If you’re thinking about building your own home, then this blog is for you. 

I set out on a quest to build my dream home, but the list of 25 things I needed to avoid was endless. 

Don’t build your house too close to the water? Check. Avoid creating a home on a slope? Check. 

The list went on and on, and before I knew it, I had an acre of land with nothing built! 

Eventually, after much consideration – and some strong encouragement from my wife – we decided that our new four-bedroom two-bath ranch would be perfect for us in West Virginia.

It’s a complete guide that will help you avoid most people’s mistakes when building their homes.

These are 25 things that’ll show you how to do it right! 

Build a Strong Foundation – This Matters More than You Think!

Foundation for a new apartment house building foundation wall
Foundation matters when building your own home

The idea of building your own house is exciting. 

The idea of designing everything from scratch, right down to the colors on the walls, makes it all seem so glamorous.

You get a sense that anything is possible.

But before you start pricing out materials or browsing Pinterest for inspiration, 

There are some things about homebuilding that can be very tricky if not avoided altogether.

When you build a home, it can be very challenging and, in some cases, may even seem impossible to think about the foundation. 

Building a solid and sturdy foundation protects against all sorts of damages due to natural hazards and protects your investment.

Building a solid foundation is most important when you make your own home.

When Building Your Own Home: Avoid Constructing Directly on a Hill Slope

It would help if you considered the direction of the land slopes and how far down it slopes before building your home.

Building directly on a hill slope puts you at risk of landslides.

It also makes draining water difficult or even brings it closer to your house.

It would be best if you never built a home without knowing where the boulders are underground. 

You get to know what kind of soil you have so that you can know whether or not to use an expensive type of support system for your new building.

Building faulty drainage systems can lead to a massive disaster.

Build as Far as Possible from Trees

Trees hold well against solid gales and storms, but they do not fare much better during earthquakes and floods.

Trees can fall and bring your home with them. 

Fallen tree
A tree could fall and carry your home with it

Building as far away from the trees is wise because you do not want to risk losing everything when it has taken you years to make. 

Building around trees is excellent for keeping the neighborhood tidy.

However, building too close can cause trouble during strong winds or storms. 

Building too close to trees may also mean they will overgrow into your house.

If this happens, having a lot of space between you and the tree means minor damage to your home and property.

Never Think of Constructing Parallel to a Roadway when Building Your Own Home

You may think it’s wiser to build your home parallel with a road because you will have easy access from your bedroom or kitchen window, but you’re mistaken. 

It is even worse for those living close to high-speed highways, as debris could end up flying into their home.

Building too close to a property line also requires you to have deep foundations.

So it’s best to avoid going down the wrong path from the beginning.

 Do Not Set Deadlines for Yourself – Don’t Bite More than You Can Chew!

Missing the deadlines. Thoughtful young woman in suit looking at the stack of paperwork and holding head on chin while sitting at her working place
Avoid Setting deadlines

Building a home can be a long and detailed process. 

Not only do you have to worry about getting the land, but you also make sure that you get the plans approved by the city. 

Some people may think that building your own home is cheaper than buying an existing one.

That is false:

When it comes to building your own home, most people forget all financial responsibility when they start realizing how beautiful their new house will look in its completion. 

It leads most people to take loans from banks and friends. 

Building a home is not cheap. Most people spend around $100,000. 

That is an average for a decent house that will provide you with comfort and privacy.

Most people come up with their dream rooms when they imagine their dream house. 

They start getting too creative and forget whether the building is possible or not. 

Building your own home can alter your finances by a lot; this is why you shouldn’t make any changes before the process is over.

Building a home can alter your financial stability, but if you choose to sell it at some point, you might get more money than what you initially invested in building it. 

When Building Your Own Home Avoid Designing from Scratch

Another thing that you must avoid when building your own home is designing your building plans from scratch! 

However, the key is choosing the right company that will meet all your demands.

We would advise seeking the help of a professional architect who will guide you through each step of designing your own home. 

They will ensure everything goes smoothly. 

Never Build Inappropriate Buildings on Inappropriate Locations

It’s never worth it to build inappropriate buildings in inappropriate locations for their use.

Building guest homes, lodges, or garages meant for overnight guests is never beneficial to anyone involved.

It can also cause problems with your neighbors, as they may complain about increased traffic on their streets if it’s close to their home or simply because of where you decide to build them.

Building these structures in inappropriate locations can also cause legal troubles, as they are technically trespassing if constructed too close to any property lines.

Avoid Building Your Own Home on Sand or Gravel

It’s never worth it to build your house on sand or gravel, 

Sand desert
Never build on sand!

Even though it might be tempting to do so because of the lower price for these types of home bases. 

Building Homes Too Close Together

It’s never worth it to build homes too close together. 

Two construction workers is together at the building.
Never build homes too close together

Do Not Forget to Insure Your Home

When building your own home, one of the things that many people tend to neglect is insuring the property correctly. 

It may seem like a silly mistake, but insure your home once it’s finished. 

Consider How Many Bedrooms and Bathrooms You’ll Need Before Building Your Own Home

Many people are surprised to learn that they will need at least three bedrooms, even if they only have one child. 

Most contractors prefer to build larger homes to keep costs down. 

Extra Tip

Building custom homes is more expensive than buying an existing property because the materials are often purchased wholesale instead of at retail prices.

Depending on size and materials, building a house may cost between $50-$75 per square foot. 

As a general rule of thumb, the total cost to build a home should not exceed two times your annual pre-tax household income. 

Building too large of a new house can raise your insurance premiums or result in difficulties qualifying for financing if you ever decide to sell.

Consider Materials Used

When building new homes or remodeling, it is often better not to choose the most expensive materials available unless your budget allows it. 

Construction site, building materials, old European city. Urban engineering, plastic and concrete pipes, Europe
What materials are you using?

Building a home is a long process, and if you have to sell multiple times, the best builders know how to save money where it counts. 

It would help if you built new homes with the idea that you may sell at some point in time. 

Building too many houses can lead to difficulties reselling without taking a loss. 

Building what you need and no more can protect your investment and reduce costs associated with expensive building materials.

Avoid A Closed Floor Plan When Building Your Own Home

Build an open floor plan as you will need as much space as possible to accommodate your growing family. 

Open floor plan in luxury highrise apartment
Always go for an open plan floor

Take advantage of all available sunlight as it will help you save on your energy bills and give you a more natural atmosphere. 

Building with natural lighting in mind can improve the feel of any home.

Avoid Small Bedrooms

Building with more enormous bedrooms is a great thing to do when you create your own home. 

Enormous bedrooms are an excellent idea as you want everyone in the family to have their own space.

Aim for a Big Kitchen When Building Your Own Home

Building a big kitchen in your home is excellent to do when you make your own home.

It is great as you and your family will cook together without much hassle.

Do Not Build a Very Big Home

Building a bigger home than you could ever need is a big mistake. 

Do Not Build with Only One Floor

It is not an intelligent idea. 

Do Not Build Rooms Without Windows

Building a room that has no windows is never a good idea! 

Avoid Building Your Own Home Too Low or with Insufficient Ground Clearance!

It can cause problems when you need to get in and out of your home without taking the stairs, especially if they are difficult stairs! 

Avoid Building a Basic Foundation When Building Your Own Home

Building your foundation on solid rock or making sure that there is at least 12 inches of gravel below soil level are good options for some places, 

 Do Not Build a home with Too Little Insulation

Model of house, thermal insulation of roof concept. Energy and money saving materials and systems
Thermal insulation of roof concept. Energy and money saving materials and systems

Building a home with inadequate insulation can cause higher energy bills in the summer and winter.

Building without enough insulation will make your house much harder to keep warm in the winter, which is dangerous for you and your possessions. 

It could lead to higher energy bills during both seasons, making it hard to stay warm in the winter & cold in the summer, 

or even cause property damage when not maintaining proper temperatures inside. 

Insufficient insulation can increase monthly electric bills throughout spring, summer, and fall because of heating/cooling costs.

Do Not Build with an Improperly Sealed Basement

Building your basement to allow proper ventilation will allow you to use your basement as extra space instead of spending money sealing it off. 

Always Use an Architect When Building 

Building your own home is difficult enough, but hiring an architect is always a good idea if you do any renovations involving structural changes. 

Image of engineer or architectural project, Close up of engineer's hand drawing plan on Blue Print with Engineering tools on workplace.
Always hire an architect

Never Build Next to A Fault Line 

Building next to a fault line would be problematic under normal circumstances, but when you are making your own home, then there is little that you can do after it happens. 

 You Must Get a Permit 

Building without a building permit will lead to fines in cities that require them for most construction projects,

You should always hire someone to obtain one for you before beginning your project. 

Finally, Get a Building Site Plan 

Building without a building site plan is only asking for trouble down the line.

Looking Into Building Plan
A site plan is important!

Avoid this at all costs by mapping out your plans before beginning. 

Building without a building site plan confuses which direction the house faces & many other issues.

So be sure to have it mapped out before you begin. 

Building without a building site plan means not being able to figure out where the front is when looking at your house & also creates confusion in terms of any utilities that would need to go in, etc. 

Building without a building site plan is dangerous.


Now that you know what to avoid and some of the basics, it’s time for you to get started on building your own custom home. 

Be sure to keep all these things in mind as you search for a property or hire an architect. 

You’ll want every aspect of your new house carefully planned out before construction begins, so there are no surprises along the way! 

Can’t wait?

We can help with that too. Just let us know if we can assist, and we’re happy to provide any information or resources needed. 

If not now, then when will you start planning your dream home?

There’s no better time than now to start building the perfect home!

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