Mastering the Learning Curve of Custom Home Construction

There are several critical phases of building a new home, from acquisition through post-completion. Orlando custom home builder Jorge Ulibarri is here to help you master the learning curve of home construction by outlining the following steps in the home building process.

Here’s what you need to know when preparing to hire and work with luxury home builders in Orlando.

Lot for Sale

Lot Acquisition

The first step in building your dream home is finding and purchasing a lot. Before you begin your lot search, it’s a good idea to establish a relationship with one of the custom home builders in Orlando who can guide you in this process. Builders can help you evaluate the potential lot for its price and construction feasibility.

You can search for a buildable lot on your own, work with a real estate agent or purchase a lot through a builder. Central Florida custom home builders often have their inventory of lots and negotiate on price if you choose to build with them.

Also, keep in mind that you might have to factor in additional expenses associated with your chosen lot. These fees can include lot clearing, importing fill dirt and impact fees.


Planning and Design

Once you purchase a lot, the design phase begins. Some Central Florida custom home builders provide a spec book that details what is included in the price. Items listed in a spec book can include materials, finishes, home features, appliances, fixtures and more. The builder may include allowances for items in the spec book that you don’t want. Allowances are a credit that you can use for an alternate item selection. As you go through the spec book, it’s a good idea to make a list of essential features you want in your home.

Orlando custom home builder Jorge Ulibarri designs each one of his homes as an original, authentic residence according to the client’s aesthetic and lifestyle needs.

Jorge collaborates with his clients to design the floor plan and elevations (exterior design). It’s important to be clear on the style of home you want, your budget and living space requirements. Most luxury home builders in Orlando work with an architect to design a home that reflects your vision. Once you and the builder agree on the preliminary design, work begins on the construction plans – the builder’s actual blueprints for building your home.

Contract Signing

Finalize the Contract

Once you and the builder agree on a price, you will formalize the agreement with a contract that includes the home price, allowances, final construction plans and payment terms. The homebuyer and the home builder should have a clear timeline with specific benchmark dates for work performed. A construction timeline also holds the subcontractors to their deadlines so that their work doesn’t delay the home’s completion.

Beware of excessive change orders. Before signing a contract, the homebuyer should research the products and finishes included in the house. Change orders can increase the sticker price of the home. “Be clear on what’s included to avoid unexpected charges,” says Jorge.

Loan Closing

Loan Closing

A construction-to-permanent loan is the standard loan to finance the construction of your new home. It combines construction financing and mortgage financing into one loan. There is only one closing, which means only one set of closing costs. Once your loan has closed, you’ll make interest-only payments on the funds drawn on your loan during construction. After the loan closing, the lender will release any remaining down payment money to your builder to start construction. Once these remaining funds are exhausted, you can begin drawing funds from your construction-to-permanent loan to pay construction costs. Throughout the construction process, most lenders require periodic inspections of your home. The total cost for inspections is predetermined with your builder, and the funds are disbursed at the time of closing to cover this amount.



Central Florida custom home builders submit plans for county review and approval. It usually takes four to six weeks for permits to be approved by the county, assuming everything is submitted correctly. The price of the home typically includes permit fees. These fees vary based on several factors for new construction. Impact fees are not included in the price of the house and can vary from county to county. Impact fees are one of the budget considerations to factor into the overall cost of the home.


Site Preparation

If you’ve purchased a lot with an existing structure on it that needs to be removed, then you’ll need to budget for demolition costs. Demolition can take several weeks, depending on permitting. If you’ve purchased a vacant lot, then site prep begins and can include removing trees and shrubs, as well as the infill of extra dirt to level the lot.



It typically takes a year to construct a custom home, but keep in mind that the timeline proceeds as fast as you make decisions. If you, the client, are indecisive about features and items in the home – whether it’s a light fixture, paint color or appliance – this can create construction delays that have a domino effect on other trades scheduled to come in and do their work.

Throughout the construction process, you will meet regularly with the builder or a project supervisor/superintendent to check on your home’s progress. You will meet periodically with the builder to make item selections for the home.

exterior luxury home Modern Homes

Completion and Post-Move

Throughout the construction process, the county will conduct inspections of the home. You cannot move in until the county has issued a Certificate of Occupancy in the final building inspection.

Keep in mind that a list of punch-out items for the builder is typical to complete after the county has issued a Certificate of Occupancy. These punch-out items can include cosmetic touch-ups. Many Central Florida custom home builders offer post-settlement touch-ups and maintenance work as a courtesy.

Most builder contracts require you to close on the new home within a certain number of days of the Certificate of Occupancy and allow the builder access to the house after closing to complete the punch-out list.

We at Cornerstone Custom Construction greatly value our client relationships, and know that the best relationships are based on transparency and open communication. We hope that this information will give you the knowledge of what to expect at each stage of the process so that building your dream home is a memorable experience for all the right reasons!

Are you ready to get started? Call us today!