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See all 13 steps of Adair Homes' homebuilding process, from start to finish.


Building a new home can feel like a daunting process, especially if you have never done it before. However, when the homebuilding process is broken down into individual steps, it seems like a much more realistic venture. Visualizing the process one step at a time makes the first step feel more like a normal stride and less like a giant leap.

The longer the homebuilding process takes, the more the costs can add up. This is one reason it is so important to know what to expect before jumping in with both feet. Understanding the typical timeline before starting makes it possible to plan ahead. The more preparation you can do in advance, the more efficient and cost-effective the process will be.  

It’s also important to understand your responsibilities as a homeowner throughout the process. Although the construction crew does all the physical heavy lifting, you must take an active role in the process in order for it to be successful. You as the homeowner are an integral part of the team, and the job includes making decisions in a timely manner and managing certain aspects of the project.

This guide provides a snapshot of the overall process and breaks it down into detailed steps. Of course, individual circumstances are always different, but having a general idea of the typical process is an essential step in the journey to building a new custom home.

Download a PDF version of this guide by filling out this form, or keep scrolling to read.

homebuilding process timeline cover

Stage 1

Getting Started

The first meeting with a Home Ownership Counselor includes a discussion about the type of home, details about the land, and, of course, the budget. If a design hasn’t already been selected, the Home Ownership Counselor will help determine which custom home plans best match your lifestyle and the features you desire.

If you need financing, the Home Ownership Counselor will calculate an estimate of the total project cost, which includes land, the cost of site development, and the home. With this number, you will be able to be prequalified for financing based on the expected costs of the entire project. Prequalification allows the project to move forward to the next step: the site visit.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Gather information about the desired features and custom home plans
  • Provide cost estimates for the land, site development, and home
  • Deliver prequalification parameters

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Gather personal financial information
  • Define project goals and the budget
  • Complete prequalification paperwork

Stage 2

Evaluating the Location

After you are prequalified, you and the construction superintendent schedule a site visit to evaluate the land and determine what is needed to develop the site. Site development might include tasks such as tree removal, installing a septic system, putting in a temporary driveway for construction vehicles, and blasting to remove underground rock. Because every site is different, the requirements and associated costs will vary from project to project.

This is also the opportunity to decide where on the land the home will be situated. Factors such as view from your windows, orientation to the street, and privacy considerations will help guide this decision. After the site visit, the construction superintendent should provide you a list of the site development tasks, a preferred list of contractors as well as a Free Plot Plan drawing which shows how your home sits on your land.

Adair Homes Turnkey Program

Not everybody has time to manage all the details of building a new custom home. With Adair’s Turn Key Home Construction Program, we add a high level of customer service and project management to the construction process so that you can spend your time on more important things.

We start by evaluating your land to determine the site development requirements and gathering costs. Then, you choose a custom home plan and tailor it to your tastes, and we handle the rest.

Some of these responsibilities include:

  • Temporary water and power

  • Excavated building pad

  • Making connections to permanent utilities

  • Backfill around the foundation

  • Priming and painting the home

  • Installation of exterior steps, decks, sidewalks, and driveway

Learn more about Adair’s Turnkey Program here

Builder Responsibilities

  • Give recommendations for house placement and orientation
  • Provide feedback about which site-development tasks are necessary and the contractors who will provide these costs.
  • Provide cost estimates for site development and a plot plan
  • After the site visit it is important to visit the building jurisdiction and verify the important characteristics of your site using your Jurisdictional Checklist provided to you at the site visit

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Decide where the home will be situated on the land
  • Understand the site-development tasks and start working on pulling together the costs

Stage 3

Making a House a Home

After you have selected the design that best fits your needs, obtained prequalification, and completed the site visit, the next step is to go to the design center and choose your finishes from a selection of options provided by an interior designer. For many people, this is an exciting time, because it is when you can see the vision for your new home starting to come together.

We work diligently to provide the pricing for all of the options you may want, while working closely with you to stay within your budget. After the options and finishes are selected, it is time to order your new custom home!

This is your opportunity to select features such as

  • Cabinets and hardware
  • Countertops
  • Flooring
  • Plumbing Fixtures
  • Paint Colors
  • Tile color and style

Builder Responsibilities

  • Provide a selection of finishes appropriate for your  budget
  • Complete the home order

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Decide which finishes to include in the home
  • Sign off on the home order

Stage 4

Finalizing the Layout

After the order is written, the design team can get started on the concept floor plan. Working closely with you throughout the entire process, the design team can create custom kitchen layouts, change room types, upgrade bathrooms, move walls, add extra rooms, and more. The goal is to create a custom space that matches your lifestyle and future plans.

This process can take as little as four days, but it will take longer without clear decisions from the homeowner. The final requirement in this step is approval of the concept floor plan.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Design your Floor Plan, Exterior Elevation and Cabinet Layout showing all of the options and customizations you have selected.

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • While your plan is being drafted, document any last touches you would like to add.

"The goal is to create a custom space that matches your life-style and future plans"

Stage 5

Completing the Contract

After the concept floor plan is approved, the next step is finalizing the order. This is your opportunity to review the final project budget and make a decision whether to move forward or make additional changes. After this point, changes in the design cannot happen without altering the budget, so it is critical for you to be sure that it is the design you want and that it meets your budget goals.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Sit down and review your Floor Plan to ensure that it includes everything that you

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Sign off on your completed floor Plan so we can move on to the next stage.
  • Order the Appraisal if financing is being utilized.

Stage 6

Drafting the Drawings

After the order is finalized, and Ratified, Drafting & Design needs time to complete the full set of construction drawings. During this time, it will create the construction documents that will be used to build the home. These plans incorporate the agreed-upon floor plan, options, customizations and finishes.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Ratify the order and complete full set of construction drawings.

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Continue to work with the lender for funding.

"After the order if finalized and ratified, drafting and design needs time to complete the full set of construction drawings"

Stage 7

Meeting the Crew

When Drafting & Design has completed the plans, the next step is scheduling the preconstruction meeting. This meeting is an opportunity to meet your construction team, understand your site responsibilities as well as the steps in the construction process.You as the homeowner are responsible for managing site development and obtaining permits, but the team will guide you through every step of the process.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Complete your Building Permit Package and provide to you.
  • Provide you your Construction Drawings
  • Talk through the site development steps, construction stages and your responsibilities throughout the building process.

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Acknowledge understanding your requirements during the site development and construction process.

Stage 8

Submitting for Permits

After the preconstruction meeting, the next step is to submit your building permit package and construction drawings to receive your building permit.  Every new home requires a building permit, and depending on where the home is located, there may be other approvals required from Homeowners associations, architectural reviews or other requirements.  Although it may seem like a lot of red tape, the permitting process exists to keep homeowners safe by ensuring that the home meets minimum code requirements. Remember: The team is there to support you during this process, so if you need assistance, all you have to do is ask.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Guide the homeowner through the permitting process as needed.

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Submit and work with the jurisdiction for approved building permits.

Stage 9

Getting Permits Approved

The amount of time it takes to receive permit approval will vary depending on the permit type and the local permitting process. Some jurisdictions can process permits in days or weeks, while others have a longer wait time. Although obtaining a permit for a new home is often as simple as submitting the application and receiving approval, the process might also include responding to questions or meeting with the local permitting department.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Assist the homeowner with responses to permit questions as needed

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Respond to questions from permitting authorities

Stage 10

Preparing the Site

After the permits have been approved, the homeowner is free to move forward with site development. The specific steps will vary depending on the project needs and the site features, but could include tasks such as clearing the site, coordinating the excavation, installing a septic system, and connecting to local utilities.

Although this does require some work on your part, the good news is, you will save money and build equity by managing this portion of the project yourself.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Respond to the homeowner’s site-development questions as needed

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Coordinate with your contractors to perform the necessary site work
  • Complete individual site-work tasks when possible
  • Manage the site-development process

Stage 11

Building Begins

After site development has been completed, the construction team verifies the site is ready for construction, and then pours the foundation and begins to build your new home. About halfway through the process, you and the construction superintendent do a midpoint inspection to see what has been completed. This is your opportunity to raise questions or discuss any potential issues with the build process.

The construction superintendent will walk you through the inspection process and verify that the construction team is installing the finishes that you selected. You will also verify details like the kitchen-cabinet layout and flooring transitions at this point in the project. Actively participating in the midpoint inspection ensures that the final product is exactly what you ordered.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Walk the homeowner through all items that have been completed

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Complete customer responsibilities during construction

"Actively participating in the midpoint inspection ensures that the final product is exactly what your ordered"

Stage 12

Wrapping it Up

When your new home is substantially complete, you’ll do a prewalk with the construction superintendent to create what is called a “punch list.” This is the list of tasks that need to be completed before you move in, so pay close attention to every detail as you walk through the home. This is your last chance with the construction team to catch any errors or incomplete items. If you want something fixed and it’s not on the punch list, you shouldn’t assume that it will get done.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Complete final customer responsibilities during construction for the home's completion.
  • Identify items that need to be completed prior to moving in

Stage 13

The Dream Becomes Reality

The team needs time to complete the items on the punch list before your home orientation and the handover of the keys. The home orientation consists of a final walk through the home, an instruction packet for all of the new systems in the home, and enrollment in a warranty program. This is your chance to learn how to maintain your new home, so make sure you closely review the instruction packet and ask questions if anything is unclear.

Builder Responsibilities

  • Perform all punch-list items
  • Walk the homeowner through all the new systems
  • Enroll the homeowner in a warranty program

Homeowner Responsibilities

  • Ensure that all punch-list items are complete
  • Review manuals to understand all new home systems
  • Ask questions about home maintenance
  • Obtain a certificate of occupancy
  • Move in!
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About Adair Homes

Working with a partner like Adair Homes allows you to benefit from nearly 50 years of experience and more than 17,000 new homes built for happy homeowners. Our Home Ownership Counselors can help you navigate every step of the way to turn a daunting process into a delightful one.

Request a consultation with a Home Ownership Counselor at your local Adair Homes branch today. On your first call, we will provide construction recommendations for the project you have in mind and will help you determine if Adair Homes is the right fit for you.


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