foley custom home process

Your Guide to The Custom Home Building Process in Fairfax County

The custom home building process is much more than the construction of your new home. It’s one of the most fulfilling experiences you’ll ever have. So many design possibilities, unlimited material choices, and the ability to “have it your way.” Foley Development Group’s extensive history, level of expertise, award-winning design, and commitment to customer service allows us to put your needs, tastes, and lifestyle first and foremost.

Custom Home Building Process

While actual construction averages eight months or less, your ideal custom home can be years in the making. Though many people fear it can be a confusing and predictable path, working with the right design build team can make it a smooth, even fun, process. The key to making it an enjoyable experience is knowing all you can about the process itself.

If you’re trying to decide whether building a custom home is right for you, one of the first things you might want to do is talk to other people who have already been through the process themselves. Nearly everyone who’s built a custom home has a story to share and they often love sharing it with others.

We believe the more you know about the huge task you’re about to undertake, the better your overall experience will be. Here’s how a typical custom home building process plays out.


The pre-construction phase involves preparing a budget, purchasing and developing the land, designing home plans, financing, and choosing what we sometimes call “the shiny stuff.” We go into much greater detail on our website, but here are the highlights for each part of this phase.

  • The budget drives the entire process. It may be dictated by your personal comfort level or by your bank! Open communication with your designer and builder about your budget is key to establishing building guidelines. To create a budget that works for your financial situation and gets you the home you dream of, consider these elements:
  • Your lot is the single largest line item in your budget. In Fairfax County, the land for your new home is typically 25 to 50 percent of the overall price of the home. It’s crucial to not purchase a piece of land until you understand how the rest of your budget will play out. We love working with our clients to find the perfect lot that’s suitable for the home they have in mind.
  • Land development is an extensive, and not inexpensive, process that involves excavation, clearing trees, bringing in and connecting utilities, driveways, landscaping, engineering, and permits. Since land development can be the second highest line item in your budget, you should be aware of these costs before designing your custom home.
  • Home plans can be obtained from plan books or you can create your own custom design by combining different ideas from different sources. Before creating plans, you and your designer should come to an agreement as to the size of the home, the general specifications, and your budget. This way, you guarantee that the home you want can be built where and how you want it to be.
  • The “shiny stuff,” or specifications and selections include everything from plumbing and light fixtures to cabinets and countertops. A carefully constructed budget makes sure you’ll be able to put the finishing touches you desire into your new home.
  • Financing, while a small amount of your overall budget, should actually be thought of before any of the other four categories. It’s often the case that what your lender is willing to finance will drive your budget. We provide our clients with a list of lending institutions who specialize in custom home financing and are happy to educate you about how these types of loans differ from a conventional mortgage.

The Importance of Scheduling

Every custom home construction project has a schedule. How long yours will be depends on a few factors:

  • How involved the land development is.
  • The complexity of the home’s structure.
  • The size of the home.
  • The level of finishing that will go into the home.

At FDG, we based our delivery date on the above parameters. Experience has taught us that it takes a minimum of eight months to finish a 5,000-square foot home and an additional few weeks for every extra thousand square feet over that.

Learn More

We hope this outline gives you a better idea of how the custom home process works, and makes the idea of designing and building a new home a welcome one! We invite you to view our portfolio of new homes and then contact us to schedule a conversation. We look forward to meeting you!