How Long Does It Take to Design and Build a Custom Home in 2023?

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November 30, 2022
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Arbor Builders
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Building a custom home can be one of life’s most rewarding experiences – if planned right. One key element in that planning is understanding the timing of a build. With it, you will know how to budget for the job throughout each stage and when to make design decisions and purchases so that the building company has everything they need on time.   

Hiring a reliable builder and knowing the estimated timing for each phase of the project goes a long way to helping you maintain a smooth and economical build – especially now. The country is experiencing material shortages, labor shortages, and shipping issues that are creating unexpected delays that can test your timeline and budget. 

By having a strong understanding of today’s timing for designing and building a home, you can plan accordingly to minimize issues. An experienced design-build company can aid you in this process while also helping you maintain a more affordable build and avoid one of the most costly aspects of home building: change orders. 

This article lays out estimated timing at each project stage so that you have a basic idea of what to expect.

How Long Does it Take to Design and Build a Custom Home? 

Timing is not always consistent. Home builds averaged 7 to 11 months in previous years, but current labor and product shortages and shipping delays have moved production times out as long as 15 to 24 months. 

Knowing the timing at designated phases is also important. With it, you will know:

  • When specific materials are due
  • When payments to your design-build company are required
  • How far along you are in the building process is to help you account for other costs like your current and new mortgages and when to sell your current home. 

Purchasing land 

30-40 days or more

If you found the land you want, the buying process can go as quickly as two weeks if you pay cash, or 30-40 days if using a mortgage. Of course, timing can go much longer if you are waiting for that ideal piece of land. 

Remember that your design-build company may have lots for sale and semi-custom home designs to fit it, saving you time and money. 


  • Fully Custom: 6 months to 2 years
  • Semi-Custom: 1-3 months, depending on the number of changes

This timing is tough to nail down because it is largely based on your design’s complexity. Timing from an architect can be around four months for the typical home. If you are designing something intricate with multiple revisions, the home design alone can go much longer, even as long as two years. 

Again, a semi-custom design by a design-build company can speed up the process while offering some design ideas you may not have considered. That said, a quality design-build company can do fully custom work. Remember that their preset options and finishes for semi-custom homes may be worth knowing while helping you gain quicker and more affordable bids. 


1-2 months

Every builder is different, and you may have more than one builder bit the project, so give yourself a few months for this process. 


1-2 weeks

Your builder will most likely have a standard contract to cover common issues and keep approval speedy, but the company may need to make revisions, and you may have requirements they need to consider and include. A two-week timeframe to request multiple contracts and review them carefully and fully should suffice. 

Loan Approvals

Estimated 2-6 weeks once loan materials are provided

You can obtain a mortgage to cover your building costs, such as a construction-to-permanent loan, a construction-only loan, or a conventional mortgage. This process can be complex and may run from a few weeks to as long as six weeks (if you are a first-time homebuyer.) The lender will need to provide all construction details, from floor plans to insulation choices. Your builder can help you assemble all the material selections into a “blue book.” 


5 to 12 weeks Рor longer 

Timing varies based on your location, so inquire with your builder to get a realistic estimate. Unfortunately, timing has increased in most areas of the country, even here in Oregon. Typically, permitting runs 2-4 weeks for residential homes in Oregon, but now it can extend as long as two months. 


Below is a typical timeframe for each phase of physical construction, but as stated earlier, the US is experiencing profound material shortages, labor shortages, and shipping issues. Check with your builder to spot which phases could have delays and by how long.  

Note also that the time of year that you begin your build makes a difference in overall timing, such as if you build during rainy or snowy times of the year.  

Preparing the Lot

1-2 weeks

Trees will require removal, and the land will be flattened or sculpted to accommodate your design. The architect and contractor will then lay out the home with markers and excavate to prepare the foundation. 


2 weeks or until dry

This step involves laying the concrete footings and foundation concrete foundation. 


1-2 months

Your contractor will begin framing the home walls and roof with studs and cover it with sheathing to protect against the weather. 

Plumbing, Electrical, and HVAC

2-4 weeks 

With the walls as studs in place, this is the time to lay all electrical, plumbing, and HVAC units. This phase also requires an initial inspection prior to installing insulation. 

Insulation and Drywall/Sheetrock 

1-2 months

Your insulation keeps your home at a comfortable temperature for low heating bills while reducing exterior noise. Workers will lay the insulation between all walls and ceiling studs, and then the walls are covered with drywall or sheetrock.  

Interior Finishes 

1-2 months

This is the stage where the detailed interior elements begin to take shape. Cabinets, countertops, trim, and plumbing fixtures are installed, and all areas are primed for paint. Once this is done, the flooring is layed in and final painting is completed. 

Exterior Finishes

2-4 weeks

With the most labor-intensive elements installed inside, the construction team will install exterior elements like brick and wood siding. 

Interior Mechanical Work

1 week

Now the interior light switches and lighting fixtures go in, and toilets, sinks, and tubs are connected to the plumbing piping.

Exterior Walkways and Driveways

1 week 

The exterior driveway and walkways are poured and flattened. 


1 week 

Now the grass, bushes, and trees are planted, and all water lines are properly installed. 

Inspections by You and Your Builder

1 week or longer

Now the entire home is cleaned for inspection by you and your contractor, and a final punch list is made to complete all needed fixes or touchups. The timing for this stage will depend on the number of issues that require fixing. 

Final Cleaning, Inspection, and Document Submission

1 week 

It is time for a thorough, final cleaning to make your home presentable for inspection and move-in. Your architect/builder then submits all building documentation to the city along with a record of the Certificate of Occupancy. 

Move in!

Now we finally reach the stage you have been waiting for: the time when you move into your custom home. If you have used a quality builder, you will experience enjoyment that will last a lifetime. 

Arbor Builders: For Quality Builds that Save Time

A huge component to ensuring you get a quality and timely build is working with experienced builders who excel in reliability and efficiency. Arbor Builders has extensive experience with fully custom and semi-custom homes of all sizes and knows how to budget and time projects so you have a realistic understanding of what to expect – even in today’s world. 

Contact us to learn how we can help you make the custom home of your dreams and meet your expectations. 

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