Checklist for building a custom energy efficient home on your private lot/land


Net-zero home checklist

Building your own custom home is an exciting process. There are several steps to follow to make sure your home is planned and designed specifically to meet the needs of you and your family. This includes determining a budget, securing a homesite, creating a floor plan, considering finishings and then finalizing the project with your builder. The following is a complete checklist for building a custom energy efficient home.


Determining Your Budget

Before building your new home, there are several precise steps you need to take when getting your finances in order.

  • Pre-approval - You'll need a pre-approval letter from your lender or provide verification of funds if you're making a cash purchase. Investopedia lists five items needed for pre-approval. You'll also need to decide the size of the down payment and what type of mortgage you'll want.
  • Purchasing the homesite - You'll need to search for and identify a lot you're interested in. Then you'll need to decide if you'll purchase the property or be under contract for the lot.
  • Paperwork Involved - You'll need to go over all loan documents, credit reports, secure title insurance if needed and discuss with your builder any fees related to building permits.

Securing a Homesite

Now is the time to secure a homesite. Selecting the physical location is just as important as what type of home you decide to build.

  • Selecting a lot - If you've already selected a lot you'll be purchasing, you need to send your builder as much information as possible. This includes locations, maps, plans and well and septic information.
  • Potential development - Does the land you've selected have potential for future development? This could include having options for geothermal heat pumps or different types of solar equipment.
  • Builder input - If you haven't yet selected a lot, a builder can help you with the process. They can give you ideas of what you should be looking for.

Creating a Floor Plan

After deciding on the property, it's time to start planning for the building process. You'll need to meet with your builder to create a floor plan.

  • Designing a floor plan - You'll need to have a specific floor plan designed. What items are important for you to have? How many bedrooms will you need? Where should outlets be located? Do you need room for porches or decks?
  • Wants and needs list for the home - It's important to make a list of items you'll want in the home that are necessary, and those items that are wants. Is it more important to have a large kitchen with all the latest technology and appliances or an expansive master bedroom and bathroom?
  • Construction - Details regarding the foundation, walls, roofing and plumbing will need to be discussed and decided on. An experienced builder can help with modifications you may need once construction begins.

Considering the Finishes

The finishes are an important step in the process. These include items such as flooring, cabinets, countertops, windows and doors.

  • Finishes and materials - You can create allowances for materials that will allow you to choose products from a variety of locations. The builder can then manage the orders. You can also use a design showroom to select the finishes you need. You'll need to meet with your builder when choosing those selections.
  • Finalize a price - After your floor plan design is complete and you've decided on the finishes, a final budget can be created for the home. A budget for lot development will also be estimated. The home budget, lot budget and the cost of the lot will be added together to determine the final sales price.

Meeting with the Builder

You'll need to meet with your builder at several key points during the process. At any point in the home building process you can request a meeting with the builder or the sales team to review your home's progress and discuss any needed changes.

  • Pre-construction meeting - This is the opportunity to review and discuss your selections.
  • Pre-drywall meeting - This is when you can finalize any electrical and wiring upgrades once the framing is completed.
  • Pre-delivery meeting - This is the time to do a final walk through with your building team before you officially take possession of your new home.

Moving into Your New Home

Once you receive the use and occupancy permit, your new home is ready to move in! After taking possession of your new home there are a few things to keep in mind.

  • One year examination - The builder should come back after one year and conduct a walk through with you and fix any nail pops or drywall blemishes.
  • Finish outstanding items - If there are minor items that weren't completed when you took possession of the home, your builder should document these items and create a timeline to finish.
  • Homeowner's booklet - You should receive a booklet that lists each vendor that worked on your home, contact information and warranties.

If you love the technology behind zero energy home building and have your own private homesite to build on we can help you get started. High Performance Homes (HPH) builds state-of-the-art homes with both exceptional technology and beautiful design.

If changes are made to materials or design after the building process begins HPH can usually work through that. Upcharges for upgraded materials can be paid through a change order. Whether you already have home plans designed or need help to create the home of your dreams, we can make building a zero energy home a reality. Contact HPH for more information.