9 Steps To Get Started On Building A Custom Home On Your Land

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Step by step instructions on how to get started on building a custom home on your land from Pathway Builders.

Building a custom home is an exciting but complex process. If you’ve never gone through this process before it can be difficult to understand where to start. This step by step guide is meant to help you understand where to begin when you are first getting started on the process of building a custom home on your land. 

In this guide, you’ll find the 9 steps you’ll need to take leading up to the start of the construction of your new home. We’ve also included links to other resources that go into these steps in more detail so that you have in-depth knowledge on how to go about getting started on building a custom home on your land.

9 Steps to Get Started On Building A Custom Home On Your Land

Step 1: Define Your Goals and Budget

The first step when getting started on building a custom home on your land is determining your goals and outlining your budget. What you want in your custom home is going to impact your budget and vice versa, the budget you have may impact the custom home you end up building. This is why determining your home building goals and budget is the first step in the home building process. 

type writer with goals - step on of the custom home building process

During this step determine the needs you have for your custom home. How many bedrooms will you need? Are there certain features that you want, i.e. a covered front porch, a fireplace in the master bedroom, walk-in closets? Outline all of these items and categorize them into non-negotiables and things that are preferences, but not 100% necessary if they don’t fit into your budget. 

Next, determine your budget. This is a good time to get pre-qualified for financing so that you have a realistic budget for your custom home build. There are many things that go into the final cost to build your home, so you’ll want to build in extra costs like permitting and landscaping into your budget. Check out this guide with full details on the cost to build a custom home on your land to better budget for your build.

Bonus: You can also use our instant quote tool to get a price quote for your home build based on the home plan you’d like to build. While using the instant quote, you can select additional features and upgrades you’d like to get a more accurate quote based on your custom home building plans.

Step 2: Choose Your Location

Where you choose to build your custom home will have an impact on the lifestyle you want. Location is also going to impact the cost. Because you’ve already set your goals & budget in step one you can look for land based on your desired lifestyle and budget.

Consider access to the amenities you’d like. Is it near a grocery store, medical facilities, or outdoor activities? Do you want to be in a more rural area or suburban? Take into account all the items that are most important to you in achieving the lifestyle you want when selecting your location.

Another important consideration is zoning regulations. Make sure that you choose a location that is zoned accordingly. 

The typography & size of the land you purchase can also have an impact on construction costs, so you’ll want to consider this during your search for a suitable location. 

For more detailed information on selecting a location, you can review this guide on how to buy land to build a house on.

Step 3: Assemble Your Team

Now that you’ve determined your location and have your budget and goals outlined, it’s time to hire your team. This includes a local real estate agent that specializes in land purchases, a designer or architect, and a custom home builder. Depending on the builder you are working with, your builder may also be your designer or architect.

At Pathway Builders we have an in-house design team so you don’t need to worry about finding a separate designer. When you work with us your design and build team is all together, making the entire process easier and more seamless from start to finish.

Each of these professionals is going to be working with you and working together to help you build your dream home. Selecting your team is one of the most important steps to get started on building a custom home on your land.

It’s important to do your research to assemble a team that’s right for you. Schedule time to talk with multiple professionals in each of these different areas so you have a feel for their processes and communication styles. When looking for a home builder, reference these top tips on how to choose a custom home builder to help with your selection process.

Once you find one of these professionals you can also ask them for recommendations on the other people you will need on your team. Be sure that you are comfortable in communicating with each of the people you select for your team as this will be an important part of your custom home building process.

Step 4: Secure Financing

Financing is the next step in the process of getting started on building a custom home on your land. Now that you have your goals outlined and your team assembled, you can secure financing for your custom home build. Depending on your situation, you may be able to secure a single loan for all your financing, or you may need separate financing for different phases of your build – land purchase, construction loan, and traditional mortgage. 

Having secured pre-approval during your initial budgeting stage will make securing financing much easier at this phase because you’ll have already budgeted for your home build accordingly. 

Working with a knowledgeable lender will also make this stage easier. Your lender will be able to provide you with options and help you determine the financing options that are best for you.

Step 5: Design Your Home

One of the most exciting parts about building a custom home is designing it! During this step, you’ll be working closely with your team to customize your floor plan, create detailed blueprints, and get started on bringing your vision to life.

Be sure to communicate all of your preferences and requirements to make sure these make it into your custom home design. 

You should be communicating with your designer and home builder (if they are different companies) during this stage of the process to ensure the design of your home aligns with your lifestyle, aesthetic preferences, and is within your budget.

Communicating with your custom home builder while designing your home also allows your builder to recommend changes you can make to your home design that will add value or save on build costs. They will also help you understand how certain features may impact the cost of building. These are just a few of the benefits of working with a builder that has an in-house design team like we do at Pathway Builders. You’ll automatically benefit from this designer-builder communication saving you money and headaches during the home building process.

Step 6: Select Materials & Finishes

The next step of the pre-construction process is the final selection of your materials and finishes. This includes flooring, cabinetry, countertops, lighting, and more. Your team can help you make these selections based on the aesthetic you’d like in your home and your personal style. 

Keep your budget in mind, as high-end materials can significantly impact overall costs. Many custom home builders have design packages that can help you with budgeting for these selections with options for varying budget levels. Most of the time these options can be customized. For example, if you’d like to make a different flooring selection than what is in the pre-selected options that your home builder has, you’d likely be able to do so. 

Not all home builders offer the option to customize finish packages, so you’ll want to have this discussion when you are first choosing your custom home builder.

Step 7: Finalize Plans & Specifications

This is the time to do a final review. Make sure that your custom home plan includes all of your requirements and that you understand everything that is included and is not included. You’ll likely have a designated pre-construction review with your builder to go over the plans to make sure everything is as it should be before construction begins. You’ll also likely go through the build schedule again in more detail now that you are almost ready to begin construction.

If you want to make any upgrades to your home or changes to your plan, do so now before construction begins to save time and money if you were to make a change further in the process.

Step 8: Obtain Necessary Permits

Obtaining permits for your build is necessary before beginning construction. If you’ve been following these steps, you’ll have already researched zoning requirements before you made your land purchase and factored any of these zoning requirements into your design to save time and money on any potential zoning issues.

Some home builders may take care of this step for you. At Pathway Builders, we assist all our clients with applying for and obtaining any necessary building permits so that they don’t need to worry about this process.

Step 9: Start Construction

All the selections have been made, you’ve designed a beautiful new custom home and secured all your permits. With all this hard work out of the way, it’s time to break ground and start construction of your new home!

During the construction phase, you’ll be regularly communicating with your builder to monitor progress, address any concerns, and make any decisions as needed. By working with an experienced custom home builder and communicating your preferences during the pre-construction process, you should have an idea of the timeline and be aware of potential delays or changes to the schedule that may arise.


Remember that building a custom home is a significant undertaking that requires careful planning, communication, and oversight. Surround yourself with a knowledgeable and experienced team, and be prepared for some unexpected challenges along the way. With patience and attention to detail, you’ll soon be moving into your dream home.

If you are located in the Boise area and you’d like to talk about how to get started on building a custom home on your land, get in touch with us here. One of our experienced team members will respond to set up a time to talk about your goals and answer any questions you have about how to get started on building your custom home in Idaho.