There are few things as rewarding as building your own home from the ground up. You have the ability to truly put everything you want into your living space, but if you’ve never worked with a builder before or had a custom-built home – and most people haven’t – you may wonder what to expect when building a home. These questions have only gotten more intense thanks to the changes in the construction industry over the last few years. What can you expect? What’s a good example of a new home construction timeline? This quick guide will answer all of your questions.
Understanding the Process
When understanding what to expect when building a home, it may first help to understand the overall process of construction. Initially, the process starts with your decision to build a home. You’ll select a builder and find the right lot to meet your needs. Additionally, you’ll meet with a mortgage lender to organize a construction loan that will cover the cost of the building process. This is a short-term loan, and it’s a fairly special product. It pays for the building of the home itself. Once that’s complete, you’ll work with your lender to convert it to a permanent mortgage. During the construction phase, though, you typically make interest-only payments. Many lenders are familiar with construction loans and can offer you fairly attractive terms. You simply have to help them understand your goals.
After you’ve found a builder, a site you love, and you’ve organized the financing, the building project can actually begin. The initial phase is preparing the site and pouring the foundation. Your contractor will map the layout of your property carefully on the site, then begin preparing it to ensure it will be ideal for your home. This means clearing out rocks, trees, and any other debris. It also means dirt work to ensure proper drainage. Once that’s complete, the footings for the foundation will be poured. They bear the entire weight of your home’s foundation, so careful preparation is absolutely essential. After the footings are poured, the foundation is created. This step is a fairly long one – up to two weeks – as the concrete has to cure before the builder can move forward.
The next step is sometimes the most exciting one for soon-to-be homeowners because it involves the framework of your home. After the foundation is dry, your builder can start framing your home. He or she will start with the exterior walls, then the floor, and finally the roof rafters themselves. The sheathing is applied, and a protective barrier is added to help create a strong thermal envelope. At this point, your house will actually start to take shape in front of your eyes. This process usually takes about two weeks.
What to expect when building a home? The skeleton of your home is key before the next step can take place – which is having the plumbing system installed, electrical work started, and HVAC system installed. Keep in mind that continual inspections are done at the end of each step to ensure everything is exactly as it should be.
Once your home’s systems are installed, insulation and drywall can go up, and that takes about two weeks. Usually, your interior will get its first coat of paint at that point.
Midway through the project, flooring, trim, and paint will be added. Stopping by at this stage is a great idea because you’ll quickly begin to see just how beautiful your home will be. Typically this stage can take three to four weeks, but this is also a spot where you might experience delays, as supply chain problems may mean the flooring you’ve selected or trim you wanted could take a bit longer in transit.
The final month or so of the project involves installing the exterior facade of your home like siding, brick, or stone. It also involves installing the fixtures, appliances, and interior finishing touches. As with the previous step, you may want to expect delays, as lots of things may not be delivered as soon as your construction team hopes at this point.
At the end of the building project, your team will finish the driveway work, and handle the interior clean-up so you can move in. Foundational landscaping work will take place, and you’ll do a walk-through with your builder. Closing is the last step in the process.
What to expect when building a home? Overall, you can expect to have your new home ready within six to nine months, be prepared to be a bit flexible should a material your builder needs get delayed due to supply chain issues.
The Real Changes to the Process Over the Last Few Years
Most people who build a home go through the same steps listed above, and while in the past those steps have happened on a faster timeline, the basics of the process have remained the same. So, what’s really changed? A few key things.
- The Cost: Since 2020, the cost of lumber and other raw materials has increased by nearly 40%, which means the cost of custom-built homes have become more expensive. Lumber has been quite volatile, peaking at far more than many professionals expected.
- The Ability to Find Lots: South Florida is the place to be these days, and that’s been true across the country too. Vacant lots are at the lowest levels ever recorded, pushing home builders to look toward non-traditional lot choices like those that were once occupied by much older homes that have since been torn down.
- Mortgage Interest Rates: Mortgage interest rates hit an all-time low in December of 2020 – 2.68%. They’re going up fairly quickly now, though, and so while they’re increasing, many believe they won’t increase quite as quickly as some economists predict.
Is Now Still a Good Time to Build?
So, hopefully, now you have a better understanding of what to expect when building a home. Despite those changes, this remains a good time to build a home. In fact, the trends throughout the construction industry are showing positive signs as the year continues. Lumber prices are finally on a downward trend, and supply chain woes are decreasing fast. The key, though, is not to wait. The time to build is right now, and we can help. Contact us today to learn more.