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How to Build a Custom Home on Your Own Lot


It's the dream of many people to build a custom home on their own lot. A newly built home in a well-chosen location can easily become a forever home, or even a home that could be in the family for generations. Understanding the process of building a custom home on your own lot can make the experience a success.

Start With a Lot You Love

Start by choosing a lot that will meet your unique needs. Consider a range of factors to help you decide which one is right for you, including:

  • Location. Decide in advance whether you want to be in town or out of town, close to your work place or in a remote location.
  • View. Take a 360 degree view of each lot you're considering. Where are the views the best? Do you want to see these views every morning? Where would the house need to be positioned in order to enjoy the best views?
  • Trees and shade. Presence of mature trees on can be a benefit, if they're in the right place, and they're the right kind of trees. If trees must be removed to build the house, this expense must be factored into the budget.
  • Water features. Adults with small children may consider water features to be a danger, older adults may prefer presence of a creek, river or pond on the property. Consider all water features on the property and how they will affect your life at home.
  • Road conditions. What's the drive like to the property? Is it easily accessible? Is the road well maintained, or perhaps even a private road?
  • Access to services. For some people, access to services like doctors, markets and schools is critical. Time the drive to the closest services to help you decide if the lot you're considering is in the right location.

Get an inspection before making an offer on a lot. Inspectors perform environmental tests to look for presence of toxins in the soil and water. Some inspectors also test air quality. Not all inspectors test for the same things, so know what your inspector will look for before choosing the right one.


Make a List of Must-Haves

Your custom home should be designed completely for you and your family. When making your list of must-haves, talk with other members of your household and discuss plans for the future. Make decisions about your upcoming life changes, whether you're hoping to have more children, age in place or invite senior relatives to come with you. Establishing goals up front can help you decide how many floors and how many bedrooms, where the bedrooms should be, how large the house needs to be, how many bathrooms and other considerations.


Find the Right Builder

Once you've bought a piece of land and know the must-haves for your house, it's time to find a custom builder. Some home buyers hire an architect to work with their home builder, others hire a design build contractor who is capable of designing and building the home without services from an outside firm. Hiring a design build contractor is an easy way to streamline the building process.

Reputation and experience are key when hiring a home builder. Check references and read the contract thoroughly before making your selection.


Explore Customizations

Once you've hired a contractor, work with them closely to customize your new home. Explore features like built-in furnishings, laundry chutes, outdoor living space and a wine cellar to decide which features are right for you.


Custom Home Guide [Free PDF]