People often ask how long it takes to build a new custom home with Wausau Homes. We are here to tell you that after 60+ years, our process is what makes us stand out from other builders in the industry. With our construction timeline, you will see that we can get people moved into their new homes faster than any other builder out there!
With a life-changing moment as big as building a custom home, we know time is important. From the beginning, we establish clear expectations so that everyone understands the timeline and is on the same page. With variables like design, selection process, financing, permits, and material availability, we work diligently to make sure the timeline we create is followed. Having built more than 200,000 homes for satisfied families, our processes are well established and focused on giving you the best possible experience.
As you'll find throughout this blog post, building a custom home has a lot of variables. Our experience helps us do everything we can to mitigate those variables. Because every family we work with is building something custom, the timeline we are working with also needs to be customized. The purpose of this blog is to help you anticipate each phase of the process and have a general idea of what a typical timeline would look like. As we go through, we will highlight aspects that can cut down on time, like being a cash buyer bypassing the financing process, or things that will add time, like a larger, more complicated home.
Let’s Talk! Our Initial Conversation
Our first meeting together begins with a detailed discussion about what you want your custom home to look like, how it will function, and where it will be located. In this two-hour meeting, we ask a lot of questions and do a lot of listening as you share your vision of your dream home. This conversation can take place over the phone or via Zoom or a Microsoft Teams meeting, but we prefer to have this meeting face-to-face in our Design Studios during what we call a "4-chair" meeting.
Many people want to know how soon they can get started. It can depend on that particular Wausau Homes builder and how many homes they already have in the works. After the initial 4-chair discussion, if you want to move forward, we ask for a financial commitment from the bank before entering into a design agreement. This ensures you are qualified and have the funds available to proceed. The bank will determine your budget before the design phase begins so you can finalize a design tailored to your financial situation. After that is agreed on, we have you sign a Design Agreement to say we’re all ready to start designing your dream home and selecting what you want in it.
Design Phase + Selection Process
In the design phase, we begin to customize your floor plan. The entire process of customizing one of the 150+ floor plans available from Wausau Homes takes approximately 8 weeks. This process includes selecting the elements that will go into the home, accompanied by three revisions. You may also choose to bring in your own floor plan and start from scratch. Starting from scratch could add 2-4 weeks to the design process. Part of this discussion includes the style of the home, size, location, placement of the home on the lot, and the type of finishes you’d like.
When a floor plan is decided on, we begin making initial design changes to your plan customized to your specifications. Embedded in the design phase is the selection process. As our designers are fine-tuning the floor plan, we will begin walking you through picking out every material detail for the exterior and interior, colors, fixtures, and finishes.
When this first round of revisions is complete, we set up a second meeting for review of additional changes needed. The second round with edits is sent back to the designers for adjustments and a third meeting is set. During this third review, we are really looking at fine-tuning the details, making only minor adjustments and avoiding major structural changes. When these revisions are complete, we arrive at a final set of blueprints with all selections decided on.
This design phase and selection process is normally completed within 6-8 weeks. It can go faster than two months if the following two circumstances are present:
- If designers are not backed up with other projects.
- If customers are able to make decisions quickly.
At this point, we send your custom home out for pricing.
What happens during the pricing phase? Your Wausau Homes builder sends out a Request For Proposal (RFP) to all of the subcontractors who will work on your home. These proposals are detailed for each subcontractor. Not only is your builder working with all of their established subcontractors, but they are also submitting plans to Wausau Homes, Inc who will price out the framing and building materials of your home. Combining all of the bids from both Wausau Homes, Inc and the subcontractors, we are able to give you a FIRM PRICE guarantee.
This process generally takes 2-3 weeks.
We need to pause for a moment here. What you just read is unique. The Wausau Homes FIRM PRICE guarantee is not something that you will typically see from any other custom home builder. Typically, most general contractors work off of allowances. What does it mean when a builder gives you an allowance? If a home builder uses allowances, it means they're providing a budget for products or services and not specifying exactly what is included in the price of the new home. Rather than getting a specific bid for a specific item, the builder builds in an estimate and creates an allowance for that aspect of the build. According to recent studies, nationwide construction projects typically exceed their budget by at least 16%, and sometimes even more. Take a look at just a couple of these sobering statistics.
- Nine out of ten projects experience cost overrun.
- In three years studied, only 31% of all projects came within 10% of their budget.
- Large projects take 20% longer to finish than expected, and are up to 80% over budget.
*Statistics Cited From Propeller Aero
The construction industry faces a huge problem with billions of dollars in project cost overruns every year. Unfortunately, that cost is handed down to the homebuyer.
Imagine finding out halfway through construction that you can't afford your house. When you build with Wausau Homes, we guide a homebuyer to make all material choices up front to ensure we stay within budget. With complete transparency and a Firm Price guarantee, Wausau Homes eliminates the fear of going over budget.
Appraisal + Financial Commitment Phase
Your dream home is the result of a lot of work and dedication, both from you and from us. But this moment is where we have taken all of the selections, from the floor plan features, to the fixtures and finishes, and brought everything together in a 3D walk-through video of your custom home design.
Now that you have seen what your dream home will look like, we present your FIRM PRICE. At this point, you are given the opportunity to officially move forward with building your home by signing a contract with your Wausau Homes Builder. Once the contract to build has been signed, it is then sent to the bank for an appraisal, if one is needed.
Appraisals are a 4-week process. All of your financing and property information is sent to the bank and the bank orders an appraisal. If you happen to be paying cash, an appraisal is not needed and you've just saved yourself four weeks in the building process.
Once the appraisal is approved by the bank, your Wausau Homes builder will submit the order for the home with Wausau Homes, Inc and your builder goes to work on the next phase.
Permits + Site Preparation Phase
The permit process is an essential part of any home building project. Before any work can begin on your property, there are a few steps that need to be taken first, primarily obtaining the proper permits and insurance. The timeline for this can vary between municipalities, so it’s a good idea to ask your builder how long this process will take in your area.
Once permits are obtained, your builder will begin working on site clearing, excavation, pouring a foundation, and installing underground utilities like plumbing, well, and septic.
The site preparation process is the most time-consuming as it involves tree removal, major excavation for drainage pipes and septic systems, and regrading of land to accommodate sloping terrain. If your lot is flat or clear of trees and undergrowth, the process goes a little faster. If there is a considerable amount of tree removal needed or significant grading required, the process can take more time.
The excavation process requires digging out areas for the foundation and installing underground pipes. Pouring the foundation comes next. This is where concrete comes in, mixed to the proper strength, and then poured into place. Once it's set, we like to let the foundation sit for two weeks before the panelized framework arrives. This allows for the concrete to be fully set and settled before building a house on it.
Depending on the timeline, insurance will be obtained by the time site prep wraps up, ending this phase in 8 weeks.
Set Day Phase
It has now been approximately 8 weeks since you've ordered your home. When your builder orders the home, your builder will communicate with Wausau Homes, Inc when they would like to frame or “set” the home. Wausau Homes, Inc schedules the Set Day as close to your desired timeframe as possible. One week before delivery, Wausau Homes, Inc frames the house in their climate-controlled facility. Every wall, floor, and truss is assembled and then systematically loaded onto several semi-trucks. The trucks then head to your new home site that has been prepared with your foundation.
At Wausau Homes, we believe in building homes with you in mind. We care about our customers and make sure they get more than just a house built by us but an experience working with us. Part of this experience is something we call Set Day.
What does this mean for you? We want to throw the first party at your soon to be house! On Set Day, you get front row seats to watch the floors, walls, and trusses go up before your eyes from start to finish! A crane lifts everything off of the semi and helps set it into place. It's an event! We make it a whole event! An experience you get to invite your friends, family, and new neighbors to watch, with lunch catered by us!
Depending on the size and complexity, homes up to about 2,000 square feet can be completely framed in one day with Wausau Homes. If the home is larger or more complex, it could take two days. The framing crew could be there for up to five days to sheet the roof, frame up porches, and build decks.
But in less than one week we are able to transform a vacant lot into a beautiful home! A long-awaited dream becoming a reality in front of your very eyes often brings tears of joy. Over the years, we’ve heard that our Set Days have an incredible impact on the entire family as it becomes an unforgettable experience.
Building Phase - Exterior and Interior Completion
All that is left at this point is the finishing phase. This time is committed to completing the exterior and interior details of your home. Whether it’s siding or brick on the exterior, to installing electrical, plumbing, and appliances on the interior, your Wausau Homes builder is now orchestrating all of their various subcontractors to follow through on their initial bids. The schedule is lined up in strategic order to bring all of the elements of your home together, as planned.
The timeline for this phase can be as little as 4 months. Larger homes, depending on size and complexity, can take five or six months to finish. Factors that can impact the timeline are dependent on the supply chain. The bottom line is, we stand by our Wausau Homes brand promise to get the homeowner moved into their new home On Time. That timeline is determined by the builder, from the time the home is "set." The builder will look at the realities of the supply chain, subcontractor availability, and complexity of the home and work with the homeowner to give them a realistic On Time move-in date.
Traditional builders can take 8-10 months just for the building phase, whereas Wausau Homes builders can move you from the design phase all the way to completion in the same amount of time. Not only does Wausau Homes guarantee you a FIRM PRICE, but we will deliver your home ON TIME. Our main goal is to get you into your home when promised, so you can pack up your old home and get ready to receive the keys for move-in day.
What Sets Wausau Homes Apart
With most builders, it's not uncommon for a custom home to take up to two years or more before it is completed. Because of the innovative construction process we have perfected at Wausau Homes, our timeline is generally cut in half and gets customers moved into their new homes faster than any other builder out there!
Wausau Homes knows that the construction process can seem daunting and even frightening at times. That's why it is so important to work with a builder who has your best interests in mind. We want you to be able to enjoy all of the benefits of living in your new custom-built house as soon as possible! Find your local builder today to get started!