The goal of building a home that’s truly your own, from the layout and floor plan to the finishes, appliances, and interior design, is a big one. If you’re considering building a custom home, but aren’t sure what to expect or where to start, this guide can help. Here are the 6 steps of the custom home building process.
The first step to building a custom home is choosing a lot. This is a critical step that will affect the rest of the build, from how large your home can be to how it is situated on the site. Be sure to take your time, and do plenty of research before you purchase a lot for your new home. A few considerations to make before you purchase a lot include:
Not all space on a lot is buildable. Many factors can affect how much of the space on your lot can be used for the actual home:
Not every building site has access to the same utilities and infrastructure. Check to make sure the lot you’re interested in has existing infrastructure. If it doesn’t, adding septic, water and utilities will add to the cost of building your home. Again, it’s best to check with your local jurisdiction or hire a professional surveyor to help identify any easements or peculiarities with the property.
If you’re planning to build a custom home with a focus on sustainability, the location of your lot and the placement of your home on that property are important. Optimizing the solar orientation of your home is key to getting closer to achieving net-zero.
In competitive markets like Ann Arbor, it’s not uncommon to purchase a lot with an existing structure. If your lot does have an existing structure, you’ll have to consider how that will affect your custom home build process. Tearing down that structure is certainly doable, but may extend your timeline, and could affect where you can place your new home.
It can be surprising how much consideration goes into the lot selection process. If you’ve found a lot that checks all of your boxes, it’s a good idea to go ahead and purchase it. When you have property purchased and ready to build on, the custom home building process can move along much faster.
With a lot purchased, it’s time to get started on the actual custom home building process. To make sure your custom home build goes smoothly, now is the time to decide on a budget. Here are a few tips to help you settle on a budget that’s good for you and your neighborhood.
With a secure budget in mind, you can move confidently forward with the custom home building process. Setting a budget ahead of time gives you clear direction for what you can and can’t do when it comes to designing and building the home.
Now it’s time to start designing and building your new custom home! The next step in the custom home building process is finding a team you trust to design and build your home.
If you’re planning to build a custom home from scratch, it’s worth it to look into experienced custom home design-build firms in your area. When you build a custom home, the design and layout you’re planning must be practical for real building applications. By choosing a design-build firm, you benefit from the combined expertise of both designers and builders working together to develop a beautiful custom home that suits your lifestyle, is built with quality craftsmanship, and is value-engineered from start to finish.
Already have a designer or architect?
That’s great! Quality design-build firms and custom builders are happy to work with your team to ensure your home is exactly what you’re imagining. At Meadowlark, our flexible team welcomes working with outside architects as a part of our proven process.
If you’re new to custom home building, know that you’ll need to spend time both designing and then building your custom home. You’ve likely chosen to build a custom home because you value the freedom to make your own decisions on design, layout, finishes, and even options like building a green or passive home. The end product will be a home that’s truly your own, but all that customization takes time.
In general, you can plan for the design phase of your custom home building process to take between 4-8 months. In that time, you’ll work with your custom home builder to:
The benefit of frontloading the decision-making components of your custom home’s design is when you get to the building step of the custom home building process, your builder can work on a carefully organized timeline to make the build happen seamlessly.
With a design in place, finishes and selections made, and drawings ready to go, it’s time to build your custom home! Depending on the size of your custom home and the scope of work, custom home construction can take between 12-15 months. As your build gets underway, this is a general outline of the steps you can expect the construction process to follow:
Finally, after months of planning and construction, your home is nearly ready to move in! Once fixtures and appliances have been installed, it’s time for the last few steps of the active building process. Here’s what to expect from a quality custom builder:
The custom home building process doesn’t stop when your builder hands you the keys. When looking for a high-quality custom home builder, look for someone who offers a warranty to help you maintain and improve your home in the years to come. While warranties will range from builder to builder, here’s what you can expect from a quality design-build firm like Meadowlark.
The custom home building process is long and involved, but when you choose an experienced design-build firm that listens to your goals and puts your needs first, it’s a rewarding, enjoyable process. If you’re considering building a custom home in the Ann Arbor area, Meadowlark Design + Build might be the match for you. We’d love to learn more about your project — contact us to start a conversation!