The timeline for building a custom home typically takes longer than other home types. While the exact length depends on location and size, you can expect to wait an average of 12-18 months before moving into your dream home.
Another variable that many new homebuyers should account for is the current construction market. For instance, many areas are recently experiencing a construction material shortage.
According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index, 71 percent of general contractors are recently facing a shortage in at least one type of material. The most common is lumber, while also shortages in steel, electrical, and lighting supplies
While the current market is putting more pressure on homebuilders, there are still many reasons to be optimistic:
As you consider relocating to a new home, one of the questions you might ask is whether to buy or build.
The answer? Build a custom home.
Custom home builders team up with you to customize every inch of your new home.
Dennis Miller Homes, a St. George custom home builder, gives Southern Utah homebuyers the tools and services needed to bring their vision to life. As your custom home building partner, we will work with you to select the perfect lot, design the perfect plans, and build the perfect home.
Our unique home-building process also ensures an efficient custom home-building timeline. The process includes:
Along with a proven construction process, Dennis Miller Homes dedicates our custom home building services to providing experiences that will last a lifetime.
As you count on us to bring your dream home to life, we will give you complete control over every aspect of the building process. From selecting the materials to designing the floor plan, you have the final say in what stays and what goes.
Although the custom home building process isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, most custom home builders follow a similar timeline.
In short, the total construction of a custom home ranges from about 12-18 months. Along with building time, your will also need to account for design and plan approval time.
Typically, design takes an average of 2-3 months, while city/county approval can take 4-8 weeks.
After these steps, your custom home builder will begin the actual construction process, which can take about a year to 18 months.
To help you fully understand the average time to build a house, our team takes an in-depth look at the custom home building timeline step-by-step.
Before building a custom home, you must undergo the planning and design stage. You will need to select a lot to build your home. You will also need to find an architect, interior designer, and partner with a custom home builder, either simultaneously or after finding a lot.
After acquiring a place to build your custom home, you will work closely with your design team to develop a series of plans detailing the scope of your project.
Your architect and builder will work together to create a preliminary design that is both functional and beautiful. The builder then builds an estimate that is based on your budget and fits your needs.
While you and your interior designer make the first phase of design selections, your custom builder will provide a few different things. These include:
During this time, your builder or general contractor will also sign on subcontractors to install the major systems required in your new home plan.
The new construction phase will also include finalizing all remaining design decisions. Together, you will determine your flooring, cabinetry, lighting, and bathroom fixtures. It might be overwhelming, but your team will be by your side to help guide you to the best choice.
In total, the items finalized in the new home construction step includes developing:
Along with designing the home, your custom home building team will help you acquire all required approvals and permits. These will include:
Overall, this phase of the custom home build timeline will take 4-6 months.
Now that the design team completed your custom home plans, it will be time to pour the foundation. After preparing the site, your builder will begin to lay the foundation. Usually, site preparation only takes a few weeks.
Once the site is ready, your builder will pour concrete footers. Then, the next step will depend on whether your house calls for a basic slab foundation or a full basement layout.
The timeline for the foundation can range from 2-4 weeks, starting from the beginning of site prep to when the foundation fully cures.
Once your custom home has a strong foundation, it is ready for the frame. This is where the floor plans you spent weeks drawing with your architect and design team are put to the test.
Your builder will take those designs and erect the basic framework of the home, including the roof structure, internal walls, staircases, and more.
Throughout this phase of the process, you can rely on your builder and construction manager to oversee the project. They will work carefully to ensure that all the work goes smoothly and that there are no mistakes or rework required.
This stage is usually quick, but your custom home builder will keep you updated with a realistic timeline to keep your entire project on schedule and budget.
After the contracting team nails down the skeleton of the home to the foundation, it is time to install the major systems of your new home.
Most custom home builders hire subcontractors to complete the plumbing and electrical work on a custom home. These teams provide niche services that require extensive knowledge and skill to install.
At Dennis Miller Homes, we have a relationship with some of the top subcontractors in the southern Utah area. These long-standing relationships give our clients the utmost confidence that all the major systems in their new homes will run in tip-top shape for years to come.
The timeline you can expect for these different systems include:
Another factor you might want to consider when building a custom home is increasing system efficiency with energy-efficient construction. If you require such an elaborate system, your timeline may slightly increase.
Other variables in plumbing and electrical work that might affect your timeline include installing:
Altogether, this step in the custom home building process usually takes about four months to complete.
After your builder or subcontracting team finishes installing the wiring and plumbing throughout your new home, it is time to complete the design.
This next step in the custom home building process is all about finishes. From the drywall and interior finishes to the roofing and exterior finishes, your home building team will work hard to make your dream come to fruition.
During this phase, you can expect your building team to install several items, including:
Since the quality and complexity of a custom home design require a higher level of craftsmanship and materials than other home types, this phase of the process may take longer than usual.
An average custom home building timeline for these materials may look like this:
During this time, your custom home builder will keep you updated on your exact timeline, so you know what to expect.
The length of time it takes to build a new custom home usually takes less than two years, depending on various factors. Some of these variables include:
Contractor Recommendation: Make all your decisions ahead of time and stick to them to shorten the custom home building timeline.
If you are considering working with a St. George custom home builder, you may be asking, "What's the busy season?" Fortunately, St. George is one of the few places in Utah that doesn't experience any serious construction delays related to weather or season changes.
Southern Utah homebuyers aren't constricted to a certain building schedule. Unlike Utah homebuyers in the northern part of the state who experience frequent construction delays due to snow and rain, St. George's warm climate keeps things rolling year-round. In fact, our custom home builders work with ideal circumstances when building new homes.
So, whenever you want to build your new custom home in St George, Utah, Dennis Miller Homes will be ready to make it happen.
How to Build A Custom Home...Now
Begin the custom home building timeline by contacting Dennis Miller Homes today. Call us old-timers, but our custom home builders still believe in the fundamental qualities of any good business— honesty, communication, and genuine care. As the leading custom home building team in St. George, we know what it takes to build a southern Utah dream home.
Whether you are looking for a second home for vacations or a new family home for day-to-day living, Dennis Miller Homes is dedicated to making your home-building experience as stress-free as possible. Together, we will create a home that grows with you.
We offer custom home building services throughout southern Utah, including:
We understand that while every client has different needs, we can do our part to make our services equipped and ready to bring your dream home to life. Count on our 35 years of experience building custom homes in St. George to make your home building timeline quick, efficient, and fun.
People across the country are choosing the gorgeous locale of southern Utah to build their new custom home, and it’s easy to see why. Drive through scenic St. George, Utah, and you will quickly discover why the city is one of the fastest growing metro areas in the United States. With the juxtaposition of soaring red cliffs against the clear blue skies and pleasant weather year-round, this once sleepy retirement community has grown into a cultural mecca with plenty of outdoor amenities, fine restaurants, and entertainment venues.
St. George is frequently ranked as one of the most secure places to live, is one of the best small cities for careers, and was voted among the Best Places to Live in the United States by CNN. If St. George is your dream destination and it’s your goal to custom-build your new home, there are many Southern Utah home builders to choose from.
While there are some great home builders out there who can bring your dream home to life, some won't meet the mark. How do you choose the right home builder for you? To help narrow down your choices, Dennis Miller Homes has compiled a list of tips and questions to ask your prospective home builder.
A great home builder cares about your vision. Unlike buying a pre-built home, custom builds provide the absolute freedom to create the home you want. This customization process requires transparent communication between both parties. If you can't communicate your vision to your chosen builder clearly, then the entire home building process will be a struggle.
Look for a home builder who meets your standards and who communicates well. Do you feel confident in their ability to get the job done? Not only that, do they have a proven track record of satisfying their client base? They should provide a clear, well-written contract that outlines their deliverables, testimonies from happy clients, and a portfolio of homes they have built. Once you have vetted your home builder choices through those lenses, it’s time to take a deeper dive into your narrowed list.
Since the custom home building process is more extensive than other home construction projects, you will need to ask your prospective builder questions to understand their capabilities. They should provide clear answers to any questions you may have.
Remember — you can never ask too many questions. Building a custom home is likely the biggest investment you can make, so you must be continuously informed. Communicate what you need and expect thorough answers.
Here are a few questions that our team at Dennis Miller Homes suggests that you ask any home builder you approach:
Use these questions as the foundation of an open dialogue that ensures you choose the best custom builder to construct your St. George home.
In the age of online research, it is up to you to do your due diligence in researching your home builder. You can get a clear idea of how a builder handles the home building process by reading client testimonials posted online. Before meeting with a southern Utah home builder, scan their online reviews.
Reviews are a great way to get a sense of how a home builder operates. Consider every review, including the good and the bad. Bad reviews aren’t necessarily a deal breaker. Carefully read the review to see how the company handled their response.
Did they openly respond to the accusations or offer solutions? Assess their response to determine whether you feel comfortable trusting them with your new build. You can also bring up the review to the builder to ask how they rectified the situation.
Also, ask your prospective builder for a list of references. Contact these references to understand a builder's strengths and weaknesses. A few questions you can ask these references include:
These conversations, along with the online reviews, will give you a better idea of whether you should trust the builder to build your new dream home.
As you begin building your custom home, don't be afraid to communicate your concerns. Your custom home builder is there to help you create a home that ticks all the right boxes. If you feel that you are compromising on anything, bring it up with your builder sooner rather than later.
It’s important that you communicate your budget up front, for example. Let them know at what level you need to approve any expenditures over the project’s final estimate. Find out if you are your builder’s only client, or if the company has multiple projects in the works. Let your builder know if you plan to check on progress in-person, what communication and what rate of communication you expect, the best way to reach you and vice versa.
Finally, make sure you come to an agreement on the scope of the project. If you change your mind about a floor layout mid-way through the project, it may be too late to make significant changes without significant costs. Scope creep is a problem between clients and builders and having a discussion early on about how you will handle any changes to the final design is just as important as establishing your budget. Set expectations of deadlines and provide for small setbacks such as inclement weather.
Dennis Miller Homes is a trusted home builder offering the leading custom homes throughout St. George, Utah. Our family name has been synonymous with integrity for more than 35 years. We take pride in the quality of our work and strive to take stress and frustration out of the home building equation.
As a family-owned and business, we care about our clients. We are a passionate team dedicated to creating amazing experiences. When you move in, we want you to be excited about your home, yet sad that the home-building experience is over.
At Dennis Miller Homes, you and your custom home matter. Trust us to deliver home-building services designed to meet your needs. Contact us to schedule a consultation.
Today’s issue marks the final installment of our Custom Home Process mini series. As St. George’s premier custom home builder, we like knowing that our clients have had a tremendous experience from start to finish. We started by talking about selecting the perfect building site, outlined the creation process, explained the benefits of our design phase, gave tips on obtaining a bid from your home builder, as highlighted important features of the construction phase. Today we wrap up the series by talking about closing and moving into your new home.
The process of a home can be broken into 3 subcategories: Final Walkthrough, Closing Documents, and Handing Over the Keys.
Once all parts of the construction phase have finished and a “CO” has been obtained we will conduct a final walkthrough. During this process we will walk into each room admiring what has been created.
This is the time for your critical eyes to come out. As this final walkthrough takes place, make sure every little detail is exactly how you want it and the finished product meets expectations. Feel free to open and close cabinets, check appliances, light fixtures, etc. This house is yours to move into so make sure you love it.
Once we have done the final walkthrough and tightened up any loose ends, closing documents will be signed. Certain title documents will need to be signed and notarized with the right legal professionals, contracts with your builder will be finalized and the proper exchange of money for services will take place. Just like any legal document, make sure you read what you are signing thoroughly
The only thing left to do is hand you the keys to your home. With a smile, we will thank you for the experiences we’ve shared together and the opportunity we had to build your home. We will then present you with our closing packet which will include the details of the home warranty, access to some of our preferred vendors in St. George and the surrounding area, and other pertinent documents. The house is now officially your home.
This mini series has been enjoyable for us to create. It has helped us take a step back and look at the different opportunities there are to make sure our clients have an incredible experience building a home. Whether you choose us, or another contractor to build your home, we hope that the concepts we outlined for you will help ease the stressful process that is often associated with building. Remember, it’s not about creating a final product in a house. Instead, it’s about enjoying an experience as you watch your dreams of having a custom home come to life!
For those of you who have been following our mini series, you know that we have been talking in depth about the building process and how to make it less stressful. We started talking about the perfect building site, then moved on to the creation process, highlighted the design phase, and finally talked about the bidding process. By putting extra effort upfront in each of those respective steps, the next stage in the custom home process will be much more enjoyable. Today we are talking about the construction process.
When you get the construction phase of building, the goal is to be able to go on autopilot. If you have done the preliminary steps the right way, especially the creation and design phases, you should be able to sit back and let the professionals do their thing. So, in giving tips for the construction phase, the best tip we could give is to go back to our recent articles and make sure you’re familiar with the preliminary steps of building a home.
However, there are unique opportunities that happen during the construction phase that we want to make you aware of. These opportunities will help you feel more apart of the building experience and ultimately make you love your house even more.
If you have gone through the right steps in selecting the right home builder, then we would advise in taking a laissez faire approach during the construction phase. The home builder is a professional and knows the necessary courses of action to ensure a gorgeous final product. However, that doesn’t mean that you should be completely hands off. As a matter of fact, we advise the opposite.
It is important that you schedule regular walk-throughs of the property where both you and your home builder can walk side by side throughout the property. This critical time will allow you to ask questions in regards to the progress of your home to the contractor while they are on-site. Also, this time will enable the contractor to ask clarifying questions to you ensuring that you are getting the product you want. Making sure these walkthroughs take place will speed up the building process and ensure that you and your professional are clearly communicating.
One thing we like to do here at Dennis Miller Homes is allow our clients to take part in the construction process. After all, this is the place you will call home. We want you to feel a connection to your house and start making memories the moment we break ground. There are a few parts of the building process that we feel are monumental and that we want you to take part in.
The first step of the actual building process is breaking ground to pour the foundation. You have seen ceremonies for large construction process where ribbons are cut and shovels go in the ground. Although your home won’t be a skyscraper in New York, it will be the place that houses your family and memories. Be the one to put the shovel in the ground first and start the building process.
The First Wall
Another monumental step of building house is putting up the walls. When the framed walls go up, the structure and personality of the home start to take shape. Come help our crews lift your first wall and experience something special. One of our previous customers left us a very thoughtful review highlighting how much that moment meant to them.
Paint seems to pull out the personality of the home owners. Once the walls are painted, a client will start to see some of their personal style infused within the home. Have some fun and help us roll on some paint for the wall of your choosing. Everytime you walk by that section of your home, you’ll remember that moment with fondness.
Rolling Out the Carpet
Rolling out carpet has always been a symbol that royalty has arrived or someone important has showed up. You will be the King and Queen of your home; therefore, you deserve the royal treatment. When it comes time to lay the carpet, assist our subcontractors by unraveling a roll of carpet or two.
Although you want your home to be perfect, make sure you enjoy the construction phase. Much like a kid growing up, before you know it the fun and excitement of watching your dream home come to life will be gone. Take part of those monumental moments of building a custom home and make sure you create memories long before you move in. After all, we aren’t just going to build you a home, we are here to create an experience for you and your loved ones.
We hope that all of you have been enjoying our mini series as much as we have enjoyed creating it. Building a custom home should be a an enjoyable experience and a process you remember with fondness. We hope that our first three articles provided you with tools that will help you conquer your next build. As a recap, we have talked about selecting a building site, the creation process, and the design phase; and we’re not done yet. Now it’s time to talk about obtaining a bid from your custom home builder.
One major thing we highlighted in our last article was how important it was that we have our architect in-house. Because we have our architect in-house, we’re able to make adjustments to a client’s floor plan without having to charge them for a redraft. That advantage becomes critical during the bidding process. If for some reason we came in a little too high or too low, we can always add or take away components to the plan.
When it comes to the actual process of bidding, we usually take one of two approaches with clients. We either bid out the project with our standard allowances, or we go with a customized approach.
The Standard allowance approach is what most home builders will use. It’s the industry standard, and pretty straight forward. That standard allowance process is where a builder will draw up a client’s plan, and then based off of that plan they will start bidding the house as if the client were to put the standard components in their home. As the building process occurs the builder will then send the customer to their preferred vendor, tell them what the bid allowance is, and then have them pick components (such as light fixtures or appliances) that fall within that allowance.
The advantage to the standard process is that it speeds up the bidding phase and gives the client a little more time on making a final decision on paint color, counter tops type, floor coloring, etc. However, the main disadvantage to this process comes when a certain product a client actually wants is not in the allowance budget.
We’ve heard stories of individuals who got a bid from their builder and thought they were getting a steal of a deal. The contractor gave them a price based off the builder’s “standard allowance”, the contract was sign, the customer was excited, and the building commenced. Unfortunately, when it came time for the customer to pick out the features they wanted, they realized that the bid they were quoted only allowed for features they absolutely did not want. The customer ends up having to file 5 or more change orders and that killer price that they thought they were getting starts to climb very rapidly.
Ultimately the customer is left dissatisfied.
While Dennis Miller Homes will certainly bid a home using the standard-allowance approach, we typically prefer clients to use a customized approach. When we build your home, especially a custom home, we want you to have the features and components you want. Therefore, rather than give you our allowances, we instead send you to four or five of our main suppliers and have you choose the features you want in your home first. After you’ve picked out what you would prefer to have in your home we then provide a bid.
We feel the main advantage to obtaining a bid this way is two fold. First, if for some reason the bid comes in higher than you like, we can start changing features in your home while keeping the ones you absolutely can not live without. Second, once the bid is finalized, few change orders will have to be processed and the price you received at the beginning will be very close to the price you actually pay. Overall, this creates a better experience for both you as the customer and us as the builder.
Remember, building a home needs to be fun. Most customers are surprised at what kind of features they can actually afford; so don’t be afraid to splurge a little. If you are quoted using the standard approach, make sure you understand what the standard allowance will get you. If at all possible try and use the customized approach. It will make your building experience a lot more enjoyable.
In this issue we dive into Step 3 of our building process mini-series; The Design Phase. The idea of this mini-series was to help prospective home builders find relief to the often stressful process. In the first issue we gave useful tips and tricks for selecting the perfect building site. In the following issue we outlined what we term the creation process, and how to organize your thoughts to ensure the endeavor flows smoothly. With today’s topic, the design phase, we feel we hit the core of why people get stressed out, especially during during the preliminary process, when building a home.
When we talk about the design phase, think floor plans. During this critical step we take all of the ideas and components that you have come up with in the creation process and start sketching and designing your home. We start with rough designs and continue to iron out the details one step at a time until we arrive at a plan that you feel is flawless. When talking about it, the process seems simple enough. However, it is during this time that people often become overwhelmed feeling like they have to get the process right the first time.
So what is the source of all of the anxiety?
When individuals build a custom home, they want to make sure the final product is perfect. Who wouldn’t? After all, the family will be living in that home for the next foreseeable future. Unfortunately, when a customer gets to the design phase, most custom home builders require customers to pay for a set of plans to be drafted. To compound the problem, there are often fees when the builder has to go back to the architect with any redrafting or changes. With that industry norm in mind, individuals feel pressured to get the house plan right the first time in order to avoid fees and unwanted costs.
Hence the anxiety and pressure.
One of the things we pride ourselves on here at Dennis Miller Homes is breaking industry norms. Custom home builders often charge customers to draft floor plans and make changes because… well… they too are getting charged. It’s not that they’re malicious and are trying to nickel and dime people, it’s simply business.
Lucky for us, we have arguably the best draftsman/architect in the area as part of our team. Because we draft all of our plans in-house, we don’t have to worry about being charged when customers need to make changes. Therefore, our customers are free to make tweaks and adjustments until their house plan is deemed perfect.
Recently, we had a customer tell us that they were charged more than $15,000 for drafting house plans! He couldn’t believe that we were doing all of it for free before he had even signed a contract. He felt so relieved that he could bounce ideas off of us and make adjustments ensuring his floor plan would be just right.
Why is our change in the process such a big deal?
The biggest advantage of this type of process is the stress-free environment customers now have when going through the design phase. There is no need to get they’re house plan perfect the first go around. Instead they can approach the design phase knowing that whatever they start with can be adjusted. This process also becomes an advantage when obtaining a bid.
(Spoiler alert! We’ll talk about the bidding phase next issue)
Now that you understand our process a little better and the pressure of getting the design perfect is gone, what is the best way to approach this step of the process? The first step is to bring all of the ideas from the creation phase to us. When we hear you talk about your dreams and desires, in our minds we will be piecing together a design and developing a rough sketch.
From there, we recommend taking a look at other floor plans and seeing different layouts. Like we mentioned in our last post, looking at other floor plans will help get your wheels turning. However, some people have a hard time visualizing how their house will be simply by looking at a floor plan. If you fall into this category, no problem. Come look at some of our previous projects and get real-life visuals. We love when clients walk through the homes we’re working on.
Once we start with a rough sketch, we’ll continue to tweak designs and make needed adjustments. Once you’re satisfied, it’s on to the bidding phase! At Dennis Miller Homes, we want to not only give you an outstanding product, but, like many of our past clients, we also want you to enjoy the journey. We feel that the flexibility of our design phase will leave you more than satisfied.
People constantly stress over the preliminary processes when building a home–we see it all the time. Who should the builder be, where’s the best location for your home, what does the floor plan look like? With so much to consider it’s easy to become overwhelmed. A select few wont even consider building a custom home because of the stress. Thats why we saw the need to provide simple tools and advice to make the process a breeze. In our latest blog post we gave tips on how to choose a home builder. Realizing we just scratched the surface we wanted to dive in–dig a little deeper and provide you with all the right tools. Our new mini-series called “Custom Home Process” highlights every aspect of the preliminary process when building a home and more!
Good homes miss the mark of becoming great because of little details and missed opportunities. Dennis Miller Homes always pays attention to detail and the land location is our “blank canvas.” Every piece of land offers some hidden treasure that needs to be captured, this is what makes good homes great homes. This philosophy is the foundation for how we design and build.
The first when selecting a lot is determining what general location you want to be in. There are countless places in Southern Utah that anyone would love living. From Ivins and Santa Clara, to Hurricane and Sand Hollow, there is a place for you and your family. So how do you choose? A good place to start, if you’re raising a family, is to determine what school district you want to be in. You also might consider what St. George amenities, such as grocery stores or shopping malls, you’d like closer to home. Where do you work and how long do you want your commute to be?
Once you figure out the general location you want to build, the next thing to consider is where exactly in the subdivision you want to be. Do you want to build close to the subdivision’s access, down in the cul-de-sac, or on a corner lot? If being able to get in and out of a neighborhood quickly is important, you may consider choosing a lot near the neighborhood’s entrance. The downside is that you will experience more traffic. Do you prefer a more secluded lot? Try and find a lot at the end of a cul-de-sac. Many people like corner lots because they are often large. However, one thing to remember is that corner lots often require more landscape and maintenance. Decide what aspects you care about, and go from there.
As trivial as it may seem, the orientation of your home makes a big difference. Some people who live in colder climates are adamant about not having a house that faces north. They claim north-facing house make it more difficult to keep the snow cleared of walkways in the winter. Although we don’t deal with those types of problems here in Southern Utah, there are still some important things to consider. Are you going to have a pool? Maybe you would prefer a north-facing house so that most the day your pool receives sunlight. On the other hand, if you want a cool place for your kids to play in the summers, a south-facing house will lend more shade in the backyard. Also, the orientation of your house can affect its energy efficiency. Homes that you would prefer to be warmer and have more sunlight would be best placed on the south side of the home. If you roughly know the layout of your home, you’ll have a better idea on what side of the street you want your lot to be.
We firmly believe that St. George offers some of the best views on earth. When choosing a lot, pay attention to the views that you will have when your home is built.. Would you like your views from the front of your house or the back? Also, how will your lot affect your solar exposure? How can you best take advantage of sunrises or sunsets? Considering each of things will help when trying to select a building site.
Here at Dennis Miller Homes we believe site selection is just as important, if not more important, than the actual building plan. The building site will help us determine where we want to place windows, where we want certain rooms to be, and how we want to position the home on the lot. Whether you already have found the perfect lot, or are just starting the search process, we have the right team of professionals in place to make sure you capitalize on one of the most important phases of building a home.