What to Expect During the Custom Home Building Process

For most of us, the custom home building process is equally exciting and overwhelming–you’re ready to live in the house of your dreams, but making it happen is a daunting prospect. The best way to get comfortable with the custom build process is to do a deep dive into the process and then find the right partner in your builder.

When you have a good idea of all the steps involved in a custom build, and the right team, all the overwhelming parts of the process shrink back down to a manageable size. Costa Homebuilders has been building in the Pittsburgh area for four generations and guides you through the entire building process with a specialty New Life Custom Home Program.

custom home build

A Lot to Consider

The first thing to do when you’re ready to build is find a builder–not buy a lot, and certainly not design the house. Your builder is going to be your partner during the entire process, so the smart move is to determine who earns the privilege of building your house before you do anything else. When you choose Costa Homebuilders, we’ll help you with the lot selection process, and ensure that your desired spot is not only the right topography for your home, but home elevations and expectations are met.

One of the many intangible benefits of working with Costa to find your lot is that we have a deep and long-standing knowledge of the Pittsburgh market.

Planning Your Budget and Time Frame

Here is the reality–building a custom home is both an investment of your time and money. There’s the cost of the land itself, then the permitting, and the excavation or grading before you can break ground. Finally, there’s the actual cost to construct, allowance for upgrades, and landscaping the property. Costa will help you establish a budget and offer recommendations for banking and financing options. Allowing yourself 30-60 days for financing to be settled is typically the safest approach.

Building any home is a lot like having a baby–there’s an astonishing amount of prep time before the labor begins. In this case, plan on home building labor to last anywhere from seven to sixteen months, depending on the size and complexity of your home, and the all-too-unpredictable weather. The good news is that a lot of things are going on simultaneously with the Costa New Life process; you’re determining lot suitability at the same time you’re figuring out how many garage bays you need.

Putting Your Dream on Paper (or CAD)

Once the numbers are finalized, we’ll invite you to our design center to rough out your plans and finishes. Our team works with you to determine how your family lives. Do you want a lot of backyard space for playing and entertaining? A second outdoor kitchen and living room? Have you always yearned for a Tudor-style home with a stone facade and gables, or a Mediterranean-style home with arches and columns? Working together, we’ll make your dreams a reality and keep you on the right track with architectural elements and finishes.

Interiors, Appliances, and Finishes

custom home build interior

But what about cabinets and countertops and floors, you may ask. As mentioned before, Costa has a Design Center with a wonderland of appliances, fixtures, lighting, and interior and exterior finishes. Once construction is underway, you’ve got about four months to choose all the details and accents that make your home unique.

As part of the New Life Custom Home Program, our team works with you to showcase your taste, without selling you on something that’s too trendy or dated. That’s a huge benefit of working with Costa, all of our services are included in the initial contract price so you’re not at the mercy of outside sales people when you’re picking out your fixtures and appliances.

Labor In Progress

We’ll give you a construction timeline and keep you apprised of any changes to that schedule or unanticipated delays. You’re more than welcome to visit the site during the build process, but remember it is a work site and dress accordingly–no open-toe shoes or heels, please.

I Changed My Mind About The Fridge. Now What?

Change orders, when you change a previously-approved line item, are certainly allowed — it’s your home. You’ll have the deadlines for changes on your selection form, so you have several months to fine-tune your decisions and make any changes. If you decide to swap out granite countertops for quartz, or add a wet bar, a dog shower, or anything else after the fact, you’ll only be charged for the additional labor and materials.

Does My New Home Need A Warranty?

Your new Costa custom home likely doesn’t need a warranty, but you get one anyway. Costa provides a 12-year structural warranty through a third party. With this level of protection, you’re assured your home is built to standards that exceed building code. Costa pours nine feet of concrete for the foundation–not the blocks that other builders use. Engineered flooring systems guarantee level floors that don’t squeak, and the need for fewer support posts in the basement.

Welcome Yourself Home

Picture a smile from ear to ear. That’s the feeling we want you to have when you see you finished home for the first time. Before we hand you the keys and turn you loose with the movers and interior decorators, we’ll set up a final walk through. We go over the house in detail, show you how the mechanicals and any smart devices work, and answer any questions. We want you to be thrilled with your new home, and to be assured that we’re here for you.

Your happiness with your home is our goal, and our relationships with our homeowners last well beyond the building process.


Recommended Posts


To obtain more details on this specific model and to get more pricing information, please call us at 412-384-8170.