5 Things To Know Before Building Your Dream Home

Updated March 28, 2022

Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

Let’s face it, the housing market isn’t slowing down anytime soon. Prices continue to rise, and if you haven’t noticed, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find your dream home.

That’s right, the market is running out of real estate. Lucky for you that doesn’t have to stop you from finding your dream home or better yet building it – and at S9 that’s what we’re all about.

Before you dive into researching what it takes to build your dream home, it’s important to have your expectations in order. Here are a few things to think about before you officially pursue building your dream home.

Determine Your Dream Home Budget
saving for your home

When it comes to building your dream home, everyone knows the critical rule: Don’t build a home you can’t afford. Figuring out the sweet spot of affordability in your finances requires more than getting a pre-approval letter from a mortgage lender. It’s important you take the time to fully understand your budget, what it can get you, how much wiggle room you have, and if you’ll be able to put down at least a 20% down payment. Here are a few additional key takeaways to keep in mind. 

  • Determine if a home is affordable by calculating your entire debt-to-income ratio: all your monthly expenses divided by your gross income – this way you avoid surprises.
  • Before building a home, keep in mind that homeownership involves a variety of costs, including homeowners’ insurance, property taxes, and repair/upkeep expenses. If you’re unsure if you can manage all these expenses, it’s best to wait.
  • Building a home means being able to make at least a 20% down payment on it. Saving for a house doesn’t have to be complicated you just need to create a budget to get started.

Now that you have an idea of what it really takes to build a home financially, it’s time to think ahead. So let’s talk about the future and what type of home best fits your needs. 

Plan Ahead

How to plan ahead for your home

Building your dream home is a long-term investment and it will likely be the largest purchase you make in your life. That’s why it’s important to plan ahead. Ask yourself,

  • Is the property you’re looking at an investment? 
  • Are you plan on expanding your family? If so, will the new home meet your needs in a few years?
  • Is this a stepping stone to your next project or is this the house you want in your family for generations to come?

These questions might seem trivial now, but trust us, you’ll be happy you took the time to think through them in advance. And let’s not forget the biggest question of all: How long do you plan on living in or owning the home? 

According to, Rocket Morgage, a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you can see yourself living in the home for half a decade. This way, the money spent on closing costs, real estate agent fees, and mortgage interest doesn’t go to waste. While it’s easy to fall in love with a home that fits your current needs, it’s best to plan ahead. Once you’ve given these questions a thought, you can begin to explore different neighborhoods. 

Choose The Right Neighborhood

build your dream home in Linden Green

Before building a home it’s important to remember that choosing a neighborhood is just as critical as building a house. There are several factors that make a neighborhood great such as safety with low crime rates, affordability, and people you can imagine befriending. Depending on where you are at you may also be looking for access to playgrounds, a good school district, and more.

If you’re planning on building your dream home, keep in mind that you’re not just building a house, you’re investing in a neighborhood and the people that live in it. Below are a few key variables to factor into your decision on which neighborhood to consider:

  • Quiet streets vs. a busier, active area with walkability to various shops & restaurants
  • Trees, access to parks or open spaces vs. a vibrant cityscape 
  • School district boundaries
  • Older neighborhood vs. a newer development
  • Tight-knit community vs. anonymity
  • Public transportation and commuting time
  • Future developments, property values, and taxes
Not sure where to start?

If you’re looking for a great neighborhood in the Twin Cities area, we’d recommend Linden Green. Located just a few blocks from Bde Maka Ska and the retail and shopping in downtown Linden Hills and Edina or St. Louis Park, this is the perfect location for those looking to be in the center of it all. 

Once you have clarified the answers to the variables above, you can then begin assembling a team with extensive experience in the local market to make your dream home a reality.

Pick The Right Team

picking the right team for build your home

Whether you’re hoping to buy a home or build a home it’s important that you select experienced, trusted professionals who will help you make informed decisions and avoid any missteps. 

To find reputable, experienced team members start by asking your colleagues, friends, and family for referrals. It’s important to choose the right team members for you – professionals you can trust and who provide the knowledge and services you need to help you build your dream home. 

Here at Sustainable 9, our team is what makes the difference. We hire and partner with the best vendors and subcontractors to get the greatest possible result. From designing to building, we take visions for tomorrow and turn them into solutions for today that reflect our enduring commitment to green, high-performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built. Our homes and developments are built with our clients in mind to ensure we create the home of their dreams.

Determine Your Preferred Architectural Style

Figuring our your style for your home

Whether it’s Modern, Tudor, or Scandinavian it’s better to figure out what architectural style of home you like before you begin that way your team knows exactly what to look for.

All in all, it’s best to have a collection of ideas put together in advance so you’re prepared to discuss the vision of your dream home. For a smoother process, take things a step further, and work with a team that has a design and build team under one roof. Here at S9, we pride ourselves on having a design and build team all in house! From engineers and project managers to interior designers our team will put your mind at ease through every step of the home design and build process. 


Know Your Dream Home Must-Haves

home must haves – piano space

When building your custom home you have a chance to create the house of your dreams, so why not include your must-haves! From your ideal kitchen countertops to the layout of your basement and entertainment space, it’s best to determine what features you can’t live without prior to the design and build phase. 

To help you through this process our design team has put together a checklist of must-haves and nice-to-haves when determining what features to include in your home design. 

Once you’ve made your way through this list be sure to pass it on to your whole team. This way you are both on the same page and they can start pulling samples together when the time is right. Now that you’ve made it through all five steps it is time that you officially begin building your dream home!

Final Thoughts

Building your dream home will take time, but we promise it will be worth every step, minute, and penny. Here at S9, we don’t just build dream homes in the Twin Cities, we build custom, sustainable, and modern dream homes. Sounds like something you are looking for? – Then it’s time we get connected! Send us an email or give us a call. We can’t wait to hear all about your dream home and how we can help bring it to life! 


A custom-built home means you don’t have to sacrifice the details that make your home one-of-a-kind. View our award-winning work and get inspired.

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Sustainable 9

It’s not just a vision for tomorrow: Sustainable 9 Design + Build creates homes for tomorrow today, reflected in its enduring commitment to green, high performance, energy-efficient homes that are stunningly designed and custom-built.

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More energy efficient than a standard new construction home* *based on HERS ratings


0% Stinky. Committed to - reducing or eliminating VOCs and toxins in the homes we build* *Receiving the EPA's Indoor AirPlus certification on every home we build


Tighter and less leaky than a standard new construction home* *based on blower door test/air leakage results

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