A custom home allows you the occasion to define each aspect and feature of a dwelling

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Q: Building a custom home seems intense. Can you help walk us through the process?

A: A custom home allows you the occasion to define each aspect and feature of a dwelling: specific architectural design, size, shape, fit and finish — you can build exactly what you want! Some of the benefits of new construction can include modern floor plans, energy efficiencies, a focus on health, possible tax breaks, and low or deferred maintenance.

Ultimately, a custom home can express your individual living lifestyle. Here’s how it’s done.

Determine the financing. How will you finance your custom-home project. Many local lending institutions provide construction loans, lending information and other options. Expect to provide builder validation, inspection reports and verifications prior to phased payouts.

Start the permitting process. Once you have acquired an existing lot, begin the work of gaining project permits with local government agencies. The lead time with permits can be anywhere from a few months to the better part of a year. Application for project permitting is a healthy indicator to building professionals that you are serious about your construction project, and that it is more reality than a dream alone. This is a time-saving step.

Reach out to professionals. If you desire a fully custom home — one that is designed to meet your specific needs and interests — find a qualified custom-home builder who can provide expertise in project management, construction and design. Start asking around today to find a great fit. Realtors, architects, designers, your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors are fantastic resources for referrals. State licensing boards, builder associations and the Better Business Bureau also post license statuses and can be crucial indicators of a builder’s ethics. The due diligence to verify a professional firm’s business standings is another key step to a successful building project!

Make a plan. Building the right construction team, which typically includes a builder, architect, interior and landscape designers, and subcontractors, is another key to project success. Professionals present the expertise and wisdom to bring your project to fruition.

Be patient. Because the duration between contract signing and moving day is typically a longer process than that of buying an existing property (up to 18 months or longer), determine if your lifestyle will be able to withstand the constant decision-making that will be required during a custom building project. If you are in a rush, buying an existing home might be a better option.

Megan Pardi is the marketing coordinator at Rainier Custom Homes and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the MBA’s weekly column. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.