I’m not gonna lie … this is a tricky one to answer. Six months is the average for how long it takes to build a house. However, timing DEPENDS on many factors.
In this post, you’ll learn the major factors that can affect how long it will take you from breaking ground to moving into your new home … including the things that you DO have control over (hint … these are what you should focus on).
Note: This blog post focuses on the amount of time to actually build the house. This doesn’t take into account the pre-building meetings or the steps you need to take before you even break ground.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BUILD A SINGLE-FAMILY HOME?
The average length of time to build a home is six months BUT, as mentioned above, it depends on many factors.
Let’s start with the NUMBER ONE factor that contributes to how long it will take to build your home … whether you choose to build a custom or production home.
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO BUILD A CUSTOM HOME
The low end of the spectrum to build a custom home is roughly six months. The average is 10-16 months from the time you break ground until you move in. Some custom homes can take years to build.
The biggest variables that contribute to how long it takes to build a custom home are:
(1) the size and complexity of your home and,
(2) YOU!, the homeowner
The more you change your mind (and this inevitably happens), the longer it will take to complete your home.
There are MANY decisions to make with a custom home, so it generally takes several months longer to build a custom home than it takes to build a production home.
Note: it took us seven months to build our custom home from start to finish (i.e. breaking ground to moving in). We spent several months creating, modifying, and perfecting our floor plan before we could even think about breaking ground.
HOW LONG IT TAKES TO BUILD A PRODUCTION HOME
A production home takes about 4 months to build but can take longer if the weather is an issue or, again, you change your mind on finishes.
A production home is faster to build than a custom home because the builder is familiar with the floor plan specifications.
He/she builds from only a small amount of floor plans and builds them many times, so getting permitting and materials are usually much faster than with a custom home.
It’s also faster to select finishes for a production home because you are given a narrow range of options.
A production builder has easy access to the finish selections and is sometimes even able to buy them in bulk (which can help you stay on budget).
COMMON ISSUES THAT CAN DELAY YOUR HOME BUILD
There are many things that have the potential to slow down your build, but I have GOOD NEWS … some of these variables are within your control!
Take full advantage of doing what you CAN to keep your build moving along smoothly.
Three variables that you DO have control are:
(1) Construction Type
(2) Selecting finishes in a timely manner
(3) Reducing change orders.
As discussed above, whether you choose to build a custom home or a production home plays the biggest role in how long it takes to build your house.
A production home is generally much faster to build than a custom home.
NOT SELECTING FINISHES EARLY IN THE BUILDING PROCESS
It’s really important that you start selecting your interior finishes (as well as exterior finishes) early in your home build.
Your builder will most likely give you a timeline of when you need to have various finishes selected.
I know it seems odd to choose flooring (or other materials) so early in the process, but there’s always a possibility for unknowns when you order your finishes (we’ll go over this more below in ‘availability of supplies’).
A ‘change order’ refers to making a change to any specification as written in your construction contract.
Changes can be to your floor plan, design material selections, or any other items that are different than what you originally asked for when your contract was drawn up (e.g. changing your ceiling height).
Aside from weather (and construction type), change orders typically are the greatest factor in delaying a home build.
As the homeowner, it’s up to YOU to make your decisions and stick with them (unless the selection is no longer available).
The less you change your mind, the smoother (and quicker) your home build will go.
This is why it is so VITAL that you really think about what designs you want before you even break ground.
If you want to prepare thoroughly (in the right way), start with my guided e-books, The Simplified Build and Before You Build.
Unfortunately, there are some variables that are simply out of your control. Don’t be discouraged … just stay focused on the things that you DO have control over.
Factors outside your control include:
(1) Permit Wait Time
(3) Availability of Workers
(4) Availability of Supplies
Your builder will most likely be in charge of getting permits for your new build, and he/she will let you know if there are any steps you need to take in order to get permitting.
The length of time it takes to secure permits is highly dependent on where you live. In my small Midwestern city, it’s relatively quick and easy to get permitting.
However, I have a reader building a home in New York City and she waited about a year to get her building permits.
Weather can be a huge factor in slowing down home builds. Depending on the climate in your area, chances are you’ll have some type of weather that gets in the way (here in the Midwest we deal with snow in the winter and rain/storms in the spring/summer).
There’s nothing you can do about the weather, so just try to stay positive and focus on the variables you do have control over :).
AVAILABILITY OF WORKERS
There are times during the year when construction workers are readily available; other times they are swamped if it’s prime time for home construction in your area.
The availability of workers circles back to your home build construction type. Typically, production home builders have a group of subcontractors that work closely with them, so it’s not as much of a problem to have subs on hand as it is with custom home builds.
AVAILABILITY OF SUPPLIES
Some design materials that you choose might have a long lead (delivery) time. This is EXACTLY why you should choose materials early on in your build.
On occasion, design finishes will be discontinued during your build or will get caught up in customs, so you’ll have to go back to the drawing board and choose something different. This certainly affects your timeline.
Six months is the average for how long it takes to build a house from breaking ground to moving into your new home. However, timing DEPENDS on many factors.
Some of these variables (i.e. weather, permitting, worker availability, and supplies availability) are out of your control, BUT you DO have control over other variables that influence how long your build will take.
Focus on the factors that you DO have control over (home build type, choosing design finishes early, refrain from making changes unless necessary) to keep your build moving along smoothly.
In this post, we covered the amount of time to actually build your house, but there is an entire pre-construction phase that can take time as well. Learn the five steps to prepare for a successful home build before you even break ground.