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Building a first home instead of buying?

Q: I am a first-time homebuyer, but I am not happy with what I have seen on the market so far. I am, however interested in building my home. Is there anyone out there besides myself who built their own home, besides being forced into the tract-home syndrome? Please tell me what I am in for, as I have heard horror stories and good stories! I just want my own style, I figure if I am going to pay a mortgage I really want to be happy with what I have.

A: Many people have had their own homes built. There of course are both success and horror stories, as there are in any complicated endeavor. If you choose to go this route, don't expect to be moving in any time soon; the process will be a lengthy and expensive one. You'll probably need multiple lenders, teams designers, architects, and engineers, experienced attorneys, plus any number of builder/contractor partners to help you.

Before you start, you might look for any custom-built homes in your area and talk to the owners; you should also consult your local bookstore or library to find a good book on building your home. Be sure to read our articles in the 'recommended reading' section below.

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