on Nov 07, 2022 9:46:47 AM

Things to Know before Buying Your First Home

Buying a newly constructed home has a lot of advantages over purchasing an existing home. Also, when you purchase a new home before construction is complete, you can select custom features like flooring, countertops, cabinetry, appliances, and fixtures. When you buy a newly constructed home, whether it’s a spec or “showcase” home or one that you’re having custom built, understanding the process, from planning and financing all the way through to closing, will help you get the most of what you want in your brand-new home.


Before a builder can begin construction on a custom home for you or make any customizations to a showcase home, you must have financing secured. To get financing, gather all your financial documents, and clear up any mistakes or blemishes on your credit report before applying for loans. When it comes to loans, there are two types that are most pertinent to homebuyers: construction loans and mortgages. A mortgage is an agreement with a lender (like a bank) to pay off a loan on a home or real estate over time, usually consisting of a monthly payment of both principal (paying off the loan) and interest to the lender. A construction loan is a short-term loan (often a year) that is used to finance the building of a home. Generally, the homebuyer pays only interest for the duration of the construction loan, and the construction loan then turns into a long-term loan, like a mortgage, although this depends largely on the lender and the terms of the loan. Many builders often offer financing or work in partnership with a preferred lender, so be sure to ask before you dive in. For more information on financing a new home, click here.


Building or buying a home comes with a cost. As a rule, the more custom the home, the more expensive, so here’s a breakdown of the cost of a home built by Hubbell Homes, Origin Homes, or Embarq Signature Homes.

Depending on the community, buying, or building a new home with Hubbell Homes can be as affordable as $253,900 or for those looking to live downtown in the Banks community, Hubbell Homes has Urban Collection executive homes starting around $600,000.

The cost of building fully custom homes with Embarq Signature Homes depends largely on what the homebuyer is looking for from design, exterior and lot layouts. Homes with Embarq usually fall between $600,000 and $1.5 million.

Origin Homes is a custom or semi-custom rural homebuilder who focuses on building in rural communities. Their homes can range from the upper 200’s to upwards of $600,000 depending on the size, land purchase and finishes.


Understanding the building process and the milestones is critical for choosing individual aspects of your new home without unnecessary (and costly) delays in construction. Be sure to work with a builder and an agent who communicates clearly and frequently about timelines and progress, so you’re fully informed of all decision points including the most current estimated completion date. According to the Census Bureau’s 2019 Survey of Construction, the average completion time for a single-family home is approximately eight months. However, many factors, such as the lot features and complexity of design, influence this timeframe. Other things that can extend the time it takes to complete construction include:

Weather- Rain and freezing temperatures can delay or slow work at certain stages. In climates that experience all four seasons, builders often try to plan start dates around the weather, ensuring that exterior siding, insulation, and windows are completed before the colder, wetter seasons to make construction easier.

Missed decision deadlines- For example, choosing your cabinetry when it’s time to install it can delay construction by several weeks; making selections with plenty of advance notice ensures that work can proceed without having to wait for materials to come in.

Labor shortages- During high-demand seasons, the construction labor force is stretched tightly. The number of workers going into construction trades has declined, leaving a growing shortage of approximately 600,000 tradespeople nationwide.

Customizations- If you can find a builder’s predesigned floor plan that closely fits your needs, this will be the quickest route to your new home. The designs that your builder has on hand have already been tried and refined, making them efficient to build. Understand that any customizations you choose will entail extra time (and cost).

Hubbell’s homebuilding companies offer options ranging from move-in ready homes to fully custom builds. Hubbell Homes specializes in speculative and semi-personalized homes in Central Iowa and is one of central Iowa’s top homebuilders, with homes always ready for purchase and being built all around the Des Moines area.

Origin Homes is a semi-custom rural homebuilder that specializes in building beautiful homes on land that you already own. Origin is proud to build in all 99 counties of Iowa, whether it’s in your city or outside of your small town, working with contractors and trades in the towns to build your home.

Embarq Signature Homes is a fully custom homebuilder in central Iowa. Embarq has floorplan options to choose from and customize, or they will work with you to develop a custom plan that is specific to you and your needs.

Stages of Construction

Understanding the basic stages of the building process will help you keep the big picture in mind when planning your new home. The work progresses in this general order:

  • Site preparation
  • Foundation
  • Framing
  • Wiring, plumbing (including tubs & showers) ductwork, ventilation, siding, roofing
  • Insulation
  • Drywall, exterior finishes
  • Interior trim, exterior drive and walkways, countertops, hard-surface flooring, appliances
  • Final interior finishes, such as carpet, light and plumbing fixtures, electrical outlets and switches, and final exterior grading

Building or buying a home for the first time is a big deal with lots of moving parts, but our experienced homebuilders make the process as seamless as they can. So, whether you want to build or buy, and regardless of the size of your budget, consider a new home and everything that comes with it.