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Newcomer’s guide to the new home construction process

April 22, 2024

If you’re considering having a new home built rather than opting to purchase a previously-owned home, congratulations. It’s a smart move! A new home delivers a wealth of benefits, including peace of mind from knowing that your home is protected by a one-year builder’s warranty. Before you start, let’s walk through the steps involved so you’re clear on what to expect and when. 

Here’s a step-by-step newcomer’s guide to the new home construction process. After finishes, colors and selections have been chosen, the construction team sets your home in motion.

  1. Step 1: Site prep. The crew clears the homesite of trees, large rocks and debris to prepare the property for building. The footings are put in place. Concrete is poured for the foundation and once it’s cured, waterproofing is applied. The crew then installs the first-floor plumbing connections, including drains, sewer, and water taps. The surrounding soil is backfilled to the outside of the foundation, filling in the moat-like gap around it. 
  2. Step 2: First Inspection. The building inspector checks the foundation to ensure it’s up to code.
  3. Step 3: Framing. The frame of the house (wall, floor and roof systems) are constructed and then wrapped in protective sheathing. This cover protects the frame from water seepage into the wood itself, which could lead to wood rot or mold, while providing a means for vapor to escape. The roof is added, sealing the home before the interior works is begun. 
  4. Step 4: Plumbing, electrical and HVAC. When the framing is done, the rough plumbing, electrical, and HVAC contractors get to work, setting up the infrastructure for these systems. Vents and water supply and sewer lines are installed. HVAC installs the ductwork, heating, ventilation, air conditioning vents and pipework. The plumbers and electricians run pipes and wire through the home’s interior walls, floors and ceilings. 
  5. Step 5: Second Inspection. The building inspector examines the framing, electrical, plumbing and mechanical systems at this point. You might have different inspectors—one for the frame, another for the other systems. 
  6. Step 6: Insulation. Exterior walls, floors and ceilings are insulated. Ideal Homes & Neighborhoods uses a blown-in insulation that reaches every nook and cranny to ensure the most energy efficient home possible.
  7. Step 7: Drywall. Drywall or Sheetrock is hung. Seams are taped so they’re hidden. A primer coat is applied in preparation for finishing. 
  8. Step 8: Exterior finish. Your new home’s exterior is applied—e.g., siding, stucco, stone, or brick. 
  9. Step 9: Interior trim. The window and door trim, casings, moldings, mantels, railings, and other interior trim are installed and painted. 
  10. Step 10: Exterior walkways. The walkways, driveway, and patio are constructed at this point, after the heavy equipment use is finished. The grading is added to drain water away from the home. 
  11. Step 11: Flooring and countertops. The hard surface flooring (tile, wood, laminate) and all countertops (including vanities) are installed. 
  12. Step 12: Lighting fixtures and mechanical trims. Your light fixtures are installed, along with the outlets and switches. The electrical panel is installed. Plumbing fixtures (toilets, sinks and faucets) are added. HVAC is finished. 
  13. Step 13: Finishing. The interior finishes are addressed in this step. This includes installing carpet, hanging mirrors and shower doors. Outside, the lawn and landscaping are completed. 
  14. Step 14: Third Inspection. The building inspector completes one more assessment to ensure your new home meets all building codes. When approved, a certificate of occupancy (CO) is issued. If any concerns are identified, the inspector provides a written list, and the home will require another inspection before the CO is awarded. 
  15. Step 15: The walkthrough. Before the closing, you will do a final walkthrough with your builder and Customer Care rep. This is your opportunity to learn how everything works—e.g., which light switch to flick, how your HVAC works, how to open and close the windows. You also need to observe details. If there’s a nick in a door or wall, a scratch on a floor, a cracked tile, or a dent in an appliance, point it out during this walkthrough so that you can show the damage was done before you occupied the home. Your builder will make a list of all repairs the must be completed. Then determine the time frame for having all corrections completed and get it in writing. With good communication between you and your homebuilder, the new home construction process is exciting. You get to watch your home emerging from a vision to a reality!