How Long Does It Really Take to Build a House?

LANDCONNECT — 08 March 2020

How Long Does It Really Take to Build a House?

The critical factors which determine how long it takes to get into your new home.

We’ve all watched the TV shows. An average Joes kicks their way through drywall, before putting the finishing touches on the property seemingly days later. It certainly makes building a home seem simple.

But real life isn’t like television – not even that genre which calls itself ‘reality.’ As any builder will tell you, you can’t just whip up a new home in a handful of weeks. So how long does it really take?

To help separate the reality TV fact from fiction, let’s take a closer look at the process of building a new home, and how long it might take.

The factors at play

There are a number of factors that will decide whether your new home construction is fast or slow.

The design phase

Designing a new home from scratch is an understandably time-consuming process; there are a lot of considerations to be made and conversations to be had with your drafter. And if you’re dreaming of a large, bespoke and complex house, you’ll increase the time needed to both design and build it. 

This is one of many reasons why volume builders are so popular; the homes they offer are primarily pre-designed and are very efficient to build.

The land

It’s common to be so taken with the design that you don’t consider the canvas. The land on which you build must be adequately prepared, and this can add additional time to the process depending on the unique features of the lot of land, mainly if your block is on a slope, you need trees or rocks removed, or you have reactive soil.

The building permit

Building permits can take a while to obtain. Between site inspections, the internal processes of the issuing office, and the type of permit you require will depend on how quickly this is issued.


Certain things are simply out of your builder’s control. Certain weather conditions can make construction impossible, most commonly rain, but also hail, extreme heat, and high wind.

Unplanned changes

Sometimes the construction time frame can blow out because of the client, rather than the builder or any other extenuating circumstance. 

Unplanned, post-contract changes can seriously extend the building time, so it’s best to avoid them.

Volume vs. custom builder

The decision to work with a volume builder or a custom builder will have the most significant influence on your construction timeline. 

Volume builders, with their pre-designed options and streamlined processes, can construct homes far quicker than custom builders can. 

They have instant access to all the materials they need – and will have had plenty of practice in constructing your particular home.

There is obviously a wealth of perks that come with choosing a custom builder, not least the realisation of your dream home, but speed isn’t one of them.

How long will it take?

With all these factors in mind, how long will the construction of a new home actually take? This can be a bit of a ‘how long is a piece of string?’ question, but there are some basic figures that can serve as a guide.

According to, four to 12 months is the ‘average’ amount of time, although these figures don’t include purchasing land and locking in a design.

Four months is typical for a basic pre-design build by a volume builder (some of these builders even quote time frames of as little as 11 weeks).

Can you afford to wait?

Waiting an extended period for your home to be constructed needs to be factored into your budgeting. 

Apart from the need to pay off your newly minted mortgage, expenses include:

  • Living and paying rent elsewhere during construction
  • Covering land tax, utilities, and other ongoing property expenses
  • For investors, every month that the home remains unfinished is a month of rent lost

With these expenses in mind, it’s vital that you create a budget that tells you how long you can afford to wait before you lock in a new home build.

Don’t let the renovation shows fool you. You won’t go from kicking through drywalls to soaking in your brand new bath in a matter of days or weeks. 

Please speak to your builder and get a clear idea of how long they expect it to take. Consider ways to make the process more efficient, like choosing a pre-designed home from a volume builder, resisting the urge to make unplanned changes. 

Do all this, and you’ll be relaxing in your new home in no time.

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