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  • Writer's pictureDakota Chapman

How to Build a Custom Home (5 Easy Steps)

Building a custom home is a dream for many people. You have full control of the location, design, style, and every feature of your custom home. Not to mention the opportunity to see your project come to life from the ground up. Building a custom home requires significant planning, decision-making, and coordination. It can be a complex and lengthy process that requires careful preparation, guidance, and teamwork.

If you are thinking about building a custom home, you are probably wondering where to start and what to expect. In this blog post, we will outline the five essential steps of the custom home building process and provide some tips and advice along the way.

Step 1: Find Your Land

The first step in building a custom home is choosing the piece of land that you will place your new home. You may already have a specific piece of property in mind, or you may be researching potential locations. Either way, you should consider several factors when choosing your land.

  1. Size: How big is the lot, and how much space do you need for your dream home and surroundings?

  2. Shape: How does the shape of your lot affect the layout, orientation, and performance of your home?

  3. Topography: Is your lot gently sloped? Will it require specific foundation work to place your home in the perfect spot?

  4. Soil: What type of soil is on the land and how will that affect the stability and cost of your project?

  5. Utilities: Are there existing utilities and infrastructure on the lot such as water, electricity, gas, sewer, and internet? If not, how much work is required to bring those to your site?

  6. Zoning: What are the zoning regulations and restrictions for your land, such as setbacks, height restrictions, lot density, or design standards? Do you need any variances or special permits to build your home?

  7. Access: Is it difficult to access your land? What work will be required to create a stable and safe road to your home?

  8. Neighborhood: What are the characteristics and local amenities like? Pay close attention to the school district, shops, and parks surrounding your new home.

Finding the right property for your home can be challenging and time consuming. However, despite potential difficulty, finding the perfect lot is crucial in creating your desired space and lifestyle. Hiring a team of professionals that can help you through this process can be very beneficial. They can help you find suitable options, negotiate prices, and conduct tests during the due diligence process.

Step 2: Hiring Your Team

The second step in building your dream home is to choose a team of professionals to help you along the way. Choosing the right team members is important to ensure that you have an enjoyable experience, and your needs are met every step of the way. Depending on your needs, your team may consist of the following:

  • Architect: An architect is a licensed professional who will design your home based on your hopes and vision, site conditions, and overall footprint. They develop floor plans, elevations, sections, and 3D renderings of your home. They will also prepare the final construction drawings and documents that will detail in specific how your home should be built.

  • Builder: A builder is a licensed general contractor who oversees the construction of your home and ensures that what the architect has designed is being implemented accurately and effectively. They will hire subcontractors who perform various trades such as foundation, framing, plumber, electrician, roofing, etc. They will create and manage a project schedule, order materials, schedule inspections, and handle any and all issues that arise during the construction process.

  • Interior Designer: An interior designer is a professional who helps you select, order, and coordinate interior and exterior finishes, furnishings, and equipment. These finishes include; flooring, cabinets, countertops, colors, fixtures, appliances, furniture, etc. They can create mood boards, color schemes, and layouts that reflect your style and personality.

  • Landscape Architect: A landscape architect is a professional who designs outdoor spaces, gardens, patios, walkways, pools, etc. They create site plans, planting plans, and irrigation plans that enhance the curb appeal and functionality of your new home.

Hiring your team is one of the more important aspects of your home building process. It is essential to hire a team that works well together and who you trust to implement your goals and dreams. Ensure that they are qualified, experienced, reputable, and trustworthy. You also want to work with professionals who understand your visions, and communicate well with you and other team members.

To find the right team members you can ask for referrals from friends, family, neighbors, or building suppliers who serve your area. You can also search online for reviews, portfolios, features, and testimonials. You should consider several potential fits, receive quotes, and interview team members before making your final decision.

Step 3: Design Your Home

The third step of building your custom home is designing your home with the help of your architect, builder, and interior designer. This is one of the most exciting and creative parts of the process, where you get the opportunity to shape your dream home into a reality.

Designing your home involves several stages, such as:

  • Programming: This is the stage where your team members hear your needs, goals, wants, and desires of your home. You may discuss your preferred lifestyle, budget, preferences, and project timeline. You also share your ideas, inspirations, and examples of the homes you like. Your architect will then begin to create a program that summarizes the scope and requirements of your project.

  • Schematic Design: This is where you explore and consider different concepts and options as they pertain to your home. Your architect may create sketches, diagrams, elevations, and models that show the general layout, size, shape, and appearance of your home. You will review and provide feedback on these preliminary designs until your reach a consensus on the overall direction of the project.

  • Design Development: This is the stage where you refine and finalize the details of your home. Your architect will create a detailed drawing or rendering that shows specific dimensions, layouts, materials, finishes, and features of your home. You will also work with your interior designer to select and coordinate the interior elements of your home. You will then approve and sign-off on these final decisions before moving to the next stage.

  • Construction Documents: This is the stage where you prepare the technical documents that are needed for the actual construction of your home. The architect will create a set of plans and specifications that describe how your home should be built. These documents include floor plans, elevations, sections, details, schedules, notes, and code information. They also serve as the basis for obtaining permits, bids, and contracts fro the builder and subcontractor.

Designing your home can be a very fun and rewarding process, along with being challenging and potentially stressful. You will be asked to make many decisions, compromises, and revisions along the way. You will also need to balance your desires with the budget and site constraints.

To make this step of the process more enjoyable you should work closely with your architect, builder, and interior designer. You should communicate clearly and honestly about your expectations and concerns.

Step 4: Build Your Home

The fourth step of building your custom home is working with your Builder and subcontractors to ensure that your dream home is accurately being constructed. This is the most complex step of the process and the most labor-intensive part as well. You will have the opportunity to see your home take shape from the ground up.

Building your home involves several phases, such as:

  1. Site Preparation: This phase includes clearing trees, rocks, and debris from your property. The builder will also grade and level your new home site to ensure proper drainage and soil stability. They will also install utilities and infrastructure such as water, electricity, gas, sewer, and internet.

  2. Foundation: This is when you lay the base for your home. The builder will dig in the footings, piers, and pour concrete to form the sturdy foundation that your house will sit on. They will also install waterproofing or insulation systems to increase the performance of the structure.

  3. Framing: This is where you begin to see the actual structure come to life. You will assemble the floors, walls, and roof of your home. Your windows and doors will be installed to enclose the space.

  4. Mechanicals: This is when your electrical, plumbing, HVAC, and other interior infrastructure will be installed. This is a crucial time to ensure that everything is in the right location. Check to ensure that you like the lighting locations, and outlets.

  5. Exterior: This phase involves completing the outer layer of your home. The siding, brick, stone, or stucco will be installed along with roofing materials. The exterior will then be painted and trims will be installed to make your home look complete along with protecting your valuable investment from the elements.

  6. Interior: Your new home will have many finishes inside including insulation, drywall, wallpaper, and paneling. Your flooring, tile, cabinets, countertops, appliances, lighting, plumbing fixtures, and hardware will all be installed.

  7. Landscape: The last phase is where you button up the exterior of your home with various plants, trees, flowers, shrubs, hardscaping, walkways, driveways, and fences to define and enhance the outdoor functionality of your home.

The construction phase of your project can be the most stressful and busy time during your custom home building experience. Choosing the right team members who will help you along the way is vitally important. It is imperative to have clear communication, expectations, and trust with your team members.

Step 5: Closeout

The fifth and final step of your custom home building process is the closeout process. This step involves the tedious work of final walkthroughs, punch lists, and finance closings. Your builder and architect will be performing regular site visits to ensure that your home is being constructed completely and to your satisfaction. Some of your closeout items are as follows:

  • Punch List: This is a list that you create for the builder to ensure that every single aspect of your home is constructed to perfection and according to your specified plans. This list allows the builder insight into your remaining concerns and items that you may not be completely satisfied with, or items that have been damaged throughout the building process. Work closely with your builder to ensure that they understand your needs and desires to finish your project sufficiently.

  • Walk Through: You can schedule walk-throughs with your team members to ensure that all of your hopes are being implemented to your liking. This will allow you to be prepared for the hand-off of your project and smooth the final steps to moving in.

  • Warranty Registration: This step is where you as the owner of the new home should spend some time registering all of your new items for warranty coverage. The builder will manage the larger items needing warranty on your home like siding, roofing, and paint. You will be responsible for registering your new appliances, fixtures, and furniture. This is an important step to ensure the longevity of your new home.

Final Thought

Building your custom home can feel like an incredibly daunting task. However, choosing the right team members and working alongside them will be a very rewarding and exciting process. It will ensure that your home is built to your exact vision and within your budget and design preferences.

Chapman Building Company specializes in constructing high-performing and sustainable custom homes that create a healthy and comfortable space for you and your family. Your home should be a safe haven where you have the ability to rest, play, and grow with family and friends. We have experience with full-service construction, progressive building techniques, and pre-construction planning. Our team is passionate about high quality construction, client relationship development, and our impact on the environment, community, and people we come in contact with every day. If you think we would be a good fit for your new custom home project we would appreciate the opportunity to speak with you about that. Contact our team to learn more.

Dakota Chapman


Chapman Building Company LLC

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