Building a house is far from a short process, but if you take it in bite-size pieces, it gets a lot less overwhelming. Knowing what to expect when it comes to steps to building a house can help make all of this less frustrating.The first part can be one of the most exciting since you’re choosing colors, design, and other details about your home. The second chunk of steps is exciting because you’re starting to see what your house is actually going to look like on the lot. And of course, the last part is the MOST exciting because your home is ready for you to move in!
A few notes… Every builder is going to have a slightly different timeline but most of them stick to the same basic plan. That said, this is far from Gospel, so take it with a grain of salt and check with your own builder for a timeline like this. Ours is approximately a 9 month build, so yours may be longer or shorter, depending on the processes they have in place for building a home.
Steps to Building a House
Within the first couple of weeks, we needed to go to the design center to choose all of the design elements of our house. That meant everything from countertops, cabinets, and flooring to shower tile, fixtures, and doors. It is one choice after another, but if you have a good consultant, they’ll walk you through one step at a time. Honestly, we ended up having a blast picking everything out and watching it all come together (and drinking a LOT of Diet Dr. Pepper in the process).
Meanwhile, they were working on our floor plans. We added a ton of outlets– another on the end of the island, some in the back of drawers in the bathrooms for plugging in hair straighteners, under the eves on the front for Christmas lights, more in the garage– along with taking out the upper cabinets in part of the kitchen where there was going to be a desk so that we could turn it into a coffee bar. We put doors on the study, added a bedroom and bathroom, and changed a closet. When they had them redrawn, we went in to double check (and add/change anything we else we wanted, like attic space and a full-size door into it).
Once the floor plans were drawn up, they were sent to engineering to completely have them drawn to scale and accurately. Then, they sent them to permitting where the city approves the build plans. This generally takes anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks and everything gets quiet for that time period since there isn’t really anything you can do until they’ve been approved.
The pre-construction meeting is held between you and the builder for your home (the actual contractor, not the company). They go over all of the building and grading plans, which also allows you to ask any questions you have about the lot or house itself before it actually starts the build.
Your builder should invite you to come check over your home’s interior before the drywall goes up. It lets you check that the electrical and plumbing choices are installed where you want them to be (a pretty key point in the steps to building a house), that the walls are where they’re supposed to be, etc. BEFORE the drywall is installed and it gets much, much harder to fix.
Weekly Construction Updates/Checks
Our builder provides weekly updates via phone or email to let us know about the progress on our home, as well as any issues that might come up along the way. If it’s at all possible, you definitely want to go by your home weekly and check the progress yourself as well. Going over and just double checking that things are looking the way they’re supposed to will help you catch stuff before it becomes more permanent.
Before you close, your builder will likely have an inspector come to check everything. They should also have a third-party inspector checking the code and energy compliance. If possible, bring your OWN inspector as well. It’d be on your own dime, but well worth it to have the peace of mind knowing that someone not being paid by your builder has double checked their inspectors’
work before you sign on the dotted line.
This happens before closing for our builder, but it may happen shortly afterwards for yours in their steps to building a house. Either way, there’s a customer rep that should walk you through your home, going room to room and showing you the features, discuss maintenance, and explain a complete overview of your warranty. This is also your last opportunity to have things fixed before closing, so look carefully!
60 Day Follow-up
As I said in my post about choosing a builder, your builder should give you a warranty on your home. Most will follow up at 60 days to see how everything is going, make sure there’s nothing that needs repairing, and answer any questions about your home that you might have that you may not have noticed before living in the home (like what the heck that light switch does).
11-12 Month Follow-up
At approximately a year after closing, the very last of the steps to building a house should be your builder contacting you to check on everything one last time before your warranty expires. If they don’t, make sure you call them! Ours provides a drywall touch up at this point, too, which is really nice since we’ll have put a ton of nail holes in the walls (and knowing my ability to measure and level, there will likely be about a bajillion wrong).