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Checklist for Building a House in Washington, D.C.

Checklist for Building a House in Washington, D.C.

Even though it’s exciting, building a house from scratch is not as smooth. Tons of things can go wrong if you don’t prepare for the task.


So put your organizer-shoes on and start creating the checklist for building your dream home. Here is what you should include:




The first thing to do is evaluate your finances and set a realistic budget. Without it, you might end up with an enormous debt and unfulfilled dreams. It’s better to compromise than risk your finances and safety. For example, if you want a spa bathroom and four bedrooms but your budget doesn’t allow everything, cut some rooms off and leave those plans for better times. You can always build an addition or remodel your house in the future.




If you still haven’t found the perfect property, even better! The site you choose will influence time and cost. For example, if you buy a property in one of Washington’s historic districts, the permit application process will be longer, costlier, and more complicated. For those who want to cut costs, stress, and ensure a smoother construction, here are some characteristics of a perfect lot:

  • In a safe neighborhood

  • Utility and road access

  • No easements

  • Proximity to public transport, supermarkets, and schools

  • A soil that’s good for building (loam, silt, peat, clay, and rock)




Buyers should do a thorough inspection before purchasing land, whether it is empty or has an old structure on it. You should find out information about utility access, soil quality, history of the land, setbacks, easements, and topography. Don’t put your entire trust in the property seller or the real estate agent. Instead, consult geological technicians and land surveyors to gain a better perspective.




Hiring a title company and investing in title insurance is not a necessary step, but it will protect you in case someone wants to claim part of the property in the future.


Title insurance covers possible third-party claims on a property. A third-party owner can be anyone, from a long-lost relative to a construction company that hasn’t been paid. A title claim can occur at any moment, even after you have owned the property for many years. Most of the time, the seller isn’t even aware that a third party has rights over the property.




The local City Office needs to approve every new structure, i.e. give a building permit. The rules are different for each country, city, and county. For example, if you plan to buy a property in a fire-prone area or a historic district, expect stricter building codes.


Applying for a building permit is a necessary step of construction. Without obtaining one, you would build illegally and therefore, open yourself up to large fines and many problems during construction.


Building codes can be complicated, but you can always hire a permit expediter to help you out. This especially applies to people building in Washington DC since tons of neighborhoods have strict building regulations.




There are many key players in a construction project, from architects and engineers to quantity surveyors and builders. So imagine you are a soccer coach! What would you do? You would find the best players in the world. So start building the perfect team that’s going to work in sync to help your dreams become a reality. You want to look for companies/ contractors who are licensed, insured, experienced, and educated. It is the safest road toward a successful project.


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