- Get Approved for a Mortgage. Contact your mortgage company and get preapproved for the amount calculated in your costs in Step 4. If your credit is good enough, try adding a 10-15% contingency on top of your total value. You can have this amount for "cushion" in case you run into unforeseen circumstances. Also it might come in handy if you see something you might want to upgrade along the way. Remember though, it's much better to complete your project under budget rather than over budget.
- Get an Interim Loan. Commonly referred to as a "Construction Loan", an Interim Loan allows you to build your home and only pay interest on the money you have borrowed to date. For example, if you are approved for $100,000 to build your home on a 7% interim loan and you spend no money during the first month of construction then your loan payment would be $0 for that month. However, if you spent $20,000 during your first month of construction then you'd pay $117. To arrive at this number all you need to do is multiply $20,000 by 0.07 (your APR, or interest rate). The result should be $1,400. Then divide $1,400 by 12 (because their are 12 months in the year).
Bring your house plans from Step 1 of this article, your costs from Step 4, and your mortgage approval from Step 5. If you have done Step 4 completely then the bank is going to be impressed and give you consideration for thinking everything through so carefully. Keep in mind that while it is your right in the state of Louisiana to build your own home once per year, it is also the bank's right not to loan you the money because you don't have a licensed contractor building your home. It's their money and their rules. Many of the banks have discontinued loans to owner construction because so many have found theirselves in cost overrun. You'll need to find a bank that will finance to owner construction.
- Get Your Permits. For building my last home out of the city limits I had to get a culvert permit and a parish building permit. Go to your Assessor's office in Bossier or Caddo Parish and tell them the address of your new construction. They should be able to set you up with all the permits you need. Nothing like good 'ol taxation from the government.
- Get Builder's Risk Insurance. Call Bobbie Smarr for Builder's Risk Insurance at ICT Insurance Agencies 318.797.7400. Protect your investment.
- Prepare your Land. Call Roy McDowell at 318.949.4915. You'll need to discuss with him where your house will be located on the property and where your driveway(s) will be. Roy has an excellent knack for determining house elevations. He'll make sure your house is high and dry. He's knowledgeable of soil compaction properties and will use only the highest quality material. His bull dozer with the integrated laser levelling system will make sure your home is sitting on a perfect foundation.
- Portable Toilet. Time to get the potty for all the workers!
- Temporary Electricity. Call Bo Wilkinson at BW Electric and tell him it's time to install the electric pole. 318.949.8711.
- Foundation Preparation. Contact TBG, Inc. Phone number is 318.469.8448. They'll set the foundation and dig all the beams for your home.
- Plumbing Rough-In. Call Tommy Adkins at 318.470.3490 so they can bring the Ditch Witch out and install water and sewer lines.
- Order cabinets. Don't find yourself waiting later. Get those cabinets ordered now so you'll have them when you need them.
- Pour Slab & Install Post Tension. TBG comes back again to install the post tension cabling and pour the concrete for your slab. Just after the slab dries they should do a "partial pull" of the cabling. This helps prevent premature cracking of the concrete.
- Framing. A day or two after the concrete dries TBG's crew is back out again to build the frame for the house. This process will take several weeks. Once they are finished your house will have tar paper on the roof, windows and doors on the exterior, and any applicable siding. You can now brag to your friends using the lingo, "my house is in the dry" or "I got my home blacked in".
- Put the Roof on. Bring out the roofers and put the shingles on so the house won't leak. Remember the cheap shingles don't last as long as the expensive ones!
- More Rough-in. It's now time to rough-in your air conditioning, electricity, insulation and plumbing. Now is your chance to make any special requests for location of sockets, installation of surround sound, or anything else your heart desires.
- Install the Fireplace. Now is the best time to install the fireplace an all associated duct work.
- Install Cabinets. The painters are going to need to stain the cabinets while they're painting the house so get them installed just before the guys show up with their paint brushes.
- Paint the house. This part takes the longest and quite frankly it is the most boring in my opinion. However, rest assured that lots of work is happening. At this stage you'll get your sheetrock hung, your walls texturized, and your whole house painted! This stage could take well over a month if not two or three months.
- Masonry. Brick? How about some stucco? Bring that brick man out and let him put the brick on.
- Trim Work. All moulding, doorways, stairs, and other fancy stuff should be installed at this point.
- Install Fixtures. Bring the guys back again for final trim out of air conditioning vents and controls, electrical fixtures and switches, sinks, faucets, etc.
- Appliances. Time for the dishwasher, stove, range vent, and microwave.
- Insulation trim-out. Bring on the pump truck. The insulators will come out one last time. They'll run hoses throughout the house and up to the attic to blow a nice coat of insulation to keep your house cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
- Contact your loan officers. You're now about 1 month away from moving into your new home. Contact your loan officers and decide upon a target move-in date for your new home. Put your interim loan officer in touch with your mortgage officer and let them coordinate how they will handle the roll-over of your interim loan into a mortgage. Now is the time to lock in your mortgage interest rate.
- Flooring. Just when you thought you were almost through it's now time to install the flooring. Expect another period of slow, intensive labor. This process takes a few weeks, but the end result is fabulous! After the flooring is done it's okay to move in your refrigerator, washing machine and dryer.
- Install garage doors. This process only takes about a day. If you're getting standard doors then the delivery time is fairly rapid. If you plan to have insulated doors you should order them about one month prior to the expected installation date.
- Mirrors and shower doors. All mirrors and shower doors are ready for installation around this date. Just make sure this is done AFTER the electrical trim-out or you could run into problems.
- Driveways and sidewalks. Bring TBG out for one last time. The installation of the driveways and sidewalks will only take a couple of days.
- You're not finished, but Move In! At this point you have completed your house to the point where you can order an appraisal, close on your mortgage, and move in!
- Install grass, landscaping, and gutters. Now that you're all moved in you'll be ready to just enjoy your new house. Make one final push and get your lawn, landscaping, and gutters installed.
- Install Blinds. Don't need anybody peeking in while you're taking a bath. Give Randy Rhodes a call at Innovative Interior Designs, and he'll cover your windows.
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Building Your Own Home in Louisiana
I hope that you have found this article both informative and interesting. It takes a great deal of planning and effort to build a home, but the rewards are money savings and satisfaction through piece of mind. I welcome any of your comments or suggestions. This article is copyrighted.