Many people spend years envisioning and imagining the ideal house. Only a fraction of those actually pursue that vision and make it happen. Why? Much goes into this kind of project: money, time, emotion etc. In addition to acquiring property on which to build, there is the matter of funding the enterprise from ground-breaking to moving in. Beyond these considerations, though, is the core of home building – translating a vision into a design; a design into a blueprint; and a blueprint into a finished house. Doing so requires meticulous planning. In fact, how you plan the construction is a major determinant in the eventual home value upon completion.

Establishing a Timeline

According to 2018 research by the United States Census Bureau, the average length of time to build a house is eight months, beginning with the issuing of permits and ending with final inspections. Of course, a modest bungalow takes less than that while a 40-room mansion will likely consume well over a year. The square footage of the foundation affects the building calendar. So do the dimensions of walls, size of the roof and extent of the plumbing and electrical networks. In addition, the soil and topography of the land can hasten or delay the pace of progress. Having the preliminary work done before the clock starts is the best way to keep the duration tight without sacrificing safety or quality. This means having a team assembled and in place.

Who Designs the Home?

Making a dwelling concept into a practical design is the work of an architect…or a certified professional building designer. If money is tight, the home designer is a viable option to achieve a competent, conventional, reasonably-priced plan. Like the old slogan says, however, you get what you pay for. Although home designers are recognized and licensed professionals, they lack the more exhaustive and creative training enjoyed by architects – who tend to charge more for the service. At the same time, architects generally focus on commercial and public buildings rather than single-family residences. The choice really turns on how particular and original the owner’s vision is. A more unique and innovative conception may be better handled by an architect. A more commonplace design can save some bucks with a home designer.

Selecting a Contractor

This decision is just as important as any other in the home construction process. The very integrity and soundness of a new house rests in the quality of its workmanship. Worth remembering is that you want a contractor to build the edifice from scratch. Some may have excellent reputations as remodelers and renovators yet lack experience in home building. A few musts should attach to your search for a general contractor:

-Word of mouth and referrals are the best sources to go by. Check with everyone, including lumber and hardware retailers.

-Interview at least five, asking about experience, credentials, timelines and years in business. Also inquire if there are houses in the area that the interviewee erected. Solicit cost estimates as well.

-Do not insist on immediate performance. Good contractors service many customers; new ones must expect to take their place in line.

-References are fine but they do not substitute for independent sleuthing regarding work ethic and integrity.

Working with the Contractor

Another planning item is to agree ahead of time how much the contractor will spend on labor and materials. A construction loan requires such arrangements for approval but they are valuable regardless. Every new owner wants home value to reflect this sizable investment.