By Judy Foreman

Investing in home ownership is the single largest financial transaction most of us will ever participate in. Building your next home can be both a challenging and rewarding experience. It can also be stressful and time consuming. Below are several tips to consider when preparing to build your next home:

  1. Finance = Schedule a meeting with your lender early in the process and get pre-approved. Many lenders can help with both your construction loan and your permanent mortgage. Your lender works for you and should serve as a trusted advisor before, during and after your construction project.
  2. Locate = Remember to consider development costs such as removing trees and stumps, running utilities and building up your elevation when comparing land options that fit your budget. Other factors to evaluate may include zoning, school districts, building restrictions and whether or not the property is in a flood zone.
  3. Design = Many designers and architects have existing house plans for sale and may offer to customize to those plans for a fee. Custom house plans can be a rewarding way to influence the design of your next home. Be patient during this process and always ask for feedback when designing your plans.
  4. Build = Working with a turn-key builder, partnering with a flat-fee contractor or subcontracting the project yourself are three common methods for building a new home. Consider the level of expertise and involvement required of you and do not hesitate to talk with several builders and contractors before making a final decision.

Planning and preparation are critical to your success. Expect the project to cost more and take longer than you originally estimated. Seeking advice early and often from others such as your mortgage lender and your builder can be a great best practice throughout the process.

Judy Foreman is a Senior Vice President and head of mortgage lending at the Bank of Zachary. She can be reached at (225) 654-2701.

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