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Guide To Building a House in Florida


florida city and lake at sunset

Nothing is more exciting than moving into a home that you planned and built out yourself. Having the power to customize your space just the way you need it to be is everyone’s dream.

Before you get excited about that fifth bedroom or man cave space, there are a few things you need to know about building a house in Florida. Sure, the process is very exciting, but there are also a few challenges you will need to make yourself aware of before you dive in.

If you and your family are looking to build a home in Florida, you will need to check out this Florida house building guide. This brief article will cover the steps you need to take before you start building your home and an alternative route you can take for building a new home!

Ten Steps to Building a House in Florida

Before we get into the steps to building a house in Florida, there are a few things we must make you aware of. When you enter into a standard real estate contract, the contract is designed to protect the buyer and seller’s interest.

Contracts used by builders and developers are made to protect their interests only. There is room for negotiation, and you can change the contract to balance more in your favor.

Just remember to review your contracts before you sign away. Ensuring that you and your interests are protected is the first thing you need to do before you engage in building a house from start to finish in Florida.

Pre-qualify for Your Project

Before you start building your home, you will want to have the funds on hand for the project. Prequalifying is a critical step as it sets the limits for your home building budget.

If you overreach beyond your financial capabilities, you may find yourself stretched thin, which will make the home building process not as pleasant. The best suggestion for new home builds is to acquire a home building loan no more than three or four times your annual income. If you are building with a spouse or someone else, you can combine the two incomes and go from there. 

1. Find Your Spot

The best way to start is the find a lot where you want to build your home. There are different shapes, locations, and sizes of lots for you to choose from, so make sure you choose carefully.

Ensure that the site you choose also has an excellent connection to plumbing and electricity. The last thing you need is to finish building your home just to find out that you have to wait another month before you can connect your home to any public utilities. 

2. Find Your Builder

After choosing your lot, you will want to figure out who you want to build your home with. There are different builders you can choose from in Florida. Each of these builders has its own unique style so make sure you thoroughly review them before making your pick.

Top builders in Florida:

  • D.R. Horton
  • Lennar Homes
  • Taylor Morrison
  • Pulte Homes

Those are only a few of the many builders you have available to choose from. Make sure that when you decide on your builder, you can build your house exactly how you want it to look. 

3. Put Together a Plan

Before you can even start to build a home, you need to plan it out. Most builders have existing plans for you to choose and pick from. You can either go with an original plan or customize it to fit what you want.

Your builder should be able to make sure your house meets the building codes set by the state of Florida. At this point, you may want to also reach out to your homeowners’ association to make sure that everything will go smoothly for your new build. Ensure that your build meets any rules and regulations set out by your homeowners’ association. 

4. Prep the Site

Before your builder can get to work, you will need to prepare the site. This means you will need to plot out any power lines, gas pipes, and sewer lines.

You may even need to mark off the driveway before you start building. You will also need to grade your lot to ensure that it has proper drainage. Make sure your site has no brush or trees before building. 

5. Lay the Foundation

The foundational part (no pun intended) of building your home is the foundation. Your builder will first need to lay down the foundation.

This is the lowest part of your home, and you will need to ensure that it stays clear and unflooded during the building process. When you lay down the foundation perfectly, you ensure that your home remains stable and level as long as you have the house. 

6. Frame the Walls of the House

After you complete the basement or the foundation, it is time to frame the walls. Your home builder will put together the shell of your home.

During this time, you will see the home start coming together with the wooden supports. The room walls will start to come together, and you will see the skeleton of your home. 

7. Install Ductwork

After the walls are up and ready for formation, the builder will then put in the ductwork. You wouldn’t want to build your walls and put wiring into them, would you?

The ductwork, pipes, phone lines, and electrical wiring are all installed into your home during this phase. This helps your builder access them quickly to ensure that the wiring and pipes are good to go before putting up the rest of the walls. Bathtubs and any other clunky pieces of plumbing are also installed during this phase. 

8. Insulate the Walls

Insulation is one of the most essential parts of building a home, especially in Florida. With the proper insulation, your home will stay cool during the warmer times of the year, and it will stay warm during the wintertime.

Insulation goes into your walls and drywall layers over them. Homes in Florida should have R-20 spray foam insulation, especially in the attic and ceiling.

This will ensure that your home stays regulated throughout the year. This also means that you won’t have to run your A/C or heating systems too often in the year. 

9. Add Permanent Fixtures

After the walls are all good to go, it is time to focus on the floor coverings. Wood floors and ceramic tiles usually go first before laying down any vinyl and carpet. During this phase, outlets and sinks are also put in place to complete the inside of your home. 

10. Complete the Exterior Touches

While the inside of your home finishes up, important things are going on outside of the house. During this final phase, the sidewalks are typically laid in addition to your patios and driveways.

After everything is complete, an inspector should come through to ensure everything looks good before you move in. If there are any issues with the new build, make sure to have your inspector note them down and take pictures. You will then be able to make a claim with the builder about any damages. 

Get an Inspection

As mentioned above, it is best to have your new home inspected once the builder completes their work. The inspection allows the developer or the builder time to remedy their mistakes under the home’s warranty.

If you would like, you can have an inspector come during different phases of the home build process. For example, you can have someone come to inspect the foundations or the framework to ensure they are up to standard. 

Choosing a Floor Plan

In one of the steps above, we mentioned that you need to figure out a plan for your home build. It is best to work with the builder to create a home that fits your lifestyle during that phase. For example, if you are more accustomed to a smaller home with only two bedrooms, you will want to let your builder know.

If you have a family or need more rooms or areas to entertain, you may want to opt for a bigger home. The size of the rooms and the number of rooms also depend on the size of your lot. Ensure that your needs and specifications meet the size of your lot while also accommodating you and what you want. 

When you are in this planning phase, it is best to spend some time in the builder’s model homes if they are available. While you are there, try to envision your future furniture layouts and the blending of public spaces. Ensure that you are okay with the size of your kitchen and how it flows into the living room or dining room. 

Is It More Expensive to Build a Home?

The current housing market is somewhat competitive, and for some people, it may be better to build instead of bidding on the already available homes. Building a home is typically more expensive because you have to purchase the lot and pay for the materials and labor for building your home. There are also permits and other state-mandated things you will need to consider before you build. 

Florida House Building Advice

In the state of Florida, before you can start building, the blueprints of your home must be examined by a local engineer. This is because the area experiences a lot of hurricane weather, so the engineer needs to ensure that the house can withstand the extreme weather. Keep in mind that this does come as an additional cost. 

Financing for Florida House Building

As mentioned earlier, you will need to secure funding before you even start your building adventure. Unlike regular conventional loans obtained to purchase already built homes, you will need a construction loan.

The construction loan will help pay your contractors upfront so they can get to work on your home. Most lenders require around 10% down as the minimum requirement. Some lenders may even require you to put down between 20% to 30%. 

Design for Your Future

If you currently do not have kids but maybe consider the idea in a few years, you will want to keep that in mind when designing your home. If you plan on having kids in the near future, let’s say maybe within five to ten years, and you plan on staying in your new build, make sure you mention that to your builder.

You will most likely need to incorporate a couple more bedrooms, a larger living area, or an additional game room for your children. If you plan for the “right now,” you may miss on critical opportunities to expand your home space before you even start to build. 

You also will want to consider planning for storage. Most younger couples don’t think about storage space, especially when there are other great rooms to plan and think about.

Ensure that your home has the proper storage space to put away your clothes, holiday items, or furniture even. Planning for your storage space may not sound like much fun, but it is a vital part of your organization and lifestyle later on. 

You Might Need To Sell Your Current Home First

If you are in the market for building a new home, but you still have a home that you need to sell, you most likely want to get out of that mortgage quickly. We all know that it does take some time before a house sells, and you may not have that much time, especially if you are already in the process of building your new home.

If you want a quicker way to sell a home, you may want to reach out to an iBuyer. An iBuyer has all the necessary financial backing and cutting-edge technology to provide you with an all-cash offer. The best part about using an iBuyer is that you can close the home sale within days instead of waiting months. 

Sell Your Home Today!

Building a house in Florida is a very exciting thing to do. You get to customize the home how you like to fit you and your family’s needs.

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