Whether you’re building a simple starter home or the ultimate abode, new home construction contains many unknowns and can be overwhelming—especially if you’re unsure where to start or experience a hiccup in the planning process. Depending on square footage, weather conditions, and the availability of workers and supplies, the construction of a new home can take anywhere from three months to over a year.
We’ll help you better understand the steps in building a house with a construction timeline, FAQs, and home automation suggestions. From shopping for the lot of your dreams to move-in day, read on to learn about the major steps you’ll encounter while building a home.
Things to Consider When Building a New Home
Building a home is a big deal, and from time to time, important notes or questions can get lost along the way. To help you out, we compiled a comprehensive list of things to consider when assessing your new home construction timeline.
Determining What Matters: First Steps
- Determine whether you want to begin with a design or the lot.
- Check your credit score before applying for financing.
- Establish your criteria for an architect, real estate agent, and contractors.
- Always vet and research the teams you might be working with.
- Weigh your priorities regarding location.
- Walk the neighborhood that you’re looking to build in.
- Ask your builder if the lot will require additional expenses such as septic, internet, or electricity hook-ups.
- Establish a consistent and easy-to-record way to communicate with your builder, architect, or contractor to ensure they maintain ownership of changes, roles, and responsibilities.
- Safeguard build-related documents. These items may contain sensitive information.
Communication Styles and Considerations
- Building a new home can be a trying experience. And if you’re building the house with a significant other, make sure the two of you are on the same page in terms of decision making.
- Consider your availability. You may or may not have a flexible schedule, so establish with your agent, builder, or contractor what your availability is to discuss the build.
- If issues arise unexpectedly and require your immediate attention, delegate a specific point person (you or your significant other) who can answer those calls.
- Do you like the communication style of the architect, builders, and contractors? You should feel comfortable voicing your opinion; after all, this is your home! If you don’t, perhaps reconsider working with that team.
- Always hold those involved accountable for actions, promises, or changes.
Setting Your Expectations
- In a perfect world, your house would be built in a timely fashion and no hiccups would occur. However, realistically, the building process is bound to experience some complications, and mishaps can be incredibly frustrating. When you do start, keep in mind factors that could impact the build. For example, is the ground still frozen solid when the foundation is slated to be poured? Or are you beginning to build in the middle of the rainy season?
- Ultimately, local building permits and zoning laws will dictate project specifics and how a contractor can turn your dream home into a reality.
- After considering everything, determine if your completion date is reasonable.
“My best advice to anyone looking at new construction: Stick to your budget, be patient and talk it through.”
Tip: Check the Local Home Improvement Store
If you’re the do-it-yourself type, you can easily get started—or get ideas—by taking a walk at your local home improvement store.
Roles and Responsibilities
Problems are bound to pop up, and those obstacles are often better managed when you understand who is supposed to do what and why.
Homeowners: Visionaries, Decision Makers, and Communicators
It’s your responsibility to know what you can afford and to articulate the aspects of the house you particularly care about, as well as the ones that are less important to you.
Real Estate Agents: Land Wranglers and Closers
Real estate agents assist in purchasing the parcel of land as well as the closing of the house.
Contractors, Builders, and Construction Managers: The Dream Team
These are the folks that make your dreams come true. Not only does a construction manager supervise and guide the build, they also keep the team and build on schedule. However, keep in mind components that might impact the build process—some are just out of your control.
Lenders: Money Movers
This role is pretty straightforward. Lenders ensure you have the money to purchase a lot and build a house.
Architects and Designers: Artists and Creators
This is a multi-disciplinary role that not only designs a house according to the clients’ requests but also ensures that the space and structure comply with local building codes. The architect or designer also coordinates and oversees construction and subcontractors, also known as trades.
Engineers: Logistics Guru
Engineers are involved throughout the whole build, specifically in relation to safety, plumbing, and electricity. They assess limitations and ensure that the structure and system are up to code, cost-effective, and practical.
Specialty Contractors: Tradesmen
These are trade-specific contractors, like HVAC technicians, electricians, painters, roofers, etc. They’ll be handling the particular job you hired them for.
Inspectors: Pretty Important People
Inspectors review the designs prior to the actual build. They also periodically check in to ensure that local laws, codes, and ordinances are obeyed up until the very end of the build.