New Custom Home Construction Checklist

Building a House Checklist for Kicking-off a New Custom Home Project

By Mark J. Donovan

Building a new custom home is an exciting and daunting endeavor and without a plan and a new house construction checklist in place, your chances of getting the new home of your dreams is highly unlikely.

Whether you’re building a luxury custom home or a moderately sized and priced one, a custom house construction checklist should be part of every home building document package. 

Without one, is akin to running open loop on you home’s construction. Take it from an engineer, running open loop is rarely a good thing! 

Using a “Building a House Checklist” is a Big Time Money Saver

A new home construction checklist helps during the planning and building phases of a new home construction project. A building a house checklist also helps to ensure the project is completed on time and budget.

Ultimately a home building checklist results in reducing the cost per square foot to build a house and thus the overall cost to build a home, by enabling you to better understand your construction costs upfront and sticking to a set budget. Before you even break ground, you’ll have a pretty accurate assessment on how much does it cost to build a house with the features and attributes your looking for.

For many people the idea of building a new custom home is loaded with uncertainty and questions, however by generating a list of questions and then a new home construction checklist, a home construction plan can begin to take form and you can get some type of idea on the cost to build a house.

To help you get started in planning your new custom home construction project, I have summarized below a high level new custom home building checklist.

However keep in mind, that like an onion, there are many layers to building a custom home.  The summary new home construction checklist I outline below should get you started, but at some point you will need to go much deeper in developing your own new home construction plans and schedule. 

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Get one of these home construction checklists and save time and money on your home building project.

However, by following these high-level steps, and in the order I listed them below, you will implement a systematic and organized approach to your custom home construction project, which in the end will save you time, money and many hassles.

Summary for Building a House Checklist

1)  Visit Banks to Understand your New Home Construction Financing Options

At the top of the list in every new home construction checklist should be financing. First, and foremost you need the cash or financing to build your new custom home. Without this, you won’t make much headway in your new home construction project. Find out what banks will loan you money, how much money, and at what terms.

2)  House Plans

Another imperative item in the new home construction checklist is a set of house plans. You will need a complete set of house plans that include the structural detail to obtain building permits. Visit a local architect to find a set of existing house plans or to design custom home plans.

3)  Land

Third on the new home construction checklist is the identification of a building lot. You will need land to build your home on. Keep in mind that not all land is appropriate for every type of house plan, so do not purchase your land in a vacuum. Have your house plans handy when evaluating land. Also, make sure the land is zoned for residential building.

4)  Hire a Home Builder

Forth on the new home construction checklist is finding a home builder. With a complete set of house plans in hand, meet with potential home builders to go over your house plans and to solicit contractor bids. Carefully review each contractor bid to determine which home builder is right for your new home construction project.

5)  Obtain New Home Construction Financing

Once you have selected a home builder and know your new home construction costs obtain financing on the project.

6)  Pull  New Home Construction Building Permits

After complete the top 5 items on the new home construction checklist you need to obtain building permits. With a builder and financing secured provide your local building inspector with your house plans to obtain building permits.

7)  Begin Home Construction

With building permits in place you are ready to break ground and begin your new home construction project.

New Home Construction

Start and completion dates for construction work to begin should have been included in the timeline provided by your home builder, and should also be in your new home construction checklist.

8)  Visit Home Construction Site Regularly

Plan to make regular site visits to you new home construction project to make sure the home construction is going to plan. You may want to consider soliciting the services of your architect to help in this process, as he has the knowledge and experience to ensure your home is being built to your house plans.

9)  Schedule Home Construction Inspections

Every new home construction checklist should include the specification of required inspections. At the completion of each major phase of a project the local building inspector should inspect and sign off on the work. Make sure the home builder or yourself contact the building inspector at these completion points to arrange for inspections.

10)  Obtain Occupancy Permit

When the home construction is complete, obtain an occupancy permit from the town to enable you to move into the home.

11)  Converting Construction Financing over to a Conventional Mortgage

The final item in your new home construction checklist is converting the construction mortgage to a conventional mortgage and having the mortgage closing. With the house ready to move in, visit your bank and convert your home construction loan over to a conventional mortgage.

With an occupancy permit and mortgage papers in hand, you are now ready to move into your new custom home.

It is important to remember that this is a summary new home construction checklist. There are many other detailed steps along the way, and additional major steps may need to be included in your new custom home building checklist, depending upon your unique situation. For example, if the new home will require a private septic system, you will also need to have a septic design created and approved by the state and local agencies.

For a more comprehensive building a house checklist, see my New Home Construction Bid Sheet. The New Home Construction Bid Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to prospective building contractors. It also includes a comprehensive new home construction cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the contractor to include his projected new home construction costs for every phase of the project.

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Related Information on Building a House Checklist

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