Home Building Checklist
A Home Building Checklist for Planning a New
Home Construction Project
By Mark J. Donovan
Embarking on a new home building
project can be both a thrilling and intimidating experience. This is
particularly true when you first start out and lack a set of home
construction plans and a home building checklist. By completing these two
very important milestones early on, you can remove much of the uncertainly
and questions that arise when initially deciding upon a new home building
For most folks, the concept of needing a set of home construction plans is
not un-foreign. However for many, the idea of a home building checklist is.
A home building checklist, however,
is an incredibly important part of a successful home building project. In its
crudest form, a home building checklist is a summary list of tasks that need to
be performed to successfully build a home or home addition. It is effectively a
tool or map that guides you through the home building process. More specifically
a home building checklist is a sequential set of steps that includes everything
from creating a set of house plans to obtaining the final occupancy permit.
You can begin to create your own home
building checklist by first writing down all of the questions you have about
your new home construction project. By generating a list of your questions you
can then begin to build a sequential list of steps that are necessary for
ensuring a successful home building project.
To help you get started in planning
your home building project, I have summarized below a high level home building
checklist. Keep in mind however, depending upon your specific home construction
project the number and types of steps necessary in your home building checklist
may vary. The summary home building checklist I outline below should get you
started, but at some point you will probably need to go much further in
developing your own new home building plans and schedule.
Summary Home Building Checklist
1) Understand your Home Building Finance Options
Unless you are planning to pay cash
for your home building project, you will need financing. Without financing or
cash, you won’t make much progress in your new home building project. Find out
what banks will loan you money, how much, and with what terms and conditions.
2) Home Building
You will need a complete set of home
building plans that include the structural detail to obtain building permits.
Meet with an architect to find a set of existing home building plans or to
design your own custom home building plans.
3) Home Building Lot
You will need a home building lot to
construct your new home. Keep in mind that not all building lots are appropriate
for every type of home building plan, so do not purchase your land in a vacuum.
Have your building plans handy when evaluating building lots. Also, make sure
the land is zoned for residential building.
Photo by Mark Donovan
4) Hire a Home Building Contractor
Once you have a complete set of home
building plans, meet with potential home building contractors to go over you’re
your plans and to obtain construction bids. Carefully review each home building
contractor bid to determine which contractor is right for your new home building
5) Obtain Financing
Once you have selected a home building contractor and have accurate home
construction cost estimates, obtain financing on the project.
6) Pull Home Building Permits
With a contractor and financing in place, visit your local building inspector,
with your home building plans in tote, to obtain construction permits.
7) Begin Home Construction
With financing and building permits
in hand, and a contractor lined up, you are ready to break ground and begin your
new home building project. Start and completion dates for your home building
project should have been included in the timeline provided by your home building
8) Visit Construction Site Often
During the home building phase, it is
important to visit the site often to make sure the construction is going to
plan. You may want to consider soliciting the services of your architect to help
in this process, as he has the knowledge and experience to ensure your house is
constructed to your home building plans.
9) Scheduling of
Home Construction Inspections
With the completion of each major
milestone of your home’s construction, the building inspector should be
contacted to come out, and inspect and sign off on the work. Make sure the home
building contractor or yourself contact the building inspector ahead of time to
make sure the inspector is on-site as soon as the particular milestone is
complete. Many days can be wasted on a construction site by waiting around for
an inspector to show up.
10) Obtain Final
When the construction is complete, it
is usually necessary to obtain a final occupancy permit. The occupancy permit,
provided by the building inspector, authorizes you to move into the home.
Unfortunately it also lets the tax assessor know that it is time to tax you
11) Converting a
Construction Mortgage over to a Conventional Mortgage
With the home ready to move in,
contact your bank to convert your home construction loan over to a conventional
mortgage. This may involve a closing with the home building contractor,
depending upon your business arrangement with him.
With a home occupancy permit and mortgage papers in hand, you are now ready to
move into your new home.
To conclude, it is important to understand that this is a summary outline of a
home building checklist. There are many other detailed steps along the way that
should be fleshed out when creating your own detailed home building checklist.
In addition, each home building project is unique, and as a result your home
building checklist may need to include additional items not mentioned in this
summary home building checklist. For example, if the new home building project
will require a private septic system, you will also need to have a septic design
created and approved by the state and local agencies.
For a more comprehensive new home building
checklist, see my
New Home Construction Bid Sheet. The New Home Construction Bid
Sheet provides a request for quote checklist section that you can provide to
prospective building contractors. It also includes a comprehensive new home
construction cost breakdown table, in Microsoft Excel format, that allows the
contractor to include his projected new home construction costs for every phase
of the project.
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