What to Expect From the Custom Home Building Process + Tips for the Best Experience

Get all of the information you need to feel confident about building your dream home

If you have been considering a custom home—but aren’t quite sure how the process works—you have come to the right place! Today, we’ll be delving into the exciting world of custom home building! We’re walking you through the ins and outs of creating a truly custom home that reflects your unique taste and style.

We’ll start with initial planning and budgeting. Then we’ll discuss how Costa Homebuilders helps you plan, customize, and execute your dream home build. We’re also sharing valuable tips and insights to help you achieve the best possible experience.

When you know what to expect, you be ensuring that your dream home becomes a reality without any unnecessary stress or setbacks. Let’s dive in and explore the fascinating custom home building process!

Step 1: Choosing the Right Builder

If you’re ready to build your dream home, you need to get started with a team you can trust

For most of us, the custom home building process is equally exciting and overwhelming. You may be ready to live in the house of your dreams, but making it happen seems like a daunting prospect. The best way to get comfortable with the custom build process is to do a deep dive into the process. Once you have the information you need, you’ll feel more confident finding the builder to make it happen.

When you have an idea of all the steps involved in a custom build and the right team, 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 our New Life Custom Home Process.


Step 2: Choosing Your Lot

Now that you have a trusted builder, it’s time to choose a lot!

With the help of your builder,different lots can  align with your vision for a new home. Here are a few aspects of each lot you should consider:

      • Size

      • Slope

      • Shape

      • View from the lot

      • Development plans for nearby lots

      • Access to essentials and amenities (grocery stores, hospitals, work, parks)

      • Access to electricity, gas, water, and cable

      • Property taxes

      • Tree coverage

    When you begin searching for the best possible lot, these factors are how you will come to your final decision. Before you see a lot, write down some characteristics of your perfect lot. Then, once you begin touring lots, you’ll know exactly what to look for. If you’re feeling unsure, you can consult your builder for additional advice on selecting the right lot. 

    If you choose to partner with Costa, you can build a custom home on your own lot. During this process, you can design every aspect of your home around the land you currently own. Once you have your lot, our team will walk you through the steps necessary to build your dream home.

    Often, land that is seemingly easy to build on to the untrained eye proves to be more challenging when the builders are actually on site. Our experts are indispensable while reviewing undeveloped land to build a home on. First, we help you tackle the finer details like zoning laws. Then, we help you design and choose materials based on your plot of land. Lastly, we determine the placement of your custom home and begin the design process. 


    Step 3: Planning Time Frame and Budget

    Now that you’ve purchased your lot, its time to start setting parameters for the custom home building process

    Building a custom home requires a significant investment of time and money. There’s the cost of land, securing permits, and excavation or grading before you can break ground. Then, there’s the actual cost to construct, allowance for upgrades, and landscaping of the property. 

    Building any home is a lot like any other major life decision. There’s an astonishing amount of prep time before the construction begins. You should plan for the home building process to last anywhere from seven to sixteen months. This timeline will depend on the size and complexity of your home and the all-too-unpredictable local weather.

    Additionally, 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.


    Step 4: Putting Your Dream on Paper

    It’s time to decide on all of the premium features you want for your custom home

    modern custom kitchen with large island and brand new appliances

    Once the numbers are finalized, we’ll invite you to our design center to refine 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

    But what about cabinets and countertops, and floors? Costa has a Design Center with a wide selection of appliances, fixtures, lighting, and interior and exterior finishes. For the average custom home build, you have about a four-month window to make your interior selections.

    As part of the New Life Custom Home Process, our team works with you to showcase your taste, without selling you on something that’s too trendy or dated. This is one of the benefits of working with Costa, all of our services are included in the initial contract price. That way, you’re not at the mercy of outside salespeople when you’re picking out your fixtures and appliances.


    Step 5: Construction Begins

    As the custom home building process begins, stay up to date on any budget or timeline changes

    We’ll give you a construction timeline and keep you updated on any changes to the schedule or delays. You’re more than welcome to visit the site during the build process—just be sure to dress for a construction site!


    I Changed My Mind About The Fridge—Now What?

    Change orders are certainly allowed when you change a previously-approved line item. When construction begins, you’ll have the deadlines for changes on your selection form. That way, you have several months to fine-tune your decisions. 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 the building code. Costa pours nine feet of concrete for the foundation—not the blocks that other builders use. Our engineered flooring systems reduce the possibility of uneven flooring and minimize floor squeaks and the need for fewer support posts in the basement.


    Step 6: Your New Custom Home

    You made it! The last step is to get the keys to your new home!

    Costa custom home with landscaping and 2 car garage

    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, we’ll set up a final walk-through. 

    Our team goes over the house in detail by showing you how the mechanicals and any smart devices work and by answering any questions you may have. Above all, we want you to be thrilled with your new home!

    Your happiness with your home is our goal, and our relationships with our homeowners last well beyond the building process. Now, that we know more about how the home building process works, let’s look at a few tips that you can use to make sure you have the best experience possible.


    Tips for Simplifying the Home Building Process

    Building a custom home is a big undertaking—make sure you take all the right steps to avoid any issues or setbacks

    When you build a custom home, you have the opportunity to personally handpick every detail to match your own style, needs, and lifestyle.

    However, there are a lot of people who have concerns about the stress that can arise during the home building process. We understand! Building your own home requires a lot of decision-making and coordination. But that doesn’t mean that it needs to be unnecessarily difficult.

    To help you get through the home building process without losing any sleep, we’ve put together a few tips for minimizing stress in the custom building process: 

        1. Be as Involved as Possible in Creating Your Dream Home


      Only you have your ideal living space in mind, so it is important to be present during the planning and building process

      Even though a great home builder makes sure all your bases are covered, it is still important that you are involved in the process. After all, this is your vision that we are trying to bring to life! A great home builder will know how to create great custom homes, but only you are the expert in your tastes and preferences.

      The very first step in our New Life® Custom Home Building Process is to meet with you and talk about your dreams for your home. We love when our clients come to our team with vision boards, pictures, and ideas. The more you participate in the design and development of your custom home, the more closely you can make your dream a reality.

      After construction has begun, stop by the job site on a regular basis. Being present on-site as your home is being built helps ensure all aspects align with your vision. When you have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on with your home, you can rest assured everything is proceeding according to plan.

          1. Collaborate With Your Builder on Budget


        Avoid any last-minute surprises by asking the right questions about budgeting for your custom home

        Staying on budget is one of the greatest stress-inducers in the custom home building process. Working with a top-notch home builder is the best way to ensure you stay on track and on budget. Your builder should help you determine a realistic budget from the get-go. They should also manage it for you, so you don’t underestimate the cost of additions or modifications during the building process.

        While making decisions, you need to understand when a feature is an add-on and impacts your overall budget. A great home builder will give you a detailed list of what is included and what are upgrades. That way, you can see the big picture and prioritize what upgrades you can afford.

        The best way to get the big picture is to ask your builder the right questions. Want to make sure you have everything covered when it comes to your builders? Join our mailing list and get access to “14 Questions to Ask Your New Homebuilder.”

        At Costa, we take it a step further. There are many features included in our homes that other builders like to charge extra for. Plus, we start with your budget and wish list and design your home within those parameters. Then we use that plan to manage costs throughout the building process. Our ultimate goal is to stay on track and reduce stress on your part.

            1. Don’t Rush the Process

          Taking extra time to make decisions results in a better, more efficient building process

          The greatest benefit of building custom homes is designing every element to perfectly align with your dreams. If you are in a rush to get the show on the road while making design decisions, you could miss out on this advantage.

          Giving yourself some time to think through what you really want in every detail of your new home will ensure the home you end up with is one you will be proud to call your own.

          For this reason, our New Life® Custom Home Building Process gives you milestones to gradually make design decisions as you see your future home take shape. By giving our clients extra time to really think about these design elements, we find that it reduces the stress of making rushed choices. Ultimately, reducing rushed choices results in a house that our clients love calling home.

          Do you have questions about the custom home building process? Do you want to learn even more about Costa’s approach to custom home building? Contact Costa Homebuilders to speak with one of our team members!


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