Are you looking to build a new home? If so, prepare yourself for a rather protracted process. There is nothing simple or quick about residential construction. Everything takes time; more time than property owners tend to plan for.
You should know that how you choose to build will affect how long it takes. This post will look at four different options: manufactured housing, built for sale, contractor-built, and owner-built. The cited data is from a 2020 U.S. Census Bureau survey that shows average build times based on when permits were first issued.
The shortest building time is observed in manufactured housing. A manufactured house is one that is built in a factory and then moved to the home site upon completion. Manufactured homes can be mobile homes, prefabs, and modular homes.
The average build time for manufactured housing in 2020 was about four months. This assumes that the buyer has land secured and that the land is already improved and ready to accept the home. When improvements have to be made, building time is extended by however long it takes to get the work done.
Built for Sale
Homes in this category are more or less housing tract homes. They are built by developers who buy up large chunks of land, subdivide it, then build a few different styles of homes in a community setting. In 2020, the average build time for these types of homes was 6.5 months.
The advantage of a built for sale project is that land is already improved and prepared for building before lots are offered for sale. Likewise, builders limit themselves to the number of different home styles they build. Once a project is underway, builders get into a groove and keep things moving.
Next up are contractor-built homes. In 2020, the average build time in this category was 10.7 months. The extra time is needed because you are dealing with a custom build. Where built for sale homes only come in a limited number of options, contractor-built homes are custom homes.
One of the first phases of contractor-built home construction is architectural design. According to Park City, Utah’s Sparano + Mooney, architects need at least a couple of months to draft plans, get them approved, and get the ball rolling on construction. Their services alone would account for the time disparity between contractor-built and built for sale homes.
The final category has the longest build time. Owner-built homes in 2020 took an average of 14.3 months to complete. Again, this is assuming that the time commitment begins with the first permit. However, there is a lot more to owner building than the actual construction itself.
Sparano + Mooney says it is not unusual for their clients in the Park City area to begin working on a building project up to a year before the first shovel goes into the dirt. Owners who build their own homes spend a lot of time finding land, improving it, and dealing with local officials in advance of construction. When they get the go-ahead, they still have to hire an architect and building contractor. They also have to deal with financing. All of this takes time.
If you are planning to build your own home, start with a six-month time frame as your minimum. The more complex your project is, the longer it will take. Also understand that construction delays are fairly routine. Your builder may tell you seven or eight months; plan on 10 to 11. You will never be disappointed if you overestimate.