Building a Custom Home: An Overview of the Process for Homeowners by Home Builders

Building a custom home is an adventure that brings a host of benefits, allowing you to craft a living space tailored exactly how you dreamed it. Throughout the custom build process, you and your family should enjoy the process of creating a home meticulously designed to meet your specific needs and desires.

Oak Angel Builders, a premiere custom home builder serving Johns Island and Charleston created this guide as a resource for customers, detailing the steps to building your own house. The goal is to help families who are new to the process understand the stages of the build, from initial considerations to the final touches, so that the home you get perfectly suits your vision.

While this guide won’t hold every single detail of building a home, the broad strokes will be largely the same from design to design. Our goal is for our customers to always have transparency into the process and know what is coming next.

This article assumes that you are determined to build a home but have absolutely nothing planned, not your budget or design. Please skip the parts that are not relevant to your specific project.

Step 1: The Preliminary Research Stage

homeowner researching about the design of house

The first step of your custom home building journey, is to establish the vision, budget, and any constraints. This step is free and may include doing home tours in neighborhoods you like, scrolling on Instagram and Pinterest for design elements you like, or setting up initial meetings with design teams or architects. Once you start meeting with teams it will be helpful for you to be familiarized with the standard home building steps so you are prepared to address key design-build questions like:

  • What is your home construction budget?
  • How are you going to pay for this project? Personally finance or a construction loan?
  • What building materials or decorations are you interested in?
  • What is your timeframe for the project?
  • Where do you want to build, and are there any restrictions for that homesite?
  • What building codes must be followed?
  • How much space will you need? Consider factors like regular entertaining, working from home, and the number of people you’ll be living with.
  • How involved do you want to be with the project?
  • Who do you want involved in the home construction process? Family members, an advisor, your favorite contractor?

While these are some of the questions to consider before meeting with a custom home builder, you don’t need answers to every single one. Your general contractors will guide you through the custom home build process, but being aware of what to ask and what might be asked of you will position you better during early meetings, discussions, and planning phase.

Step 2: Finding a Team That Can Bring Your Vision to Life

architects brainstorming about building the house construction

After completing your preliminary research and shaping an image of your dream house, the next step is assembling a team to bring it to life.

Opting to collaborate with a custom design-build company streamlines the entire building process, from the initial conceptual stages to completion. The design-build approach removes the separation between the home design team and the construction/build teams. Essentially, one entity, known as the “designer-builder” or the “design-build contractor,” leads all aspects of your new home construction project.

Moreover, an experienced design-build company typically maintains pre-established relationships with skilled architects, eliminating the need for you to independently search for an architect later on. As the project unfolds, you can have peace of mind knowing that virtually all elements are managed, contracted, and negotiated by one entity. This frees you to contribute to brainstorming sessions on construction and design decisions, such as determining the ideal location for your upcoming dream home or sourcing the best materials.

Step 3: Preparing your Homesite

a beautiful land with stunning view for homesite

Once you’ve identified the collaborators you want to work with, you’ll move into the pre-construction phase, where the focus is on preparing your homesite to turn your dream house into a reality. Over the past several years, Johns Island has been the hottest market for custom homes because of the availability of land and proximity to Charleston. If you bought and are building on that land our team is especially experienced at helping you to prepare your land to build. These tasks may include resurveying your plot, and installing sewer lines, electricity, and other key infrastructure items. Pre-construction can include pouring your foundation.

Having a custom design-build team’s input becomes especially valuable during this phase. They will guide you in considering factors such as the land’s suitability, whether it will be served by public utilities, or if special/extra work is needed for utility installation (for example, drilling a well). Your team will also ensure that the construction project adheres to all necessary building codes, zoning restrictions, and potential covenants associated with the chosen location.

Step 4: Outlining Your Blueprints & Specifications

architects outlining blueprints and specifications

By now, you should have established a solidified budget and timeline, and you’ve begun the process of preparing your land to build. At this stage, your design-build team will collaborate with various partners to create more precise floor plans and specifications for the project.

As you discuss these ideas—both those you’ve generated and those recommended by your design-build team—the various collaborators will contribute their expertise. They will inform you about what’s feasible and how to incorporate these ideas in a realistic and functional manner. Additional professionals, such as structural engineers, may also be brought in to provide valuable input at this crucial stage of the planning process.

The entire project hinges on the accuracy of the designs, so though this part of the process can take a while, it’s one of the most important ways we have to accurately determine construction costs.

Step 5: Deciding on the Right Materials

homeowner thinking about the materials needed for home construction

While we’ve listed this step after discussing your construction/design decisions (step 2), preparing your plot (step 3), and outlining the blueprints and specifications for the project (step 4), there will be considerable overlap between steps 2–5. Building a new home requires flexibility, and during this time, some of your ideas might need adjustments.

As the major elements of the design are completed (square footage, number of rooms, basic layout), you can confidently determine which materials and finishes are realistic. Keep in mind that numerous items will go into the construction of your new home, and each material must be approved beforehand. Clients who can clearly specify their preferences help the team prioritize, while other suggestions might be presented for consideration and approval, depending on your level of involvement.

For items where you have a specific idea or vision, such as a certain material for kitchen countertops, a specific color for roofing shingles, or a particular vision for the living room floor plan, provide clear and comprehensive specifications. This clarity helps your design-build team seamlessly integrate your preferences into the project.

Step 6: The Building Process Begins!

In this stage, marks the commencement of the construction phase for your dream house. While each new home project is unique, and considerations may vary, some common aspects include:

  • Clearing obstructive trees, debris, or large objects from the newly purchased home site.
  • Digging deep into the ground to create a solid foundation for your new home.
  • Bringing in materials to lay the foundation, including specialty installations like a crawl space or basement.
  • Engaging a framing crew to complete your floor decks.
  • Constructing walls of varying sizes and densities to support the structures around them.

After the framing crew completes the floor decks, you’ll witness the basic structure of your new home becoming more complex with the addition of walls, windows, and eventually a roof.

It’s crucial to note that, as this is the first time you’ll see the actual room sizes and layouts, change orders are common during this stage. Therefore, careful consideration in your selections is vital. Building a custom home from the ground-up may involve deviations from the original scope-of-work, even with thorough preparation.

Experienced custom design-build professionals have a solid system in place to manage change orders proactively, accommodating your vision at every step. This dependable process allows the team to adapt to shifting priorities seamlessly, ensuring the project progresses without compromising quality.

Step 7: Installing Your Internal Amenities

Once the foundation of your new home is in place, the construction team will proceed to install all internal necessities and additional features. This phase encompasses tasks such as plumbing, carpentry, phone line installation, HVAC setup, and collaboration with an interior designer for lighting arrangements and decorations. The goal is to ensure that your new home is equipped with everything you need for a luxurious and comfortable living experience.

Step 8: Finishing Things Up

Congratulations on reaching the final step of the custom home-building process! In this crucial stage, the focus shifts to completing the essential interior and exterior finishes, ranging from final paint touch-ups to miscellaneous landscaping services. While the anticipation of moving into your new home may be high, the “finishing touches” step is just as crucial as the previous stages. Your design-build partners will work diligently to ensure the highest quality installation and application of your home’s essential components.

How long does it take to build a custom home?

This answer is as vague as it is accurate: it depends. We understand that our customers are keen to know how long it takes to build a custom home, as this significant decision can impact your plans. We aim to provide insight into the new house construction timeline based on our extensive experience with custom home projects, acknowledging that unforeseen issues may arise during the process.

The construction timeline for building a house can be influenced by various other factors, including the home’s size and design. During the pre-construction phase, your collaboration with us and the architect is crucial, and their availability becomes a key factor. If an architect is occupied with other projects, scheduling meetings may experience delays.

As the builder, we play a central role in the construction process and addressing any issues that arise. A skilled and experienced builder with excellent leadership and problem-solving skills is essential for efficient execution and maintaining the home construction process timeline while prioritizing customer satisfaction.

While we strive to expedite the process, certain external factors remain beyond our control. Based on our estimates, constructing a custom home typically takes between 10 months and two years. This timeframe specifically pertains to the construction process and does not include the pre-construction phase and designing. Anticipate an additional three to nine months before construction begins to complete all necessary preparations.

Factors that Can Increase the Time to Move-In

Anticipating the key to your new custom home? It’s crucial to acknowledge certain elements that might extend the time frame from the initial consultation to the celebration of completion. Unpredictable weather, custom orders for materials, and adjustments to design plans can each introduce delays, elongating your wait before move-in day.

The intricacies of collaboration among various professionals—from architects to contractors—can also impact your home’s completion timeline. Regulatory hurdles, such as obtaining permits and passing inspections, add layers to the custom home build process, potentially slowing your progress toward home ownership.

Delay FactorTypical Impact
​Inclement WeatherCan halt construction unexpectedly
​Material Delivery DelaysExtends scheduling for specific build phases
Design AlterationsMay require a reevaluation of plans and permits
Collaboration ChallengesCoordination missteps can result in downtime
Permit and Inspection ProcessesRegulatory compliance can cause unexpected snags

What Can Homeowners Do to Help a Project Move Faster?

When you’re learning about the time it takes to build a luxury home, remember you have control over certain factors. To speed up the project, consider the following:

  • Choose a reputable builder from the beginning. Experienced builders are organized and efficient, helping meet deadlines. They have often worked on projects in your area and have a process that is easy to follow.
  • Hire an interior designer. They’ll handle furnishings, paint, and details according to your style, making quick decisions to keep the project on schedule.
  • Clarify budget uncertainties. Unexpected issues may arise during construction, and having extra funds for quick solutions is important. Lining up backup financing options may be a wise choice in many cases.
  • Be mindful of material processing time. Ordered materials may take weeks to arrive, so making prompt decisions for ordering is crucial.
  • Regularly visit the site with the builder. This helps you track the project and request changes before it’s too late.
  • Stick to the original design. Changes during construction can be costly and time-consuming, so it’s best to avoid them if possible.

What Could Delay Construction?

When constructing the custom home of your dreams, the building process is a precise orchestration where timing plays a crucial role. It’s essential for you, as a future homeowner, to understand that certain factors can disrupt the construction timeline. Challenges like zoning disputes or unexpected site conditions may lead to significant delays, extending the time until you receive the keys to your personalized oasis.

Another potential challenge in your custom home build process’s construction timeline is coordinating a skilled workforce. Quality custom home builds require the expertise of various tradespeople, and sometimes their availability doesn’t align seamlessly. However, effective communication between you and your dedicated project manager can often navigate scheduling challenges smoothly.

Timely material deliveries are also vital to the construction process. Your unique design preferences may require custom or specialty materials that aren’t readily available, causing pauses in the custom home build process. Being adaptable to market availability and having contingency plans in place can prevent these material delays from disrupting your homebuilding journey.

Lastly, the excitement of the construction process may encounter a slowdown during the permitting and inspection phases. While these bureaucratic steps can add weeks to your project, they are crucial for ensuring that your home complies with local building codes, guaranteeing safety and aligning with your vision.

Let Oak Angel Builders help you make the home of your dreams!

Embark on a transformative journey with Oak Angel Builders, where your vision for a custom home comes to life. Our expertise in crafting stunning homes throughout Charleston’s scenic areas—from Johns Island to Kiawah Island—ensures that your building process is not just a task but an enjoyable experience with a remarkable end result.

Place your trust in a transparent building process, with a builder you’ll enjoy working with. Our team will expertly guide you, transforming the intricacies of construction into a seamless adventure marked by meticulous attention to detail and a customer-focused approach.

Are you ready to embark on the path to your dream home? Connect with us, schedule a consultation, and let our team elevate your home from a mere blueprint to a breathtaking reality. We are committed to flawlessly executing every aspect of custom home construction to create your perfect dwelling in Charleston, SC.

Frequently Asked Questions

Embarking on the journey of constructing your custom home in Charleston, SC, can be likened to crafting a personal masterpiece. It involves a carefully curated sequence of steps, from the initial design concept to the final walkthrough and everything in between, ensuring that your dream home transitions from vision to reality with finesse and attention to detail. At the heart of this intricate dance of creation, you'll find the custom home building process, orchestrated by dedicated professionals like those at Oak Angel Builders. Let's map out this exciting custom home build process, shall we?

The Prelude begins with Designing Your Dream. Partner with architects and design mavens to sketch the floor plan that reflects your desired lifestyle and aesthetics. Here, making design decisions is not just practical; it's profoundly personal.

Then we move onto Securing the Foundation, quite literally. Selecting the perfect homesite, conducting a soil test on Charleston's diverse terrains, and obtaining a building permit are essential pre-construction steps in the custom home build process.

Once the groundwork settles, the next act is the Financing Finale. Calculate the build cost, navigate through the options for a construction loan with guidance from financial maestros, and set a transparent construction timeline.

Bringing Plans to Life marks the crescendo of your home building journey. From laying down the foundation to drywall installations, each phase, be it in James Island or Folly Island, sings its own tune under the conductor's baton—a skilled construction manager.

And of course, the final note is sounded with a Personal Touch—the interior design. Design studios and showrooms await to kindle the spark of your imagination, leading to exquisite choices in countertops, vanities, and other finishings that echo your unique sense of style.

This grand symphony culminates with the Homeowner's Overture—the walkthrough. Review every nook, applaud every finish, and embrace your newly crafted living space, secure in the knowledge that customer service is more than a phrase for your custom home builder—it's a commitment.

Are you ready to compose the house of your dreams in the scenic lands of South Carolina? If Oak Angel Builders strikes the right chord with you, let's harmonize your aspirations through a consultation and begin crafting your personal haven today.

Unpredictable weather conditions and obtaining building permits are among the primary factors that can introduce delays in the construction of a custom home. Additionally, supply chain disruptions can slow down the receipt of necessary materials, while scheduling conflicts with subcontractors can further complicate the timeline.

The role of a project manager in the homebuilding journey is vital; they are coordinating every team to finish every design element from initial design to the final touches. Serving as a pivotal point of communication and accountability, they ensure that your dream home comes to life smoothly and efficiently.

Nestled in the heart of Charleston, SC, Oak Angel Builders specializes in custom home builds, transforming your vision into the reality of a beautifully crafted house, personalized just for you. With a keen focus on areas such as West Ashley and Johns Island, they bring your dream home to life with a comprehensive building process and a commitment to excellence at every turn.

The cost to build a house in Charleston, SC, can range from $150 to $250 per square foot, with plenty of additional factors potentially impacting that cost including land acquisition, permits, and material selection. This is a ballpark range only which may be influenced one way or the other. It is almost impossible to budget anything without seeing it so if you have questions give us a call and we'd love to learn about your project and give you a more accurate, specific ballpark. It's our honor to provide a clearer picture of the specific costs involved and help potential homeowners plan and budget effectively for their dream home in beautiful Charleston.

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