Anyone considering building a new home has at least two major questions: “How much is this going to cost?” and “How long is this going to take?” In the past, we’ve posted information about how much homes in the Poconos can cost. For this post, we'd like to focus on the second question. How far in advance should you plan a home build?
According to a 2014 Survey of Construction (SOC) from the Census Bureau, the average completion time of a single-family house is around seven months. That includes approximately 25 days from authorization to start (permitting) and another 6 months to complete construction. There are a lot of factors that can influence the exact time it will take to build a home, but this provides a frame of reference. Does that mean you can expect to move into your new Poconos home seven months from today? Probably not.
There’s more to the homebuilding process than just construction. Planning is absolutely critical to ending up with the home you want. Let’s look at some key elements in that part of the process
Think Through What You Need to Plan
You probably won’t be picking up a hammer, saw, or drill when it’s time to build your home. That’s not where your skills or responsibilities lie. So what are the things you need to do before construction starts? What are the things you need to think about and plan before the physical work begins?
Choosing Your Location
Before you even contact a builder, you’ll want to have a good idea of where you’d like to live. Don’t rush this! It’s hard to select a location from a picture. You’ll probably want to visit a few different areas to see how they look and feel. Here’s a helpful post about how to find the best lot in the Poconos. We can’t tell you exactly how long this will take you. That varies from person to person. But take your time. It’s important to get this right.
Selecting Your Floor Plan
Another thing you'll want to do before building begins is figuring out exactly what kind of home is right for you. How big should your new home be? Do you want multiple levels or are you looking for single-level living? Exactly how do you want the layout configured? We have lots of existing floor plans you can review to get an idea of what’s right for you. Or you might want to modify the plans to your specific needs and tastes. That’s not a problem. We can do that, but you need to allow yourself plenty of time to think about your wants and needs before deciding.
Deciding on Finishes
There are a lot of details to consider inside the home even after you’ve chosen the right plan. You’ll need to make choices about flooring, cabinets, appliances, fixtures, hardware, countertops, and more. While this is often one of the more fun parts of the homebuilding process, it takes time to review and choose the right finishes. Here’s another reason you need to allow time to make these choices: If you don’t choose (and order) the materials in a timely manner, you can actually delay the construction. Once again, this isn’t something you want to rush into, so you’ll want to allow yourself plenty of time to make the right decisions so that you aren’t holding up construction. Here’s a look at some other things that can delay the completion of your new home.
Arranging Your Finances
We’ve listed this last, but it probably belongs at the top of the list. It’s a really good idea to pre-qualify for your mortgage loan before getting too far into other plans. The amount you are qualified to borrow will determine how much house you can afford. It helps you set your expectations. You’ll want to allow yourself enough time to shop around a bit in order to find the best rates. You may want to do a credit check first to make sure you qualify for the best loan. Doing this in advance can be helpful because if there is a problem, you’ll have time to fix that problem before getting a loan.
So How Long Should You Allow?
No two people will require the same amount of time to make the decisions listed above. And to be honest, a lot of these things can happen concurrently. The real point is not to be in a hurry. Allow yourself enough time to make unrushed choices. Chances are, you’ll be in your new home for a long time. It’s worth it to take the time to make sure you’ll be comfortable and delighted with your new home. Once you’ve decided on location, plan, and finishes, your builder will be able to give you a pretty accurate timeframe for the completion of your home.
The key is to start early on the essentials. That way you won’t be rushed into decisions you might regret later.