10 Steps for Navigating the New Construction Process

Posted: August, 24, 2021 | Categories: New Construction | By The Gove Group Real Estate, LLC


The new construction process can vary widely depending on the specific builder, new home community, and home. The process for an elaborate, fully custom home will be quite different from a spec home (a home that is already underway or complete) in a new home community. At The Gove Group, we partner with builders who primarily build semi-custom homes or homes with preselected floor plans in New Hampshire and Southern Maine. Our communities range from townhouses to detached condos to single-family homes and vary widely in size. This breakdown of the new home construction process speaks primarily to semi-custom, to-be-built homes, where buyers have the opportunity to make some customizations and selections. Be sure to ask your builder or sales agent about the process specific to your new home and community.

1. Find Your Home

The first step in any home buying process is to evaluate your financing and find a qualified REALTOR® to assist you in your search. Once you find the perfect community within your price range, you’ll choose the lot or unit that best fits your needs. You may have several floor plans to choose from, just a few, or it could be predetermined – it all depends on the specific lot, community, and builder. 

2. Sign Purchase and Sale Agreement

Once you’ve selected a lot and floor plan, you’ll need to sign a purchase and sale agreement. Sometimes the builder will have a designated purchase and sale they use for the specific community. Either way, the contract will include the lot, floor plan, and possibly some of your selections. 


3. Selections Meeting(s)

Once you have a contract, you’ll have one or more selection meetings to choose interior and exterior finishes. Common selections include siding, cabinetry, countertops, flooring, lighting, and paint colors. You may be able to make all or only some of these choices, so be sure to discuss with your REALTOR® and builder up front about what options are available. 

4. Building Permit Application

Whenever something is being built, a building permit generally needs to be filed with the town. Once a contract has been signed and a floor plan selected, the building permit application will be filed with the town. Since every town and project is different, the processing time for these applications can vary, but it’s usually somewhere between 1-4 weeks. 

5. Construction Begins!

Once the building permit is received, construction on your new home can officially begin. In some cases, like if you’re buying a home with a predetermined floor plan or an attached condo, this step may happen much sooner – potentially before you even sign a purchase and sale. 


6. Electrical Walk-Through

Once the home is framed, the buyer will attend an electrical walk-through with the builder and/or electrician. This is to confirm electrical outlet and fixture placements, as well as any other electrical requests the buyer has. The buyer should come prepared with decisions on how many and where they want their lighting fixtures to be located. This is also a great opportunity for the buyer to walk through the layout of their house for the first time.

7. Construction Continues

After the home is framed and electrical walkthrough completed, construction will continue on your new home. This includes rough electrical and plumbing, drywall, hardwood and tile installation, cabinetry and countertops, trim and doors, paint, and more. 

8. Builder Obtains Certificate of Occupancy

A certificate of occupancy is required to certify a building meets building codes and other laws and is suitable for living. The builder will need to obtain this certificate before the closing. 

9. Homeowner Walkthrough and Punchlist Created

Upon completion of the home, you'll have an on-site homeowner walkthrough and orientation with the builder or builder’s representative. This is the opportunity for you to examine the interior and exterior of the home. Typically, the builder will also explain the basics of the systems and utilities within the home. At the walkthrough, you’ll make note of any damages, small defects, or missing items in the home. The builder will create a “punchlist” of these items to complete before or shortly after the closing. 

10. Closing

At the closing, the ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer. All the necessary documents will be signed, money exchanged, and the lender’s approval completed. Your new home is all yours! 

The new construction process is easiest to navigate with an experienced REALTOR®. As new construction specialists in the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Southern Maine, we would love to help you find your new home. Visit our agent page to find a REALTOR® now or check out our active new home communities



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