Friday, August 7, 2009

How Long Does It Take to Build a Custom Home?

People often underestimate the time it takes to build a custom home. Once you make the decision to hire someone to build your dream home, you will probably spend as much time in the pre-building stage of the process as it will take to actually construct the house. You'll probably agree that an investment of such proportion deserves careful planning and professional advice, but some folks just don't understand the time and effort needed by both the homeowner and the builder before the first load of dirt is moved.
We pride ourselves at Building Images with truly getting to know our clients. Barry spends several hours at the initial meeting listening to the needs, wants, and wishes of the homeowners. The initial meeting is usually followed by a series of meetings in which the clients share drawings, sketches, magazine pictures, and photos of ideas to incorporate into the home. Barry does all his own design work so the clients meet directly with him rather than with an outside architect or a third-party designer. This expedites the building process and eliminates communication issues between designer and builder. The first meetings with Barry result in rough drawings followed by more meetings to refine the ideas. At Building Images, computer-generated drawings help with visualization, but sometimes table-sized 3-D models are also needed. Barry's rough estimates of cost allow dreams to mesh with reality so that the finished design stays well within budget. You should expect the entire design process when building a custom home to take several months.
Once the design is finalized, Barry completes the plans and specifications and figures the final contract amount. At this point, most clients take the contract, plans, and specs to several financial institutions to compare mortgage options. Expect another few weeks to pass before getting approval.
When the financing is approved, we order a survey and site plan of the property, and we submit applications for building permits. Again another few weeks may pass before the permit is issued. Once the permit is received, the actual construction can begin.
The entire pre-building process generally takes at least 6 months. However, if you are building a home to last a lifetime, those 6 months are probably the most important part of the process.

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