How Long Does a Custom Home Building Project Take in MN?

One of the many questions we hear when meeting with new custom home clients is, “how long will this take?” Whether our client wants to host Thanksgiving dinner in their new home or have a wedding shower planned, most want to know when they can move in to start living in their custom home. In this article, we’ll take you through our process to give you an understanding of what to expect during each phase to make the experience of building a home as enjoyable as possible.  

There are basically three phases of construction: Design, Preconstruction, and Construction. Each phase has unique disciplines and professionals to work through but having them all at the table early in the process is key to a successful, prompt project. This allows you to set realistic expectations and timeframes at the start to identify critical milestones and responsibilities.  

Laying the Foundation | Preconstruction 

Whether you’re building a smart-sized cottage, a luxurious custom home, or an urban legacy estate, you first need a multi-faceted team you can trust. One person or company can’t do it alone. Nor-Son Custom Builders gather the experts in each specialty (architect, interior designer, and builder) for you, early in the process, to set goals and expectations that meet your timeframe.  

The preconstruction phase is the foundation for a successful custom home building project. This is when your team comes together to develop your parameters through discussions and sketches. Nor-Son reviews your site conditions, your square footage needs, and the style of home you are envisioning. We discuss how you want your home to perform, the level of finish you are envisioning, and provide you with comparative costs to determine not only your budget, but the length of time it will take to build.  

The length of this phase is typically between 3 – 4 months but depends on how quickly you and your architect work together. The more preparation you put in prior to meeting with your architect and builder in gathering photos and ideas will make this process much easier and efficient. Social media platforms, 3D modeling, and even virtual reality technology have made it more interactive as well. These tools, along with builder cost estimates, give you the power to make decisions or changes with confidence while streamlining the timeline.  


It’s also important to identify long lead times for materials and finishes. For example, lumber and windows are critical items to get ordered in advance due to long lead times. Nor-Son sets the schedule during preconstruction for everyone on the team to adhere to and identifies when decisions need to be made with established dates for material orders. The more decisions you can make prior to the start of construction make for a seamless, stress-free experience. It also helps achieve the most competitive pricing and scheduling when subcontractor bids are compiled.  

Building Your Dream Home | Construction 

Finally, your dream home comes to life and all your hard work begins to pay off. The length of time it takes to build a custom home depends on the size and complexity of the design. Nor-Son Custom Builders compiles all phases of construction, from foundations to framing to electrical walk-through, so you know what is happening at each stage of construction. We even highlight milestones of any remaining finishes that need to be selected. 

Despite all the pre-planning the team does, there are always issues that can potentially threaten the schedule. Minnesota’s bitter winters cause weather delays whether it is due to bitter cold temperatures or taking up valuable time for snow removal. Site safety of our crew members is always a top priority.

As mentioned, long lead times on materials can delay the schedule. Staying on top of market conditions helps alleviate some of these delays, but it’s difficult to predict with custom homes if you have a particularly unique custom item not typically purchased. The more your team stays ahead of those critical pieces the better odds you have of staying on schedule. 

A custom home is the most important investment most people will ever make. That’s why we believe so strongly in building our clients a team they can be confident in delivering their one-of-a-kind home. Nor-Son walks through your home after completion and then again one year after to ensure your home is performing exactly as it was intended.  

The Benefits of Having a Dedicated Team 

One of the key benefits of working with Nor-Son Custom Builders is having a dedicated team assigned to execute each and every detail. The Project Manager handles the day-to-day execution of your project and streamlines communication needed to deliver your desired result. The Superintendent oversees all onsite activities to ensure materials are installed in a quality manner and that each subcontractor’s work is on schedule. These two team members are extremely valuable in reducing any stress you may feel during the construction phase by adhering to timelines through efficient management. 

Our project managers understand and appreciate the time, talent, and architectural vision that goes into a luxury custom home. We are “hands on” throughout the construction to ensure that materials are installed in a quality manner the first time. Before handing over your home, we complete a thorough inspection to assure all major mechanical and electrical systems are working efficiently smooth move-in for you with no surprises.  

Real-life Factors Affecting Project Duration 

As we’ve mentioned, the best way to ensure your custom home finishes on schedule is to put the effort into planning and design stages before you start construction. This gives the team time to hammer out the details, figure out timelines and long lead times, and predict what could cause a delay.  

Nor-Son Custom Builders is always trying to create the most value for their clients by talking vendors and subcontractors daily to stay ahead of any lead time delays. We expect winter conditions and often protect the construction site to avoid freezing until you are ready to break ground. Maybe construction plans are not quite ready, or you’ve run into a financing delay…whatever the reason we adjust quickly to save you time and money.  

Strategies for Keeping the Project on Schedule 

One of the best ways to keep your project running smoothly is to have open lines of transparent communication. Nor-Son uses cloud-based technology to help us collaborate and work with greater efficiency throughout the design and construction process. In today’s fast-paced world, you deserve to know exactly where you are at with your project, and good communication is essential. We use Builder Trend Project Management software on all projects. All team members have access to this system to keep everyone looped on plan updates, progress photos, and schedule. Having this information readily available enables everyone to address any potential problems or opportunities quickly and efficiently.  

Building a new custom home is and should be a fun experience! And it all begins with a qualified, professional team from the start to better understand the time investment required for a custom home build. The time investment you give from the start will continue to pay off for years to come. If you have a custom build project in mind, contact the professionals at Nor-Son Custom Builders. Our mission is to offer clients the best experience with the best team for the best outcome possible!