How to Start the Process of Building a House?

Building a custom home is an exciting journey that can result in the perfect environment for the homeowner. Regardless of your home needs, understanding the foundational steps is crucial to build your dream home.

For a recognized custom home builder in New York, RappCM has built bespoke homes in the Hudson region for over three decades. Learn more about Rapp’s services as a construction manager or general contractor.

In this article:

  1. What are the 5 stages of building a house?
  2. How much money should you have before building a house?
  3. What do you need to do before you start building a house?
  4. How to start the process of building a house?

Disclaimer** All cost/build data in this article is based on national or state-wide data; the real cost can only be accurately estimated on a case-by-case basis by your selected home builder.

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What are the 5 stages of building a house?

Building a house is structured around five key stages:

  • Initiation: This initial phase is crucial for aligning the team on the project’s scope and potential challenges. In some custom home builds, the construction team’s lead will translate the architect’s blueprints into a building plan. In others, the general contractor will design and build the entire home. Regardless, this phase ensures that the project starts with clear understanding for an effective and efficient construction process.
  • Planning: The planning phase begins with site analysis/selection, assessing factors like zoning, topography, and environmental considerations. Following land purchase, detailed design and planning occur between the architects and the building team. The process also includes obtaining necessary permits and approvals. Ultimately, this pre-construction phase ensures the land is ready for construction, including utility setup and soil testing.
  • Implementation: The construction process continues with laying the foundation, followed by waterproofing and inspections to ensure building code compliance. The framing phase sees the structure take shape with walls, floors, and roof installations. Next, the mechanical systems (electrical, plumbing, and HVAC) are installed and tested. The final finishing phase includes interior and exterior work like painting, flooring, and fixtures.
  • Performance & Monitoring: During this phase, project and construction managers focus on overseeing the project’s progress against the larger objectives. They carefully monitor each aspect of construction to ensure all details meet the expected standards. This stage is critical for recognizing any necessary adjustments to the timeline or plans. During this time, managers might identify the need for modifying project timelines, prompting discussions about schedule changes.
  • Closeout: This final stage involves the project manager and construction team presenting the completed home for inspection. As a homeowner, this is your opportunity to review the work and express approval before officially receiving the keys.

For a full “Steps to Building a House” checklist, check out this further resource from Homelight.

How much money should you have before building a house?

Although there are plenty of financial steps to building a house, the most important cost will be your down payment. According to the National Association of Realtors, 2023’s average down payment for first-time home buyers was around 8%. This is far less than the typical “rule of thumb” that urges homebuyers to invest in a 20% down payment.

However, making a larger down payment on your home offers several benefits. It can help you avoid the cost of mortgage insurance, saving you $30-$70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed. You’ll start with more equity, reducing the risk of being underwater if property values drop. Additionally, a larger down payment typically results in a lower interest rate and smaller monthly mortgage payments.

Executing bespoke custom homes for over 30 years, RappCM’s expert contractors can build your dream home.

What do you need to do before you start building a house?

Before breaking ground, consider the following preparations for the starting the home building process.

  • Find and purchase the ideal plot of land for your new home. Consider the location, access to utilities, and zoning ordinances, which dictate land use such as residential, commercial, industrial, and environmental designations. 
  • Research the type of house you want. Choose from spec homes, which are pre-built and may allow some custom features; tract homes, built from specific plans in a development; or custom homes, tailored to specifications on your own land. Consider factors like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, floor plans, and layout when making your decision.
  • Research and hire the building team. Start by hiring a general contractor or custom home builder who will oversee the entire construction process.

How to start the process of building a house?

After finding land and researching home types, hiring an experienced building team is your first step in building a home.

The best construction manager (or general contractor), like RappCM, will be able to guide you through the more nuanced phases of home construction. Their responsibilities include obtaining estimates for labor and materials, hiring and managing subcontractors, assigning tasks, and ensuring deadlines are met.

Find your picturesque estate in the Upper Hudson Valley. Within proximity to NYC, RappCM will guide your dream home to reality.


Building a custom home is an exciting and complex process, requiring careful planning and execution. By understanding each phase, from site selection to hiring the right construction team, you can ensure a smoother experience. By focusing on essential steps like budgeting and selecting the best home builder, you can embark on your home-building journey with confidence.

For those looking to build in New York, RappCM offers decades of expertise in delivering luxury custom homes, guiding you through every step to create your dream home. Contact them today for home building consultation.


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