How Long Does It Take to Build a House? The Big Question

September 3, 2020

Living in the home of your dreams is so exciting. However, wondering when it will be move-in ready can be pretty stressful. That’s why the number one question we hear from prospective customers is, “How long does it take to build a custom home?” We know that waiting isn’t fun for anyone, but our honest answer is:

“It depends.”

Luckily, at BuildFBG, we can give you a rough estimate of the home-building process that also allows for the unpredictability of real life. In this article, we’ll discuss:

  1. The core steps in building a home
  2. The problems that can slow things down
  3. How homeowners can help

You deserve a decent answer that values your time, money, and effort. After all, you’re the one who will pay for and live in the home.

The Basic Home Building Timeline

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Per 2019 data from a Construction Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, it takes around six months to build an average “production home,” an industry term for a home built from a library of preset plans. That same survey stated that it takes an average of nine months to build a fully custom home. 

However, those numbers merely reflect the construction phase. They do not account for designing the house and obtaining the necessary permitting. At BuildFBG, we focus on constructing homes faster and with more efficiency, so our builds take less than a year — approximately 11 months from when you begin the design process to when you have the keys for your new home in your hands.

Ultimately, what matters in calculating a timeline for the construction of your new home is that the home builder you choose gives you a clear timeline at the start of the project and establishes consistent communication. You deserve clear and consistent information about what’s happening on your home and property, as this can go a long way to allay any fears you might have about slowdowns.

The Essential Elements of New Home Construction

Ayrshire Transitional - Game Room - BuildFBGBuilding a home is a complex process with multiple overlapping parts, especially when considering all of the interlocking nature of the physical infrastructure: electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and more. Reduced to its essence, home-building consists of four fundamental stages:

  1. Design
  2. Permitting
  3. Preparation
  4. Construction

We will walk you through the crucial aspects of each stage so you can better understand how it impacts the time it takes to build a house.

Design

Even if you’re working from a preset plan for a production home, most home builders allow some personalization. But when you choose to work with a company like BuildFBG, you’re getting a streamlined and budget-conscious custom experience — and it takes time to do that well and account for a design that will specifically fit your lifestyle and unique needs. 

Nevertheless, the general design process typically includes the following:

  • Determining the floor plan of your home
  • Creating the blueprints
  • Client review
  • Architect edits
  • Bidding and proposal development
  • Final approval

Your home builder can’t move onto the next stage of pursuing permits without an approved design. 

Permitting

Any reputable home builder will help you obtain the necessary permits, licenses, and certifications to build your home – including submitting materials to your Homeowner’s Association. You need someone with the experience and know-how to successfully navigate the rough bureaucratic waters of permitting to get the necessary approval to proceed with the build.

The only reason you should do this work yourself is if you’re building your home.

Preparation

Once your home is designed and the permits are in hand, you still have one more set of tasks to complete before you can break ground. Not everyone will factor in these steps into their timeline, but you can’t start building until they’re finished.

  • Land acquisition – some people know where they want to build before they get to the design stage, while others have a house in their imagination and need the land for it
  • Land surveys – a detailed look at the geography and geology of the property that determines the best approach for executing the design
  • Land management – the clearing, demolition, and pre-construction processes based on the information derived from the surveys.
  • Interior design – selecting what you want the inside of your home to look like, including choosing paint schemes, decor materials, fixtures, appliances, and more
  • Exterior design – selecting what you want the outside of your home to look like, including paint schemes, decor, landscaping, entertainment areas, and more

Having a blueprint is one thing, but the home builder still needs to determine where the building should sit and what takes it from being a generic house to your home. 

Construction

Eventually, the house must get built. It’s a multi-stage process that requires your home builder to follow the blueprint exactly and pay specific attention to which task happens when. Going out of order or having too many steps occurring at once can hurt the creation of your home. The schedule of events looks something like this:

  1. Excavation
  2. Foundation
  3. Framing
  4. Mechanicals
  5. Insulation
  6. Drywall
  7. Flooring, trim, and paint
  8. Exterior facade
  9. Fixtures and appliances
  10. Driveways, walkways, and doors
  11. Exterior and interior finishes
  12. Landscaping

That is just a general list of the work needed for an average house. The more detail and design work you require to make your dream home come to life, the more steps you add to the process. And that’s what can cause the length of time to build your home to stretch far past the national average.

The Frustrating Factors that Slow the Building of Your Home

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We’ve made allusions to these concerns throughout the article so far, but now it’s time for some specifics. While some of these situations are technically beyond BuildFBG’s control, we operate with total transparency regarding the timeline so you’re always informed and not frustrated.

Permits

Sometimes, the wheels of bureaucracy don’t turn that quickly. While some builders bypass the red tape by working with expensive third-party agencies at your cost, BuildFBG has great experience working with government officials to expedite your start date without increasing your budget.

Weather

There’s nothing you can do when bad weather arrives. It’s especially true if you’re in the early stages of construction. Rain makes it nigh unto impossible to work on excavation, foundation, and framing, as you need those materials to stay dry if you want your home to last. Once the roof is up, many projects can be done in the rain, but things still can slow down.

Geography

Remember that land survey stuff we mentioned before? You might have a flat plot of land perfect for your home, but the surrounding areas could still present problems. Such issues include the tree line, landscape, elevation, and access to the facility.

Design and Style

You must have defined design ideas from the get-go. BuildFBG cannot create your home until we know how you want it to look. A blueprint only tells the project manager so much, which is why you need to invest the time with an interior and exterior designer during the preparation phase discussed earlier.

Labor and Materials

Once you have your design and style confirmed, your choices could slow down construction because they might require labor and materials that are in high demand and/or low supply. If the workers, appliances, fixtures, and features aren’t available, your home will have to wait until they are — unless you want to switch to something more convenient.

Changing Your Mind

Then again, you could make design changes on a whim that are less convenient to your home. Any unannounced adaptations in the middle of construction may slow down the build time. This is especially true if your modifications require different materials and processes, as this means the builder has to make new orders and labor arrangements than previously planned.

You Can Help Streamline the Construction of Your Home

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Here’s the good news: you can help your home builder improve the timeline of your new home, and you don’t even have to pick up a hammer! Luckily, BuildFBG simplifies these steps so it’s not all on you to improve the timeline. 

Know What You Want

As you might have noticed in the previous section, the more changes you make to the design during the construction process, the slower the build timeline becomes. When you go into the design planning process with specific ideas of what you want in your home and what changes you’re willing to make if an issue arrives, the smoother everything becomes for the architect, interior designer, and project manager.

Get Bank Pre-Approval

It might be a no-brainer, but far too many people attempt to begin construction without having their lines of credit secured through the bank. Building a home — especially a custom home — can quickly go over-budget, so you need to talk to your bank and secure pre-approval on any loans you might need before even shopping for a potential home builder.

Communicate with Compassion

While this tip applies to life in general, we preach it to our employees and subcontractors, and we recommend it to our clients. When you treat each other as people worthy of respect, that makes your interactions so much more pleasant and productive. 

Yes, there will be frustrations on the job site and with the project. We mentioned earlier several of the ways things could slow down your new house. But if we simply talk to each other with decency, grace, and understanding, we’ll be able to make positive progress even with the most challenging circumstances. 

It Takes Time to Build a Quality House

We get it: You want to get moved into the home of your dreams as quickly as possible, but the timeline we’ve described in this piece seems so long. But trust us when we say that you should want your home builder to take all the time necessary to get your home perfect. Even if construction on your home extends beyond those industry averages, there’s probably a good reason for it if you choose a reputable home builder. 

It’s especially true the more custom design elements you’ve put into your home. The more extensive and more detailed your house, the further past that nine-month average you will proceed. That’s simply something you must understand upfront before construction on your home begins.

At BuildFBG, we are proud of our commitment to bringing your new home to fruition inside 11 months — this includes design, customization, permitting, and construction. Sure, this seems like more than the national average above, but our estimate includes every part of creating your new house, whereas that one merely refers to construction. 

Contact us today to learn more about how we can take your design dreams and create the perfect custom home for your family.