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Upstate NY Custom Home Building Blog

Steps to Building Your Greater Rochester Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose

Mon, May 15, 2023 @ 08:05 AM

Steps to Building Your Greater Rochester Custom Home

Building a custom home in the Finger Lakes is not an overnight process. It’s quite different than buying an existing home. The custom home-building process is also more involved than building a new home that’s identical to all the others around it. So what does the custom home building process look like? There are lots of details, but it is manageable (and exciting) if you approach the process properly—by taking one step at a time. Here's a look at everything that goes into planning a custom home. This blog will take you from a dream in your heart to the day you're standing on your new doorstep. You'll notice we spend extra time talking about the early stages of the custom home building process because excellent planning leads to spectacular results.

Start with a Realistic Budget

The planning stages are vital in setting your project up for success. One of the first things you should do is establish a realistic budget. What you are willing or able to spend plays a big role in determining what you can build. Homeowners can get themselves in trouble with pricey plans and upgrades that exceed their budget. If you try to build more than you can really afford, you can end up “house poor.” You may have your dream house, but you may find yourself struggling to afford fun in the future. If you spend less than you really should, you may save some money, but you probably won’t be happy with the quality, size, or features of your new home. Remember: Your goal is not to save money (or overspend!), but to get the best home you can at a fair price. And knowing what your budget is is the first step in building a house of quality. Here's some help in setting a realistic budget for your Rochester-area custom home.

Select the Perfect Lot

Different homeowners want different things from their lot. Some opt for convenience (proximity to schools, work, or regular events). Some are more concerned with views or seclusion. But no matter what drives your choice, you’ll have to select your lot before you get too far down the road with specific design details because the physical characteristics of the land can determine the structure of the house you build on your lot. It's important to factor in the cost of earthwork, tree removal, and bringing utilities to the building site. Choosing a pre-engineered building site means your lot will be ready to build without extensive expense. Here's an article that offers help for this critical part of the custom home building process.Aerial view of a new construction home and lot in Rochester

Find the Best Greater Rochester Home Builder

Selecting the construction team that will be building your dream home is every bit as important as choosing your lot, your plan, and making your budget. Many homeowners begin by selecting the builder or contractor who then selects the other members of the team. The good news is that a good general contractor is already connected to the best people in town. Check out this article for tips on what to look for in a custom builder.

Determine Your Design

Gerber Homes offers an extensive collection of floor plans from which to choose! Options range from estate-sized acreage home sites to smaller single-story homes. Each floor plan can be customized to give you complete control of the final product. If you want something specific, you can still enjoy the outstanding quality and craftsmanship of a Gerber Homes—a home that's built based on your own plans! 

Open concept first floor layout of home from kitchen

Understand the Construction Process

We’re not suggesting that you become an expert in home construction. At the same time, it’s helpful for you to have some background information about what happens in the various stages of building a house. There will be times when it doesn’t look like a lot is happening. Despite appearances, there are important activities underway to set each part of the project up for success. Click here for a look at what happens in key stages of the construction process. It will help you to be more comfortable when it feels like things aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like, or you're not sure what will happen next.

Exterior view of construction progress on Rochester custom home (1)

Seal the Deal with a Custom Home Contract

The final step to take before beginning to build is to secure a written contract signed and dated by both the builder or contractor and the architect or designer (unless the architect’s designer is a sub-contractor of the builder). A new home construction contract should describe the project in detail and should include a list of all the components included in the house. If you make any changes to the project, be sure to amend the contract, so there are no unwanted surprises later.

Build Your Greater Rochester Custom Home

It's time to make it real. About 6 and 8 months once construction is started with an additional 2-3 months prep work prior to construction start. Your contractor is your best resource for the order of operations for your custom construction, but you can generally expect the following basic steps during your new home construction process.

  • Earthwork/Site Prep
  • Foundation
  • Framing
  • Windows and Doors
  • Plumbing/Electrical/HVAC
  • Roof
  • Insulation and Drywall
  • Trim and Paint
  • Finishing Touches
  • Final Walk-Through

Completed new construction exterior of two-story home

If you’re looking for more details (and ideas) for building a custom home from the ground up, we invite you to download our free Custom Home Guide.  Still have questions? Ready to get started? Gerber proudly serves the greater Rochester, NY area and would be pleased to talk about your plans.


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