Building a House in Florida: What’s Involved? 

July 5, 2024

Building a custom house in Florida is an exciting journey that offers the opportunity to create a home tailored to your unique tastes and needs. With its stunning landscapes, pleasant climate, and diverse communities, Florida is an ideal location for many aspiring homeowners and home builders. 

Understanding the building process is crucial, especially for first-time builders. This guide will provide a comprehensive overview of the steps involved, from planning and financing to design and construction, ensuring you are well-prepared to build your first custom home!


Steps Involved in Planning a Custom Home Project

The initial stage of building a house in Florida involves detailed planning. Begin by defining your vision: 

Factors such as these are important to consider before starting your custom home project. It is important that you and any other decision-makers take some time to figure out the specifics of your project before moving on to the next steps. 

Choosing the Right Location in Florida 

When it comes to building your dream home in Florida, the first step is to decide on the geographic area that suits your lifestyle and preferences. While the Sunshine State is known for its diverse cities and towns, ranging from the bustling coastal metropolises of Miami and Tampa to the family-friendly attractions of Orlando, it’s crucial to focus on the type of land and features that will enhance your living experience, especially if you’re based in a smaller city like Gainesville.

You’re likely to want to stay put for at least 5 years, and probably longer, so consider whether your chosen site will have access to everything you need. Depending on what you’re looking for, this might include any of the following:

All this can help you map out a rough geographic area (similar to buying a prebuilt home), but for a custom home in particular, you’ll want to make sure you find out about additional key factors affecting the land itself such as lighting, soil and drainage, zoning regulations (including any potential changes), environmental concerns such as nearby or former industrial activity or proximity to protected natural areas that may impede the building process.

Understanding Zoning & Building Regulations Specific to Florida 

Zoning laws and building codes in Florida vary by municipality and county. It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these regulations to ensure your project complies with local requirements. Key considerations include setbacks, lot coverage, height restrictions, and environmental regulations, particularly in coastal or environmentally sensitive areas.


Financing Options Available for Home Building

Financing a custom home involves different options compared to purchasing an existing home. Traditional mortgages are typically not available for custom home construction, so you’ll need to explore other financing methods. Common options include construction loans (which are discussed in more detail below), personal savings, or borrowing against existing assets.

Construction Loans

Construction loans are specifically designed to finance the building of a home. These loans are short term, typically lasting for the duration of the construction period, and are disbursed in stages as work progresses. To qualify, you’ll need a detailed construction plan, a qualified builder, and good credit. Once the home is complete, the loan can often be converted into a traditional mortgage.

Designing Your Home 

Hands drawing architectural plans for a new home

Architectural Plans & Blueprints 

Architectural plans and blueprints are essential for turning your vision into reality. They provide a detailed layout of your home, specifying dimensions, materials, and construction techniques. These documents are crucial for obtaining permits and guiding the construction process.

Working with an Architect or Designer 

Collaborating with a local architect or designer who understands Florida’s unique climate and building conditions is invaluable. They can help you incorporate elements that enhance comfort and efficiency, such as hurricane-resistant features, energy-efficient designs, and appropriate landscaping. At McFall, we’ll help you navigate all of these important decisions as you design your custom home build or remodel.

Incorporating Florida-Specific Design Elements

Florida’s warm climate and potential for severe weather require specific design considerations. Features such as impact-resistant windows, elevated foundations in flood-prone areas, and effective ventilation systems should be considered. Outside of extreme weather, Florida has a pleasurable climate that can be enjoyed by incorporating outdoor living spaces, such as screened porches or a patio.

Managing the Construction Process 

New home construction in progress

Choosing the Right Builder

A skilled builder brings expertise and experience to your project, ensuring the construction process adheres to the highest standards. Experienced builders are familiar with the complexities of custom home construction and can navigate challenges effectively.

Applying for the Right Permits 

Obtaining the necessary permits is a critical step in the construction process. Your builder or contractor typically handles this, but it’s essential to understand what’s required. Permits may include building, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical permits, as well as any environmental or zoning approvals.

Dealing with Unexpected Challenges & Setbacks

Construction projects often encounter unforeseen challenges, such as weather delays, supply shortages, or design changes. Effective communication with your builder, flexibility, and a contingency budget can help you navigate these obstacles smoothly.

Final Touches & Completion 

Wide open modern dining room with light flooring, blue accent wall and mid-century table and chairs

Installing Finishing Touches & Landscaping

The final phase of your custom home project involves adding the finishing touches that make your house a home. This includes interior elements like flooring, cabinetry, and fixtures, as well as exterior features such as landscaping, driveways, and walkways.

Final Inspections & Walkthroughs 

Before you can move in, your home must pass several inspections to ensure it meets all safety and building code requirements. A final walkthrough with your builder allows you to address any last-minute issues or concerns.

Moving into Your Newly Built Florida Home

Once all inspections are complete and any outstanding issues are resolved, you can finally move into your dream home. Take the time to familiarize yourself with the features and maintenance requirements of your new home, and enjoy the satisfaction of living in a space uniquely designed for you.

Get Started on Building Your Florida Dream Home with McFall Builders

Planning, financing, designing, and constructing your home can be overwhelming for a first-time home builder. Let McFall Builders ease the burden and help you bring your Florida dream home to life. Contact us today or request a consultation to speak with one of our representatives about getting started!