The Comprehensive Checklist for Building a Custom Home

Building a custom home is an exciting process. At the same time, there are probably a few things you may be worried about. That’s completely understandable since every step of the construction process requires careful planning and attention to detail. After all, this is your dream home you’re building. To make sure that the entire process is nothing short of exciting, we’ve compiled a comprehensive checklist, to help you ensure that you haven’t missed anything, ensuring a smooth and successful custom home-building experience. Let’s begin with the vision you have for your home – 

Inspiration and creating your vision  

Research and visualisation of your dream home is something too many people overlook. Not only will it help you visualise your dream home way better, it will also allow your building team to create the best version of it when it comes to the drafting and, ultimately, the building process. 

Here are the top factors to consider: 

  • How do you want space to flow? Are you looking for an open-plan living style, or do you prefer separate spaces for certain functions? 
  • Consider how your family live on a day-to-day basis. What kind of space would best suit that? 
  • Consider how much space you’ll need versus how much space you would like. When you’re smart about multipurpose spaces, you don’t need quite as much space. 

You should also have a clear idea of your fundamental requirements. Make sure you know:

  • How many bedrooms/bathrooms you’d like
  • Do you want a single or double storey? 
  • Do you favour internal/external living spaces? 

One of the easiest ways to visualise your dream home is by breaking down the decision-making process into three sections, needs, wants and desires – 

What you need – these are non-negotiables that you simply have to have. For example – 3 Bedrooms.

What you want – these things you’re flexible on, but would really like. For example – Timber flooring

What you’d love to have – these are nice-to-haves, but you can definitely live without them. For example – A pool 

Make sure that you have communicated with anyone else who is going to live with you. Get their input, and ensure that you’re on the same page. This will mean that there won’t be any surprises down the line, that could slow the progress of your build. 

The Enso Difference – Use Gallerie, our selection studio, where you can get inspired as well as select and combine different interior and exterior colours, fixtures and finishes. 

Building a Custom Home


One of the most important things to consider here is your budget and financing options, ensure that you:

  • Decided on a budget with a partner or anyone else who is part of the commitment. Sticking to this number allows you more freedom to work within it. 
  • Have a good understanding of your budget and what it can get you. 
  • Be open about your budget with your builder, so that they can make it go further. 
  • Speaking to your mortgage broker or financial advisor to understand what you can afford is another great way to guide your expectations.  

Selecting a location 

This can also be a very exciting part of the journey. However, many people don’t consider the restrictions some developers impose on locations, especially if you’re looking to build within an estate. 

Make sure you’ve considered if the developer has restrictions or limitations on: 

  • Whether duplexes or subdivisions are allowed
  • The colour/style of your roof (Eg: Dark, flat)
  • The colour of your facade 

In many cases, developers also impose guidelines and limitations on the design of the property itself. 


We understand that most people find contracts long and wordy. However, it is important that you read through your contract to ensure that you fully understand it, especially since this is one of the biggest investments you’ll ever make. This is especially important when it comes to your draft contract, which may contain estimates, allowances, and provisional sums, instead of final prices. When it comes to your draft contract, make sure you know:

  • Which numbers are estimates, allowances, and provisional sums, and which numbers are final 
  • How long the quote and draft contract are valid for
  • Which tasks and documentation can require payment before they can be completed  

Understanding the details of your final contract makes all obligations clear, both from your side and your building team as well. When it comes to your final contract, make sure you know: 

  • When you are expected to approve certain things or make certain decisions 
  • When you are required to pay each instalment 
  • What the agreed-upon timeline is 
  • What the agreed-upon design and features include
  • What is excluded from the scope of your building contract

The more you know about your contract, the more control you have over the whole process. If you have any questions or issues with your contract, it’s best to bring them up as soon as possible so that your building team can iron everything out for you early on. 

Design and blueprints

When it comes to the design and build phases, communication is key for a streamlined process. The best way to approach things is to work closely with your architects or designer to finalise your home’s floor plans and layout, ensuring that your expectations are clear. At this stage of the process, it is recommended that you make sure you: 

  • Choose materials, fixtures, and finishes based on your preferences, but that also fit within your budget.
  • Review and approve blueprints and construction drawings timeously so the process can keep moving forward. 
  • Ensure that your building team has received the appropriate compliance with local building codes and regulations. If you’re working with Enso Homes, we’ll take care of all required permits, no need to worry. 

Building a Custom Home

Exterior landscaping 

Many people focus on the interior of their home, forgetting that the exterior is just as important. Make sure you’ve considered: 

  • What landscaping you’re looking for, including grass, plants, and trees.
  • What outdoor amenities you’d like, such as patios, decks, and walkways.
  • What exterior finishes you’d like, including doors, paint, and trims.

Enso Homes has partnered with an expert landscape architect and local landscaper to help achieve the outcome you’re looking for. 

Points of contact 

The Enso Difference – Because communication is so important, having someone who you can always get in touch with is key. Where other building teams provide clients with many different points of contact, Enso Homes provides you with only two points of contact. Your new homes specialist will assist you with the entire pre-construction process and your project manager will assist you throughout the entire construction and care process. We believe this streamlines the process, giving you your go-to people who can answer all of your questions and who are personally responsible for guiding you through the process. 

Here are a few key things to remember throughout your construction process – 

  • Give yourself a deadline to have your design and selections finalised. It’s important that everything has been decided prior to construction commencing. 
  • Remember, any changes on-site slow the project down significantly and may lead to variation fees being incurred
  • Remember, the quicker you are to respond and make decisions, the quicker the process will take.  

The Enso Difference – Once construction begins, Enso Homes will introduce you to your project manager, who becomes your single point of contact until the end of the project. That being said, you can always call on the support of our full team, who are available to you should you need them.  

Project timeline

Try not to have any preconceived ideas about how long each phase will take. During construction, the slab and frame go up quite quickly. It’s easy to get excited because you can see the progress happening in front of you. However, internal finishes such as tiling and painting take longer because they are labour-intensive jobs and require attention to smaller details. Don’t get disheartened if it seems like the project is slowing down when it comes to the finishes, just know that if you’re with the right team – everything is moving exactly as fast as it should be. 

Final Inspections and maintenance 

Once your home is built and you’re ready to move in, there are several important things to prioritise:

  • Arrange for utilities to be connected to the new home, so you can start using appliances, etc. If you’re building with Enso Homes, we’ll take care of this for you. 
  • Familiarise yourself with the operation of all systems and appliances in your new home to ensure you’re using everything safely. Your project manager should provide you with a demo on each appliance at the handover. 

Before you’ve moved in, you’ll get the chance to do a Practical Completion Inspection. This is your opportunity to identify any outstanding items that still need to be resolved before the final handover. Here, it’s important to –

  • Conduct thorough inspections of your completed home to ensure it matches your agreed contractual specifications.
  • Address any issues or deficiencies identified during inspections. You’ll be able to do this through your maintenance agreement, which will cover the time period you have to find and report issues that your building team will be responsible for rectifying. 

Let your journey begin 

Now that you’ve seen the process from afar, and have sight of all the little details to remember, you’ll be able to navigate each step of your custom home build process with confidence. One of, if not the most important decisions you’ll make, is which building team to partner with. As experts in the custom home building field, Enso Homes specialises in bringing dream homes to life. We prioritise communication, clarity, expert workmanship and material, as well as customer satisfaction. So, get in touch with us to talk about beginning your custom home journey, today.

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