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How Long Does It Usually Take to Build a Custom Home?

By David Lawrence , in Home Improvement , at August 25, 2021

If you had to speak to any custom home builder about the most frequently asked questions they receive, they would tell you that ”how long will it take” and ”what will it cost” are right up there.

And most, if not all construction companies would give you the same answer: ”it depends”. But when you want to build a custom home, this type of answer does not help you in the slightest. You’ll need details, estimates, and a timeline breakdown before you go ahead.

If you’re thinking about building your own home from scratch, this blog outlines the detailed answer you’re looking for.

Breaking Down the Timeline To Build a Custom Home

If only there was an easy, straight-up answer that your project manager could give you regarding an exact timeline. Unfortunately, home construction, or any type of construction for that matter, does not work that way.

This is because every custom home build is completely unique, and there are a plethora of variables that go into each build. Each of these variables affects the timeline. This is one drawback about building your own home — it almost always takes longer than you’d expect.

What Does the General Timeline Look Like?

The team at Jeff Watson homes (and any other construction company) will tell you to work with a rough timeline of two years for a true custom home. However, this timeframe can vary, and if you’re going for a semi-custom project, it could take as little as 6-8 months.

For a full custom build, try not to expect anything less than 10 months — with a brilliant team, flawless weather, and plenty of luck!

Bear in mind that this general timeline only applies to the actual construction of the home. It does not include the design process and the efficiency of your architects or the pre-construction phase. These two phases combined could span anywhere from 9-12 months long.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps that go into building a custom home, and how long each step might take:

Preconstruction

  • This process usually takes 9-12 months
  • It includes the assembly of your construction team, i.e. your architect, builders, and the bidding process
  • It can take up to 2 months to secure a building site
  • It can take 3-6 months to finalize the floorplan and design of your home
  • And it can take up to one month for permit and home loan approvals

Home Construction

  • This entire process can take anywhere from 12-18 months
  • To draw up construction documents such as plans, specs, and contracts it takes an average of 2 months
  • The next step is site preparation, which usually takes about a month
  • After that, foundation prep begins, and this also takes about a month or 2
  • Rough carpentry will go up, i.e. your wall frames, roof, flooring, sheathing, and house wrap — this takes 2 months
  • HVAC installation throughout the home can take up to 1 month
  • Plumbing and electrical work spans a period of 2-3 months
  • You can expect roof installation and exterior siding to take 1-2 moths
  • Drywall, insulation, priming, caulking, and painting can take 3-4 months
  • The installation of interior components, i.e. your flooring, trim, cabinets, and hardware spans a period of 4 months or more

Of course, all of these timeframes are rough estimates. As mentioned, there are a number of different variables that can impact the projection of your home build. Here are just a few to consider…

The Top Factors That Impact Your Custom Home Build 

Even the most experienced and reliable home builders cannot control certain factors that might impact the timeline of your build. Before you dive into this type of project, you want to be realistic about the factors you can control, and those you can’t.

At the end of the day, having a realistic and flexible approach to your home build can do wonders for your expectations, your budget, and your stress levels. Here are the top enemies of your timeline:

The Weather

Now, this is a factor you just have no control over. Some major weather-related issues that could seriously impact your build include:

  • Significant temperature shifts — huge fluctuations in temperature can impact everything from concrete and paint drying times, to structural issues. Excessively hot or cold weather can also impact how the team works onsite
  • Excessive precipitation — whether it’s rain, sleet, snow, or just condensation, it can really impact the project, especially at the beginning of construction. Too much precipitation leads to a muddy, messy worksite and can impact your foundation pour, too

Any experienced custom home builder will know that they should allow some margin for this unpredictable factor. In other words, they should make allowance for mild delays and not allow them to throw out the entire timeline.

Permit Delays

Once again, this is a variable that both you and your project manager have very little control over. Red tape and bureaucracy around permits is sometimes unavoidable.

But the reality is that you cannot go ahead with your home build without the right permits. So most of the time, it’s a case of ”hurry up and wait” for the all-clear.

A delayed inspection or missing permit can actually shut down an entire project. This is why you want to ensure you work with a construction team that’s organized, understands permit handling, and has knowledge of internal permit systems.

Other unpredictable factors that can delay construction also range from:

  • The complexity and size of the home you want to build, not-to-mention, the expertise of your home builder
  • Material shortages and delays — you also cannot control shortages or transport issues
  • Labor shortages — when laborers do not turn up for work, or worse, choose to forfeit working on a project entirely

Finally, you also want to consider your own input into the project and how that can impact the timeline. A common cause for delay is an indecisive homeowner.

You have to be sure about what you want when it comes to design selections, and material decisions, etc. Making an ”iffy” decision could lead to you changing your mind down the line, which could only delay the project further (and cost you more money, too!).

Looking for Home Design Inspiration?

If you’re planning to build a custom home in the future, you want to have all of your ducks in a row before your break ground. It’s not only the responsibility of your building team to be organized, but also your own.

With this in mind, you’re going to need all of the interior and exterior design inspiration you can get. Don’t miss out on exploring the rest of this site for all the help you need!

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