Posted by Ben Wills in Home Buying

Building your first new construction home can feel a little overwhelming. There are so many decisions to make—from homesites and floorplans to structural options and paint colors.

If you’re intimidated by the new-build process and can’t figure out where to start, you’re in the right place! Here is the ultimate guide on what you should know when building your first home.

What Are Your Must-Haves When Building a New Home?

What’s most important in a home to your family? Do you need a large, open yard for children and pets? Are you looking for an easily accessible layout without steps? Or do you frequently entertain and need a guest suite at the ready?

We recommend choosing two to three non-negotiable features for your home. Once you have those in place, it’s much easier to navigate the process and figure out where to start!

Keep your must-haves in mind as you make decisions for each aspect of your new home, starting with the location. Then, you’re ready to see some homes in person!

Modern Home Exterior With Evening Backdrop

Touring Different Communities

The first thing you’ll want to do when you decide to build a new construction home is tour a few communities. Location is so important and will influence commutes, nearby attractions and conveniences, amenities, views, and more.

Many buyers have at least one location-specific must-have. This is a great starting point to provide when you reach out to schedule a tour so that we can match you with the best locations for you!

Streetscape of Gray Two Story Homes With Stone Accents

Questions to Ask a Home Builder When Touring Communities

Our biggest piece of advice as you tour different neighborhoods is to ask questions! These will vary based on your desires, but here are a few important questions to get you started:

  • What school district is this community located in?
  • How far away are the major interstates?
  • What amenities are within the neighborhood?
  • What shops, grocery stores, and gas stations are nearby?
  • What do other homeowners enjoy about living in this area?
  • What types of topography and landscaping can I expect when this community is finished?

This list just scratches the surface of questions you will want to ask your builder! Head into your community tours prepared and knowing what’s important to you along your new home search.

Couple Pushing Their Child In a Stroller Through a Neighborhood

Finding the Ideal Homesite

The home building process can look slightly different for everyone. If one or more of your non-negotiable items revolves around an exterior feature, you’ll likely need to find the perfect homesite as your next step; however, if your must-haves are mostly interior features, you might need to pick your floorplan first.

When walking the community, look for things like flat vs. hilly topography, wooded yards vs. open spaces, and nearby amenities like ponds, green space, an amenity center, etc. You might also want to check out the differences between corner, cul-de-sac, and centrally located homesites.

Aerial View of New Construction Community in Beginning Stage

When you build with M/I Homes, your New Home Consultant will be walking the community with you to answer your questions, point out details you may not notice, and explain the benefits to each space.

This is a crucial step in choosing your new home, so you’ll want to be thorough when explaining your wants and needs for your home’s location!

Deciding on a Floorplan

The layout is often the most important aspect to homebuyers because it effects the way you live daily in your home. If certain floorplan features are essential for you, like a basement, it could even impact which homesites you’re able to build on.

Explore the different options with your New Home Consultant to choose a floorplan that fits your criteria. You’ll want to keep your must-haves at the forefront throughout this process, but keep an open mind when discussing these—you may find additional considerations in our modern floorplans to influence your decision!

Construction Employee Looking at Floorplans With a Couple

At this point in your home search, you’ll also need to consider your budget. Floorplans vary greatly in cost and can be a determining factor for some buyers, and our team can help with your financial questions as well.

Navigating the Design Process

Depending on what type of home you purchase with us, your home’s design is the next stop along the way. This process entails choosing the interior and exterior components that most appeal to you, and our expert team is here to make that a fun, smooth process!

Designer Looking at Flooring Samples With a Customer

Designing a To-Be-Built Home

If you’re building your home from the ground up, there will be more effort required on your end. Spend some time researching and looking for inspiration. Features and finishes vary based on floorplan and location, but we’ll help match your style with your available options to create a home unique to your taste.

Additions and upgrades will increase the cost of your new home, so make sure you have some flexibility and set expectations with your builder as you head into this step. Building your dream home within your budget is more feasible than you might think.

Opting for a Quick Move-in Home

If you’re looking to get into a home quicker or simply feel overwhelmed by the decision process, you still have options! Quick move-in homes are homes that are already in the stages of construction and often require less work from the homebuyer.

Interior and exterior features on quick move-in homes have usually been pre-selected by our team of expert designers to save you time and effort. Ask your New Home Consultant about the chosen options as you search for a quick move-in home to ensure you find something you love!

Design Studio

Using Designer-Selected Packages

Some of our home series simplify the design process by using design packages. Typically, you’ll have a few options of pre-coordinated colors, materials, and features that were hand-crafted by designers.

These packages are a great option for those wanting flexibility in their home’s design, while saving on time and costs.

Talk to your New Home Consultant to figure out the best option for your family. As you finish this step, you’ll be watching your new construction home come to life!

Building your first new-build home doesn’t have to be as scary as it might sound. Using this guide along the way will make the process enjoyable and result in a home that’s perfect for you!

Now that you know what it takes to choose your new home, read our 7 tips for first-time new-build homeowners.


Ben Wills
Ben Wills


​Ben Wills is the Mortgage Branch Training Officer for M/I Financial, LLC. Ben has been in the mortgage field for over 40 years and has assisted thousands of homeowners in financing new home construction.

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