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How long does it take to build a home from start to finish?

“Always pick your yard based on your Summer lifetstyle.”


December 20, 2018 - Karl Yeh

Wondering how long you have to wait before you can move into your brand new home? In this episode, we discuss how long it takes to build a brand new home including the stages such as framing, mechanical installation and final walk-through. We also explore common issues that could impact home construction timelines. 

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Hi everyone, I'm Karl Yeh. Welcome to another Homebuyer's School video, a channel where you get the latest strategies, tactics and tips from home buying experts.

And remember, if this is your first time on this channel, and you want to get the latest strategies from the experts, hit the subscription button below. Hit the little notification bell, so you don't miss anything.

Karl Yeh:                             

So, today, I'm joined by Kristy Seibert, Area Manager with Brookfield Residential, and the question we're going to answer today is:

How long does it take to build a house from start to finish?


Kristy Seibert:                   

Great question, Karl.

So, to start the home building process, we would need to make sure you've selected your lot, or your home site, and which home you'll be building there.

So, something to consider is that sometimes builders have applied for permits ahead of time, so they already have their building permits ready to go, and that would allow construction to start right away on your home.

If permits aren't in place yet, then that's a process that can take anywhere from about a month to three months to get the permit submitted to the city, receive them back, have the development permit ready, and the building permit.

So, that's something that can take a little bit of time, so keep that in mind, that even before your home starts construction, there could be kind of a set time.

Karl Yeh:                              A delay.

Kristy Seibert:                    Yeah.

Karl Yeh:                             That's obviously something you'd ask your builder for when-

Kristy Seibert:                   

Yes, yes. They'll know whether there's permits for that home, or if it's something that has to be done after the purchase.

Karl Yeh:                             

And so, how come from a permit process, how come the builder hasn't gotten all the permits yet when they're doing construction? How come there are delays sometimes?

Kristy Seibert:                   


So, sometimes a lot is predetermined which home will be built there.

So, in that case, the builder can apply for permits ahead of time, have them ready to go. But in other cases, we will let you choose exactly which home, which layout to be built on that lot.

So, in that case, we wouldn't be able to apply for building permits ahead of time, because we don't know what's going to be built there.

Karl Yeh:                             

Got it. Got it. So, let's say, okay, we got the permits, your house is being constructed, so what's the next step?

Foundation and framing

Kristy Seibert:                   

Right. So, your builder will issue a start date for your.

So, they'll let you know when your home starts construction, and with that they'll start to dig for the foundation, pouring the foundation, and that usually takes a few weeks just to make sure everything cures properly.

Next step would be framing

So, you'll see your home start from the ground up, and then be fully framed, add the windows in, and kind of seal your home.

Karl Yeh:                             

During the framing and maybe laying the foundation, are you able to visit your home? Like, are you able to visit the site, just you know, to have a look, see how it's going?

Kristy Seibert:                   

You can see it from the street, but you're not supposed to go on the property.

Even if someone from the builder is present with you, it's a construction site, so it's not really safe to be visiting at that time.

So, you are actually provided a walk through after the next step.

Karl Yeh:                              Oh, okay.

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Finishing interior mechanicals

Kristy Seibert:                   

So, the next step would be finishing the interior mechanicals. So, your electrical, plumbing, all of that.

And once that's all complete, then you would be invited for a walk through with the builder, so that you can see what goes on in behind your walls before insulation and drywall are put up.

Karl Yeh:                             

So, you actually can see, even before a house has all the paint or whatever, you can see kind of like the base foundation of your house.

You can even walk through it?

Kristy Seibert:                  

Yes. Yes. So, it is an appointment that's setup with the construction team.

So, again, right, safety has to be our top priority.

So, with that, you have to wear a hardhat and closed toe shoes, and kind of be prepared that you're going on a construction site.

So, only people on the purchase agreement can attend that walk through for safety reasons, and no one under the age of 18 could be there.

Karl Yeh:                              Got it.

Kristy Seibert:                   

But it's a great opportunity to see the progress of your home, and see what goes on behind your walls before the drywall is put up.

Karl Yeh:                             

Okay, so, after that's done, you've done your walk through, what's the next step?

Interior finishing

Kristy Seibert:                   

So, after that walk through, then it would come insulation, drywall, painting, and then all of your finishing.

So, that usually starts with your cabinets, then your flooring, countertops from there.

So, just kind of the finishing touches of your home, and that part goes really quickly.

Typically, once you have the mechanical walk through completed, you will take possession about two to three months after that.

How long from when a purchase agreement is signed to when your mechanicals are inside your home?

Karl Yeh:                             

How long does it take from the moment you, you've signed your agreement, and when your house is building, to the first walk through, the walk through when you have the mechanicals inside the house.

Kristy Seibert:                    Right.

Karl Yeh:                              How long is that usually? What's the timeframe for that?

Kristy Seibert:                    So, once construction starts, it's usually about two to three months.

Karl Yeh:                              Two to three months, okay.

Kristy Seibert:                   

Before you get your first walk through. Just because those first steps are very crucial, and they take a little bit longer.

Karl Yeh:                             

And so, after that first walk through, you said another two to three months to complete the next part, right?

Kristy Seibert:                    Right.

Karl Yeh:                              So, you're looking probably around four to six months, right?

Kristy Seibert:                   

Yeah, and every build is going to be different, so it's important to ask your builder how long they kind of estimate.

Also, something that should be written in your purchase agreement is kind of a timeline for your home. So, we can't give an exact possession date.

Karl Yeh:                              For sure, for sure.

Kristy Seibert:                   

That far in advance. But we have to have your home finished within a certain period of time.

Insert real estate purchase contract

Karl Yeh:                             

Does the construction season, or weather impact the construction of your house, or does it go year round?

Kristy Seibert:                   

So, we can build year round here, but it can effect the timeline.

So, sometimes, homes built in the summer can go up a little bit quicker than homes built in winter.

Karl Yeh:                              Obviously, yeah.

Kristy Seibert:                    But there shouldn't be a huge difference.

Karl Yeh:                             

Oh, okay. Okay.

And in terms of like, from start to finish,

Are there any common issues that may maybe prevent your house being built in a timely manner?

Kristy Seibert:                   

So, something that's important to make sure of when you write your purchase agreement, is to select all of your interior finishes as quickly as you can.

Karl Yeh:                              Yeah.

Kristy Seibert:                   

So, we have timelines for that, just to make sure that there's no delays waiting for materials, so that when it comes time to install the flooring in your home-

Karl Yeh:                              You've selected it.

Kristy Seibert:                   

It's selected, it's ordered, it's ready to go, so there's no delays based on waiting for materials.

Karl Yeh:                             

And that's sort of still upon you and the builder when that construction of your house happens, you're selecting all the interior finishes.

If there's a delay there, then there's obviously going to be a delay in your construction, right.

Is there like, a time frame that you have to pick it, or the builder's just going to wait until you actually make your decision?

Kristy Seibert:                   

There are certain timelines.

So, typically, you'll have your interior selections chosen within the first two weeks of construction starting.

Karl Yeh:                              Oh, okay. So, you can't just wait the first two months while your house is being built. 

Kristy Seibert:                    No.

Karl Yeh:                              So, you actually got to come in, and actually get the right flooring.

Kristy Seibert:                    Yes.

Karl Yeh:                              Okay.

Kristy Seibert:                    And once those selections are made, they cannot be changed.

Karl Yeh:                             

That was my ... actually, the next question I had is, what if you change your mind on the, like say the flooring, or ... you're kind of stuck with it.

Is there opportunities to change it later after the fact, or that's that?

Kristy Seibert:                   

I mean, what you do with your home afterwards is up to you, but we have to keep timelines in mind, so the builder is always going to make that a top priority.

And you know, making sure that you have those selections made is very important, because they will be ordered, and ready to go for your home.

Karl Yeh:                             

So, once, let's say, your house is finished, I think you go through your final walk through, and we have a video on that, as well.

Yeah, you go through your final walk through, what's the step after that? Do you just full take possession, and that's it?

Final possession

Kristy Seibert:                   

Yeah. So, you have your final walk through typically about a week to two weeks before your possession date.

Anything that needs to be touched up will be touched up by the time you take possession.

Karl Yeh:                              Yeah.

Kristy Seibert:                   

So, then on your possession day, you'll do another quick walk through. Make sure that those items have been taken care of and addressed, and then after that, you get to move in.

Karl Yeh:                             

Wow, that's exciting. Just to recap the steps:

1. So the first part is you sign your contract purchase, and then your construction starts.

2. Then you have about a couple of weeks to select your interior finishes, right?

Kristy Seibert:                    Yes.

Karl Yeh:                             

And then, between for the next two to four months,

3. your foundation's being built,

4. the framing's being built,

5. mechanicals inside.

6. Then you go through a walk through, right?

Kristy Seibert:                    Yes.

Karl Yeh:                             

And then, after that walk through,

7. another two to four months for everything else, the paint and appliances moved in, and everything like that,

8. then you do another walk through, and in case you find any kind of, I guess, issues there.

Kristy Seibert:                    Yeah, any deficiencies.

9. And the builder goes out and fixes it, and then one more walk through, and then you take possession.

Kristy Seibert:                    Yes.

Karl Yeh:                              Is that kind of the entire process?

Kristy Seibert:                    Yeah. Yeah.

Karl Yeh:                             

Awesome. Anything else to add in terms of start to finish of the home building process?

Kristy Seibert:                   

Feel free to drive by your home as often as you want. Take a look at the progress. Something that your sales representative might do is give you updates along the way.

So, if that's something that you're really looking for, make that clear to them. It's something that they will absolutely accommodate just to make sure you have a great experience, and you always know what stage your home is at.

And then, after that, I mean, it's good to go to those walk throughs.

So, the walk through at the mechanical stage is optional, but I think it's a fantastic opportunity to see what goes on behind the walls of your home, see how it's built. Again, ask those questions about how to operate your home, how to maintain it, and so a great opportunity to meet your construction team, as well.

Karl Yeh:                             Perfect. Awesome.

Kristy Seibert:                    So, those walk throughs are very important, and I really suggest attending them.

Karl Yeh:                              Great. So, question of the day here is:

How long did it take you to build your home when you bought it, and did you actually take part in all the walk throughs?

Let us know in the comment section below. Thank you very much for joining us, and we'll catch you next time.


Your turn:

Let us know if you have additional home buying questions that we can answer by submitting them in the comments section below. 

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About Kristy Seibert:

Kristy graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Arts double majoring in Sociology and Human Geography & Urban Planning. After building a new home of her own, she learned more about the process of buying and selling homes and wanted to explore career options in the housing industry. Kristy has been working with Brookfield Residential for 4 years and has sold homes in five different Brookfield communities. She has experience with Single Family, Duplex and Multi-Family homes and enjoys building relationships with her homeowners and guiding them through every stage of their homebuying journey!

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