How to Build Your Own Custom Home in Maryland

How to build your own home in Maryland
Home pictured built by Carter Built Homes

Over the years, there has been low builder activity making it hard for buyers – like you – to find their perfect home. With inventory being low, there’s not many homes to choose from. And from that limited inventory, buyers are more likely to do some renovating. Major renovations can be costly. Often times, especially when renovating older homes, issues may arise resulting in costly unforeseen expenses.

To avoid any uncertainties and the risk of not finding their ideal home, many buyers have been turning towards building their own home. A lot of questions arise about new builds. It may seem simple, however, buying land, especially raw, undeveloped land, can be difficult. There a lot of important considerations that need to be dealt with.

Bookmark Tabs on Apple iOS 11.2Important Considerations

  • Zoning concerns/variances
  • Wetlands
  • Forest conservation
  • Financing, among others

#1 Zoning Concerns/Variances

Zoning regulations generally divides land into districts, including residential, commercial, industrial and so on. Zoning typically governs the required setbacks (from property lines), density and type of housing. For example, a certain zoning district may only allow the building of single family detached homes.

It’s important to understand the zoning rules that apply to your new building site. Zoning ordinances typically include permitted uses and special exceptions. Permitted uses are allowed without any special permission and special exceptions need to be applied for. Zoning ordinances can be changed with the right, potential zoning lawyer – you just have to make a decision if it is worth the time and money.

#2 Wetlandsmarsh

Wetlands serve as an important part to the ecosystem. Because of the importance of wetlands in the cycle of nature, it is heavily  restricted to drain them, build on them, and even near them. It is not always obvious as to what is considered wetland. Land that is classified as wetland may not appear marshy or wet.

Baltimore County & Harford County Lots for Sale Under $500,000

#3 Forest Conservationforest conservation


Forest conservation, otherwise known as the Maryland Forest Conservation, serves the purpose to minimize the loss of Maryland’s forest resources during land development. Of primary interest are areas adjacent to streams or wetlands, those on steep or erodible soils or those within or adjacent to large contiguous blocks of forest or wildlife corridors (see more at dnr.maryland). 

#4 Financing Your New Build

The financing is much more difficult when buying a piece of land for various reasons. Typically, it requires larger down payments, shorter terms and higher interest rates.

There are two options when buying land for construction:

#1 Buy land and hold, then build separate with another loan or cash.

#2 Buy land and finance the construction at the same time

Few lenders offer construction loans or finance land. Fortunately, we have a lender experienced in lot lending that we can recommend to you.

Contact Information
Michelle Wassmuth
Howard Bank
Vice President
Senior Lender
NMLS# 789395

3301 Boston Street
Baltimore, MD 21224

(c) 443.744.0825
(o) 410.561.6698
Please visit us at:




Construction Worker on Apple iOS 11.2Custom Home Builders in Maryland

Dublin2We work with various builders. One in particular is Carter Built Homes, based out of Fallston, MD. In addition to being one of our preferred builders, the Carters’ are also valued clients of ours. We assisted Bryan in locating the lot for the construction of the home featured in this blog

The Carter family has been in the construction industry for over 40 years. Throughout generations, the Carters started building homes and found the niche that fits them best – custom built homes.

Once you choose Carter Built Homes, you’ll be taken care of through the entire process. They have a whole showroom where you can choose your interior finishes from paint to floors, windows and doors, as well as your exterior finishes. Unlike the big companies, at Carter Built Homes, you develop a relationship working one-on-one with Bryan Carter and his design staff from start to finish, until you are living in your beautiful home.   

Contact Information
Bryan Carter
(p) 410.877.3030

Visit their Facebook page – Carter Built Homes lnc


Harford County Lots for Sale Under $150k

Money Bag on Apple iOS 11.2How Much Does it Cost to Build Your Own Home?

home buildingThere is no exact answer for how much it would cost you to build your own home. Some builders have a set cost per square foot, but it all depends on various factors, such as:

  • Materials used
  • Desired amenities
  • How custom you want to make your home
  • Size of the home (sqft)
  • Type of home (Rancher or two level) *Ranchers will be more costly to build than a 2-level home

To decide on a custom plan you’d like for your home, visit

For an accurate estimate, contact Bryan Carter at Carter Built Homes:

House on Apple iOS 11.2How to Build Your Own Home in Maryland

Start by finding the right team

teamI might be partial to this since I work in the real estate industry, but you’ll want to find the right team to assist you. Why go at this project alone when you can have trusted industry professionals by your side? A lot goes into building your own home – finding land, exploring various financing options, choosing your builder, choosing your house plan, and much more. It’s a lot to consider and handle on your own. We’d be more than happy to assist you with finding the perfect spot to build your house, and recommend other industry professionals along the way.

Find landland

Some custom home builders own their own land, but many rely on real estate agents or builders to find a lot. When choosing land, you should take into consideration the neighborhood you’d like to live. You should also consider things like school district, proximity to shopping or transportation.

Determine how you’ll finance the home

It’s important to know all of the options when building your own home. As mentioned, few lenders offer construction loans.

Choose your design

designYou can go to House Plans to view different plans for your custom home. Once you’ve decided on a few, or one, Carter Built Homes has an in-house architect that will ensure the home will fit the county code(s). The architect will review the plan you’ve chosen, during which you can make any changes to make it exactly how you want it.

Tips when considering building your own home:

  • Make sure you have a financial plan in place first.
  • Once you’ve chosen a plan and design, move forward and try not to rethink it. Change orders can be costly.
  • Ensure that your design in appropriate for the amount of time you want to live in the home.
  • Be prepared for a very time-consuming project!
  • Choose a builder in your area. This way, you have a local, experienced builder that knows zoning issues.
  • Finance your project with a lender who has construction-loan experience.

Buying your own land and building your own home is more difficult than most think. It’s a risky process, but with the right team of professionals – real estate agent, lender, builder, and potential zoning lawyer – and a lot of patience, you can build your dream home.

If you’re thinking of building a custom home, give us a call so we can guide you every step of the way 443.692.8800.

Are you thinking of buying or selling a home, or have a friend or family member who is? Contact The Pivec Group today by calling 443-692-8800 or visiting our website! We look forward to hearing from you and helping you find YOUR dream home! The Pivec Group