Breaking ground on a new home is more than exciting. It’s a chance for you to make every last cabinet, closet, and paint color speak to you. It’s also something that might make you feel in over your head if you’re not aware of the timelines or building stages. A Timeline for Building a New Home
Depending on square footage, weather conditions, the availability of workers and supplies, and more, construction of a new home can take anywhere from three months to over a year. You’ll need to be prepared to make important decisions along the way and to experience setbacks. The truth is, whether you’re building a simple starter home or the ultimate abode, most homeowners find the home construction process a bit overwhelming.
That’s where we come in. We’ve put together an easy to understand home building timeline that demystifies the home building process. From shopping for a lot to move-in day, read on to learn about the major steps you’ll encounter while building a home.
Designing Your Home
Prior to build
Before you do anything, you’ll need to find a pre-designed plan or architect to design your home. This is where you’ll see how far your dollars will go and what it will take to make your dreams come true.
In this stage, figure out answers to questions like, “How many square feet do we want/need?”, “Should the master bedroom face east or west?”, and, “Do we want all bedrooms on the second floor?” Hammer out all of these details in this phase to set yourself up for satisfaction in your new home.
Now is also the time to talk to an interior designer if you don’t plan on doing the decorating yourself. They’ll be able to tell you about prints, textures, finishes, and more that will make your home come together.
Not sure where to start? Angie’s List specializes in providing users with real reviews, background checks, and more about companies. Whether you’re looking for a contractor, designer, or architect, you can count on Angie’s List to find you a reliable person.
Purchasing a Lot
Prior to build
No matter if you’re going for a lot that’s in a housing development or a piece of property secluded on 100 acres, you’ll need to purchase land before you can build. This can happen during the home design process or before. It’s just important that you allocate part of your budget to your land purchase.
In order to budget wisely, shop around for lots. See what the going rate is per acre and by neighborhood. Make sure the house design you’re working on will fit properly and is zoned to fit on a certain sized property.
These are all great conversations to have with your architect. They’ll know the zoning laws and building height restrictions of nearby areas and can point you in the right direction.
To start shopping, check out real estate websites like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia. You can search by very specific requirements—including lots of land—so it’ll be an easy place to start.
Once this stage starts, you can pass the torch to the experts. Everything will be set in stone as far as the look and construction of your home and that barren plot of land you’ve purchased will be prepped and ready to become the site of your new home.
Expect a lot of back hoes and heavy equipment to come with this stage. Workers will be busy clearing, excavating, and leveling the lot according to your architect’s plan. Then, they’ll outline the footprint of your home with stakes. It’ll be the first time that you’ll be able to see the rough shape of your home on your property and can be exhilarating.
The “Three Fs”
The “three Fs” stand for footings, foundation, and framing. You’ll hear your contractor talk about “pouring the footers” and that entails pouring concrete to support your home’s foundation. Once footers are in place and have passed inspection, the workers will pour the concrete slab of your foundation. Then, your home will have a stable structure for framing.
As the name implies, the floors, walls, and roof will be “framed” out with wood. You can think of this as the skeleton of your home. Once framing is complete, an inspector will come out again to verify that everything has been done to code. After that, exterior finishes like plywood and house wrap will be applied to seal off the inside from the outside.
This stage requires major structural work. Keep in mind that delays might happen if the weather is too wet for concrete to set or failed inspections lead to longer construction time.
Now that your home has its basic structure, workers can begin filling it with the things that make it function and look like a home. Experts will install important mechanicals like heating and cooling units, plumbing lines, and electrical systems. Once that work is done, walls will begin to close up too with insulation and drywall. The next time you walk into your home, it’ll look much cleaner. In most cases, the drywall will be sanded and primed, but it might also be painted.
If you’re interested in a home security system, solar panels, or other special infrastructure, this is the time to incorporate them. Many builders can prewire your home for a security system for an additional cost. You won’t have to choose a provider when they do so. Opting for this service will simply provide you with the wiring you’ll need to install a home security system down the line.
Flooring and Paint
Up until this point, all you’ll see on your home building site is a lot of concrete, wood, insulation, drywall, and wires. This is the phase where your home will start to look more like one. Flooring will be going in, cabinets will be hung, and the pretty stuff like trim and mouldings will be installed during this period. Most homeowners will smile at this stage since the site will finally look like the drawings your architect showed you months ago.
Choosing flooring is one of the bigger decisions you’ll make for this stage. Determining your lifestyle, style, and budget will help guide you. For instance, genuine hardwood floors are gorgeous, but are prone to scratching, staining, and come with a large price tag. If you like the look, but need better durability, then engineered hardwood or tile might be a better bet. There are also funky solutions like dyed concrete that add an artistic and industrial flare to homes. This is all up to you, but consider all flooring materials before you pick one. It’ll be much harder to change your mind once everything is moved in!
Fixtures and Appliances
Delivery trucks will make frequent stops at your home during this end stage. That’s because now is the time when sub-contractors (sometimes referred to as “trades”) install faucets, countertops, light fixtures, plugs, and appliances. The front of your yard will also be undergoing massive transformative if you’ve purchased landscaping services.
You will have been asked to choose these finishings long before they are delivered. Don’t delay the move-in date by changing your mind last-minute or waiting too long to commit. There are so many tools out there to help you with the overall design of your home. If you’re doing it yourself instead of hiring a designer, check out HGTV.com or Young House Lovefor some great ideas.
Here are some other design resources to help you decide what to do with your home’s interior and exterior.
- Pinterest has a whole section dedicated to DIY and Home Décor
- Apartment Therapy has a lot of user-generated and expert advice about how to transform your home
- Better Homes and Gardens covers all kinds of design projects from plotting out an epic backyard garden to setting up a cozy living room.
- Houzz is a one-stop-shop for all your design needs. It connects you with designers and other home professionals. Houzz provides you with advice about home decorating. The website even shows you where to shop to find certain items.
The last few weeks of your home building timeline will be a whirlwind of emotion and small details. You’ll be excited, but probably will want to know if it will all come together in time for closing.
Although you’ll be anxious to occupy your home, be absolutely sure all of your questions and concerns have been addressed before you head to settlement. That way, loose ends will be tied up, the small details of your home will be completed, and your home will be cleaned in anticipation of your arrival.
The moment you’ve been waiting for, closing, will be the best. There are just a couple things you’ll need to do before you formally close and move in.
After your home is complete, do a “walk through” of the home. In addition to inspecting it and making a “punch list” of things you want the builder to correct, take note of its features and learn how to work add-ons like the home security network. This is also a time when you can think about how to integrate more safety into your home. Walk the property and view the home through the lens of a burglar, meet your neighbors, and determine where you need better lighting. Once you’re done with all of this, you can close, get the keys to your new home, and enjoy every last detail.
Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of the home building process, is it still something you want to do? If you’re open to a flexible schedule and unforeseen incidents, it’s a great option to get a home that is 100% you.
We’ll leave you with one piece of advice: One of the best ways to stay on track with your home building timeline is to communicate your needs and wants clearly from the start. Before you build, consider if you’d like your home wired for a security system or want to have one installed post-construction. A Timeline for Building a New Home