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.

Next Up

Lining Up Your Project Team

Know which tradespeople and contractors you need to complete the addition to your home

How to Choose Contractors

Get expert tips for picking a construction manager and crew for your addition project

7 Things to Do Before Calling a Pro

After evaluating your budget, scope and needs, you'll be prepared to discuss realistic remodeling goals with a contractor.

Manage Expectations with Pre-Construction Meetings

Fewer surprises will come up if there is good communication.

Managing a Basement Remodel

Get tips on tracking costs, hiring contractors and working with permits.

How to Solve Contractor Conflict

Don't let an argument delay your remodel. Get tips for managing problems on the jobsite, before they snowball out of control.

Remodeling for Twins

Homeowners renovate a master bathroom, nursery and outdoor space in time for twins.

All About Post-War Architecture

After World War II and the Korean War, soldiers needed a place to call home. These houses were built fast, but well.

All About Pre-War Architecture

These homes may be old, but they're full of spunk and charisma.

Managing Your Home Addition

Learn how to make the project go smoothly, from keeping a journal to doing daily walk-throughs

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.