Decision Lists Speed Up Homebuilding

Construction is easier when a buyer follows timelines.

Homebuyers may hire production builders to manage the construction of a new home, but these same buyers play a critical role in the timeliness of completion. There are times that a buyer has to make decisions; if they do the work on time, the contractors can in turn do their work on time. The result is a quality home that's delivered on time, the way everyone envisioned it.

Giving the buyer a list of decisions makes the homebuilding process go more smoothly. The best practice for getting the home built on schedule is for the buyer to make those decisions before construction starts. Homebuilders call the decision list a "timeline."

The timeline is essentially a road map of the homebuilding process, and each step has a deadline. The initial meeting with the buyer is typically held with a sales representative, where the buyer selects the home site, chooses the floor plan, signs the sales agreement and puts down a deposit. Subsequent meetings are held to instruct the buyer on how to secure financing. Additional meetings are held with design representatives to help choose the colors for the house, and a pre-construction meeting is held with a construction superintendent to discuss the entire homebuilding process.

The timeline also includes design decision meetings. If buyers don't make decisions within the given timeframe (or they want to change something later) the house won't be finished on time.

During construction, there are weekly meetings to update the buyer on the building process. Toward the end of the building process, the buyer meets with builders again to verify that financing is in place and that utilities in the new home are turned on. At the conclusion of the process, buyers go to the closing of the property and sign their closing paperwork.

In the past, there was no timeline. Production builders often didn't ask buyers to make design decisions; instead, they made most of the decisions themselves. Sometimes builders asked for design decisions during construction, which usually caused delays in the building process. Today, however, homeowners are much more involved with those decisions, and the end result is a home that's just what they envisioned.

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