The Expert’s Guide to Building a Custom Home

If you’re thinking about building a custom home instead of buying an existing one, there are a lot of things to think about before you make a decision. You’ll need to find the right builder, understand the custom home building process, know when to sell your current home, and figure out where you’ll live while your new home is being built. We’ve broken down everything you need to know about building a custom home below!

Choosing the Right Custom Home Builder

The most important step in purchasing a custom-built home is selecting a builder. This decision will have an impact on the total cost, the number of customization options, the construction timeline, and your overall stress level.

Do Your Research

It is critical to conduct research before deciding on a custom home builder. Determine each builder’s experience, portfolio diversity, team member strength, level of quality, organizational ability, and communication style. This will assist you in narrowing your search to your top two or three options.

Have a Budget in Mind

When looking for custom home builders, it’s a good idea to have a budget in mind. How much does it cost to construct a custom home? A custom home build could cost anywhere from $350,000 to $1.5 million (or more). It’s difficult to say with certainty because there are so many variables that can influence the price, such as home size, materials used, and location. Custom homes typically cost between $100 and $500 per square foot.

Know What You Want

Begin by deciding what custom home features you want. Before you seek estimates from home builders, make a list of ideas. If you can be specific about what you want to include in your home, you’ll get a more accurate estimate. Even larger details, such as the size and style of home you desire, can help you narrow down the list of custom home builders to consider.


Preconstruction Process

Building a new custom home is an exciting process. However, it is not something you should rush into. There are many steps in the pre-construction processes that must take place before you can even stick a shovel in the ground to dig the foundation.

Finalize Floor Plans

Before you begin construction, your floor plans should be at least 95% complete. Change orders are unavoidable during construction, according to the American Institute of Architects. Change orders are triggered by changes in design or product selection that cause the agreed-upon timeframe to be delayed or the original construction plan to be altered. You should have very few change orders during construction if you have worked with a reputable architect who understands your needs and has put together a design that meets your needs, and if you have negotiated a fair and reasonable price with a reputable builder.


Financing a new custom home is not the same as financing a new home that is ready to move into. Finding the right loan program can also be a time-consuming and complicated process. In most cases, you will need not only a mortgage for the home after it has been built but also a construction loan and a loan to purchase the property. You are unlikely to be able to obtain an “all-for-one” loan.

There are three priorities to consider when considering your mortgage options: as the homeowner, you want to find the best program to meet your needs; the bank wants to protect their investment, and the builder wants to ensure the funds will be available when he needs them during construction. Your financing partner will look at not only your credit history but also your builder’s reputation, including licenses and references. This protects both your and their investment by ensuring the contractor is legally authorized to build and has the lowest risk of budget mismanagement or leaving the project incomplete.

Lot Selection

Finding the right land entails a number of steps. First, as with the design process, you should consider how you will use the land once the house is finished. This will assist you in determining the best footprint and location for your home. Will you want to construct a garage, an in-ground pool, gardens, or a children’s playground?

Building Permits

The requirements for obtaining a building permit differ from one state to the next. They are, however, an important and necessary step in the construction process.

Building permits are intended to protect the homeowner by establishing a check-and-balances system that ensures a home is built in accordance with local and state regulations. Each city, township, or borough has its own department of construction. It is important to note that even if your builder handles the building permits, the homeowner is ultimately responsible for them.

It can take several days to get an approved building permit, so don’t put it off until the last minute. The building department will review home plans and specifications, as well as system design – electrical, plumbing, and so on – during the approval process to ensure the overall quality of the plans is adequate. The person(s) in charge of building permits are not responsible for approving the overall design; architects are. Building permit fees can vary from city to city.

Are You Planning on Building a Custom Home?


If you’re considering getting started on building a custom home for you and your family, New Key Construction, based in Walnut Creek California, is here to serve you. Our passion is to be the home for talented craftsmen who deliver beautiful homes to clients throughout the SF East Bay Area! Choosing the right general contractor for your custom home can be difficult, but we make things easy by focusing on Your Experience, Client Communication, Cutting Edge Technology and Pushing Our Design and Build Limits!  If we could have one goal, it would be that when someone you know is looking for a custom home builder you highly recommend our company because of the experience we deliver for you! Check out our website, our portfolio and our reviews to learn more – or give us a call today.

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