A Comprehensive New Home Design Checklist

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A Comprehensive New Home Design Checklist

When you think of buying a house, you may want to have one that is custom-built for your unique needs. This process can be challenging with so many things to keep track of and consider along the way. If you know how the building process works and what to expect during each stage, you can better navigate the situation to help make your dream home a reality much easier. Here’s a comprehensive new home design checklist to help guide you through the process.

Select a Design Plan

Before the building process can begin, you will need to select an already created stock home design plan or work with an architect to come up with a new one. This will help you figure out what you can afford and help you narrow down the most important details. These details include things like the total square feet of your new home and where certain rooms will be located.

Stock home designs are typically the most cost-effective and can be modified to meet any special requirements you may have. These buildings can usually be constructed within a matter of a few days since they are already prepared with no obstacles to work out or overcome. Custom house plans provide much more flexibility but can be more expensive and take from six months to a year to construct. Figure out how much you’re willing to spend and the timeframe you desire for the work to get done.

Construction Financing


New home design construction can cost you anywhere from $80 to $200 per square foot. You will need to have enough money for purchasing land, home construction, and landscaping costs. There are also local fees and taxes, utility setup charges, and design and engineering fees to consider as well. Plan to have a cushion for unexpected expenses since most building projects typically don’t work out exactly as planned. Weather delays, missed deadlines, and extra material costs can eat into your budget so make sure to give yourself a bit of wiggle room.

To pay for your new home design, you’ll most likely have to take out a construction loan. Plan to put as a down payment at least 20% of your total loan amount. Construction loans don’t work in the same way that home loans do. These short term loans are paid out from lenders in installments as certain construction milestones are achieved to protect the lender and keep everything on a budget. Construction loans are required to be refinanced after a year has passed and converted into a regular home loan when the building work is finished.

Hire Your Team

You will need to hire certain people in order to get the work completed. One team member you may need is an architect. This person will help you draw up your new home design plan and give you advice along the way on what can and can’t be done. You will also need to hire a general contractor to help bring your dream home to life. Other team members you may consider hiring are an interior designer, plumber, electrician, landscape architect, or kitchen and bath designer.

The team members you choose will highly depend on your budget. You can get recommendations from family and friends or check online reviews for the team members you’re considering. Before hiring, have an in-person meeting with them to get references from past clients and ask plenty of questions. Get at least three bids from potential general contractors before making any final decisions. Choose the ones you feel most the most comfortable with and whose visions for your new home design closely match yours.

Choose a Location

You will also need to find a piece of property to build your new home design on. Shop around the best family neighborhoods in your area to get estimates on the costs per acre. Make sure that the home design you selected will fit on the land and meet local zoning requirements. You can find plenty of potential properties by checking various real estate websites online. Look for neighborhoods with everything your family will need nearby, such as grocery stores, shopping centers, and excellent educational facilities for your elementary school age children.

Any land that you are purchasing will most likely have building restrictions attached to it. These restrictions may affect what you can have for your new home design’s style, height, square footage, and color. Get a copy of the regulations from your city government or local attorneys and make sure you read and understand them thoroughly. Hiring a reputable real estate agent in your local area can help you immensely in finding the perfect property for your dream home.

Building Permits and Insurance

Once you have your property to build on and your construction financing is secured, you will need to obtain insurance as well as the necessary building permits. Most of the time, the builders will take care of the permits for you. However, it’s a good idea to double-check that this task has been achieved properly or do it yourself to make sure it gets done.

You will need to make sure to have general liability insurance in place to protect you and the construction workers. This insurance can either be provided by you or through the builder. You will also need to have workman’s compensation insurance in place as well as construction insurance. Course of construction protects against damages and replacement costs related to things like fires and vandalism.

Walk Through Inspections

During the building of your new home design, there will be times for periodic walkthrough inspections for you to check in on the progress that’s being made. These inspections are designed to help catch any potential problems in the new home design building process early. This way, they can be corrected before the construction work is completely finished.

Many builders discourage their customers from coming to the building site unannounced due to safety reasons. They don’t want you to slip and fall or get hurt by falling objects that will end up requiring you to seek treatment from doctors in your local area. You will need to schedule the walkthrough inspections with the builder in advance.

Structural Work

Once you have found your perfect piece of property, it will be time for the actual building process to begin. This includes pouring the concrete for the foundation of your new home design and building the walls. Your home will also need a new roof during this time as well. This framework will also set up where all the various rooms and stairs will be. This is the time where you will decide where all the electrical outlets will go as well.

Heating and Cooling System Installation

The heating, ventilation, and cooling system (HVAC) is the next item on your new home design checklist. Contractors will work to put in the ductwork for your HVAC installation. This is done before any electrical work is performed so the wires can be wrapped around the pipes.


Insulation will help your new home design be more energy efficient. There are several types of insulation to choose from. These include fiberglass, cellulose, spray foam, foam mineral wool, concrete blocks, foam board, and structural insulated panels. The material is typically installed into basements, floors, sidewalls, and attics. Kraft paper is also generally attached to this material to act as a vapor barrier to keep out moisture. Some material even has a flame-resistant backing in areas where the insulation will be exposed.

Plumbing and Electrical

Now that the structural frame is in place, the next step is to install the plumbing and electrical systems. The contractors will run wires and pipes through the floors, walls, and ceilings. Sewer vents and water supply lines will also be installed during this time. Toilets, sinks, and faucets are installed as well as light fixtures, switches, and outlets. After all the work is finished, a home inspector will take a look at all the work to make sure everything is done correctly with your new home design.

Drywall, Doors, and Windows

Once all the wiring and insulation is in place, then the wall will be reinforced with drywall. Once it is dry, it can then be painted in the colors of your choosing. The builders will also install windows and doors along with decorative trim for the baseboards.

They will also work on the new home design’s exterior. There are many options to choose from for how the outer layer of your home will look. You can choose to have regular siding installed or go with a brick, stucco, stone, or red cedar outer layer.


At this stage, your new home design will actually start to look like you imagined in the beginning. Flooring throughout all the rooms will be installed as well as trim, moldings, and cabinets. You’ll need to decide what type of flooring will work well for your lifestyle and budget. There are many excellent styles and colors to choose from including hardwood, tile, carpet, and concrete to name a few.

Interior Design Elements

You’ll need to decide on some interior design elements for your new home. What materials will you decide on for your kitchen counters and cabinets and what will the layout look like? Will you need new appliances? Do you want special luxury amenities installed such as a Jacuzzi or a built-in sauna? What color paint will be in each room and where will the shelves go? Now is the time to start setting up exactly how the interior space will look and what function it will provide.


Once the new home design is completely finished, work on the landscaping can begin. During this time, workers can build your driveway and sidewalks as well as decks and patios. Now is also a good time to plant trees and flowers. Depending on your budget, you may have a patio or pool built as well.

Final Walkthrough

After all the work is completed on your new home design, it will be time for you to do a final walkthrough to inspect the entire build. Make sure that you go through every single room and inspect everything to ensure you’re satisfied with the work. Turn on all the lights and the HVAC system to see if they are working properly. Open up and close all the window doors. Turn on faucets and flush the toilet.

Inspect the flooring for gaps and look for any scratches or cracks. Take note of anything you would like to correct and communicate this list to the builder. Once all the corrections have been made, a building code inspector will review the building work and issue a certificate of occupancy if everything is up to standard. If not, the official will wait to issue the document until all uncovered defects have been corrected.

New Furniture

Now that your new home design is fully completed, why not decorate it with some brand new furniture? Your sofa has probably already experienced at least 1,600 spills on it during its lifetime if it’s like any of the average furniture in the United States. Having new furniture will add to the freshness of your brand new home.

Time To Move In

Now that your new home design is ready, it’s time to move in. Hire a moving company to help you move all your stuff and collect the keys to your new home. If you own the home you’re moving out of, this is the time to start putting it up for sale. You will also need to start converting the construction loan into a conventional home loan and acquiring home insurance for your new home design.

Building a new home design can be a tough but rewarding experience. By following the items on this checklist, you will be able to create the home of your dreams that you and your family will love for years to come. Sit back and enjoy the fruits of your hard labor and don’t forget to thank the builders for a job well done.

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