Get Started Building a Custom Home Now

In a lot of ways, building a custom home is like having a baby — you can expect it to take nine months (or even longer in some cases), and the truth is that you’ll probably never feel 100% ready for such a monumental undertaking. Throw in the chaos of the coronavirus and resulting supply chain disruptions, and it’s easy to resign yourself to putting off your dream home for another time. Here are three reasons that might be the wrong decision.

  1. Lead times are already lengthy

Even if you started the building process right now, it could be almost a year before your home is move-in ready. The nationwide labor shortages impacting all kinds of industries are particularly acute in construction, and the 2020 Construction Outlook Survey compiled by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) revealed that hiring would be the biggest obstacle in 2021 for 72% of construction firms.

Moving into a custom-built home is incredibly exciting, but attempting to rush the process can have drastic consequences. The best contractors will be in high demand, and an excessively tight timeline could force your builder to rely on whoever is available to get the job done. When you get started early, you give your builder the time to focus on quality above all else, which should be the top priority when you’re talking about your dream home.

Quaint Cabin with Cedar siding
  1. Material prices are finally receding from record highs

When the pandemic reached our shores and hand sanitizer and toilet paper began flying off the shelves, lumber seemed far from essential. Demand was slightly down until people sheltering at home realized they could be there for a while. When home improvement projects and new construction took off and demand for lumber skyrocketed, labor shortages and transportation difficulties meant that supply couldn’t keep up. 

Lumber prices began rising shortly after the pandemic and didn’t peak until this past May, when one thousand board feet hit $1,686. That figure is around 400% higher than the $333 seen just 12 months prior. According to the National Association of Home Builders, lumber demand alone has increased the price of a new single-family home by more than $35,000, but we’re beginning to turn a corner thanks to increasing sawmill output. We won’t see pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, but prices are nearly 40% lower than the high in May, and they’ll continue to drop slowly as mills ramp up production to meet demand.

  1. Starting early means less stress

You might not have to build your house yourself, but it might feel like it when you’re making all the large and small decisions that go into a custom home. Many of these decisions will be fun, but the sheer quantity can also add plenty of unwanted stress to your life. Hopefully, you’ll work with an experienced and trustworthy builder who can help you navigate them, but you’ll inevitably spend lots of time on the phone or at the construction site making sure everything is coming together exactly as planned.

Ultimately, the more time you allocate for the construction process, the less stressful it will be. Giving yourself ample time means unforeseen circumstances like a materials shortage or a bad hurricane season remain small setbacks instead of ballooning into full-blown crises that test your resolve (and your relationship with your spouse). Having plenty of time also gives you the flexibility to make changes and additions if you so choose.

There’s a lot going on in the world, and even if life seems to be returning to normal, the home-building process can and will upend it all over again. The juice is undeniably worth the squeeze, but you can avoid undue headaches by giving yourself and your builder as much time as necessary to create the home of your dreams. Instead of putting off the task for months or years and then rushing toward the finish line, start now with plenty of time and embrace the process. You’ll be settling into your perfect forever home sooner than you think.