor who places priority on your needs.
- Quality over affordability. While a solid budget can help you avoid financial catastrophe, if your goal is only to construct a cheap home, you risk missing the big picture. The goal of building a custom home is to create a house you'll cherish forever.
- Licensure. Check the contractor's license before signing a contract, to ensure that your builder is compliant with state laws and regulations.
- Contract. Read the contract thoroughly, talk to your contractor if you have questions, and if some of those questions persist, look over the contract with an attorney.
Finally, check references. The best contractor will have good references from previous clients who hired that contractor to build their home. Check multiple references and ask questions such as:
- How long ago did you work with this contractor?
- Have you been happy with the quality of work since then?
- Was the project completed on time?
- Would you hire this contractor again?
- Did the project stay within your budget? If not, why?
Make a List of Must Haves and Nice-To-Haves
Before building a home, sort out your priorities. What are your home building goals? When creating your list of must-haves, consider factors such as:
- Organization. Proper storage space is critical to ensure satisfaction with your home into the future. Consider options like built-in furniture with storage options, walk-in closets with custom cabinetry, and a finished attic for holiday decoration storage.
- Recreation. Your home should meet your recreation needs, whether that's a room for wood-working, a backyard hot tub and pool for relaxing, or an outdoor space for entertaining.
- Luxury items. Maybe you want a wine cooler or a second oven in your kitchen, or perhaps you're seeking a sauna-like bathroom with a jetted bathtub.
- Conveniences. Since you're building your own home, this is your opportunity to install conveniences like a laundry chute or a mudroom for shoe storage.
You've probably purchased a home in the past, and may have used traditional financing options to make your purchase. Financing for a plot of land and construction of a custom home can be very different.
Explore financing options early in the process to get a sense for the payment required. The more you know about your financing, the easier it will be to create a budget for the home building process.
Contact GTG Custom Home Builders
For over 65 years, GTG Custom Home Builders has been creating custom homes for families in New Jersey. Contact us to find out more about how you can build your forever home in Hunterdon county.