Once you’ve decided to build your home in Houston, the next steps are the exciting ones. You’ll find the place to put down roots, then build on your lot and move in. Of course, there are several steps you’ll take before you unpack your boxes in your new custom home.
You’ll likely have questions along the way, and we’re here to help prepare you for the next steps. Read on to learn what you can expect as you build on your lot in Houston.
How to Find Your Lot
You can typically find lots for sale on online listings sites or work with a local real estate agent who is experienced in this type of purchase. We work with a number of local specialists who can provide assistance.
Along with working with a local expert, you’ll also want to consider the following factors:
When it comes to choosing your lot, location is one of the most important factors to consider. Houston is a big city, one with 88 different neighborhoods with diverse offerings. Many people have an idea of where they want to live, but we can help narrow down your choices. While we know Houston well, we’re especially knowledgeable in where we build, which includes the inner loop and West Houston.
Deciding on the right location will require you to think about your lifestyle and future plans and to get as much information about the land as possible. Make sure you ask these questions:
- How far do you want to live from the downtown area?
- What amenities do you want in the area?
- What type of community do you want to live in?
- Will the school district matter?
- Do local zoning laws allow you to build what you want?
- Is the land located on a floodplain?
- What’s the subdivision’s infrastructure?
- Is there public or private streets?
- Are there deed restrictions?
- Is there access to utilities and roads?
- Is there alley Access if desired?
- Does this location allow ADU?
If you have a certain budget you’d like to stay within, you’ll also want to consider the lot cost, which will depend, in part, on location and size.
Lot Size and Cost
Different areas in Houston will have different lot sizes and costs. For example, the land price in Houston Heights is around $75 per square foot for the lot, while Bellaire is around $95 per square foot and West University is about $110+ per square foot for the lot. The average lots we see are about $200,000 - $500,000.
The smallest lot size is about 2,500 - 3,000 square feet, which are typically ideal for a townhouse- or shotgun-style home. Ideally, you’ll want something more around 5,000 – 6,000 square feet, which is about 50 feet by 100 - 120 feet. These are typical lot sizes for the area, we’ve found. There are also lots ranging from 7,500 – 10,000 square feet if you want to build on something bigger.
Build on Your Lot Cost
Your lot isn’t the only expense you’ll need to plan for. You’ll also need to factor in the cost of the actual build. Most custom homes within our market area start at $600,000, not including the land. It is important to work with a competent builder to help you develop your budget so you can define the size of the home as well as the finishes. There are several factors that will affect what you pay to build on your lot. These factors include:
- The size of the home
- The complexity of the layout
- Location of the lot (for example, it’ll be more expensive if you’re in a flood zone)
- The level of finish you choose for the home
- Materials used to build the home
- Add-ons or upgrades you make to the build
- Exterior improvements and type of roof
- Energy efficient (beyond code) upgrades
- Amount of lot preparation needed
- The home builder you choose to work with
If you want a better estimate, speak to the experts at Sabo Custom Builders. We can determine costs tailored to your exact wants and needs and make recommendations based on your goals and your budget.
Financing Your Build
There are a couple of different loan options you’ll have for financing your build if you don’t have the money to fund the project yourself. The right option for you will depend on where you’re at in the process. Each loan may have a different interest rate, set of terms, and requirements. As with any loan, you’ll need to meet minimum credit score and debt-to-income requirements, have a good credit history and prove that you’ll be able to afford and uphold the financial responsibilities of the loan.
Lot or Land Loans
If you’re ready to buy the land, but not ready to build on your lot, a lot or land loan is going to be the best option. It provides the financing needed to purchase land in Houston while you find your Texas home builder, plan your new home or complete any other goals you need to complete before you’re ready to build.
It can be more difficult to find these types of loans and they typically require a higher down payment and may have higher interest rates or stricter terms since they are considered higher-risk loans.
Construction loans cover the cost of building a custom home and provide the money at different stages of the build. These loans have shorter terms – usually lasting about one year. That’s because once the home build is complete – and depending on the type of construction loan you have – the loan will either convert to a traditional mortgage or you’ll apply for a mortgage to pay for the newly-built home.
If you already have a land loan because you weren’t yet ready to build on your lot, you can typically use a construction loan to pay off that first loan.
Local lenders who specialize in home build financing can help you find the best way to pay for your build and work with you to figure out the best loan product for your goals.
Building a House in Steps
Depending on the complexity of the build, the building process for a custom home can take 8 to 24 months, on average. Whatever timeline, the process will include these three important steps:
Step 1: Meet to Learn More
Before you build on your lot, it’s important to choose a builder who aligns with your values and is one you can trust.
We make sure we’re a good fit for you and the project at hand, so during this step, we’ll learn more about you, your goals, your budget, and your ideal timeline. In turn, you’ll learn more about Sabo Custom Builders and the benefits of working with us.
Step 2: Plan Your Build
During the planning phase, we’ll work with various experts, including architectural designers, engineers, energy consultants, and vendors to plan out the design of your home and the cost to build it. We’ll also use your input as well as the input of an architectural or interior designer and information from historical data.
Before starting the next phase, we’ll need important information about your lot, including:
- The lot layout and how to place the home
- What utilities are available and what ones are still needed
- Required preparation of the lot ahead of the build (tree removal, exporting dirt, additional demolition)
- Jobsite access
- Topographic information
- If there are any easements on the property
- The type of soil that’s on the property (to choose the appropriate foundation)
Some of these things may be discovered during steps taken when purchasing the lot. You’ll want to have a survey completed and environmental testing done before buying the land.
Sabo Custom Builders will also evaluate the site to assist with getting all crucial information needed to build on your lot.
Step 3: Build On Your Lot
One of the most exciting steps in the process, the building phase is when the dreams and ideas you’ve shared with your custom home builder become reality. You’ll start to see those detailed plans manifest into a physical structure – your very own home.
Before construction begins, we’ll have all the required building permits issued. If the land needs to be prepared before we can build on your lot, we’ll help with the pre-construction needs, including digging water lines or drilling wells, taking down existing structures, preparing driveways, building a septic system, and getting architectural control approved.
Once the lot is prepared and we have the schedule completed, the permits in hand, and all of the information we need to build the best structure for the property, we’ll start construction on the home.
How to Build a House with Us
Sabo Custom Builders takes a personal approach to the process. During the meeting and planning phases, you’ll get to work directly with the owner, Ed Sabo, who is a Houston resident himself. And when it’s time to build on your lot, you’ll work with a project manager who’s working on only a few other projects. We limit our project managers’ workloads so they have the time to perform daily visits to your job site and can provide the right amount of focus needed for your project. You’ll also have access to our client portal, which provides continuous updates to your project, giving you all of the information and communication you need to feel comfortable and confident in your build. You’ll have access to schedules, selections and upgrades, documents, and progress photos whenever you need them.
Are you still wondering what it’s like to have us as your home builder? Check our reviews to hear what our past clients have to say. When you’re ready to get started, fill out our contact form and we’ll be in touch within one business day to see how we can get you ready to build on your lot and fulfill your dreams of homeownership.