Building a house may not be the right choice for everyone, but it can be a great way to ensure that you live in a home you love. One of the major downsides to building your home, though, is how much time passes from breaking ground to moving in. When you purchase an existing home, you’ll typically be moving in within a couple months. If you build your house, the process takes much longer.
The length of time it can take to build a house varies dramatically based on the size of the home, the location, and the current market. However, it’s important to have a general idea of the timeline so that you can plan accordingly. By understanding all of the factors at play, you can approach your home building project with confidence.
Average Length of Time to Build a House
According to the 2020 Survey of Construction from the U.S. Census Bureau, it takes an average of 6.8 months to build a house. Most home construction jobs take between six months and a year to complete, but there’s a significant difference in the timeline depending on what type of home you’re building.
For instance, houses built in new developments typically take less time. In this case, you’ll likely choose a design from a selection of floor plans, and you may have the option of making slight changes. Building a fully custom home will probably take closer to a year.
Owner-built homes take even longer to complete. If you’re planning to build your home with your own hands, the process will probably take more than a year. You should only embark on this project if you have extensive experience with construction as mistakes can be costly and time-consuming.
Factors That Affect the Timeline
Six to seven months may be the average length of time for building a house, but your experience could differ dramatically based on the specifics of your situation. Here are some of the key factors that may influence the timeline of your home building project:
In some areas, hiring contractors and scheduling the construction project can be difficult. If you live in a region that’s experiencing a housing boom, the trustworthy and reputable contractors in your area might be booked for the foreseeable future. On the other hand, if there are a lot of contractors in your area and not many projects, you could get on their schedule in just a couple of months.
Just like booking a contractor can be difficult, sourcing your materials may be challenging as well. Supply shortages could delay your building project by weeks or even months. Planning in advance can help to reduce this problem, but in some cases, you might be left waiting until your materials arrive.
Weather and Climate
Building a home in an area that experiences warm weather year-round is much faster than building in a region with harsh winters. If you live in the Northeast or Midwest, for example, your builders may only be able to work on the construction for half of the year. You’ll likely need to take the winter and early spring off from the project because of the snow, and this can significantly delay the end of the job.
To build a new house, you have to obtain the correct permits from your local government. Different cities and states have different requirements for new constructions, and some may be more demanding than others. Your project could be delayed if the inspector in your city has a full schedule or if there are a lot of building restrictions in the area. Paperwork is always time-consuming, too, so you should leave plenty of room in your timeline to account for this step.
Sticking with the same design from the beginning to the end of your project will help ensure the job gets done on time. If you change your design for any reason, you should expect the timeline to be delayed. Practically every component of a home is connected, so a seemingly small change could affect a number of other areas.
How to Build Your Home Faster
When you’re building a home, it’s natural to want the job to get done as quickly as possible. You’re excited to move into your new house and to put an end to the stress of construction. While you should never cut corners to get the work done faster, there are some safe and practical steps you can take to speed up the process. Here are some tips for reducing the timeline on your new construction:
Plan in Advance
Making a plan and sticking to it is the key to success when building a home. With a clear plan, you know exactly which professionals to contact and when, and you know what materials to purchase. You can get all the paperwork and permits in order so you don’t run into municipal issues, and you can secure your financing well in advance.
You can’t predict every obstacle you might encounter, and you should always expect that something may not happen according to plan. However, preparing meticulously for your home building project will make the entire experience so much easier for yourself and your contractors.
Include the Timeline in Your Contract
Writing the timeline into your agreement with your contractor can help the project stay on schedule. Before you hire your builders, you should discuss the expected date of completion. Some homeowners include a penalty in the contract if the builder misses this date.
Hopefully, your builder is reliable and does everything in their power to finish the construction on time. Your contract can offer you some protection in case something goes wrong, though. Unfortunately, there are too many stories of homeowners hiring builders with a verbal agreement instead of a written contract and then facing the repercussions.
Maintain a Good Relationship With Your Builders
Like all professionals, contractors prefer working with kind and respectful clients. While you should be clear and firm in your expectations for the project, maintaining a friendly relationship with your contractors is one of the best things you can do to make the experience better for everyone. When you get along with your builders, they’ll be more motivated to get the work done quickly and provide the best results possible.
The timeline for your new construction varies based on a number of factors, including your location, the availability of your builders, and your planning. To get a clearer idea of how long your project will take, you can consult with local builders or real estate experts who are familiar with the conditions in your area. You should expect the job to take the better part of a year, but you can shorten the timeline by preparing in advance.
There are a number of reasons why you might buy a home in your 50s. Maybe you want to move to a new location as you prepare for retirement, or maybe you’re ready to downsize now that your kids have moved out of the house. For many people, this decade of life is full of major transitions, and a new housing situation may be necessary to accommodate these changes.
Fortunately, buying a home in your 50s tends to be easier than buying property when you’re younger. If you’re already a homeowner, you likely have a good deal of equity in your current house that you can use as a sizable down payment for a new home. Although everyone’s financial situation is different, on average, people in their 50s have more stability than people in their 20s or 30s. This means that you have plenty of options when buying a house and can take your time when evaluating your choices.
Here are five points to keep in mind if you’re thinking about buying a home in your 50s:
1. Selling Your Current Home
If you currently own property, the first thing you have to do is decide what to do with your existing home. It’s generally a wise choice to find a new home before you put your current house on the market. This way, you won’t have to find somewhere to stay if you sell your home before closing on a new one.
However, it can be challenging to make two mortgage payments at once. If your budget doesn’t allow for a few months of overlapping payments, you could include a home of choice contingency in your contract. This will allow you to call off the sale if you can’t find a new home before your closing date.
Another option is to keep your old home as a rental property. This can be an excellent way to build your net worth and gain a source of passive income, which can be especially helpful as you approach retirement. Being a landlord isn’t easy work, though. You could run into issues with tenants who miss payments or cause damage to the property, and taking care of the maintenance can be physically taxing. If you’re interested in turning your old home into a rental, be sure that you have the time and ability to properly manage it.
2. Downsizing in Your 50s
Many people in their 50s don’t need as much space as they did when they were younger. If your kids are grown up and out of the house, you could probably downsize to a house with fewer bedrooms. Consider how often your kids come to visit and whether you need guest bedrooms, an office, or other spaces. It might take some time to adjust to a smaller house, but the benefits are worth it.
You can dramatically reduce your monthly mortgage payment by moving to a smaller home. Additionally, keeping up with cleaning and maintenance is much easier. If you aren’t going to regularly use every room in a big house, living in such a large space just creates extra work for you with no reward.
Downsizing can be challenging, so you should be prepared for an emotional experience. You might have to let go of some of your belongings so that you can fit your life into a smaller space. If you have a lot of sentimental attachment to your possessions, letting go of them might be difficult.
3. Condos vs Houses
Moving from a house to a condo might be a big change, but it’s a great option for many people in their 50s. At this point in your life, you’re probably thinking ahead to your retirement years. When you’re in your 60s and 70s, you may not want to worry about lawn care, shoveling snow, or taking care of many of the other strenuous tasks involved in homeownership.
In this case, purchasing a condo might be preferable to buying a house. You still own the home and can build equity in the property, but the condo association fees pay for a lot of the physically demanding tasks associated with owning a house. Condos can also provide a stronger sense of community than detached houses, especially if you move to a condo complex for people aged 55 and older. This can be an especially good option for empty nesters who are looking for friends and community now that their children are grown up.
4. Mortgage Duration
A 30-year mortgage may be the best option when you buy a home in your 20s or 30s. When you’re in your 50s, though, a loan of this length can turn into a huge financial burden. Consider where you’ll be in 20 or 30 years, and think about whether or not you’ll be able to make the payments. Most people experience a significant drop in income when they retire, and you don’t want to struggle to pay your mortgage every month.
If possible, consider opting for a 15-year mortgage instead of a 30-year. This way, you can pay off your home loan while you’re still working. When you retire, your cost of living will be much lower, which means you can enjoy your retirement in financial peace.
5. Financial Future
Before buying a home, you need to be sure that now is truly the right time. While you can’t perfectly predict your financial future, you may be able to foresee certain hardships or expenses that may affect your ability to make mortgage payments.
Most people in their 50s are still in good health. However, if you or a family member has a health issue, you may face some serious medical expenses in the coming years. If you have a child in college or planning to attend college, you might decide to allocate money in your budget to help them pay for tuition. Any upcoming major expenses could interfere with your mortgage payments, so it’s essential to have a strong understanding of your financial future before you decide to buy a house.
Buying a home in your 50s can be an exciting opportunity to get a fresh start and prepare for your retirement. There are plenty of things to keep in mind before you put in an offer, though. Most importantly, your home should be a blessing to you and your family rather than a burden. Make sure now is the right time to buy a house, and be certain that the property you choose is suited to your needs. Take your time when searching for homes, and consult with a real estate agent who’s familiar with the properties in your area. If you put thought and consideration into the purchase, your new home can be the perfect place for you to settle down before retirement.
Timing is everything when it comes to selling your home. Listing your house in the right month could reduce its time on the market by weeks or even months, and it can get you far more competitive offers. Normally, spring is considered the best time of year to put your house on the market as buyers tend to hold off through the winter months and are excited to purchase a home as the weather gets warmer. This isn’t always the case, though, especially in today’s unique real estate market.
If you’re thinking about waiting until spring to list your home, you might want to reconsider. In some places, winter can be a good time to market your home with less competition. To decide what time of year is best for you to sell your house, you should think about the current market in your area as well as your ideal timeline for moving.
Factors Affecting the Real Estate Market This Winter
The real estate market typically slows down in the winter as most buyers prefer to move in the warmer weather. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and other economic factors may have a dramatic impact on buyer behavior this winter. At the beginning of the pandemic, home sales dropped sharply as no one was certain what the future would bring. This lull, which occurred in the usually busy springtime, created an increased demand for houses by the summer and fall of 2020. By this point, many buyers felt confident in their financial situations despite the pandemic, and they didn’t want to delay their purchase any longer.
The competition in the real estate market has been intense in the last year. Even in the winter, many sellers have received dozens of offers on their home within just days of listing it. Low inventory contributed to this situation as well. Fewer homes were built in the early days of the pandemic due to staffing and supply issues, so there are now many buyers competing for a small number of homes.
All of these factors are signs that this coming winter will be an ideal time to sell your home. There are still so many buyers looking for houses, and the extreme competition means that you might receive some very desirable offers. Housing prices are at an all-time high right now, too, but experts predict that they will level off soon. If you want to take advantage of the peak of the current seller’s market, selling in the winter may be better than waiting until spring.
One important consideration to keep in mind, though, is that you also have to find somewhere to live after you sell your home. If you’re planning to buy another property, prepare to face the struggles that most buyers encounter in the current market. It may be incredibly easy to sell your home, but getting an offer accepted on your next home probably won’t be so simple. Because of the intensity of the current market, consider waiting to list your home until you’ve secured somewhere to stay once you sell it.
Benefits of Selling Your Home in the Winter
This year looks likely to be different than a typical year in the real estate sphere. However, even in normal years, there are several benefits to selling your house in the winter. The following are some reasons why you might consider listing your home in December or January:
Selling in the winter usually means less competition
In a typical year, fewer people list their homes on the market in the winter. Moving during the winter can be a hassle, especially if you live somewhere that experiences extreme winter weather. Buyers and sellers alike prefer to move during the spring or summer, so you can get ahead of your competition if you list your house in the colder months.
Buyers are less picky
Because there tend to be fewer homes on the market in the winter, buyers won’t be as picky. They know that they their options aren’t unlimited, so they’re more likely to make offers on homes that have small flaws or maintenance issues. If you want to sell your home as-is, winter may be the best time of year. You might not get a particularly competitive offer, but it will be easier to find interested buyers.
Realtors have more availability
Real estate agents often have more flexibility in their schedules during the winter. When fewer people are actively buying or selling homes, your agent can put more time and energy into your sale.
Benefits of Waiting Until Spring
Spring is a popular time of year for sellers for many reasons. Here are some of the best advantages of waiting until spring to list your house:
There are more buyers in the spring
The average homeowner would prefer to move in the spring or summer. Late spring can be an especially popular time to list your home as families often try to schedule their moves in between school years. If you list your home in May, you’ll likely attract families who hope to move when the school year ends in June. Early spring is also a popular time for buyers who held off on their search through the winter.
The weather is better for moving
When selling your home, you have to consider your own move. Snow, ice, and cold temperatures in the winter can make moving a miserable experience, and hot temperatures in the summer can be unpleasant as well. Spring is the perfect time of year for an easy move.
Curb appeal peaks in the spring
First impressions of your home are key, and curb appeal is at its best in the springtime. The grass is green, the flowers are in bloom, and the days are getting longer. Buyers will get a much stronger impression of your home in the spring than they will in the summer. Even though curb appeal doesn’t affect the structure or true value of your home, it does influence prospective buyers.
There are a number of benefits to selling your house in the spring, but this also means that competition is fierce. In an average year, selling in the winter provides an opportunity to beat the competition. The real estate market is extremely active right now, though, and you might not see as much of a lull as usual this winter. This seller’s market bodes well for listing your house at any time of year, so you should consider the timeline that works best for you and your family.
If you find a buyer for your home without the help of a real estate agent, you probably feel ecstatic. With a buyer ready to purchase the property, you don’t have to go to the trouble of staging the home, taking photos, hosting open houses, and everything else that goes into real estate marketing. You’ve just cut out many of the steps of selling your home.
In this situation, you might wonder whether or not you should hire an agent at all. Do you need a realtor if you already have an offer? If you don’t need someone to market the house for you, is it worth hiring an agent for the rest of the process?
Although it might be tempting to skip hiring a real estate agent to save money on the transaction, it’s always wise to work with a realtor as you prepare to close on your house. Listing and marketing your home are just a few of the many services that a real estate agent offers you. Once you find a buyer, your agent is also there to assist during the closing and make sure everything is in order for a smooth transaction. Trying to handle the entire process by yourself to save money can backfire severely.
Here are a few things to keep in mind if you found a buyer for your home on your own:
The offer could fall through.
Unfortunately, not all offers are finalized. You might have gotten a great offer before hiring a realtor to market your home, but there are plenty of steps along the way where the deal could fall through. The prospective buyer could be denied the mortgage loan, or there could be a problem with the home inspection or appraisal. Unexpected issues come up all the time in real estate transactions, and it’s impossible to predict what will happen with the sale of your home.
If the sale fell through and you didn’t hire an agent, you’ll be back to square one with your house. Unless you have another buyer lined up with an offer, you’ll have to start from the beginning with listing and marketing the property. This can significantly delay the process, which can be incredibly frustrating when you were just so close to selling the home.
If you already had a real estate agent, though, this won’t be nearly as much of a setback. Your agent is prepped and ready to list your home, and they probably have a number of resources that will help you get a new buyer soon. It’s disappointing to lose your original buyer, but working with a realtor from the beginning ensures that the necessary steps are in motion as soon as possible to get another offer.
An agent can keep the deal together.
A verbal offer from a buyer isn’t an official, legally binding agreement. With such a big transaction, it’s essential that you keep everything in writing so that nothing can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. If you already have a buyer, a real estate agent can supply you with purchase agreements and other documentation that will help you keep the deal together.
At this stage, it’s enormously helpful to have an expert in your corner. Your realtor knows the ins and outs of the business, and they know what’s typical and what’s not during a real estate transaction. They might point out red flags that you didn’t notice or offer advice to make the sale go as smoothly as possible. Even if you could handle the sale on your own, working with a real estate agent makes everything easier and less risky.
Closing is a lengthy and complicated process.
You’ll need to prepare several legal documents for your closing. Scheduling and preparing for this meeting can be time-consuming, stressful, and tiring. Missing a document or making a small mistake could result in the closing being delayed, and managing all of the preparation on your own can be very difficult.
Assisting with this step is one of your realtor’s most important responsibilities. They’ve attended countless home closings, so they know exactly what to expect and what needs to be done. Your agent can communicate with all of the involved parties to set a date for the closing, and they can ensure that the correct documents are present for the meeting.
You might be able to negotiate a reduced commission.
You might be tempted not to hire a real estate agent because you don’t want to pay the full commission on the sale. Your realtor’s percentage of your home sale is not insignificant, and you might wonder whether it’s worth paying if they didn’t list and market your home.
Some agents might be willing to negotiate their commission, though. Because they’ve saved time and money by not marketing your home, they may take a few percentage points off of their fee. This way, they still get paid for their time and services throughout the rest of the process, but you don’t feel like you’re overpaying.
Real estate agents do difficult work, and they don’t pocket all of the money they make from commissions. It’s important to offer your agent their fair share of the sale as their support is so helpful when you sell your home. However, if you approach the subject respectfully, you could come to a good agreement.
Finding a buyer for your home might be the most difficult part of a real estate sale, but it’s not the only task a real estate agent helps you with. Finalizing the sale of your home without assistance from an experienced professional is risky. When you team up with a realtor, you can approach the sale with confidence and peace of mind. You can be sure that all of your paperwork is correct, and you know that you have an expert ready to help if something goes wrong. If you already have a buyer for your home, reach out to agents in your area to see if you can negotiate with a realtor who will assist with the finalization of the transaction.
Moving is never easy. Even a small, short-distance move will bring about some unexpected challenges, and bigger moves can create even more obstacles. You have to uproot and transport your entire life, so it’s natural to feel stressed and overwhelmed throughout the process.
However, there are certainly ways to reduce the stress of moving and make the experience more manageable. By planning in advance and taking advantage of all of your resources, you can get through your move with minimal issues. Here are eight tips for a low-stress move:
1. Start before you think you need to.
Planning your move in advance is the best thing you can do to reduce your stress. When you give yourself enough time to breathe throughout the process, the obstacles you face along the way will feel like small hiccups instead of emergencies.
Think about everything you need to do for your move and how much time each task will take. Work backwards from your moving date to figure out when you should start packing and preparing. Then, start a few weeks earlier than that. Packing always takes longer than you’ll expect, and it’s better to finish up early than to be rushing at the last minute to get everything ready.
2. If possible, schedule your move at an off-peak time.
The summer is the most popular time of the year to move. During these months, you might have a hard time finding a moving truck, hiring movers, and scheduling your move. If possible, plan to move in the winter or early spring instead so that you have more options and can choose the dates that work best for you and your family.
Similarly, most people prefer to move on the weekends. If you’re able to take a few days off in the middle of the week, you could schedule your move for a weekday. This might make it easier to find an available moving company, especially if you’re moving on short notice.
3. Downsize on your belongings.
Moving is the perfect time to sort through your possessions and let go of items you don’t need. Bringing unnecessary clutter to your new home will only cause stress, and you can save a great deal of time by getting rid of unneeded belongings instead of packing and transporting them. You probably have items in your closets, basement, garage, or attic that you haven’t used in years. If they don’t have sentimental value, it’s probably time to let them go. Downsizing will allow you to enter your new home with peace of mind.
4. Label everything.
Before you start packing, come up with a system for sorting and labeling your possessions. Think about what will be the most helpful when you need to unpack the boxes. The more detailed you can be, the better.
At the minimum, you should label each box with the room it belongs in. Some people like to write on their boxes, and others prefer using color-coded stickers as shorthand. You should label every side of the box so that you can easily see its destination no matter how it’s positioned in the moving van.
If you want to be extremely organized, you could use a numbering system for the boxes in addition to labeling the room. Each box should be labeled with a unique number. Then, as you pack, you can create a list on your phone or computer of the specific items in each box. When you’re trying to locate something as you unpack, you can run a search for that item in your document to find out which box it’s in.
5. Ask for help.
Many people hesitate to ask for help because they don’t want to inconvenience others. However, moving entirely by yourself is challenging. If your friends, family, or neighbors are willing to help you, ask them for assistance. Most people are happy to help a friend in need, so there’s no harm in reaching out to your community for support.
Maybe a family member could watch your children while you pack so that you can focus better, or maybe someone you know has boxes or other moving supplies you could use. When packing and preparing starts to feel overwhelming, you can ask a friend to come over and simply keep you company while you work. Their presence may put your mind at ease and distract you from the stress of moving.
6. Hire a moving company.
Working with professional movers can eliminate almost all of your stress. Although hiring a moving company isn’t cheap, the time and work it saves you is likely worth the cost, especially if you’re preparing for a long-distance move. It can reduce the risk of items breaking during the move as professional movers are experts at packing up the van. Moving companies also offer insurance so that you’ll be reimbursed if something is lost or broken.
Different moving companies might offer different levels of service. Some will supply the packing materials, pack your belongings, disassemble and reassemble furniture, and take care of virtually every aspect of the move. Others won’t pack your belongings for you, but they will load the truck, drive to your new location, and unload everything. Typically, the more the moving company does for you, the more you’ll pay. Stick to your budget, but consider all of the benefits of hiring movers.
7. Pack essentials separately for your arrival.
When you finally arrive at your new home, you’ll be exhausted. The last thing you’ll want to do is go digging through boxes to try to find your hairbrush, medication, or favorite blanket. To help yourself and your family feel at home in the first few days at the new house, pack a few separate bags with the belongings you’ll need immediately upon arrival. This should include toiletries, medicine, some bedding, and some clothing. Packing a favorite book or your children’s favorite toys or stuffed animals can help reduce stress in the new home, too.
8. Expect and embrace the stress.
Even if you plan everything well in advance and create a thorough checklist and organizational system, moving can still be stressful. You have so much work to do, and you have to manage the logistics of the move while also preparing for a major life transition.
Do whatever you can to help the process go smoothly, but allow yourself to feel stressed. When you start to feel overwhelmed, take a break. Remind yourself that moving is an inherently stressful experience and that it’s normal to feel frustrated, worried, or exhausted. By expecting and embracing a little bit of stress, you’ll continue to feel like you have the whole situation under control.
Moving might be stressful, but it’s also an exciting opportunity for change. To approach your new home and new life with the right mindset, do your best to minimize your stress along the way. Give yourself plenty of time, accept help, be organized, and plan ahead. If you’re careful and intentional with your move, you can get through it with a cool head and a clear mind.