8 Steps to the Custom Home Building Process

couple discussing architectural plans for custom home building process

8 Steps to the Custom Home Building Process

Building a custom home in Maryland can be an intimidating, overwhelming and exciting process, all at the same time!  At Mueller Homes, we believe it’s important to understand your builder’s design and construction process in order to create the best custom home building experience.  This process will be the “foundation” so you want to ensure a thorough, methodical approach to this process.  In this article, we will outline the 8 steps to the custom home building process.

Phase 1:  Financing & Budgeting

During this phase, a comprehensive review of your needs, wants, investment and feasibility are explored.  You should review your design ideas and preferences for interior and exterior finishes, home automation technology, site planning and financing considerations.  You should also establish a ‘ballpark budget’ so that you can begin to narrow down your options.  This budget can be refined later, but it’s important to start with a rough number to help you select a builder and begin the process. Use our free checklists to ensure that you ask the important questions of your builder, architect, and their references.

Phase 2:  Lot & Feasibility Study

During this phase, you will work in collaboration with your Maryland Realtor, your builder, and an engineer.  Your Realtor will help you with the lot search and selection process to evaluate desired location and size of the lot.  Your builder and engineer can help determine the most effective use of land and compatible design with the budget.  A feasibility study should be included as a contingency in your lot purchase copntract.

Phase 3: Selecting Your Builder & Architect

Your builder and architect will need to work collaboratively to ensure that your desired design is aligned with your budget.  After all, you don’t want to be in the middle of construction with finger-pointing about why the budget is so far off.  If there are problems to address, a collaborative approach creates the best outcomes.  We cover this subject in greater detail here.

Phase 4: Plans & Design

Working in collaboration with an architect, preliminary elevations, floor plans, and general specifications will be developed.  Estimated construction costs will also be updated to maintain design and budget objectives.  This collaborative process is critical to ensuring that the project continues to be aligned with your budget for the custom home building process.

Phase 5: Detailed Specifications

You’ll want to contract the builder or architect to create a detailed list of specifications.    The builder can be immensely helpful in creating the initial specifications, as they are intimately familiar with the latest building trends, the quality associated with certain products, and your preferences thusfar.

Phase 6:  Pricing

It is unwise to proceed with bidding the project, unless you have detailed specifications that ensure all builders are bidding on the same level of quality and design and that no substitutions or value-engineering occurs during the bidding process.  This ensures you will have an apples to apples comparison.  It’s important to understand that pricing is only one of the important considerations for selecting a builder.  Use the checklist to ensure you’re making a wise decision that you can live with for the next 1-2 years.  Keep in mind that if you have executed this phase properly, the bid variance between one builder and the next should not be more than 5-8%.

Phase 7:  Permitting & Contracts

After ensuring the initial design is well-aligned with your financial and investment objectives, a final value-engineering discussion will take place and working drawings will be completed.  At this point, you will enter into a construction agreement to build your home with either a fixed price or cost plus agreement.   Your builder should evaluate and resolve any architectural and engineering aspects to prepare for final construction planning.  Your detailed selections and specifications will be confirmed, construction documents will be prepared, site and construction planning will begin.  Your financing should also be finalized at this time and a process should be reviewed for change orders.

Step 8:  Begin Construction

Once we begin the custom home building process, regular construction meetings will occur to keep you up-to-date on all aspects of the construction process.  Our technology will also keep you informed every step of the way.  Our client concierge and custom wood shop further enhance the experience.  Learn more about the capabilities that Mueller Homes provides during construction.

At Mueller Homes, we believe these 8 steps to custom home building provide the best opportunity for a rewarding experience.  We utilize over 30 years of custom home building experience, in Maryland, to help refine these processes and adapt to ever-changing markets and technology.   Contact us today to get started building your dream home!

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