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How To: Build Your Own Dream Home

If you’re looking to build your own home but don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place! As Lancaster County’s premier custom home builder, we have many decades of experience in building luxurious custom homes, and we want to share our knowledge of the custom homebuilding process for those who are interested but aren’t sure where to start their journey.

Building your own dream home is definitely a major undertaking, and following the steps outlined here will help you understand all that’s involved and move through the process smoothly. Of course, whenever  you have any questions, please contact our team and we’ll be happy to help!

  1. The most important step is to Plan – As Benjamin Franklin astutely noted, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This is especially true for building your own custom dream home. Some vital questions to consider ahead of time as part of the planning process include:
    • What is our total budget? (We’ve heard stories of people who spent every available dollar on the house and wound up with empty rooms because they had nothing left for furniture.)  So as you’re preparing your budget, be sure to include land, taxes, furniture, décor, and a contingency for anything unexpected that may come up.
    • What are our goals and/or visions for this home?
    • What features do we require this home to have?
    • Do our goals and/or vision match our budget?

  1. Find your location – Are you purchasing land, building on land that you already own, renovating an existing home, or tearing down and rebuilding? Location is a huge piece of your dream home, so make sure you’ve secured your desired spot.
  2. Gather reinforcements – Building a dream home requires an army of experts to tackle the design, build, interior, landscape and other portions of the home. The benefit of choosing a design-build contractor like Norman Graham Builders means you’ll streamline communications since we deliver both the design and the construction services. This allows improved efficiency that can lead to lower costs and a shorter construction period.
  3. lightning striking with a storm frontPatience is a virtue – Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your custom home won’t be, either.  Mass-produced houses seem to pop up overnight, but construction of a new custom home generally takes between five and six months. For a project this large, even with a flawless plan and great execution, unforeseen circumstances can throw a wrench into the progress (Mother Nature, anyone?). The architect, builder, and others working on the project will do everything in their power to keep the project on track and to complete your dream home on time, and how the team and the future home owner react and communicate with each other on these issues can vastly improve the experience and expedite the process.
  4. Finally, enjoy your dream home – A lot of hard work and sweat was poured into your new home. The process is finally complete, and now it’s time for you to kick back and enjoy the rest of your life living in luxury!


Building a custom home is one of the most rewarding experiences that you’ll ever have, and we hope that the process of building your own custom home doesn’t seem so daunting now that we’ve laid out the steps to achieve your dream. We have additional resources available here on our website if you have specific questions, and we encourage you to check out our New Home FAQs page to learn more.