Home ownership is a major responsibility, and maintaining it requires some basic knowledge. This guide can help you protect your home and family from common problems.

Learn how to save money and improve your home’s comfort, safety, durability, and resale value by making it more energy efficient.

What is a Home?

A home is a place that feels like a special place to a person. It can be a physical place such as a house or apartment, a mobile space such as a camper, trailer or yurt, or it can even be a virtual space such as a computer or phone. People have a desire to create homes that make them feel safe, secure and happy. This can be done by creating a space that meets their lifestyle and way of life, or simply by making sure that it has the features that they are used to having in their own home.

In the past, when many people lived in places that did not fit their concept of home, a desire to create the ideal of home was often a powerful force in their lives. It was the goal of many wage earners to become homeowners, especially among those who worked in factories and mills. It was the dream of many immigrants, and for some, it was a source of constant anxiety as they struggled to achieve their goals.

In addition to being a place that is familiar, home is also a symbol of order. This is primarily seen in the way that home functions as a kind of mandala or wholeness, containing within it all its opposites. For example, a home among the Tiv of Nigeria typically includes both huts and granaries. Huts usually represent kin and domestic groups, while granaries typically represent the community as a whole. These contrasting aspects of home are organized in the same ways that other sacred symbols are organized. A helpful discussion of this is found in Irving Goldman’s Mouth of Heaven (New York, 1981); Paul Bohannan and Laura Bohannan’s Tiv Economy (1968); and Sechin Jagchid and Paul Hyer’s Mongolian Culture and Society (1979). The term “home” can also be defined as a place that provides the basic needs for human existence. This includes shelter and security, as well as food, water and energy.

Buying a Home

Home ownership is an exciting adulting rite of passage, but it also comes with significant responsibilities and challenges. The City has a number of tools available to help homeowners understand their rights and responsibilities, including the Homeowner Handbook. It helps owners of one- to four-family homes identify public entities that offer homeownership programs, find financial assistance, and manage their properties. It also provides guidance on addressing code violations, paying taxes, and complying with regulations.

The comprehensive guide was developed in partnership with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, the Office of the New York Attorney General, and local community-based organizations. It builds on the Mayor’s commitment to support homeownership, which is outlined in his Housing Blueprint and Bedford-Stuyvesant Homeownership Plan. Since the launch of the Homeowner Help Desk to support homeowners facing the greatest risk of displacement, the administration has already reached 34,000 homeowners, connected 800 residents to services, and helped 400 homeowners strengthen their financial situations.

Whether you’re buying a brand-new green home or simply want to learn how to maintain your existing property, this handbook will help you succeed. It covers everything from how to choose a contractor, to how to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money. And of course, it’s always important to make sure you have all the necessary documents in order.

Designing a Home

When designing a home, it is important to determine what your needs are. You need to consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you require, as well as your living space requirements. It is also important to think about any future changes in your lifestyle, such as adding children or a new career. Relay this information to your architect to help them design a home that will accommodate your family’s needs now and in the future. A topic entitled “What is Wildfire Resilience?” might be something you need to read first before designing your own home.

It is also important to consider the unique features of your lot or property when deciding on a home’s design. For example, you may want to take advantage of a scenic view or natural light sources. Also, if your lot has architectural restrictions, you will need to consider those when making your design choices.

The next step is to start putting together some visual ideas of how you would like your home to look. You can do this by looking at pictures in magazines or taking a ride around the neighborhood to see what homes you like. You can also find inspiration online and on social media sites. It is important to find ideas that reflect your personal style, but remember that tastes change and styles that were once popular may be considered outdated now.

Once you have a few visual ideas of what you’d like your home to look like, you can meet with an architect or a building professional to discuss your vision in more detail. At this point, the professional can give you “cost estimates” for your project based on material pricing and labor rates. They can also provide you with a “bid set” of plans, which can be distributed to builders for construction.

Building a Home

Building a home can be both an exciting and stressful process. During the pre-construction phase, it is important to determine whether you are building for the right reasons. It is rarely a good idea to build a house as a distraction from other problems, or to use it as a way to get out of debt. It is also a good time to analyze your motivations and determine whether you are ready for the extra work and disruption that building will cause in your life.

It is also important to understand the true cost of your project before it starts. This can be done by getting quotes from contractors and reviewing previous projects. It is usually best to interview at least three different contractors and get references.

It is also a good time to find out how much you can borrow from a bank and to decide on an appropriate construction budget. It is generally a good idea to stay well below the maximum loan amount that a bank will approve, and talking to an independent financial advisor is a good place to start.

Getting Started

Home construction is the process of building single or multi-family residential structures. It can be undertaken by investors or developers who build homes to sell, or by families and individuals who oversee the design and construction of their own residences.

Before undertaking a project as significant as building a house, it is important to carefully examine one’s motivations. It is not uncommon to find that people start home construction for the wrong reasons. A little self-scrutiny may save a great deal of time and frustration. Then, if it is decided to proceed, careful preparation can ensure that the finished product will be the home that the owner deserves.