Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on Apr 11, 2017 9:00:00 AM
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You know you’re ready to upgrade to a new home; now you just have to decide whether to buy an existing house or build a new one. Although it might seem easier and faster to purchase an existing house, it’s worth considering building a custom home if you want to invest in a home that truly matches your needs. If time is of the essence, compare these two timelines to help you make a decision.

Existing-House-Purchase Timeline

Although the exact steps will vary, you can expect to follow this rough timeline when purchasing an existing house:

Select a realtor

Unless you already have a realtor you trust, it’s worth taking the time to research your options. Finding a realtor with expertise in the local area is critical, especially if you’re moving from a different neighborhood or state. Some factors to consider when selecting a realtor are how long he or she has been in business, whether or not real estate is his or her sole focus, and how many buyers he or she typically works with at one time. It’s also a good idea to check references and speak with former clients. This can take anywhere from one day to one month, depending on your options and how thorough your search is.

Secure financing

It’s always a good idea to be preapproved for a loan amount before you start your home search in earnest. This will give you an idea of how much you will be able to spend on the home purchase and any renovations that might be necessary. This process varies for different financial institutions and can take up to three weeks.

Search for a suitable home

This is the biggest wild card when purchasing an existing home, because you never know what will be on the market at any given time. Finding a suitable home in the right neighborhood and for the right price can be challenging. This is especially true if you have a specific vision for the layout or features you want to have in a home. Allow for anywhere from weeks to months—or even years in some cases.

Make an offer and close

When you do find a home that you love, it’s time to make an offer and hope it is accepted. If the seller agrees to your offer, the next step is inspection, which typically takes about a week. The time from the offer to closing depends on the contract and is typically between two weeks and two months, with the average time being 45 or more days.

Renovate or repair

If issues arose during the inspection, you or the previous owner might need to make repairs before moving in. You might also decide to renovate some or all of the house to better fit your lifestyle. This process can take several months, depending on the scope of the project.

Custom-Homebuilding Timeline

There are always some uncertainties when building a new home, but the steps and the timeline are much more predictable:

Find land

Work with a realtor to find a lot in your preferred neighborhood. Starting with an empty lot is like having a blank slate—as long as it’s in the location you want, you can build a home with all the features you desire. The length of this process varies, but because there are fewer factors to consider, it is typically faster than finding an existing home that matches your needs.

Secure financing

If you opt for builder financing, prequalification can take as little as a few days. Of course, the process will go faster if you have all of your financial documents prepared in advance.  

Schedule a site visit

Once you have land and a budget, you can schedule a site visit with a Construction Superintendent to determine any lot constraints and start the site-development plan. This process takes about a week.

Select and customize a floor plan

The process of starting with a custom floor plan and tailoring it to fit your lifestyle takes just a few weeks. The first step is deciding on details like the layout, paint colors, cabinetry, and fixtures. Then final pricing is determined, and you sign off to move forward. With quick decision-making, this can take as little as three weeks.

Allow time for drafting the final floor plan

Once all the final decisions are made, it takes about four to six weeks for a design professional to complete the plans for construction.

Submit permits

This process varies, depending on the jurisdiction and the permits required for your project. Some towns or counties approve permits in a matter of days or weeks, while others take longer. The permitting organization can typically tell you the expected wait time before filing.

Complete site development

Before the construction crew starts building the house, you have to complete tasks like excavating, installing a septic tank, and putting in a temporary driveway. Depending on how much work is required, this process can take up to three months.

Build your new home

After pouring the foundation, the building time varies, depending on the size of the home and other factors, but you can expect this process to take around four months. Your builder will be able to give you an expected completion date so that you can make plans to move in.    

Although both buying an existing house and building a new home have some elements of unpredictability, when you choose to build a custom home, you know what the outcome will be. You can start the process with the confidence that no matter how long it takes, the end result will be a home that is designed to fit your lifestyle now and into the future. If you’d like to learn more about building a custom home, contact the experts at Adair Homes today.

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