Thinking about building a new home but not sure where to start? There are several useful steps you should take and a few mistakes to avoid as you plan your path forward. But first things first…

How Long Does it Take to Build a House? 

A grey craftsman style house with a long driveway.
Building a new home is a process, but it’s a worthwhile one.

As you might imagine, there are a lot of variables at play here. Design build homes will always vary by scope. Factors that may cause these timelines to fluctuate include build size, lot location, material availability, and approval delays. But take a look at our Hamlet on Jerome floor plans for a point of reference that will help put things in perspective — for each of these (exterior-consistent, 2,000-4,000+ sq. ft.) homes, buyers can expect a seven or eight month timeline from excavation to move in. So, while it’s true that timelines on building a new home will vary, you can get a decent ballpark by comparing the complexity of your build to similar homes. Because determining accurate scope depends on more than simply square footage (complexity, materials, and other factors will also affect the equation) it would be irresponsible of us to give a specific length of time on custom built homes. However, once a builder gets an idea of your goals in building your house, they will be able to provide more specific insights.

Building a New Home: 6 Strategic Tips For Success

Looking for tips that will help you get the most for your money when building a new home? We recommend monitoring interest rates, focusing on your must-have features, breaking ground in the early months of the year, anticipating future spatial needs, and doing adequate research on your builder.

Monitor Interest Rates

This may be a no-brainer for those who have been through the process of building a house before, but interest rates make all the difference. For anyone who hasn’t been paying attention to the housing market, those interest rates have been at historic lows. However, with the economy beginning to right itself in the wake of 2020/21, those rates won’t stay that low forever.

The good news is that while rates are expected to rise throughout 2022, they’re still looking awfully nice right now. To help out Ohio buyers, our company offers mortgage plans that allow folks to lock in these rates before they even start construction. Be on the lookout for these kinds of deals with whomever your builder is.

Ask About Building Materials

Securing a good interest rate will definitely save you some cash when building a house. And honestly, you may need it to help offset the price of building materials these days, which are through the roof. Everyone knows how bad the supply chains were through the holidays, but trust us when we tell you that lumber’s supply and demand situation will only get worse. That’s another reason it’s better to buy now if you can. It’s also a really good reason to hold your builders responsible.

The best builders refuse to use lesser materials. Others may be looking to cut costs, given the scarcity of materials. But ensuring you build a house with the newest materials comes down to more than just your builders; it’s about timing with vendors and suppliers too.

Pro Tip: Not a lot of folks know or consider this, but material suppliers and vendors typically launch their new product lines in the early months of the year.

While our own sourcing strategy for optimum value is to use the newest and latest technologies combined with aggressive buying techniques, not all builders take this approach. This matters when it comes to planning your must-have home features. That’s why we recommend beginning to think about what these are and how you’d like them to look as early as possible. From there, it’s just a matter of choosing good builders and staying in communication with them about these key features.

When builders fail to coordinate with suppliers to source the latest and greatest materials, it can lead to “new” homes that are already a year behind the times before they’re even built! But if you plan right and choose your builder wisely, there’s a surefire way to kill (capitalize on) two birds (low interest rates & the newest materials) with a single stone in 2022… start building a house between January and April.

An enormous, white colonial style house.

Build in the Early Months of the Year

Building a new home in early 2022 is definitely a smart move if you can can swing it. On top of locking in phenomenal interest rates in 2022 and getting the latest and greatest in materials, there’s just nothing like moving into a new home right before the holidays. Call us sentimental, but something about picking up new keys with a fresh dusting of snow on the ground just makes for a special holiday season.

As we discussed above, building a house can take eight or more months, so the best time to get started is early in the year — ideally between January and April.

Anticipate Future Spatial Needs

Young couples in particular tend to have future kids in mind when buying their first homes, but don’t neglect to plan for other growth possibilities too. Is there an in-law who may need to stay with you in five years? Will your kids be moving off to college? Will they be coming back? We can’t plan for every eventuality, but keeping the possibilities in mind can help us gauge what our spatial needs may look like in five, ten or even fifteen years.

Tensions and frustrations can build when there’s not enough space, that’s true. But as we discussed in our article on the benefits of rightsizing a home, living in too big of a home can lead to its own unique set of problems. These may actually be more insidious since “having too much space” sounds like a nice problem to have. For this reason, folks are less likely to consider the downsides (energy costs, maintenance, exterior decline) until they already feel trapped by them.

Research Your Builder’s Online Presence

Look at portfolios, reviews, social media, business ratings, and professional affiliations. Don’t neglect any of these areas. Why? Because each may tell you a little something extra about the company. While local builders may not have something to show across all of these categories, seeing what you can find will give you a fuller picture of their work. Each of these areas can give you a different level of awareness into how a business operates. Moreover, if there are any major red flags to worry about, you’re likely to find them.

  1. Portfolio — It’s pretty obvious why this is important when building a house. Pro tip: don’t limit yourself to the company’s website. While that may be where their best stuff is, companies that have been around a while may not be able to fit everything on there. If you’re looking for a specific feature or style that isn’t featured on your builders website, don’t be afraid to ask them or search for old home sale pictures online.
  2. Reviews — Check Google Reviews, Houzz, and even Yelp to get an idea of other clients’ experiences building a new home with your builder.
  3. Social Media — Social media will give you a sense of a builder’s consistency, engagement level, and even their personality if you’re lucky. Bonus: It’s also a great place to find more portfolio pictures of other houses!
  4. Business Ratings — The main source of truth here has always been the Better Business Bureau. Make sure your builder doesn’t have a pattern of unresolved complaints or a bad rating.
  5. Professional Affiliations — From the BIA Parade of Homes to the National Association of Home Builders, professional affiliations will let you see the level of peer respect a builder gets from their industry and colleagues.

Red Flags

  • A bad rating with the BBB
  • Poor reviews
  • Low online presence (when you can’t find much of anything online)
A large modern industrial farmhouse on rolling land with trees and hills.

The Bottom Line on Building a House

To recap, build early, think about your future, and do your research. The best time to build a house is early in the year, and homeowners should consider how much house they anticipate a need for in ten years. Since not all companies will approach your build with the same level of integrity, expertise, or access to materials, it’s important that you do some research to know (a) what you want, and (b) what your builder has a history of providing.

Interested in speaking with a Corinthian Fine Homes specialist?