How To Build A Custom Home Series: Moving Out

How To Build A Custom Home Series: Moving Out

I recently started a new blog series chronicling the step by step process of building a custom home. I thought it would be helpful to blog about the process from start to finish. I did a similar series a few years ago but this time around, I hope to take you more behind the scenes and share the ins and outs of building a new home. We just recently purchased our next spec lot on Greenwich Street in Falls Church (Fairfax County, McLean school pyramid) so it’s perfect timing!

So far I’ve covered everything from finding a lot to submitting for the building permit and it won’t be long before we’re ready to tear down the house! If you are living in a house that is to be torn down, you need to think about when you will move out.

One of the most common question from clients with a demo is when do I move out of my house? You don’t want to move out too soon or else you will be paying rent or staying with friends or relatives longer than needed. But at the same time, you will need to move out before the county will approve your demolition permit.

So what are your options?

#1 – I always tell clients to move out when the building permit application is submitted because once you move out, you will need to request shutoffs for the utilities (power, water, sewer & gas).

UPSIDE OF OPTION #1 – Most of the cut offs won’t take very long (few weeks) but the gas company can be unpredictable. Sometimes they’re quoting 4-12 weeks to disconnect the service and provide documentation for the county. Does it really take them that long? It can. But permits can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks so why not get the ball rolling with both at the same time?

DOWNSIDE OF OPTION #1 – if you get held up in the county for a plan/site related issue, this could mean more time in the rental. Does this happen? Sometimes. But it is more common that we’re waiting on utilities vs. waiting on county approval so option #1 is still my best advice.

#2 – pre-order the cut-offs with the utility companies and then move out a month later (or whenever you think permits will be approved).

UPSIDE OF OPTION #2 – to minimize the amount of time in temporary housing (maybe). You can let the power and gas company know when the house will be vacated and hope they put you in the queue and don’t come out to disconnect before you actually move out.

DOWNSIDE OF OPTION #2 – we’ve had a few clients do this and it never fails that the utility company comes out before the vacate date trying to remove the lines. It. Never. Fails. Ultimately, they’re pushed back in the queue and we’re usually still waiting on the cut off letters while everything else is sitting at the county approved.

#3 – wait until everything is approved at the county, then move out.

UPSIDE OF OPTION #3 – there is none.

DOWNSIDE OF OPTION #3 – if the gas company takes 3 months to get the disconnect done, that means the overall project is taking 3 months longer. Not a big deal if you aren’t concerned about the delay or having to pay interest on the construction loan while you wait (if the loan is closed). In my opinion, this option almost always adds unnecessary delays and additional costs.

Whatever you decide to do, realize this isn’t a perfect process. You can plan things out down to the most granular detail and it’s likely it won’t always go as planned. Because no matter who you build with, the unexpected will happen. If you take away one thing from my blog, I hope it is this…partner with a builder you trust will get you through the unexpected – it will mean the difference between a good build and a great build.

Dream Big. Build Smart.

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