A Step-By-Step Guide to the Custom Home Building Process

Building a custom home is a complex project. Having an understanding of the complete process is essential to making sure everything goes according to plan.

This part of the checklist will cover the following topics: budget and timeline, finding land, architectural program, blueprints and specifications, construction, and closing. Read on to learn more!

Site Selection

Choosing where to build a home will impact the custom home building process, from permits to home design and construction. It is the first major decision that you want to get right. The site itself, the orientation, zoning issues, and other natural features will affect what you can do with the home and how it looks.

This is why it is important to interview several builders before choosing one to bring your dream home to life. Ask for referrals from others and visit previous projects. The best builders are the ones that you trust. They will be open and honest with you about costs and schedules. Then, you can rest assured that the building process will proceed smoothly. Some factors can cause delays, but these usually involve either labor or weather.


How your home looks is nearly as important as where it’s built. A custom builder will work with you to understand what you want your house to look like and what you can do on your site. For example, suppose you’re interested in green building and achieving net-zero energy use. In that case, an architect might take the property’s orientation, topography, and natural features into consideration to optimize solar exposure.

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You’ll also want to lock down your must-haves at this stage — any design ideas or elements you discovered during your research that can’t be changed later. Your custom home builder will help you connect with the right architect and interior designer to bring your dream home to life. They’ll also walk you through your budget. This is a big step that can have a significant impact on the overall construction timeline.


Building a custom home is a major investment and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s important to set realistic expectations at this point to ensure you can afford your dream home within your budget.

After your last design meeting, your builder will take your sketches and create real plans you can purchase from them to finance. You can make simple edits to your floor plan that will significantly reduce your cost.

Before selecting your builder, research their reputation on the internet. Type their name + reviews into Google to find out what others say about them and their work. It would help if you also talked to friends and family who have built with them in the past to get references and see homes they’ve built.


In this phase of the building process, your builder obtains HOA approval and city building permits. Depending on your city, this can be a lengthy process.

In some communities, it is required that you have a permit before you even start a project. This is a great thing, ensuring your project will be built according to local codes.

If you find that your builder is trying to skip the permitting process, that is a red flag. If a permit is purchased after the fact, it can add a lot to your budget and schedule. Not to mention, you could be subject to fines and other penalties. Having the proper permits in place is the best way to ensure that your home is built correctly and safely.

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The building process can be both exhilarating and overwhelming at the same time. You’ll be making decisions on everything from the architectural style to the location of electrical outlets. It’s important to work with a builder who will be there for you every step of the way. Ask friends, family, and business associates for recommendations and visit builders’ websites to see their portfolios of past projects.

Also, make sure you follow product and material ordering and lead times. Delayed decisions and change order requests can have a serious impact on the construction timeline. A professional custom builder will know how to solve problems and ensure all punch list items are completed before turning over the keys. They’ll help you avoid costly mistakes by resolving issues early on.