At MK Homes, we want to make your building process smooth and frustration free. In our Custom Home Building Guidebook, we will talk about how to research the best home builders, what our six-step home building process looks like, how to establish yourself with a banker and most importantly, discussing your wants and needs for your dream home.

Download our free custom home building guidebook

Have you spent the last couple of months or year looking at existing homes, and not being able to find one that works for you and your family? Or, have you looked at the production-style new homes that are cookie-cutter and mass-marketed to buyers? Have you decided that is not what you want? Or, have you the perfect piece of land, and now you need a home to compliment it?


Well, no matter the situation you’re in-whether you’re a first time home buyer or a seasoned home buying veteran, we are convinced that MK Homes can help you in the home building process. Building a custom home is an exciting process because of the possibilities, the options and all of the choices! It can also be a daunting process because of the cost, the time commitment, all the choices 

There are a few things you can do to make your building process smooth and frustration free. The sooner you get started the sooner you can be living in your dream home!

In our guidebook you will learn more about:


Researching builders and the building process.

Establishing yourself with your banker and mortgage broker.

Discussing your wants and needs.




Building a custom home is like entering into a one to two-year relationship (hopefully longer, if you stay friends after you move in!). You will spend a considerable amount of your time interacting with your builder and discussing the details of your life, from your hobbies to your job, your habits to your finances. You’ll be much more likely to be satisfied with the building process and its end product if you feel comfortable talking with your builder about what exactly you are looking for and why.


The first thing you should consider when building a home is what are you looking for in a builder? In our opinion, we think you should consider these four things:

1. Years in business: How many years have they been in business?

2. The builder’s reputation: What does the builder’s reputation look like? Do they have any complaints against them? Are their customers raving about them?

3. The communication process: Talk with previous customers. How was the communication process? Was the builder easy to reach and up front with their information? There are always changes and challenges when building a truly custom home; how did the builder handle any issues that arose and did the customer feel they understood their options? Also, how was the communication process AFTER the home was complete and the customer moved in?

4. Materials used in the home: Ask the builder what kind of material they use for their homes. A quality builder will tell you what they are using for your home and give you references so that you can learn more.

Building a home is an incredibly important decision that you’re investing in. Take your time when deciding who you want to build your home. You want someone who is going to be there for you, no matter what, and will tell you the truth, even if you don’t want to hear it.

The second thing you should consider is what does the design and building process look like?

We try to make our process as simple as possible:

  1. Meet with Matt and Kim Keith.
  2. Meet with your home loan expert.
  3. Choose your home design and location.
  4. Enter into a design agreement, and review final floor plan.
  5. Execute purchase agreement and finalize your home construction loan.
  6. Start the construction process.  


1. Meet with Matt and Kim Keith.

In this meeting you’ll discuss your needs, wants, home styles that you like and more. At MK Homes, we will talk you through making preliminary decisions on your finished items like kitchen cabinets and exterior cladding, as well as when these decisions have to be made.

What happens if you want to change something once your home construction has started? Once you see your new house framed, or drywalled, or painted, you will have new ideas and items you may want to tweak. This is one of the reasons to build custom in the first place, to make a home that is truly yours, so make sure that your targeted builder has a system to deal with changes and that you are comfortable with and understand the system.

2. Meet with your home loan expert (four to six weeks).

Establish yourself with your banker and mortgage broker, if you will be financing your new home. Get pre-approved so you can establish a price range that you are comfortable with before you start home shopping. Your mortgage broker can also discuss other important buying restrictions like down payment requirements and how an homeowners association fee (HOA) and taxes will affect your buying power. You don’t want to fall in love with a home, and a location to find out that your choice is not financially feasible.

Not all banks write construction loans, so check that yours does. This is a loan where you will make interest-only payments on several draws as construction of the home progresses. Also, look for a bank that only closes on the construction loan once, at the beginning of the project. Closing at the start of construction allows you to lock in your interest rate and mortgage payment amount before you start and also allows you to avoid paying two sets of closing costs.

Two banks to talk to that have an established and easy to use construction loan program are below:

Washington Financial

Community Bank


3. Choose your home design and location (one to two months average).



When discussing your preferred home design, get specific about what you are looking for in your new home. Break it down into two categories:

  • Your needs: can’t buy a new home without these things
  • Your wants: things you would like to have but can live without or add later


The following is a list of topics to get you thinking and talking about your new home, its features and finishes. Think about how your family lives and how you want your new home to function to support that lifestyle. You may not have a preference for some of these options; that is fine! Only spend your budget on options that matter to you; this is the reason to build a truly custom home. Make idea books or pages on sites like Houzz or Pinterest to organize your likes and style. Also, you probably won’t be able to fit all of your “want” items into your new home. Rank order what is most important to you in the “wants” and “needs” categories so you can clearly communicate your priorities.

  • Home Location: Do you already have land? That’s great! We will need to do a site evaluation to make sure the land is okay to build on, as well as to let you know if there are any additional costs attached. If you don’t have land, MK Homes has three developments we can show you.
  • Home Style: ranch, two story, cape cod style, etc.
  • Floor Plan and Home Layout
    • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms and their configuration (tubs, showers, vanities, water closets and walk-in closets)
    • Laundry location
    • Garage style (attached, detached or integral) and size
    • Living areas and their function (study, formal dining room, formal living room, open floor plan or separated spaces)
    • Mud room, play rooms, pet areas, crafting areas, gift wrapping room, slide from the roof deck to the bedroom
  • Kitchen Layout, Style and Finishes
    • Double oven and separate cooktop or a slide in oven and range
    • Island layout, style, function
    • Sink location/ view
    • Any special appliances, like a built-in wine refrigerator, deep freezer, or under-cabinet microwave drawer
    • Range hood type
    • Storage: walk in pantry, pull-out drawers, desk area, place to store and charge phones and other devices

If the kitchen is an important space to you, it may be helpful to visit a professional appliance vendor so you can specify the types of appliances you want in your new home. Don’s Appliances is a great place to start appliance shopping.

  • Interior and Exterior Finishes
    • Flooring
    • Cabinet style and finish
    • Countertops
    • Lighting style
    • Plumbing finish and style
    • Exterior finishes
    • Siding
    • Stone and/or brick
    • Trim style and color
    • Front or rear porches/decks
    • Yard space, exterior entertaining layout

Be proactive, ask questions about the process and the options. A quality builder will enjoy discussing the options and possibilities for your home and will have clearly articulated reasons for directing your design in one way or another, instead of pushing you into a cookie-cutter solution because “that is the way we’ve always done it” or “that is what everyone picks.” Once you have selected the right builder and designed your dream home, enjoy the building process and then, most importantly, enjoy living in a home designed just for you and your family.


4. Enter into a design agreement, and review final floor plan.

After agreeing to the final floor plan, specifications and contract price, you will enter into a design agreement with MK Homes.


5. Execute purchase agreement and finalize your home construction loan.

A purchase agreement is a legally binding contract between the seller and buyer agreeing to the contract price.

The entire home construction process takes about seven to ten months, and has multiple phases, including designing and financing your home (mentioned above). After we’ve agreed to the design and purchase agreement, it’s time to start the rest of the construction process:

  • Excavation and foundation: two to four weeks
  • Framing and roofing: four to eight weeks
  • Mechanical rough in (HVAC, electrical, plumbing): four to eight weeks
  • Insulation and drywall: four weeks
  • Paint and interior trim: four weeks
  • Flooring and cabinetry: two to four weeks
  • Final mechanicals: four weeks
  • Final punch out: four weeks

*This timeline can vary depending on other factors.


At MK Homes, we want to make sure your home is everything that you want. So building is a two year relationship with us at least.


The founders of MK Homes, Matt and Kim Keith, started their custom home building business in 2014. From outstanding quality design, construction, energy efficiency and customization, we build our homes to a higher standard completely custom to you, ensuring you a house you can call your forever home.

From the beginning of the home building process to the very end (and hopefully afterward), we will answer any of your questions, and build you a home that fits you.

If MK Homes sounds like the right fit for you, give us a call: 724-206-9741 or fill out the form below




Are you ready to start your home building journey? Regardless if you’re looking for a large or smaller home, have land or don’t, MK Homes can help you. We offer outstanding quality design, construction, energy efficiency and customization. We build our homes to a higher standard completely custom to you and your needs, ensuring a house you can call your forever home. Fill out the form below to contact a member of our team to talk with us about this exciting process:

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