Whether you’re taking the leap and building your first custom home or drawing up plans for the home you hope to retire in, it’s exciting and overwhelming. There are so many decisions to make and so many things to think about! Where do you start?

This article belongs to the Construction Process Series 

The First Steps: Getting to Know You

Your first meetings with a builder should be all about getting to know you and your family and talking about the first decisions you have to make.


Identifying What You Need and Want in a Home

First and foremost, you should discuss how much space you want, how you’d like your home to be laid out, and what kind of style fits your family. Do you need a five-bedroom multi-level home to let your growing family expand comfortably? Or would a three-bedroom ranch better fit your needs, as you look toward retirement and visiting grandchildren? Do you need extra space and a layout that allows you to have a separate home office or workspace? Talk over your options with a builder and your family, and figure out what your needs are in a home.

Next, think about what you want in a home – the amenities that will make your custom-built home uniquely your own, like a spa master bathroom, expansive deck, or gourmet kitchen. Think about what’s important to you and your family, where you spend the most time in your home, and how you like to use your space. Once you make your wish list, you can evaluate how to make it happen.


Figuring Out How You Can Make it Happen

Once you know what you need and want in a home, you’ll be able to evaluate what you can build and where. Determine how much you’re able to spend and whether you might qualify for a no-down-payment financing option. Working with your builder to find and buy property individually allows you to factor in the cost and location of your lot early in the decisionmaking processes. Whether you want to spend more money on a lot in a prime location or spend less on the lot so you can build a larger home, choose a location that fits your needs and your price range. 


Taking the Next Steps

Once you’ve made decisions about budget, style, location, and layout, your design-build team will prepare a detailed cost estimate, breaking down every aspect of how the home will be built. As your design team draws up plans and blueprints, you’ll work with your builder to finalize your financing (both a construction loan and your long-term purchase loan). This is also the time to pick out interior finishes, such as cabinetry, flooring, plumbing fixtures, windows, countertops, appliances, and all the rest of the bells and whistles!

After your builder starts drafting the blueprints, it usually takes about 45 days until you get to break ground. The construction process itself usually takes about four months, from the day the first shovel of dirt is moved to the day you turn your key in the lock.


That means you can be in a new, custom home in as little as six months.

If you’ve decided it’s time to design and build the home that’s right for your family’s next steps, what are you waiting for? Get started today.


Des Moines-area home builder Homes By Brill is your partner through the entire process of building your home — from picking out your lot to picking up your keys. See some of our 480 custom homes in our gallery, then contact us to get started on building your own dream.