We receive plenty of questions about what to expect during the house construction process, especially for custom homes where owners are responsible for a number of important decisions. We have a handy guide to the specific stages of building a custom home, but also wanted to take time for several helpful tips that will help you make effective plans!
1. It's Never Too Early to Start Planning
Planning for your house starts long before your builder breaks ground, or even before you purchase a lot. A new home building process begins with serious planning, thinking about a location, finding the right builder, and working with an architect to help create a home plan for exactly what you want. There is plenty to consider, including long-term use, how much storage you need, if you intend to sell the home at some point in the future, and more. You can start these steps years before construction begins, even if you aren't entirely sure what you want yet.
2. Expect Both Hard Costs and Soft Costs
Hard costs are the costs associated with physical construction, things like material and labor that go directly into the home building proces). Soft costs refer to all associated fees surrounding the construction of the house process: That includes carrying/shipping costs, permit fees, engineering fees, any title/real estate costs, and architectural fees involved in planning. It's important to take into account both hard and soft costs when you start budgeting and find a professional partner like Lancia Homes to help find reliable estimates.
Interestingly, it is the "hard" costs that are often the most flexible when making plans and choosing materials, while the soft costs are typically non-negotiable.
3. Crafting the Foundation is the First Important Task
The first major step in the process of building your own home is excavation and the creation of the foundation. We mention this because, while a foundation can sometimes be changed in the future, it's ideal to have a finalized version of architectural plans at this stage. That means knowing how large your home will be, how many stories it will have, room layouts, and so on. While other details can still be altered during the building process, these things are – rather literally – set in stone with your foundation.
4. Homes Take Shape in the Framing Stage
What happens after the foundation is poured? Next comes the frame stage, where the structure of your home is set up and the rooms start taking shape. This is another important step, because mechanical decisions on major appliances, wiring, AC systems, venting, and windows are starting to be finalized. That brings us to another important point…
5. Plan Your HVAC to Suit Your Climate – and Save Energy
HVAC (Heating, Venting, Air Conditioning) includes the largest appliances in the house, and is responsible for most of the electricity use, making it a key decision in the building process. Do you need a furnace, or would you prefer a heat pump? Do you need ductwork to go to every room in the house? It's preferable to choose the best system for your climate while also looking for the most efficient options that will help you save energy – and reduce monthly bills.
6. Weather and Temperature and Other Factors Can Affect Building Stages
Some parts of the new home construction process are more reliant on the weather than others. Experienced builders can work in a variety of conditions, but bad storms and snow can often delay building for some. Certain materials, from cement to drywall mud, are also dependent on temperature to cure properly, and extreme temperatures can delay application. Keep this in mind when planning out your building schedule!
7. Expect Inspections at Each Key Stage
A new home will need certified inspections at each major stage to ensure the building is up to code. While arranging inspections and following building codes is not an issue with professional builders like Lancia, scheduling these inspections will take additional time, especially if local inspectors are very busy. It's another reason to keep a flexible schedule and start early.
8. We Will Also Handle Finishing Details
"Finishing" refers to adding the highly visible materials to the inside of your home: It's the stage that you will probably spend the most time thinking about, and it's often exhilarating to see paints, trim, cabinets, counters, and flooring go into place just the way you planned. We also the installation of fixtures like sinks and faucets at this stage. Of course, that means you will also need to have all these decisions finalized by now, but we will manage any necessary subcontractors for you so that everything is finished properly.
9. Warranties Are Included in The Homebuilding Process
What if something goes wrong or breaks in your new home? New construction and related contracts also include warranties in case this happens. There are what is often called implied warranties, which cover workmanship defects for a variety of different tasks and tend to be broad, 10-year warranties. There are also express warranties, which cover very specific issues or builder responsibilities that the owner wants covered. Always discuss warranties with your builder so that you know what to expect.
10. Completion Can Be an Ongoing Process
Many owners find it difficult to nail down when their home is "done." It's a common practice to keep a list of important projects that need to be done even while you are moving in, often called a "punch list." These additional projects for livability or important extra features can take time, and that's all right – it's part of what makes your house distinctly yours!