Though building a custom home is exciting, it also often causes some trepidation. In fact, a common concern we hear from families in the market for a new home is that they are worried about the home building process. Generally, worries, concerns, and/or fears arise from not knowing what is involved with the ground-up approach of custom home building. At Elements Design Build, we know from experience that those fears are alleviated with open communication and a bit of education. Because of this, we’ve outlined 31 steps you can expect when building your dream home with us…
31 Steps to Building Your Dream Home . . .
Below are 31 milestones that you can expect when building a custom home with Elements. While we have listed the steps in a logical order, the design build process is not totally linear. In other words, some steps may overlap and/or occur in a slightly different order, depending on your unique situation. This list will give you an excellent idea about the design build process, however. Because of this, it should alleviate any anxiety about the home building process.
Step 1 – Select your property.
Whether you plan to build on acreage or prefer to be situated on a neighborhood lot, finding the perfect land for your dream home is a vital first step. We will work diligently and efficiently with you to ensure you select the right, buildable property. (For more information, read our series, “How to Find and Buy Land for Your Dream Home.)
Step 2 – Finalize Lending Options
Obviously, your dream home will never become reality without the proper financing. We can help you with this process, suggesting lenders for you to consider. (For more information, read “How to Find the Right Lender.”)
Step 3 – Design Your Perfect Floor Plans
Because Elements is a design build firm, your architectural needs are addressed in-house. We have numerous preferred plans, which can be modified to meet your family’s needs. If you would rather, we can design floor plans from scratch, though this takes more time and is more expensive. (For more information, read our series, “How to Design the Perfect House Plans” and visit our House Plans Gallery here.)
Step 4 – Start Selecting Finishes
While this may seem premature, we ask our clients to begin selecting finishes from the beginning. Why? Because budget is important, and your materials selections help us to create a more accurate bid. To aid in the selections process, we use a construction management software program. (For more information, click here.)
Step 5 – Sign Contract
By this point, you’ve worked out financing, are in the process of purchasing (or have already purchased) land, and a preliminary bid has been completed. So, it’s time to make a commitment and sign a contract. That way, the real fun of designing and building can begin!
Step 6 – Finalize Your House Plans
We want to ensure that modifications made to our flexible floor plans meet your family’s needs. Also, we want to make sure that your floor plans are complete and detailed so that the build process is as smooth as possible.
Step 7 – Finish Selecting Finishes
Wait a minute! I just started selecting finishes! Although some items can be chosen while building, the more selections you make before building begins, the better. Why? Because we can give a more accurate bid, plus the building process will not be slowed because materials haven’t been picked out. (For more information about our Selections Schedule, click here.)
Step 8 – Pre-Construction Review Meeting(s)
Although listed as a separate step, this actually takes place during the first seven steps above. These “meetings” (formal, informal, via phone, email, etc.) ensure there is effective communication of expectations. (For more information, read “What to Consider When Building a New Home.”)
Step 9 – Closing on Land and/or Construction Loan
If applicable, you will finalize the financing of your land and/or construction loan with your financial institution. (For more information about closing, click here.)
Step 10 – Construction Begins!
There are lots of steps within the construction process, which we will discuss below. If you’re interested in learning about the timeline to build a house, click here.
Step 11 – Footings, Foundation, Framing, Roofing
This stage requires major structural work; therefore, it can take weeks (even a couple of months) to properly complete. Keep in mind that delays might happen. For example, if the weather is too wet, concrete will not set correctly. Because of this, the work must wait. Trust that your builder is completing the work as quickly and efficiently as possible, while ensuring that a solid structure is built.
Step 12 – Windows and Exterior Doors
This is the stage where the structure becomes “closed-in.” Because of this, the outside really starts to look like a house!
Step 13 – Rough Mechanicals
The heating, electrical, and plumbing will be “stubbed-out.” So, you’ll see lots of wires and pipes at this point.
Step 14 – Pre-Drywall Walk-through
As a safety measure, we will closely inspect the plumbing, electrical, and heating prior to installing insulation and drywall.
Step 15 – Insulation
Although not the most glamorous step, properly insulating your home is very important. Insulation not only makes your home more energy-efficient, lowering your utility bills, but it also reduces negative environmental impacts. (For more information about insulation, read our article about 2×4 versus 2×6 walls by clicking here. For more information about Green Home Building, click here.)
Step 16 – Exterior Brick, Stone, Stucco, and/or Siding
As the outside of the structure is completed, you can really start to see your home. This stage is very exciting, as the interior finishes will be happening soon!
Step 17 – Drywall
After installing insulation, drywall is hung and finished.
Step 18 – Interior Doors, Cabinets, and Trim
As door casing, baseboards, moulding, stair railings, and other trim pieces come together, the inside of the structure begins to look more like a home.
Step 19 – Paint and/or Stain
Paint and stain signal the start of finishing touches. This is when you will see your selections come to life!
Step 20 – Tile Flooring and Countertops
Whether you chose granite or quartz, porcelain or ceramic, beautiful finishes will be added at this point.
Step 21 – Final Electrical & Plumbing Fixtures, plus Heat & Air Installed
Let there be light! And water and air conditioning! This is one of our favorite steps…
Step 22 – Hardware and Shower Doors
Door hardware, cabinet hardware, and shower doors (if you need them) add even more detail to your beautiful space.
Step 23 – Carpet and/or Wood Flooring
Finally, the concrete slab is fully covered with beautiful flooring, bringing warmth to your house.
Step 24 – Landscaping
If budgeted, your yard will be landscaped.
Step 25 – Walk-through and Punch-Out List
Because your home is built by humans, there will inevitably be small “problems” that you want fixed. So, we will walk-through your new home and make a detailed punch-out list of items that need to be corrected. For example, perhaps the hardwood floor guy accidentally chipped the paint when installing the floors. Don’t worry! It can be repaired!
Step 26 – Final Clean
After completing all items on the punch-out list, your new home will be given a “final clean.”
Step 27 – Final Walk-through & Discussion of Warranty
We will do one last walk-through with you to ensure that all punch-out items were completed. Also, we will ensure that you understand the details of the home warranty. (For more information, check out our Homeowner’s Manual.)
Step 28 – Certificate of Occupancy
All inspections complete, a certificate of occupancy is granted.
Step 29 – Closing to Obtain Permanent Financing
It’s now time to turn your construction loan into a permanent mortgage with your lender.
Step 30 – MOVING DAY!
And the day you’ve been waiting for… You get the keys to your brand-new, custom, dream home and get to move in!
Step 31 – Enjoy Your Elements Home!
Here’s to many, many years of healthy, energy-efficient living in your Elements Home!
My wife and I want to move to Colorado since I have a job prospect there and we want to build a house on a nice lot. I liked that you said to design floor plans from templates to give an idea of what looks good. We’ll be sure to consult with different home builders to find one we can trust.