Building a Custom Home – All You Need to Know!

In 2022, we saw a near 28% increase in custom home building, showing that the trend of individuality is in.

At RBC Homes, our team of distinguished luxury custom home builders has over 30 years of experience. With that, we know what it means to craft a residence that speaks to someone’s personal style.

From our lovely All-Sea-Suns property in Sandbridge, VA, to our Aquatic Beach award-winner in Virginia Beach, VA, our success stories speak for themselves. Now, we want to help you.

No matter your vision, this guide will show you everything you can expect if you’re planning on building a custom home.

The Dream of Building a Custom Home

Custom home construction as a unique canvas for self-expression, allowing personal vision to shape every architectural detail

If you think about it, a custom home is the largest canvas for self-expression many people get. There’s nothing like watching your vision come to life while injecting your personality into every element of the architectural design.

Need a dedicated home office? How about an airy, open-concept kitchen? No matter the idea, you can tailor a custom-built home to suit your unique needs

Today, we’re going to focus more on the considerations of constructing a custom home.

If, when all is said and done, you’re feeling inspired, get in contact with our team at RBC Homes!

Custom Home vs. Pre-Built Home:

To build a custom home or purchase a pre-built one — this is the question.

Knowing which one is the right choice means looking at the differences between the two.

Let’s dig in.

Custom Homes: Pros and Cons

One of RBC Homes' clients just built a dream custom home by the company.

Custom homes offer a number of unique advantages and disadvantages. In this analysis, we will examine some of the main positive and negative characteristics of a custom built home.

Custom Homes represent an attractive choice for those looking for a bespoke residence with unique designs and high quality materials. However, it is important to consider personal needs carefully before committing to a customized building project.

Pros of Custom HomesCons of Custom Homes
Higher-quality materialsMore expensive
Ultra-tailored and unique designsLonger construction times
Ability to incorporate smart and energy-efficient featuresComplex decision-making process

Bonus: Other 3 Factors to Consider When Building a Custom Home:

  • A Tailored Fit: When you opt for a custom home, you have the unique opportunity to tailor it to your needs from head to toe. Sure, pre-built homes can be convenient in that they’re ready to go right away. However, because they’re built with a broader audience in mind, you won’t get the same level of uniqueness catered to your individual needs and wants.
  • Quality and Craftsmanship: As a Class A licensed luxury custom home builder, RBC Homes places a premium on quality and craftsmanship. Don’t settle for anything but the best. While not all pre-built homes are poorly constructed, it’s difficult to know about the actual craftsmanship if you haven’t had a hand in it. Our custom homes here at RBC feature quality materials like reinforced foundations, top-end roofing, proper insulation, energy-efficient windows and doors, and top-of-the-line flooring. Think thoughtful architectural design that enhances flow, construction techniques that adhere to precise measurements, and high-end safety features for peace of mind.
  • Complete Personalization: The freedom to create a living space that is uniquely yours, from the layout to the finishing touches.
  • Longevity: Not having to worry about compromising or making costly renovations down the road.
  • Energy Efficiency: Custom homes can be designed with the latest energy-efficient technologies and sustainable materials, meaning lower utility bills and reduced environmental impact.

Pre-Built Homes: Pros and Cons

Pre-built homes, also known as modular or prefab homes, offer an alternative to the traditional custom home construction process. They are constructed partially or entirely off-site in a factory or controlled environment, offering several advantages and considerations. It is important to understand them before making a decision.

In this analysis, we will look at some of the main positive and negative characteristics of these types of housing

Pros of Pre-Built HomesCons of Custom Homes
Faster move-in timeLimited customization options
More cost-effectivePotential quality loss
Less design uncertaintyLess unique

In summary, pre-built homes offer a more budget-friendly, predictable, and easily financed option, but they come with limitations in terms of customization, quality, uniqueness, and potential resale value. Prefab homes represent an attractive option for those who want to move into a house faster with a lower initial cost.

Making the Right Choice for You

While both custom and pre-built homes have their merits, the flexibility, quality, and personalization that come with a custom home make it an appealing choice for many.

When choosing between a pre-built and custom home, consider your priorities and long-term goals to make the best decision for your unique needs and lifestyle. It’s also advisable to consult with builders and real estate professionals to explore the options available in your area and make an informed decision that aligns with your vision and financial goals.

In the following paragraphs, we will delve into tips, trends, and ideas to guide you through the exciting journey of building your dream custom home.

Identifying Your Vision

Explore RBC Homes' gallery of Luxury Custom Homes and Inspiring Designs

As we said before, your new home begins with your vision.

The question is, how do we take that vision and refine it in a way that’s functional for the building process?

  • Consider Your Lifestyle: What kind of lifestyle do you want your new home to support? Are you an avid chef? Do you love hanging outdoors? Allow your lifestyle to shape the design of your custom home.
  • Prioritize Your Needs: Make a list of your essentials. Do you need a home office? Extra bedrooms for guests or a growing family? A spacious kitchen for entertaining?
  • Visualize Your Aesthetic: Consider your favorite design style. Whether you’re drawn to modern, minimalist interiors or the classic coastal look, RBC Homes can help make your new house fit your style.

Check out our Gallery page for some inspiration!

Custom Home Trends

While your custom home should be a reflection of you, it’s worth looking into current trends so that your home doesn’t feel dated. Here are some of the best and biggest trends in custom home designs which are understandably shaping the future of luxury living:

  • Sustainable Architecture: Sustainability is no longer just a buzzword; it’s a way of life. Custom home builders are increasingly incorporating eco-friendly features into their designs, such as solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling systems, energy-efficient windows, and green roofing systems.
  • Minimalism: Think clean lines, open spaces, and the “less is more” philosophy. Many of our custom homes emphasize simplicity and functionality, using neutral color palettes and uncluttered spaces.
  • Natural Integration: Bring the outdoors inside by integrating with your natural surroundings. Large windows and outdoor living spaces blur the lines between indoor and outdoor living while incorporating elements like indoor gardens or water fountains can promote a connection to nature.

Top 5 Inspiring Ideas

A custom home trend kitchen built by RBC Homes.

Once you have a clear vision of your custom home, it’s time to start thinking about ways to go above and beyond so that it’s truly exceptional. Here are the top five ways to elevate your custom house:

1. Customizing the Floorplan

A custom floor plan is like a tailored suit – it fits perfectly. Pre-built homes use fixed layouts, which might not be the most functional for you and your family. On the other hand, when building a custom home, you get the opportunity to optimize your living spaces.

Whether you want an open-concept kitchen for big family dinners or a cozy nook for late-night reading, you can make sure every square foot serves a purpose.

2. Material Selection and High-End Finishes

Luxury is in the details. The materials and finishes you choose for your custom home can make a world of difference.

Consider premium materials like granite or quartz countertops, hardwood flooring, and designer lighting fixtures.

3. Smart Home Technology

The future of living is now, and smart home tech is in.

The beauty of smart home features is that they offer convenience, efficiency, and security unlike we’ve never seen before. Imagine being able to control the lighting, temperature, and entertainment systems in your home with the touch of a button or a voice command.

Some of the best smart technology can even cut down on your energy costs, saving you tons of money in the long run.

4. Outdoor Space

Your living space doesn’t have to end at the walls of your home. Why not build an outdoor area you can enjoy too?

From landscaped gardens to tropical pools, there are infinite ways to integrate your outdoor areas into your custom home design. These spaces create the perfect backdrop for entertaining guests and making your home a space people want to come to.

5. Personalizing Space

When building a custom house, it should be a reflection of you, which is why you might consider personalizing specific areas like your home office or hobby room. Are you a painter? Design a space that inspires your passion. Maybe you’re a cinephile? Consider building an entertainment space with a dedicated bar or home theater. These personalized touches can be game-changers.

Tips for Building a Custom Home

Visual guide to essential tips for constructing your dream custom home

There’s nothing quite as rewarding as building a custom home. However, without careful planning and thoughtful decisions, the experience can turn disastrous. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you embark on the path to creating your dream custom home:

1. Start Planning Early

The key to any successful custom home project is early planning. The more time you invest in this initial phase, the better your custom home will reflect your unique preferences.

2. Set a Budget

One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into is not being realistic about their financial capabilities. This is where working with the right team can come in handy. We can help you create a budget that aligns with your vision and make a plan and stick to it.

3. Be Flexible

We can’t understate the importance of flexibility. Expect the unexpected, and know that you might need to be flexible along the way when it comes to your design. Embracing change and trusting the expertise of your custom home builder can take you far.

4. Hire the Right Professionals

When building a custom home, you want a team of experts with a proven track record.

At RBC Homes, now celebrating our 30th year, we pride ourselves on our dream team and are ready to turn your dream into a reality.

5. Enjoy the Process

Finally, remember that building a custom home is exciting! Enjoy the journey. So many of our clients tell us how exciting it is to watch their dream houses take shape. It’s the real American dream, so take pride in the fact that you’re here and working through the process.

Pitfalls to Avoid When Building Your Custom Home

Though building your custom dream home should be an exciting journey, there are a few challenges to consider.

Rushing into the process without a clear plan can lead to costly changes and delays.Take the time to carefully plan every aspect of your custom home, from the layout and design to the budget and timeline.
Going over budget is an all too common challenge, and unexpected costs can quickly add up if not properly considered and accounted for.Be realistic about your budget from the get-go and stick to it. Allow for contingencies to handle unexpected expenses that may arise during construction.
Being too rigid in your design can make it all the more frustrating when unexpected issues or opportunities arise.While having a clear vision is great, it’s equally important to be open to adjustments and changes as the project progresses.
Miscommunication or a lack of communication with your builder can result in misunderstandings and delays when building a custom home.Establish open and frequent communication with your builder and the entire project team. Regular updates and discussions can help prevent issues from escalating.
Choosing inexperienced or untrustworthy builders can lead to a myriad of problems during construction.Rely on reputable builders who have a proven track record of excellence.

At RBC Homes, we specialize in turning your dream into a reality and understand the importance of addressing the earlier challenges. Rely on reputable builders like us, with a proven track record of excellence.

Contact us today to embark on your journey toward a beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind luxury home. Your dream home is just a call away.

Discover the Exquisite Portfolio of RBC Homes - Luxury Custom Home Designs for Inspiration

Check RBC Homes Outstanding Gallery & Portfolio:

If it wasn’t clear enough by now, our team at RBC Homes takes immense pride in turning visions into reality.

We invite you to explore some inspiring examples of the remarkable projects we’ve had the pleasure of working on.

And don’t just take our word for it – explore our Testimonials page to hear from those who have entrusted us to bring their dreams to life.

Success Story: Aquatic Dreams

Explore Aquatic Dreams: A Nine-Bedroom Coastal Marvel with Ocean Views and Luxurious Amenities.

The nine-bedroom, ADA-compliant Aquatic Dreams is one of our most progressive builds, with views of the Atlantic Ocean to the east and Back Bay to the west. This coastal gem boasts dual outdoor living spaces, a luxurious swimming pool, a two-story cabana, and an open-concept living space that seamlessly integrates custom-designed kitchens and spacious dining areas.

Success Story: Count Your Blessings

Discover 'Count Your Blessings': A Charming Family Retreat Nestled in Nature's Beauty.

RBC Homes crafted this unique retreat for a family who cherishes their Sandbridge vacations.

One of its distinctive features is the sunken pool, which is seamlessly integrated into the expansive composite deck, complete with a delightful cabana bar. Additionally, in keeping with RBC Homes’ commitment to safety and long-term resilience when building a custom home, we elevated the foundation beyond the FEMA standard of being two feet above base flood levels.

Success Story: Summer Baycation

Experience 'Summer Baycation': Your Gateway to a Relaxing Waterside Paradise

Creating this home presented a unique challenge due to the irregular shape of the lot. However, we approached it with confidence and ended up with a splendidly comfortable seven-bedroom home.

The features of this extraordinary residence include a generously sized master suite, a dedicated game room, a convenient two-car garage, an outdoor bathroom, a refreshing swimming pool, an inviting cabana bar, a screened-in porch, and a second-floor dining deck.

Build a Custom Home with RBC Homes

Building a custom home is a transformative journey. Here at RBC Homes, we understand the profound joy and satisfaction that comes from crafting a house that perfectly aligns with your personal tastes and needs.

The journey starts with you and your imagination.

When you’re ready to turn your dream into a reality, we invite you to take the first step and contact us.

We can’t wait to work with you!

How to Build a Custom Home – Exploring 6 Major Steps

“How to build a custom home” is a question many have as they get one step closer to realizing their dreams of homeownership. A custom property is a smart idea if none of the homes in your nearby market suit your needs. What does the custom home-building process entail?

Building a custom home involves a planning and design phase, such as selecting the location, finding a builder who can assist you through the design, permitting, and budgeting phases. Next, the construction phase begins, adding the foundation, framing, roofing, interior and exterior improvements, landscaping, driveways, walkways, decking, cabana, swimming pool, and other potential customized features. Lastly, the focus is on the interior design, followed by certifications, inspections, and the most exciting part: moving in!

This article on how to build a custom home will detail the above processes and address related questions like the cost and timeframe for building your personalized custom dream home from scratch.

As you decide to proceed, let’s review how to build a custom home so you have a timeline of services in mind.

Step 1: Planning and Design Phase

The first of the five major phases involves planning and design, which has 4 sub-phases.

1. Finding the Right Location

You can get a custom home built wherever your heart desires, but what is the right place for you? You should consider the following factors in your decision-making:

  • Crime rates
  • Schools
  • Weather and climate
  • Available activities
  • Proximity to friends and family
  • Job opportunities
  • Real estate market
  • Cost of living

2. Setting a Budget for Your Custom Home by Determining:

  • How much does it cost to build a custom home? 
  • What is the price of creating a personalized home design?
  • How much money do I need to allocate for permits and costs associated with property development?
  • How much do I need to budget for the specialty features I want in my new home?
  • What is the expense associated with constructing my custom-designed new home?
  • How much do I need to budget for the specialty features I want in my new home?

RBC Homes has the requisite knowledge and experience to help you make the above determinations. Take the first step toward your dream home by exploring our gallery here.

3. Obtaining Permits and Navigating Regulations

When considering how to build a custom home, it’s important to understand that the process involves many legal aspects, like following building codes and obtaining any necessary permits for building. The custom home builder you select should be knowledgeable about the legal side of building and ensure you have the paperwork in order before breaking ground.

4. Selecting a Reputable Builder

Ready to embark on planning your custom dream home? Contact RBC Homes and explore our success stories to bring your vision to life.

Once, you’ve picked the site and calculated your budget. Next, you can hire your Custom Home Builder.

Finding a reputable builder begins with searching according to these criteria:

  • Long history of business
  • Certifications
  • Awards
  • Positive reviews
  • Affordable pricing
  • Guarantees

Explore our impressive portfolio of innovative designs and experience the excellence of RBC Homes. Contact us today to embark on your journey towards a greener and more opulent future.

Step 2: The Building Process

The final result of a villa with swimming pool illuminated at night, built by RBC Homes

The second phase of the custom home build process is construction. Here are just a few of the first steps required in the building process:

  • Site leveling and development: The construction crew will use bulldozers and backhoes to remove trees, debris, and rocks, and develop and ready the site for construction.
  • Building the foundation: The construction begins with the installation of a sound foundation. Selection of the type of foundation will vary depending on the location of the build and the soils types present on the selected site. A qualified custom home builder will be able to assist you in selecting the appropriate foundation and will also be able to assist you with the determination of the appropriate area (“building envelope”) in which to construct your new home, taking into consideration such crucial  items as, soils compaction, specific front yard, rear yard, and side yard setbacks which are based on particular jurisdictional requirements and zoning codes. 
  • Plumbing “ground work” installation: The construction team, after determining the appropriate type of foundation to install, will then consider preparing the selected foundation for the installation of sewer and water service; the initial phase of which typically involves the installation of “conduit” under the foundation which will enable the plumber to conveniently extend underground sewer and water services to and through the home.   
  • HVAC and electrical installation: As your dream home continues to come together, the construction team will plumb the home, add HVAC and electrical systems, including receptacles, electrical wiring, HVAC vent pipes, HVAC ductwork (as applicable), showers and tubs, water supply lines, sewer lines, and piping.
  • Insulation: Insulation noise-proofs a home and makes it eco-friendlier, so it’s a must. It comes in many types and price points, so research and discuss your options with your builder before building.
  • Drywalling: The construction team will add drywall after installing the insulation. They’ll typically finish with a primer and several coats of paint.
  • Exterior finishes and landscaping: With the home built, exterior finishes can be installed. This would include items such as driveways, sidewalks, decking, swimming pools, cabanas, and a customized landscaping package which could include, if desired,  a maintenance free exterior. 

Step 3: Interior Design and Finishing

The main living room of the custom home, built according to the client's requests.

After discussing how to build a custom home, it’s important to understand that the construction process extends to the interior design as well. After building the exterior, the construction team, if qualified, could assist with  interior design. Should you elect to use RBC Homes, as your custom home builder, you will enjoy just as much of a say over the interior design as the exterior, so allow your personal tastes and preferences to shine with the assistance of a well-qualified proven designer.

You must consider how furniture choices, color schemes, and material selections intersect. Some homeowners prefer a cohesiveness to their interior designs, while others don’t mind contrasting elements if the entire room ties together and looks purposeful.

You might follow the latest interior design trends or forge your own path. A trailblazing status is certainly brave, but don’t embrace too many “flavors of the month”, or you might be unhappy years from now once the trends peter out.

RBC Homes are interior decorating specialists and can assist you in this important part of the custom home-building process.

Step 4: Green Building and Sustainability

Green building reduces utility costs, helps the planet, and offers cost-effective, eco-conscious luxury

You’ll recall that green building will reduce your utility bill spending. You’re also doing your part to ensure a healthier planet for future generations, including your children and grandchildren.

Furthermore, opting for a net-zero home, which consumes only the energy required for efficient operation, empowers you to take an even more significant step towards environmental responsibility and energy efficiency.

The dual benefits of cost savings and a reduced ecological footprint make custom luxury homes a compelling choice for the environmentally conscious and forward-thinking homeowner.

Step 5: Inspections, Certifications, and Moving In

The facade of a custom home, built according to RBC Homes processes

Your home is now built, but a few more processes must occur before you’re ready to move in. The home must undergo another inspection to ensure it’s safe and built to code.

Your home will also receive certifications if it has eco-friendly elements. Energy Star’s Home Certification Organizations or HCOs independently grant Energy Star certifications for homes that meet the parameters of the Energy Star Residential New Construction program.

From there, you can happily move into your custom home. 

How long does it take to build a custom home? The process can take 12 months and up, depending on the extent of the home, the required features and materials, and its size. However, we at RBC Homes, due to our team approach and our 30+ year history of building custom homes have perfected our process, and can build and deliver a new custom home within eight (8) months from the date of issuance of required permits.

Step 6: Considering Pros & Advantages

A happy couple holding the key to their new custom luxury home, symbolizing the joy of homeownership

Building a custom home has many advantages, including the following.

Advantage #1: Your Dream Home Comes to Life

Everyone has a picture in their head when they envision their perfect home. Why settle for something close but imperfect when you can get your dream home built in real life? Customizing your home allows you to select all the features down to the finest details.

Advantage #2: Future Proofing

Do you want a home you can retire in? Perhaps you’re interested in starting a family? Building a custom home allows you to plan for the future. You won’t find yourself in the unenviable position of needing to relocate years from now because your home no longer suits your changing lifestyle or family size.

Advantage #3: Personalized for Your Needs

Your custom home will have all the personalized elements you crave, providing creature comforts conducive to everyday living. You can select floor plans based on functionality and express yourself and your tastes through your home.

Advantage #4: More Sustainable

Your freedom to select the materials and design of your property allows you to embrace green measures that preserve our planet, from low-flush toilets to Energy Star appliances, geothermal heating and cooling, dual-pane wind-resistant windows, and geothermal HVAC systems. 

A geothermal HVAC system is especially cost-effective, yielding tax credits for owners. The equipment is installed indoors instead of outside, reducing exposure to harsh environmental elements like wind, salt, and sand present in coastal environments. 

You’ll feel better about reducing your carbon footprint and enjoy the added benefit of reduced energy bills.

A custom pool villa built for an RBC Homes client

Advantage #5: Reduced Maintenance Expenses

Hiring the right builder will instill you with the utmost confidence in your custom home. Between that and materials selection, your home will remain in livable shape for longer. You will spend less to maintain it, pocketing significant savings.

Advantage #6: Cost Control

A primary concern when considering how to build a custom home is that of budgeting and cost control. When all home design and building process elements are in your hands, and working with the “right” builder, you can stay within your budget and alleviate unwanted and unexpected additional costs and expenses.

Advantage #7: Live Anywhere

Where have you always wanted to live? Rather than feel confined to the housing market in a constrained area or cookie cutter community, you can create your home and lifestyle anywhere in the country that has a pull on your heartstrings. You can now realize two dreams in one: your dream of custom homeownership and living in a new part of the country which suits the lifestyle of your dreams.

Advantage #8: Point of Pride

The biggest benefit of owning a custom home is how proud you’ll feel of it. You’ll gladly welcome friends, family, and neighbors because your new home will have your unique stamp on it. You’ll love each day you spend in your personal paradise. Your new custom home will possess a uniquely desirable curb appeal, further ratcheting up your pride, and likely too…the value of your investment. 

Are you ready to begin planning your custom dream home?

Start Building a Custom Home with RBC Homes

Ready to start planning your custom dream home? Contact RBC Homes and explore our gallery to make your vision a reality.

To sum up, building a custom home is an exciting journey encompassing five major steps. It all starts with careful planning and design, where you select the right location, set a budget, and find a reputable builder. Then, the construction phase begins, covering site development, foundation, plumbing, HVAC, insulation, drywall, and exterior finishes.

The interior design phase adds a personal touch, while green building enhances sustainability and cost-effectiveness. After inspections and certifications, you can move in. You can now enjoy the benefits of personalization, future-proofing, sustainability, cost control, location flexibility, and immense pride in your unique investment.

Now that you understand how to build a custom home and its advantages, it’s time to begin your own custom home journey.

Ready to start planning your custom dream home?

Contact RBC Homes to explore our options and plan your consultation!