Build or Remodel the Texas Home of Your Dreams
The great state of Texas is filled with diverse landscapes and breathtaking neighborhoods. From the quirky lakesides of Austin, Texas to the sprawling ranches of the interior, there are several world-class places to call home in Texas. If you’re building new or remodeling here’s what you need to know to make your dream home a reality.
Set Your Budget
Before you begin any home project, it’s essential to set a budget. From remodels and new builds alike, you’ll want to have two different numbers. The first number is your ideal budget. What is the amount of money you would like to spend?
Your ideal budget is the number you should give your builder or architect (we’ll get there in a second). The second number is your max spend.
As much as we would love to live in a perfect world, no remodel or new build comes without complications. There can always be unforeseen issues and costs associated with any construction project. The max spend should be anywhere between 10 to 20 percent of your ideal budget.
Find your numbers by researching average home prices and remodel costs in the area you’re looking to live in. For example, Austin typically has a higher cost of homes than the rest of Texas. This hot market has a median home valley of over $400,000! That’s a lot to consider when remodeling, so perhaps a new build might be slightly more budget-oriented.
This added fluff in the numbers ensures that you don’t end up underwater financially. Keep your budget realistic in order to meet your financial goals of the project.
Meet with Builders
For both remodels and new builds alike, you’ll want to meet with builders first. Having a builder or architect on your side throughout the buying process helps you save big. First, builders and architects have expertise in land development and remodel potential.
They can quickly look at a property and determine if your home goals are feasible on a property. Their expertise can weigh in on important items such as structural elements, HVAC, plumbing, and build potential on a lot.
You may pay upfront for these services, but it helps alleviate any headaches down the line. Let builders and architects weigh in and work on your team as you find your Texas dream home.
Another thing to keep in mind while you’re searching for your dream property is local codes. Each coding jurisdiction is different. For instance, San Antonio, Texas is home to several historic properties. These homes are often excellent choices for remodels because they have so much character and charm.
However, keep in mind, houses that are greater than 50 years old typically have a historic status. This means renovations must follow guidelines to maintain the historic integrity of the property. While often these come at a higher cost, it’s worth it to live in a piece of history.
Think About Location
As you’re browsing the market, think about location. What does your dream home look like? It might help to create a vision board. Narrow down your search to a few key areas and focus in to see what pops on the market.
For example, if you want to live in a waterfront property, you want to ensure you start your search either on the coast or in lake districts of greater Austin. Those who wish to have a vibrant environment should look towards the larger cities like Austin and Dallas for their new home. While those who seek solitude might want to look into horse properties and ranches.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to location. Things such as historic land value trends, acreage, adjacencies, school districts, proximities to amenities, HOAs and other items that might affect your daily life are all important.
Boerne, Texas is a great spot for a new build, with competitive prices and beautiful lots. Many of these neighborhoods have strict HOAs with steep fees to maintain their stunning locations. Think about if this is an aspect of your neighborhood you want to engage with.
Learn From a Lender
Land buying in Texas is different in other states and it’s important to understand why. Before you start your search, sit down with a lender and get approval. Next, chat with your lender about the land buying process.
Have a thorough understanding of your lender’s loan terms and down payments before you get started. Each lender in Texas works a little differently, thanks to a few flexible clauses, so be sure to understand the nuances of your terms upfront before you buy.
Keep the Quirks
If you decide that a home remodel works best for you, then consider keeping the quirkier elements of your home. Older properties, especially those with historical value in areas such as San Antonio, are often more difficult to remodel.
Sure you can add on and give your home a fresh look, but that old chimney may actually be structural. Certain elements of the home, especially those tied into structure, are often cost-prohibitive to change. Instead of letting that deter from your design vision, see these quirks as an opportunity.
Get creative with your builder and celebrate your home’s quirks. Think of fresh ways to highlight the historical integrity of your home as you remodel. Contrast new with old to give your home a cozy, modern look with a nod to the old.
Reorganize and Re-invent
Often times with older homes, busting out interior walls affects structure. Instead, opt to rearrange furniture or change lighting. Adding more natural light via windows and skylights is a simple trick that makes rooms appear bigger.
Demolish drop ceilings and expose beautiful, old beams to show off the structure and open up a room. Just like the quirky elements, you’ll want to get creative here, especially if you’re dealing with an older home or a home on a small lot.
Consider expanding upwards if your zoning allows for it. Up can give plenty of fresh spaces to a house. Alternatively, you can use thoughtful furniture arrangements, decor, and color schemes to really open up a space.
Don’t be shy to think outside the box when it comes to home remodel. After all, that’s what makes a custom home so unique.
Remember the Basics
It’s easy to get carried away with new appliances, countertops, and opening up a floor plan. However, sometimes the best investments in a home remodel come from simple things.
Updating doors and windows not only make your home more modern, but it also increases your energy efficiency. Who doesn’t want to rake in the savings after a home building project? Swapping out old windows and doors for newer, efficient counterparts keeps your home cool in the Texas heat. It’s a simple, yet effective way to save big and upgrade your space.
Use the Site
For new builds or additions remember, all homes live in the context of their surrounding landscape. Take a clue from the environment when designing your new home.
A great builder or architect knows how to take advantage of site elements such as views, predominant winds, sun patterns, and more to create a stunning, energy-efficient home that blends with the landscape.
New Braunfels, Texas has ample river properties along the winding Guadalupe and Comal Rivers. While designing a new waterfront property, think about the shade from nearby trees, water access, and riverfront views to make the most of your new home.
Custom homes are all about creating a unique living space that responds to the environment. Don’t be shy about letting the outdoors in through innovative design techniques that take advantage of nature’s gifts like a gentle breeze or spanning vista.
These key elements make or break a design. You’re already spending money to create your Texas dream home, why not consider the context of your plot of land too? Work with your builder and architect to decide how you can optimize the orientation of your home, take advantage of views or shade and create a space you’ll love just as much on the outside too.
Homebuilding and remodeling are a hands-on process. Plan on dedicating plenty of time to be on-site and check in on progress. Although the builder and construction manager are in charge of managing crews, the more time you spend on the site, the smoother a construction project goes.
A good rule of thumb is to plan on visiting the site three or four days out of every week. You’ll want to know what progress is being made, the different issues that arise, and how the home is coming together.
This is easier for families that choose to live in during a remodel since you’re already home so-to-speak. However, for folks that are moving from out of state, this can be a particular challenge, so be prepared.
Don’t Forget About Landscaping
If you’re building a new home or adding on to an existing property, be sure to consider new or remodeled landscaping elements too. Your home is just as much about the outdoors as it is indoors. Enlist the help of a landscape architect, or if you have a green thumb, opt for a DIY makeover of your outdoor living space.
Outdoor landscaping takes advantage of the mild Texas shoulder seasons and expands your living space to the outdoors. New Braunfels or Austin have plenty of naturally scenic plots that take advantage of waterways. These lakes and rivers provide ample opportunity for unique and inspiring landscape designs.
In a place of extreme temperatures like Texas, it’s important to include outdoor design elements that help combat the extreme weather. Consider how an area will be planted, shaded, and take advantage of the gentle Texas breeze.
It’s best to not leave a home building project alone. You want to ensure that crews have your vision in mind. It’s important to be an active member of any building project.