custom home build

How to Build a Custom Home – 5 Steps You Must Know

“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.. The third phase is 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.

RBC Homes just built a custom home for one of their clients

Why Build a Custom Home?

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

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.


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.

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.

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. 

Reduced Maintenance Expenses

The kitchen built by RBC Homes for a custom home

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.

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.

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.

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?

How to Build a Custom Home with 5 Major Phases

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

1. Planning and Design Phase

A custom pool villa built for an RBC Homes client

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

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

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.

Selecting a Reputable Builder

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

Permits and 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.

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. 

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.

4. Green Building and Sustainability

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.

You might decide on a net-zero home, which uses only that energy needed to efficiently operate your home..

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.

Start Building a Custom Home with RBC

Now that you understand how to build a custom home and its advantages (including customer satisfaction, reduced maintenance, and high value), it’s time to begin your own custom home journey. Contact RBC Homes to explore our options and plan your consultation.