New Home Buying Process

The Buying Process

Step 1: Find a home builder you can trust.

Make sure the home builder you are thinking about doing business with is a member of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati (the HBA). HBA members have fulfilled stringent requirements designed to protect consumers. Also, if for some reason you have a problem or complaint with an HBA member, you can contact the consumer affairs committee of the HBA. You can feel confident you are working with a professional if you work with a builder member of the Home Builders Association.

There are also many licensed real estate agents who are members of the HBA. If you feel you need to have a real estate agent to represent you in the purchase transaction, these agents are qualified to work with home builders and usually have experience with the home building process.

Step 2: Financing.

Get an idea of how much house you can afford. How much money do you have to put down as a deposit? How much do you need to finance?

While it is not necessary to have a pre-approval letter from a bank when shopping for a new home, it is helpful to know how much you can afford to spend, and for how much you will qualify for a new home purchase.

Many home builders have affiliated mortgage brokerage firms, and there are many mortgage companies to choose from. Many home builders also have professional housing counselors who can help you through this process

Step 3: Decide what options are important to you.

Why do you want to move to? What would you like in a home that you do not currently have? What is your timeframe for purchasing a new home? What are the most important features of a new home? Balancing your budget with the desired options can be stressful. Many home builders have experienced housing counselors who can help you through this process.

Step 4: Sign the building contract and give your builder a deposit.

At this step you will likely get to choose the selections (like carpet, countertops, tile floors, etc.) that go into your very own home.

The builder will then begin the construction process if you have not purchased a home that is almost built. Construction Phases Remember that each builder might have its own processes. This is intended to be a guide only, and should not be considered to be the only way a home can be built. Local building codes may dictate differences in building methodology between jurisdictions.

The Building Phase

Phase 1: Excavation

In an ideal situation, this stage goes rather quickly. Inclement weather, however, can slow this process down considerably. Items to be completed during this phase are:

  • Stakeout: The engineer surveys the site and stakes the building position on the lot
  • Excavation: Digging the hole for footings and foundation
  • Outside sewer: Tying into the public lines or septic system
  • Footing: Concrete base on which the foundation rests
  • Gravel: Filled around the footing and under the basement slab for drainage purposes
  • Drain tile installation: Will move water away from your foundation

Phase 2: Foundation/Post Tension Slab.

The weather has little effect on this phase so it should go expediently. In severe inclement conditions, concrete garage and basement slabs can be poured after framing shelters are in place. In this phase you will see:

  • Foundation: Concrete poured into foundation form panels or concrete blocks, or precast walls set, as the plan indicates
  • Waterproofing: Bituminous water sealer sprayed on a portion of the foundation to be backfilled
  • Grade and pour basement slabs: Placing and finishing of concrete floors

Phase 3: Framing.

This is the phase where things really appear to take shape. Many homeowners think their home is near completion at the end of this stage. Actually, you are only about 1/3 of the way through the schedule at this point. The phases beyond this may seem much slower in progress. That is because your builder is getting into the fine details which may not be as apparent but are vital to the finished home. In the framing stage you will see:

  • Framing: Flooring, walls and roof structure
  • Windows & Doors: Windows and door units are installed
  • Utility Lines: Underground electric, water, gas, etc. are run
  • Shingles: Covering roof structure for weather protection
  • Foundation backfill: placing soil around the foundation walls (if applicable)

Phase 4: Rough Mechanics.

Rough mechanics is the term used for the piping and wiring portions of the building, many of which are within floor and wall assemblies. You will see the following items, some of which may be going on simultaneously, during this phase:

  • Plumbing: Piping for water supply and lines for waste
  • Heating: Installation of furnaces or heat pumps, heat supply lines, return airlines, and vent lines
  • Electric: Wiring for electrical outlets, switches, etc.
  • Stock drywall: Sheets of gypsum board will be placed in rooms for future installation
  • Insulation: Insulation will be installed in the wall cavities.
  • Brickwork/ Stonework: Outside face brick and fireplace(s) (if purchased)
  • Pre-Drywall Review: Many builders will have your Superintendent review all work performed to this point, ensuring that it is built per plan and at or above quality standards. Superintendents may contact you to give you the opportunity to review work performed thus far and to ensure that it is per your plan.
  • Fireplace installation (if purchased)

Phase 5: Drywall.

This is another phase that shows progress rather quickly. Rooms are separated and divided, giving you the visual effect of each space. These things will occur during this phase:

  • Drywall Hang: Gypsum board is fastened to the walls and ceiling members
  • Drywall finish: This is done in several stages. Pliable gypsum compound is placed at seams and corners. This is then allowed to dry to a hard finish and give the desired finish
  • Outside Trim: Trim boards on the exterior of the home are installed as per plan
  • Insulate Ceiling: Flat portions of the ceilings are insulated after drywall
  • Siding Installation
  • Rough Grade: Site is graded for drainage and for placement of driveway, patios, walkways, etc.
  • Garage door installation

Phase 6: Finish.

This is probably the most exciting phase. You will see the highly visible products you have chosen and will live within your new home. The items covered in this phase are:

  • Finish Carpentry: Kitchen and bath cabinets, countertops, mirrors, doors, trim, banister rails, baseboards, crown molding, etc.
  • Exterior concrete: Driveways, porches, walks, patios, etc.
  • Interior Paint: Walls and trim are painted per selections
  • Exterior Paint: Trim, garage door, front door and other elements as applicable are painted
  • Kitchen appliances: Appliances are installed per selections
  • Hard Flooring: Vinyl, ceramic, hardwood is installed per selections

Phase 7: Finished Mechanics.

Finished mechanics are the visible portions of the rough mechanics. This is generally an anxious time for many homebuyers. Your home is nearing completion and you are awaiting a finish date. In this phase, you will see:

  • Plumbing finish: Faucets, showerheads, supply lines to faucets, commodes, etc.
  • Electrical Finish: Switches, plug, and plate covers, light fixtures
  • Heating finish: return air grill covers, supply register covers, thermostat, outdoor air/ heat pump unit
  • Final Grade: the site is graded to finish grade, and seed & straw or sod is put down
  • Carpet: Carpet and padding per selections is installed

Phase 8: Final stage.

  • Finishing touches are added, inspections scheduled and completed.
  • Cleaning: a cleaning crew will final clean your home.
  • Superintendent Inspection: The Superintendent reviews the home for completion of work.
  • You may be asked to do a "final walk through" of the home with your Superintendent prior to scheduling a closing. At this walkthrough you should note any deficiencies, and you should work with your builder to get all deficiencies resolved prior to closing.
  • Closing: Once all inspections and walk-throughs are completed, you will sit at the closing table with your builder and officially buy the home, sign the appropriate mortgage documents, and become the owner of a brand new home.
  • Celebration & Housewarming: No new home purchase is complete without a little housewarming party to show all of your friends and family your beautiful new home. Just think: you could host the next holiday or birthday party in your brand new kitchen. Enjoy!