How Long Does It Take to Build a New Home in DC?

The Washington, D.C., cityscape at dusk, with rush hour traffic trails on I-395 highway. Washington Monument, illuminated, dominates the skyline.

Building a new home in the nation’s capital? You can find all types of housing in Washington, D.C., with different building timelines to suit your needs.

As you start your search for your new home in the Washington, D.C., metro area, it’s important that you first know what you want in a home.

Are you looking for a single-family residence? Or are you looking for a condo or townhome in the DC metro area? Have you considered a manufactured home?

Depending on your needs, it will take anywhere from a few weeks for a manufactured home to anywhere from six to eight months. The timing for your new home will depend mostly on factors such as weather and the permitting process.

“We do not purchase land to build new homes. However, we have torn down existing properties and started construction from nothing, meaning that we have gone through much of the permitting process involved in building new homes in D.C.,” says Greg Allen, acquisitions manager at Express Homebuyers, one of the largest East Cost real estate investment/homebuying companies.

Allen says the permitting process can take a few months. “It is important to note that any construction project in DC that disturbs more than 1,000 sq. ft. of living area becomes a file job,” says Allen. “A file job essentially means that a walkthrough permit goes from one day of processing to two months to four months.”

Richard Bridges, a broker with Pearson Smith Realty who is licensed in D.C., Maryland and Virginia, agrees. He says that depending on the location, the permitting process differs, which can affect building timelines: “Some jurisdictions take longer to approve plans to start construction.”

Ask your builder about permits, since they will know how to file one and which municipal departments to see about filing. The nice thing about working with a builder or architect is that they are there to guide your through the process, so they will often take care of this part for you.

Allen says if you want to build a house in a non-historical location in the DC area, expect the homebuilding process to take anywhere from six months to eight months if there are no major complications. “A more realistic time frame is about 10 months,” he adds.

There are many things that can affect your building timelines, says Bridges. “The weather and time of year can play a factor on construction as well. If contractors cannot work, then construction stalls too,” he says.

For a manufactured home, it can take as little as four weeks to be ready. Because these homes are built in a building and assembled before it leaves the building, factors such as weather are not an issue.

If you are looking to move into a newly built home in a shorter amount of time, don’t be discouraged. Builders often have move-in ready homes that you can choose from, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Building a new single-family residence in the D.C. metro area takes about eight months to complete. Be sure to ask you builder what your building timeline looks like so that you can move in to your new home when it’s the right time for you.
Patricia L. Garcia is an award-winning journalist and former content manager for NewHomeSource. You can find her on Google+.

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