What comes first – the lot or the floor plan? For first time home builders, the order of the process isn’t always clear. Falling in love with a floor plan only to be disappointed when you can’t find a lot it works with happens far too often. Seasoned builders know that the key is to identify the land first.

Before building a new home, review this checklist. It outlines important items to take into consideration as well as the order you should do it.

1. Establish an affordable budget total for a house and lot.
2. Get pre-qualified by a lending institution to ensure you can secure financing based on your budget.
3. Find the land/lot for your future home.
4. Check building size requirements for your lot, if required.
5. Check limitations for building setbacks and easements from your local municipality.
6. Find a house floor plan or have one custom designed to fit your lot requirements and needs.
7. Acquire estimates to make sure the entire project is within your budget.

Many builders can provide a generic per-square-foot price, so you can estimate costs based on the total square-feet of living space. Remember, the living space listed on a house plan does not normally include the garage, basement, or bonus spaces unless noted.