Congratulations! You've found the perfect property in Austin, it's all financed and you're ready to build your dream home. This is an exciting time for you and you'll want to make sure all of your bases are covered before starting such a large project. Where should you even begin with building your own home? Read this step-by-step guide for everything you need to know about building a house.
1. Choosing A Builder
A key piece of advice when choosing a builder is to shop around. This is as important as choosing a property for your home. For a list of well-respected builders, take a look at our Austin Builders Directory or San Antonio Builders Directory. Ask important questions, such as whether the company a member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin. Ask the builder for references from previous clients and follow up with them to be sure they are satisfied. You should also look deeply into the builder's warranty program and what it covers. Additionally, find out what else the builder is currently building and browse those properties to ensure you like the final product.
2. Preparing The Site
So you've found your builder and you're ready to get started! The next step is preparing the site. The crew will be clearing the area of rocks and trees and will be leveling the property. Next, they will be creating a template to assist in laying the foundation. Contractors will be digging the necessary holes and trenches for any basements or plumbing needs. Once completed, the concrete will be poured and leveled, and any first floor utility runs will be installed. The concrete will need some time to settle, so there won't be any work done on site during this period.
After the concrete has settled, the crew will apply a waterproofing membrane to the foundation walls and will install all first-floor plumbing requirements. Be sure to have your home inspected by a city inspector to ensure that the foundation is up to code.
3. Framing Your Home
The shell of your home is ready to be built. Plywood or oriented strand board sheathing is assembled to the exterior walls and roof. All of the windows and exterior doors should now be installed. A house wrap will be fitted around the sheathing to stop liquid from being absorbed into the structure, preventing mold and rot. Now, your home is ready for plumbing and electrical work to be done!
4. Plumbing, Electrical, HVAC & Insulation
The shell is complete and before the insulation can be put in, contractors will need to install the plumbing pipes, electrical wires, and the HVAC ducts. Water and sewer supply lines will need to be connected to each sink, tub and toilet in the home. Also, you'll want to bring in any large one-piece tubs and showers because it will be nearly impossible to maneuver them inside once the insulation has been put in.
The roof should then be completed so that the electrician can install receptacles for outlets, lights and switches and run wires to the breaker panel. Then, an additional inspection should take place to ensure that the framing, plumbing and electrical systems are in compliance with building codes.
Your home is now ready for insulation! Choosing an insulation type can be tricky, so consult your builder for suggestions. Sometimes, investing a bit more in good insulation can save you more over a long period of time. Spray foam, for example, may cost more than the traditional fiberglass or cellulose insulation; however, it's capable of filling even the smallest cavities, creating a more effective air barrier.
5. Drywall & Interior Fixtures
Your new home checklist will need to include installing drywall and applying the first layer of paint. As you start choosing interior details and seeing your home come together, you will become more excited to move in. Next, the outside of your house will start being pieced together.
6. Exterior Finishes, Driveways & Walkways
Contractors will begin installing the exterior material such as stucco, stone, vinyl siding or brick. The driveway should then be created, in addition to any walkways. Once these are completed, landscaping your beautiful new home can continue! It's recommended to wait to lay grass as this can be damaged by any delivery trucks or heavy equipment.
7. Interior Details
It's time for the inside details to be added. Contractors can add the trim, fixtures, cabinets, doors, and stair handrails to complete the inside. Another layer of paint can be added and the final touches will soon be ready to be added!
8. Flooring & Countertops
Whether you chose ceramic tile or hardwood flooring, your home is ready for the floors to be put in place. In addition, the countertops for the kitchen can be put in place, making your home almost livable.
9. Interior Necessities
Sinks, toilets, faucets, light fixtures and outlets are the little details that also need to be completed before moving into your new home. These tasks should not take long and should also include installing shower doors and carpets, and completing any final cleanup. One more important inspection and your home is ready!
10. Final Walkthrough
Your builder will escort you, as the final inspector, through your new home and explain the operation of different systems. They should also be re-discussing the warranty coverage with you. You'll want to examine every detail in depth to ensure that there aren't any items that should be fixed or adjusted. Check for any damage to floors and walls because once you've moved in, it's impossible to prove if the damage was caused by the movers or builders.
Your home is now move-in ready! It's an incredible feeling to see the progress of building a house from the ground up and to be involved in choosing all of the details. Next time you're building a property, you can be the expert.