Sims Luxury Builders Blog

How Long Does It Take To Build A Custom Home?

1 MAIN PHOTOLike many things in construction, this topic is complex! “How long does it take to build a custom home?” is a difficult question to answer, given the wide range of one-of-a-kind custom homes out there. For example, we’ve built 4,000 SF custom homes in as little as 8 - 10 months, and 30,000 SF estates in as long as 2.5 - 3 years. The majority of truly custom homes take between 16 - 24 months to build in Houston.

To better answer this question, there is so much more information and context to share with you. So, in this post, we’ll dig into the following:

  • What factors influence the duration of custom home construction
  • What process a typical custom home build follows
  • What your custom builder can do to optimize efficiency in your construction schedule
  • What you as the homeowner can do to keep your custom home build moving smoothly

2-Feb-05-2024-07-01-50-6240-PMThe factors that most influence custom home construction durations are:

  • Home size
  • Complexity of architectural design
  • Permitting/Inspection timelines for your particular HOA/municipality
  • Amount of site work required for your particular lot/land
  • Your builder’s organizational ability and sub-management skills
  • The quality and reliability of your builder’s trade/subcontractor base
  • Homeowner decisiveness when making selections
  • Weather delays during construction
  • Availability of construction materials
  • Current conditions of the subcontractor labor market

The best way to mitigate potential construction delays is to partner with an organized, trustworthy, and proactive custom builder who recognizes that the buck ultimately stops with them. As we’ll share later, the effectiveness of your custom builder will have a direct impact on your home’s construction schedule.



Our Custom Home Process Map below shows the 6 steps that a typical large-scale custom home new build follows. If optimizing your timeline is a priority for you, we suggest involving a custom homebuilder very early on in the process. Once you’ve selected your custom builder, they will usher your project through the architectural design phase, the pre-construction phase, and the construction phase of your custom home.

Sims - Custom Home Process Map




Although there are many things that are outside of a builder’s control, like weather and unexpected material delays, there are actually many more that are within their control. Here we share several ways that your custom builder can proactively keep everything moving smoothly during the architectural design, pre-construction, and construction phases of your custom home build.

During the Architectural Design Phase, your builder should:

  • Keep plan development on schedule with your architect by scheduling and attending regular design meetings, analyzing and providing feedback on plans real-time, and discussing potential cost implications to ensure budget alignment.
  • Thoroughly analyze your architectural plans in order to foresee and mitigate potential constructability issues.
  • Consult with a building performance specialist in order to benefit from the expertise they’ve gained performing forensic work on hundreds of “misbehaving” homes over the years.
  • Build a comprehensive, no-holes construction budget by assembling and vetting hard bids from every major trade category that will be involved in the construction of your home.
  • Connect you with a qualified interior designer who fits your desired aesthetic, timeline, and budget.
  • Provide you and your interior designer with a Selections Schedule that clearly sequences the material selections and decisions that will be needed for your custom home.

Would you like to know what else your custom builder should be doing during your custom home architectural design phase? Visit our previous blog post here.


During the Pre-Construction Phase, your builder should:

  • Ensure alignment between architectural and structural engineering plans to work through issues before construction begins.
  • Minimize HOA and permitting delays by proactively researching each entity’s requirements and by ensuring that application packages are fully complete before submission.
  • Respond as quickly as possible to any permit process setbacks and/or requests for clarification from the HOA or municipality.
  • Build a realistic construction schedule and communicate that clearly to all trades involved in your renovation.
  • Collaborate closely with your interior designer in order to ensure timely progress is being made on all finish selections needed.
  • Order specific front-end materials that have a long lead time to ensure they arrive before they are needed.
  • Get a head start on any site work or other pre-construction tasks that don’t require HOA approval or municipality permit.

Curious about what else your custom builder should be doing during your custom home pre-construction phase? Visit our previous blog post here.

During the Construction Phase, your builder should:

  • Allocate adequate personnel to your custom home project.
  • Maintain a detailed project schedule throughout construction.
  • Work with quality trades who won’t cause sub-par work and delays.
  • Execute sub-agreements that include timing and manpower requirements.
  • Keep an effective procurement schedule that ensures all materials are ordered so as to prevent any construction schedule delays.
  • Require regular onsite meetings with you and your interior designer to keep the flow of decision-making moving smoothly.
  • Continue effective collaboration and communication with you, your design partners, and all trades.
  • Pay trades strategically and consistently to ensure continual progress.
  • Keep a well-run closeout phase that involves a continually updated schedule, quality control walk-throughs with several members of the builder’s team, checking all mechanicals to ensure proper functionality, and proper protection of finishes following each phase of installation.


Along with your builder, there are many things that you as the homeowner can do to keep the construction of your custom home on schedule. Here they are:

  • Select the right custom builder very early in the process
  • Hire an interior designer when you start the architectural design phase
  • Understand the lead time for products and materials when making selections
  • Finalize as many selections as possible before construction begins
  • Stick to your original architectural plans as much as possible
  • Avoid making changes to your material selections during construction

Delays in making design selections are the biggest cause of custom home construction delays. There are hundreds of design decisions, large and small, that must be made during the custom homebuilding process. The timeliness of those decisions can make or break a schedule. A delayed selection can cause material ordering deadlines to be missed and steps to be done out of sequence, which presents future issues with effectively coordinating and “stacking” subs working on site. This is especially true of selections that have long lead times or limited availability. Unfortunately, all of these cascading effects have a negative impact on the quality and timeliness of construction.

Want to find the right interior designer for you? Download our free eBook: Questions to Ask When Interviewing Interior Designers.

It has become clear that how long a custom home takes to build depends on a variety of factors, the most important of which is partnering with an organized and effective custom builder.

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Marie Sims

As a veteran team member of Sims Luxury Builders, Marie enjoys sharing what she’s learned with the world.


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