Building a custom home is one of the biggest projects a landowner will ever undertake. But that’s no reason to be intimidated. Even though the custom home building process varies from build to build, we find homeowners benefit from grasping the basic structure. That’s why we wrote out the nine steps that are consistently true of them all — true regardless of the who (your builders), what (the styles and features you choose), and where (location and accessibility) of building your custom home.
The Custom Home Building Process
Preliminary meetings exist within the home building process to help you and your building team get acquainted. They are also a time to share and discuss ideas, explore the team’s design build portfolio, and bring up your must-have features (if you happen to know these already).
We ask clients to fill out a brief questionnaire as well at Corinthian. It’s a tradition we started years ago to (a) get to know you a little bit and (b) help define the project on paper, if only in very broad strokes.
In the design phase, you get to go more in-depth with an architect or residential designer about your vision. You do not have to know everything yourself (if you did, after all, there would be no reason to speak with anyone!). Your involvement here is collaborative and the level of that involvement is up to you. Generally, however, it does pay to invest some time in discussing options with your chosen design professional.
During this phase, you’ll also visit potential lots to consider site conditions and settle on a build location (unless you’ve already decided to build on your own lot).
At this point you will have begun to nail down build specs. Choosing personal touches to set your home apart, tailor it to your needs, and ensure the plans reflect your lifestyle is one of the most exciting parts of the entire home building process.
Target costing and value engineering are important parts of an optimized home building process as well. The builder will prepare a budget based on the information you provide and should be able explain this cost estimate to you in clear terms if you have any questions about it.
A selections coordinator will work with you during this phase to nail down any remaining home choices and design decisions. Your selections will dictate a lot of what is to come, so be sure to ask plenty of questions!
Once you’ve gone over the estimate, received any necessary clarifications, and discussed any adjustments, it’s time to sign! A good construction agreement lays out every phase of the home building process. This includes all selections, specifications, and timelines. Your build contract will represent the primary source of truth on all build details from this point forward.
With the contract signed, work will begin in earnest. The first priority at this point is always to ensure the necessary permits are in order. To do this, your builder will submit your building plans to the local zoning board and building department. Once these institutions have reviewed and approved the documents, they will grant you the building permit you need to break ground.
The pre-construction meeting is a time to touch base once more before the building team arrives on your lot to begin excavation. In typical cases, clients meet with the project manager and admin team to review all specs, selections, and plans.
When the big day finally arrives, all the important boxes will have been checked. Adjustments are still possible down the road, but a homeowner’s major decisions have typically been made at this point. With everyone on the same page and the path well defined, your crew will kick off excavation and construction.
Also worth noting: the best builders remain in communication throughout construction, giving frequent updates and remaining accessible for any questions that arise from the homeowner. The custom home building process spans a great many months, and it is likely the biggest investment a homeowner has ever made. That’s why communication is so critical. Frequent contact is the best way to ensure all parties are apprised of progress and comfortable that the project is meeting expectations.
Once construction is complete and the final touches are finished, there’s only one thing left to do! At different points throughout the home building process, closing day may feel like a lifetime away. But one day you’ll wake up to find the wait’s been absolutely worth it. That’s a day homeowners always remember. And as builders, it’s a day we look forward to with pride and excitement.