If you dream of designing a new home that takes full advantage of the unique geography and views of land that you love, then you’re a candidate for a build-on-your-lot, or BOYL, home. Here are four steps to get you started on the process.
1. Choose a Starting Point
The home building process on your own lot can begin in any one of four places:
With Land You Love
If you own or are inheriting land, you’re one step ahead of the dreaming stage. If you haven’t found that perfect lot yet, work with a Realtor who specializes in land purchases or contact a builder who can help you locate the right spot for your home.
With an Architect
Depending on your budget and the level of customization you’re looking for, you can hire an architect to transfer ideas from your wish list to a blueprint. Architects often bill by the hour or based on a percentage of the amount of work needed; at minimum, you can expect to pay a few thousand for their services.
With a Floor Plan
Internet search yields dozens of companies that sell floor plans that you can bring to a home builder for inspiration or to customize for your land. Floor plans that can be used for review, but not for building, cost anywhere from $150 to $500, while complete sets that can be provided to a builder for construction cost from $1,000 to $2,500 or more.
With a Builder
Most homebuilders offer a selection floor plans to choose from. Often times builders will allow additional customization, ranging from selecting the flooring or paint colors to adding various rooms and features.
2. Study Your Land
The next step in the process of building on your own land is to work with a civil engineer to make sure you’re following the regulations for the jurisdiction where your land is located. Things like electricity, plumbing, and water source all need to be considered.
This should be an open conversation with your builder. If you want your home aligned in a certain way or placed in a specific spot on the land, let your builder know so they can collaborate on how to get the basic resources for your home laid out.
3. Customize Your Floor Plan
The next step is the fun part: Customizing and designing the home to fit your lifestyle. For some inspiration, think about your day-to-day life. Do you work from home? A workspace or individual office will be important. Do you have an older family member you look after? Talk to your builder about adding a mother-in-law-suite on the first floor. Even aspects such as how often you host others or which rooms you spend the most time in can impact the floor plan. Another way to think about customization is by considering the exterior of the home and how that might inform the interior design. Do you want an eye-catching Craftsman with a welcoming, warm interior? Or maybe a Victorian with an eclectic entryway is better suited to your wants.
4. Determine How Long it Takes to Build on Your Lot
Building a new home takes four to six months if your home builder has already built your floor plan, but it can take significantly longer if you’re having a completely new design built or if you’re asking for extensive customization. Speak with your builder about the time frame you’re considering; they’ll let you know whether or not that’s a realistic expectation. If it is, great! Contracts can be signed and construction can move forward. If it isn’t a feasible deadline, work with your builder about what aspects will take the longest, and then decide if they’re absolutely necessary. For example, if you’ve chosen a wood siding from a hard-to-find tree that’s not in your area, your builder might suggest a more accessible material to cut down on transportation time.
How Much does it Cost to Build a House on My Lot?
The cost of building on your lot depends largely on the home builder you choose, but the general rule is that the more you customize, the more your costs will go up. This goes for the floor plan, but also for the land itself. If you have a hilly or uneven landscape, your builder will likely have to level a significant portion of it to build, which will add to the cost.
On the other side, even if the land is perfectly suited for building, expenses will be high if you’re drawing up complex plans for a completely custom home. All of this also means that you can cut costs where necessary to fit a custom BOYL into your budget—it may even be less expensive than a previously-owned home.
Building a home on your own land can sound like a pricey prospect, but rest assured this can be done within a wide range of budgets.
Kian Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Kian is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Kian also serves as president of the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.