Building A Custom Home - What You Need To Know

One of the most common questions builders get asked is whether it's better to build a custom-designed house or stick to the set-plan designs provided by building companies. To best answer this question, we have put together this handy custom house building guide.

Take a look below for tips on designing your own home, the costs involved, and four of the top benefits of building a custom home.

Designing Your Custom Home

Designing your own home is an exciting time – you can finally have everything just as it suits you! However, before you get carried away, it is vital to spend some serious time working through all of the details to ensure you create a space tailored to the way you and your family wish to live.

Where To Start

Here is a bit of an insider tip for you - don't overlook set house plans as a helpful home design tool. Even though you don't want to choose a set plan design, they are a great starting point for anyone thinking about designing their own home. Taking a look at the existing plans on offer from as many building companies as you can will give you an immense amount of ideas, information and design concepts – all for free!

Set plans are perfect for discovering tips and tricks for designing for:

· Best use of space

· Innovative storage ideas

· Room sizing

· Layout ideas

· Utility placement

· Bathroom design and much more!

Custom House Design Checklist

Once you've had a good look at as many set plans as you can, you might find there are a few concepts or ideas that stand out. This will help you better understand what you want and how to go about getting it. To help you stay on track and keep the momentum going, we have put together this handy home design checklist.

  • Set Your Priorities. Creating a list of must-haves will help ensure the end result is what you want and avoid the possibility of losing sight of the main goals while making your way through the design process. It is important to refer back to this priority list throughout the entire design process, making revisions, additions and adjustments as elements such as budget and legalities become better known.

  • Design For The Future. Whatever your age or stage in life, you should always think ahead to what you might want/need in a home in the future. Just because you don't have children now doesn't mean you shouldn't consider the implications of them joining the family in the future, or the same applies if you have an older family member that may need somewhere to live in their later years.

  • Decide On The House Size. Start with including everything you want/need; there is always going to be a bit of a trade-off with this one as the higher the square meterage, the higher the overall cost. But, if you begin at the top and work your way back to affordable, you can make sure the priority design concepts remain and decide where compromises are best made.

  • Research The Legalities. Are there any local council restrictions on the possible size of your home? Boundary or height restrictions? Are there any developer requirements on shape, style or appearance? What build features are generally required in your area as per the NZ Building Code, such as more extensive foundation preparation, Geotech reports, high wind resistance products etc.

  • Delve Into The Logistics. We are talking layout here - how many bedrooms do you need? How many levels do you want? Are there any specific features on the priority list that need to be incorporated? How much space do you really need for two people? Five People? Where do you want the kitchen in relation to the living areas?

  • Don't Forget The Externals. While not directly linked to the design of your house, one common mistake many people make is to forget all about designing the home to fit the section. Do you need to leave room for the boat? The shed? The dog? Onsite parking? A turnaround area? Gardens? Landscaping features? Remember, this is about building a home, not just a house.

  • Love The Lifestyle. Now is an excellent time to think about your design and style preferences. This includes thinking about colours, products, environmentally friendly aspects and all of the small things that sometimes get forgotten in building a house. Are there any special out of the norm features you want to include? Personal touches? One of a kind products?

Is Building A Custom Home More Expensive?

How much custom homes cost to build is one of the most common questions many people face when considering building from custom plans. The truth is while set plans costs are often predetermined or within a predetermined range, custom builds are more difficult for builders to cost upfront as there are a lot of unknowns.

However, once all of the design decisions and planning is done, in most cases, they will still be able to provide you with a full cost breakdown. In fact, it is always best practice to settle on the price before any building work has begun to avoid misunderstandings or budget blowouts.

What's The Most Expensive Part Of Building A House?

When building your custom home, one of the key areas to get your head around is understanding what the money is getting spent on. This will not only help you identify cost-saving measures but also get a better idea of the specifics of the build, which leads to better decision making. To help give you some idea of what you are in for when building a custom house, we have put together this quick rundown of the top 5 costs you will encounter.

  • Framing. It may surprise you to know the most expensive part of building a house is the framing. The bigger the square meterage of the house, the more expensive it will be to frame up. The type of framing used can also impact cost dependant on their current market value; in NZ, the most common materials used for framing are timber and steel. Labour is also a factor in the cost of the framing.

  • Foundations. The key element for the price of foundations is the type of foundations required. This will be determined by the location of the build, the geotechnical assessment of the ground stability and local contractors fees. A concrete slab foundation is the simplest and cheapest type of foundations used here in NZ; more difficult build sites such as hillside builds will have additional foundation requirements raising the cost of the build.

  • Roofing. The size of the roof and the type of material used will determine the costs involved. In NZ, the most common forms of roofing are tile (concrete/clay and metal) and longrun iron, both of these options have their pros and cons and associated upfront and install costs. Metal roofing tends to come in significantly cheaper than tiles largely due to installation costs.

  • Flooring. The size of the house and type of materials also add to the cost of building. Common types of flooring in NZ are; carpet (wool and synthetic), tiles, hardwood, bamboo, laminate, and vinyl. Each has its own pro and cons and associated price tag – this decision mostly comes down to personal preference. Remember to take installation costs into account when pricing out your flooring costs.

  • Plumbing And Electrical. These two jobs affect the cost of the build for three reasons; the work must be carried out by qualified professionals, the complexity of the work, and the timing. For example, if your electrician or plumber does not show up for several days or has difficultly sourcing the fittings you require, it can hold up the entire build.

Is Building A Custom Home Worth It?

Building a custom home is not that different from building off set plans; it just involves a little bit of extra planning and preparation ahead of time. Choosing to design your own house and build a custom home is often the perfect option for buyers who want to build their forever home with a floorplan fit for the specific needs of the family.

While some may find the extra costs involved are a bit much, others will see the longer-term gains in getting exactly what you want now, rather than having to buy and sell multiple times in the future to meet the changing needs of the family. Take a look below for 4 more benefits of building a custom home:

  1. Increased Flexibility. Custom home builders will help you plan every element of your home, from the floorplan through to the landscaping. There will be no limitations (other than your budget, of course!) on what you want and how you want it done.

  2. You're In Control. Custom homes don't have to be expensive. You can build an affordable customised home; no one says it has to be a mansion with a pool and tennis court. That is the best thing about bespoke custom houses is that you build what you want!

  3. Better Longevity. When you decide to build a custom home, you're making a home you hope to see your family grow up in and maybe even retire in. The extra time and money spent on designing, building a custom home will be worth it if you plan to make it your forever home.

  4. Greater Satisfaction. Greater customisation upfront should equal fewer changes later on down the track. Think of it as investing in the future – now.

Building your very own bespoke custom-designed home is a rewarding and satisfying experience. If you would like to speak to a builder about designing a custom house, get in touch with Build7 today and ask about their free concept design services.