Building in 2024 The Ultimate New House Construction Checklist

Sometimes, the home you want doesn’t exist yet, so you must build it. This building process differs from shopping for an existing home. In this article, we consider the tasks that comprise a new house construction checklist. Complete these tasks to build your custom home.

Locating the Perfect Property

Before you break ground on your home, you must purchase land. Whether you choose raw land or a lot in a subdivision remains up to you, but before you shop for your land, find a knowledgeable local real estate agent. Your Realtor should offer ample experience in unimproved land and understand the urban planning terminology of the cities and towns in the area you consider.

For example, in Beverly Hills, CA, some plats in housing subdivisions get zoned in such a way that the owner can’t build on them. These lots create a buffer between homes. Beverly Hills uses a different zoning code than Hollywood Hills, Malibu, or Los Angeles. That fact means a real estate agent in southern California would need to know the zoning regulations of many communities, a complication which a Realtor in Butte, Montana.

Some real estate agents specialize in raw land, a term referring to unimproved land that remains in its natural state. These Realtors may list a specialty of forestry or agricultural properties, a term that includes ranches and farms. Spend ample time choosing your real estate agent because your land purchase sets you up for success at every step thereafter.

Choosing Your Architect and Home Builder

Next, on your new house construction checklist, you need to interview architects and home builders. Some home building firms keep an architect on staff, and finding one of these firms simplifies your process. However, if you adore a particular architect’s work, hire them because any capable custom home builder can construct the home from architectural plans.

Confirmation of Building Plans

When your architect finishes the home design, and you approve it, they usher it through the next task on the new house construction checklist. Before building any structure, an architect must have their design examined and certified by a structural engineer. The engineer studies the design and ensures it would result in a safe building.

The Permitting Process

In most areas of the U.S., the municipal government requires permits before construction begins. In certain unincorporated areas, the lack of local government precludes this. Phone the town’s urban planning or city planning office to inquire about the permits needed for building a home and the application process. Typically, the home builder handles obtaining these, but the responsibility falls to the landowner, and violations can result in expensive fines and work stoppages.

Clearing the Land

Buying land comes with added responsibilities over purchasing a pre-built home. Any purchased plat needs clearing and leveling before the building can begin. Interviewing and hiring a local brush clearing company comes next on the new house construction checklist. These service people do the initial site work, clearing it of shrubs, trees blocking the buildable area, and scrub grasses.

Once the brush removal finishes, your lot will probably resemble a large patch of dirt. It may list to one side and have hills, ruts, or other uneven features. You’ll need to hire an excavation company to make the site ready for building by leveling the buildable area, which means moving the dirt around to create a large flat area.

Sometimes, preparing your building site requires another step on the new house construction checklist, hiring a hydro excavation crew. When you purchase a partially improved lot, that means it has already undergone clearing or has some form of utility lines. Construction workers need to know where these utility lines run underground before they build anything and must tie them into these lines when they build. Hydro evacuation uses high-pressure water lines to create a dirt slurry that quickly unveils the utility lines underground.

Beginning Construction

Once you reach this task on the new house construction checklist, you’ll see the shape of your home form when foundation contractors lay the forms and fill them with concrete. Most homes in the U.S. use a slab foundation, referring to the concrete slab that forms the bottom layer of the structure. If you build a home with piers and pilings foundation, the house won’t have a concrete slab, but you’ll still need a foundation crew. By going with a design and build firm, you may circumvent needing to hire a standalone contract for this work.

Hiring Specialty Contractors

Typically, a design and build firm or a general contractor (GC) employs individuals in major positions, such as master carpenters, masons, plumbers, electricians, etc. In some cases, the GC may subcontract the work to other local construction companies with whom they frequently work. Discuss this with each building contractor you consider hiring, so you know who they use and whether they employ the specialists. You may need to hire a roofer, flooring installer, HVAC installer, landscaper, and hardscaper.


You’ll need to interview and hire for some positions when a GC or building firm does not employ all the positions needed, or those individuals lack the expertise you need. Take, for example, residential roofing contractors. Nearly every roofer in the U.S. knows how to install an asphalt shingle roof, but if you want a metal, clay tile, slate, or wood shake roof, you must hire a specialist.

By discussing this with each potential builder, you provide yourself with ample time to add these position needs to your new house construction checklist. Other positions that require specialization include flooring installers, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) contractors, landscapers, and hardscapers. Let’s consider each and what they provide your home.

Flooring Installers

Flooring installers specialize, so a carpet installer does different work than a hardwood flooring installer. Some individuals in this area work laying ceramic tile, while others specialize in marble and quartz. Each type of flooring uses a different process and requires expertise to install. Depending on the materials you choose, you may need to hire more than one flooring installer.

HVAC Installers

HVAC installers differ, too. Some install heat pumps, others stick to traditional HVAC systems. If you want a specific brand of HVAC system, such as Trane, you’ll land a better warranty by using a Trane-certified installer. That may mean hiring from outside your local area.

Landscape Architect and Landscapers

After the construction crew finishes building your home, you can stand at the curb and admire it. But wait, you own a beautiful home surrounded by dirt. Most home builders don’t include a landscaper on their staff, so you’ll need to hire one to get your yard into shape. A landscape architect designs the lawns and plantings of your home in much the same way that an architect designs a house. Once the landscape architect receives your approval for their design, their crews plant it for you.

Typically, this process begins when they lay sod, which provides you with an instantly attractive and lush yard. Once the green, green grass of home goes down, the landscapers add flower beds, small trees, and bushes. If you can judiciously clear and grade the plot of land you purchase, they may have less to add, and you could benefit from mature trees in your yard.


A landscape plan typically includes the yard’s hardscapes, too. The term hardscape refers to the concrete and wood built environment in a yard. A home’s patio, driveway, sidewalk, and carport fall into the hardscape category. Buildings in the yard, such as a gazebo, portico, or shed, also fall into this category.

Constructing the immense variety of hardscape types typically requires hiring more than one contractor. A mason specializes in working with bricks, mortar, and concrete, but a GC or master carpenter would construct a gazebo. Ask the landscape architect for a list of contractors you’ll need to add to your new house construction checklist. Who you need to hire differs according to your custom landscape plan.

Making Healthy Choices

When you construct a new home, you make decisions about its electrical, plumbing, and natural gas systems. You decide whether you’ll use traditional electricity through a utility company or generate it using solar panels or a wind turbine. This process of research and installation adds a few items to your new house construction checklist, especially if you choose to install a non-traditional method, such as a solar panel system.

Some homes use a combination of electricity and natural gas, while others use only one power source. If you construct a home in a rural area, your natural gas options include petroleum gas, propane, and butane. Most municipalities offer a natural gas utility option, but those who choose propane or butane as a fuel source purchase it in bulk and store it in prefabricated tanks.

Other options for home heating include a furnace that uses heating oil and wood-burning fireplaces. Wood-burning fireplaces come in several designs, including traditional fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, and pellet stoves. Of these options, traditional fireplaces and wood-burning stoves provide the most flexibility, since you can use found wood from your yard as fuel.

Although you build a new home, that does not change the status of the water that comes from your local municipal plant or a well you have drilled on your property. To ensure your water meets the highest quality drinking standards, install a filter using one of the many water filter systems available to consumers. Local water suppliers must test their water annually and issue a water quality report to comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) provides a free guide to water contaminants which includes a list of water filter types scientifically proven to work on specific contaminants. Only reverse osmosis systems work to eliminate every major contaminant. Eliminating bacteria and viruses requires either ultraviolet light treatment or a microbiological treatment system.

Moving into Your New Home

At this point in construction, your new home looks lovely, and the yard sparkles. Although workers have installed your utility lines and wired your home, you’ll still need to set up accounts with each municipal or private utility company. These organizations typically require an inspection by their personnel before activating service.

Once you’ve passed these inspections, your home also needs to pass a final inspection by a municipal code inspector. If you build in an unincorporated area, this probably won’t apply, but check your state’s regulations for building. In some areas, the state requires homes in unincorporated areas to pass muster with its code inspectors.

Finally, you’ve reached the point on your new house construction checklist where you activate your utilities. You and your builder will make a final walk-through of the home and property. Mention anything you note that doesn’t meet the agreed-upon specifications, so the builder can fix the problem before you move into your house. If everything measures up, the builder hands you the keys to your home.

Once the builder’s work passes muster, you move to the last task on the new home construction checklist. You hire a local moving company to help you pack your belongings and move them into your new home. Make a detailed plan for packing your belongings, so you can keep things organized and make unpacking easier.

In some cases, organizing your belongings might require purchasing bins, boxes, and bags for your closets or cupboards. Go beyond the local Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Ace Hardware for your organizers. Try shopping on Etsy for custom options or Temu for unique manufactured goods at a range of price points.

Living in Your New Abode

No new house construction checklist would be complete without addressing home maintenance. Your gorgeous new house needs regular maintenance to ensure it remains the lovely home your builder constructed. At the end of the move-in week, schedule your home’s first maintenance visits, which should occur six months to one year after you move into your new home. These service calls include HVAC, plumbing, roofing inspection, and roofing gutter cleaning.

Lawn maintenance needs to occur more frequently, typically mowing the yard every two weeks during growing seasons. During fall, raking the yard and disposing of the leaves tops the maintenance list, while in winter, shoveling snow tops the list. Make it easier to maintain your yard by hiring the same landscaping firm to maintain it that did the initial landscaping plan and installation.

With proper care, your new home could seem new for decades. Certainly, you might remodel the interior or paint the exterior a new color, but overall, your home will seem new with proper maintenance. Enjoy your new home and the joy spending time in it brings.


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