When to Start Designing a Custom Home?

The homebuilding process can be complex and varied but there's broadly two approaches you can take to design your custom dream home. Since zoning ordinances and lot topography tend to drive many of the design decisions, getting your lot under contract is a key linchpin to determining your home design. 

Lot/Land First:

You know the old saying: location is everything. For many families, this is the foremost priority. The benefit of custom home design is that you can design to the lot if you have a small lot, oddly shaped lot or difficult terrain to work with. In these cases, it's best to wait until the lot is under contract before starting your custom home design. If you start designing, or pick a stock house plan beforehand, you may end up wasting time or money when it won't fit on the lot and needs to be redesigned. Once you have the lot under contract and a copy of the land survey in hand, you will know the precise dimensional building envelope that you can maximize the use of. 

House Plan First:

For others, the precise location of the house is less of a priority, but the design takes precedent (you can count me in this category). If you're aiming for a large lot then this process can be ideal because you probably won't be constrained by dimensional restrictions. This allows you to take all the time you need to think about exactly how you want your floor plan to flow and get all the fun home design features planned out and budgeted for.

Whenever we work with clients that don't have a parcel under contract yet, we always recommend waiting to finalize the design documents until they do. We will design right up to the 90% construction drawing stage and wait because there's often an opportunity to fine tune the final design to maximize the use of the land, such as views, topography or natural features. For example, sometimes it makes sense to flip a house design because of where a driveway curb-cut will need to be placed. 


Whichever path you decide to take, we can help you get there. Our custom house design service can design your home in as little as two weeks (or take as long as you need). Our goal, is to never be the bottleneck in your home construction process. There are enough challenges in building a custom home that waiting on your home designer should never be the problem. 

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