Whether you are building a simple starter home or the ultimate dream home, 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 new home construction plans can take anywhere from three months to over a year.
These guidelines will help you better understand the steps in building a house with a construction timeline, FAQs, and home automation suggestions. From shopping for a lot of your dreams to move-in day, read on to learn about the major steps you will encounter while building your new home.
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Guidelines for New Home Construction
Building a home is a major undertaken, 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 contractors you will be working with.
- Utilize resources like Angie’s Listor your local classifieds.
- Acquire multiple quotes for your new home construction plans.
- Weigh your priorities regarding location.
- Walk the neighborhood that you’re looking to build in.
- Ask your developer/builder if the lot will require additional expenses such as septic, internet, or electricity hook-ups.
Designing Your Home
Before you do anything, you will need to find a pre-designed plan or an architect to design your home. This is where you will see how far your money will go and what it will take to make your dreams come true.
In this stage, you should figure out answers to questions like, “How many square feet do we want or need?”, “Should the master bedroom face east or west?”, and, “Do we want all bedrooms on the second floor?” Hammer out all these details in this phase to set yourself up for satisfaction in your new home.
Keep in mind that custom new home construction plans can take longer than a pre-designed house. One way to ensure you don’t get too overwhelmed or absorbed by the design portion of the process is to remember your end goal. Ask questions like “Am I building this home with my family or extended family in mind?” or “Will I want to sell or rent this house at any point?”
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. Don’t forget necessary items like carbon monoxide detectors and fire and smoke detectors. As aesthetically obtrusive as they can be, they’re an important safety facet of your home.
Not sure where to start the brainstorming process for your new home? Again, Angie’s List is a great resource as it 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
No matter if you are going for a lot that is 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 important that you allocate part of your budget to your land purchase.
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 construction. Keep in mind that site prep can be impacted by weather conditions and other incidents like added expenses.
It can be exhilarating to see the rough shape of your home on your property for the first time. Expect a lot of 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.
Footing, Foundation & Framing
New home construction requires 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.
Functionality & Mechanicals
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, workers will begin to close up the walls 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, and it might even be painted.
If you’re interested in a home security system, solar panels, or home automation devices (like a smart thermostat, smart outlets, or smartbulbs), this is the time to incorporate them and consider the wiring, voltage, or power system that best supports them. Many builders can prewire your new home construction plans for a security system for an additional cost. You will not 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 later.
Flooring & Painting
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 moldings 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 will 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 and staining, and they come with a large price tag. If you like the look but need better durability, then tile or engineered hardwood might be a better bet. There are also other 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.
Fixtures, Appliances & Smart Home Options
Delivery trucks will make frequent stops at your home during this end stage. That’s because now is the time when subcontractors (sometimes referred to as “trades”) install faucets, countertops, light fixtures, plugs, and appliances. The front of your yard will also be undergoing massive transformation if you’ve purchased landscaping services.
This part of your new home construction you should have chosen these finishing’s 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.
Here are some 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.
As the finishing touches are put on your home, now would be a good time to install specific home automation devices, like smart doorbells or smart locks. Not only will these items help keep you safe, they also provide an element of control, both remotely and while you’re at home. After all, considering how much time and money you’ve put into building your new home, why not take the extra step in home security?
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. Walk the property and view the home through the lens of a burglar, meet your neighbors, and determine where you need better lighting. Consider security additions like security cameras, motion sensors, and other security features. Once you’re done with all of this, you can close, get the keys to your new home, and enjoy your new home.
Now that you’ve gotten a better idea of the new home construction process, be sure it is 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 and added equity.
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.