At some point in your quest to find the perfect home, you decided a new construction home was the best move. Maybe you liked the idea of starting with a blank canvas. Perhaps you don’t have the patience for renovations. Or it could be any of the other benefits of owning a new construction home that swayed your decision. Now that you have decided to build your dream home, it’s important to understand the new home construction process.
To-Be Built Homes vs. Quick Move-In Homes
Before you learn the new construction home process, you must first understand the difference between a “to be built” home and a “quick move-in” or “move-in ready” home.
To-be built homes are new construction homes that are built on a specific lot you have purchased. With this type of home, you can have a say in many of the homes features and are involved in nearly every stage of the build process.
Quick move-in homes, also referred to as speculative homes, are houses that are partially or fully built before an owner purchases it. There are a variety of reasons why buyers opt for a spec home over a to-be built home, but often, time is the main reason. Some buyers are in a rush to move in their new homes. Perhaps their old house sold faster than they expected or they are relocating and don’t want to rent. Buyers can often move into spec homes as soon as 2 months from purchase. Another reason is that some buyers would rather have the builder’s designers choose the features (e.g. flooring, cabinets) for them. After all, these professionals do this every day.
Now that you know the difference between these types of home, let’s move on to the new construction home process.
Stage #1 – Select Your Options and Upgrades
After you sign the contract to build a new home, the next step is to select your desired options and upgrades for the home. Typically, this occurs a few days after you sign your name on the dotted line, but depending on your schedule, it could be as long as two weeks.
Some homebuilders have designers on hand to guide you through the process. You’ll meet the professionals in the design center and they will help you pick out all of the options.
Typically, a homebuilder will offer the home buyer two types of options: structural and non-structural. Structural options, as the name implies, involve changes to the standard floorplan and therefore, it’s extremely important to select all your desired options before the construction of your new home begins. Examples of structural options are:
- Extra bedroom instead of a loft
- Additional powder room
- Extended patio
- Additional garage bay
Non-structural options allow you to customize your home to fit your décor style. For example, the designer helps you select the perfect paint color to align with your granite countertops and tile. Other choices you can typically make include:
- Upgraded kitchen cabinets and countertops
- Choice of carpet and tile flooring
- Lighting and plumbing fixtures
- Bath accessories (e.g. towel holders)
- Bathroom tile patterns
Give yourself ample time to choose the options and upgrades that fit your style. Just as if you might take a day off to purchase a new car, you might want to take a day off for the design process. Purchasing a home is a huge investment and you want to be sure you’ve chosen the options that meet your family’s current and future needs. Deciding to add or change your options after the construction process started is likely to result in additional costs and construction delays.
Stage #2 – Apply for Permits
Once all of the structural options are chosen, your builder will begin applying for the necessary construction permits. Keep in mind that permit times vary by city. After the permits are approved, the actual construction phase can start.
Stage #3 – Hold a Kickoff Review Meeting
There is generally 45 to 60 days between the time you sign the contract and the first day of construction. However, labor availability and a backlog of sales can influence this time frame.
Before your home is built, it’s best to meet with the sales and construction teams. The purpose of the meeting is to walk you through the homesite and explain the construction process. These meetings ensure that all parties are on the same page. At K. Hovnanian Homes we believe it’s imperative for starting the building process on the right foot.
Stage #4 – Start Construction
Start to finish, new home construction usually takes anywhere from four to eight months depending on a number of factors, including:
- Weather – Mother Nature can alter the new home construction process. For example, you can’t lay the foundation for the home if the ground is frozen. Likewise, you can’t dig the foundation of the home during heavy rain.
- Type of home – The size of the home can affect the process as well. A large estate is going to take longer to build than a townhome with only a few structural options. Extravagant homes can take eight or nine months to build.
- Availability of labor and materials – During the height of the construction season and during housing market booms, it will take longer to obtain all the necessary materials and supplies and have subcontractors available.
The first part of the construction is the framing stage, which is also called the rough stage. During this stage, the house framing is put up, the electrical is done and the rough plumbing and HVAC system is put in.
Stage #5 – Hold a Frame Meeting
At this point, your dream home is starting to look like an actual house. Now, it’s time to have the frame meeting. Here, you will meet with construction associates at your future home. During the meeting, the construction associates will walk you through the structural options that you have chosen in the home. For example, if you opted for a den instead of a spare bedroom, they will point out the room during the walk through. Before the builder starts covering things up in the wall, it’s important to make sure everything is correct.
After the meeting concludes, it’s time to start the drywall and installation process.
Stage # 6 – Final Orientation
After the new home-construction is finished, the builder will do a quality inspection of the home. After the inspection, it’s time your final orientation. Typically, this meeting is scheduled one to two weeks before you close on the house. Someone for the builder will meet you at the home. During the meeting, you will walk around with either a sales or construction associate and he/she will show you how everything works in the house from the garbage disposal to the electrical panel. Essentially, this an orientation of your new home. If there are no items to address (e.g. wrong fixtures) with the builder, you can proceed with the closing and then move into your newly built home.