When thinking about building a custom home, you might also be thinking that you have to choose between speed or quality. After all, many people associate speed with shoddy work. But that's not always the case.
We all know that having a custom home built requires a significant investment of money. What many people overlook is the investment of time.
In today's age of manufactured products, we tend to think that we can write a check or hand over the credit card then sit back and wait for our new car, computer, or whatever else to get delivered.
Building a house is a complex task, but there are many builders capable of doing a good job on that task. Developing land is another thing, and it's not a skill that every builder possesses. Honestly, it's not a skill the vast majority of builders possess. But more and more builders are advertising that they will build on your land because the number of available neighborhood lots is rapidly shrinking.
In any home, there are lots of manufactured products: appliances, pipes, drywall, paint, lights, faucets, toilets, windows, shingles, doors, and much more. All of those products come together to create your new home.
The builder (or you as the customer) must specify a manufacturer for each of those items. Many people assume that a builder uses the least expensive items he or she can get away with (hence the term "builder grade"). But that's not usually the case.
Emily came to us with a house plan she created herself. It had everything she had been dreaming about, and now she just needed to find a builder who could build it within her budget. We weren't the first builder she had interviewed, and we weren't the last.
I think she kept shopping around because she hadn't yet found a builder who could build it within her budget. In her mind, she was committed to this house plan and wasn't going to stop until she got the answer she wanted to hear. Unfortunately, we gave her the same answer she had heard many times: this house plan is outside your budget.
Everyone, contractors especially, make mistakes while building a home. Sometimes it's due to poor communication, other times poor documentation is to blame, and other times it's just simple human error. But when mistakes happen, who pays for them?
That generally depends on the type of contract you have in place with your builder.
Sometimes a shop building is a nice thing to have, whether you plan to use it for storing lawn equipment, vehicle maintenance, as a garden shed, or for any other hobby or practical purpose. But if you're building a shop on your land, it's important to do it right!
Here are a few tips for what to watch out for when building a shop on your land.
When it comes to building a custom home, every client wants to know how long it takes to build a house. You may be thinking about when to put your current house on the market or trying to line up temporary housing while building the new home. Or you may just want to know when you can move in to your dream home.
Generally, six to eight months is a reasonable timeline for building a custom home, although it can certainly take longer sometimes.
When it comes to buying land to build a custom home, there are a lot of factors to consider: location, access, cost to clear the land, cost to run utilities, and so much more. And finding land can be much harder than finding a house for sale, because land isn't always listed for sale in the same ways. So when you find the right land, you don't want to miss out.
Let me tell you a story about Mark (not his real name). He found the perfect piece of land to build his forever home on. It had all the features he was looking for: seclusion but with good access to a major road, some trees, just the right amount of slope, and a small pond.
Builders who are accustomed to building in pre-defined neighborhoods have a lot of the prep work done for them by a developer. That includes engineering, drainage, street access, and lot clearing. It also includes all the site boundaries, easements, and right-of-way surveys—all the legal stuff that says you can actually build there. Plus flood plain determination and a measurement of the weight bearing capacity of the soil, which impacts where and how you build.
Here's a secret about the custom home industry that many people don't realize: No house is going to be perfect. Yes, you read that right. It doesn't matter how experienced your home builder is, even the most experienced builders won't build a perfect house. Here's why.
By definition, a custom home is one of a kind, just like you. It's designed to fit your needs, wants, and budget. It's the manifestation of your dream. If there were a hundred other houses that looked like it, it wouldn't hold the same place in your heart.
Today I'm going to tell you a story about Mike and Jan. Their names have been changed, but the story details are true.
They signed a contract with a builder and made a $7,500 deposit based on the builder's promise that he could build the house they dreamed of within their budget. But when it came time to create the house plan, the builder didn't design what they wanted. He designed what he thought they could afford.
Early in the process of building a custom home, many people will look around online at a range of house plans to start getting some ideas of what they want. That's a good thing, really, because it helps define your priorities so you can discuss them with your builder during the actual design process.
But all too often, someone falls in love with a house plan that's well beyond their budget. And then they ask, "Can I shrink this house plan and make it less expensive?"
I hear the term "builder-grade materials" a lot, but it's not an industry term. There's no official definition for it. When I hear someone say it, they usually mean it in a negative way. They're saying that builder-grade materials are the cheapest and poorest quality possible and are usually lower quality than materials available to the general public. That's not really the case though.
Let's first talk about the difference between a spec home and a custom home.
Many of the clients we work with to build a custom home have teenagers, which often results in specific design requests. Sometimes that means extra bathrooms, sometimes it means teenager bedrooms with some privacy, and sometimes it means space for friends to hang out.
One family we worked with had a teenager who was the oldest of three kids, and they wanted her to have her own space. They didn't have the budget for a huge house, and they didn't need her space to be that big, but they did want it to be separate from the other kids.
For families with guns in their home, a gun safe is a necessary safety component to include in the home. But they're big, heavy, and awkward. Plus, you generally want your gun safe to be hidden. So where do you put it?
One client of ours had lived in several houses before building their custom home. In one home, they wanted to put the gun safe in the master bedroom closet, but it wouldn't fit through the door. And even if it had, it simply took up too much of the closet space.
In the second part of our series on coolest home design ideas suggested by our clients, we're going to talk about muddy dogs and kids.
For many of our clients, building a custom home on their land provides an opportunity to create both indoor and outdoor living spaces for the entire family. And that includes the four-legged family members. But what happens when the kids or the dogs head outside for an afternoon of fun and get dirty in the process?
Over the many years I've been working in custom home construction, I've met some pretty cool families that had amazing ideas for design features in their homes. The next few articles are going to highlight specific house plan ideas and features that came from our clients.
Every home has cabinets—in the kitchen, in the bathroom, and maybe in the laundry room or family room. When building a custom home on your land or a builder's, you can choose shop-built cabinets or job-built cabinets for these spaces. Both can be custom-designed to fit your space, but is one better than the other? Does one cost more than the other?
Farmhouse style homes have been around for decades and thanks to the growing desire to get back to the basics of life, the farmhouse style is now considered one of the most popular styles of houses and decor. There is also an emerging popular style that combines the unique design details and conveniences of contemporary homes with the familiarity and simplicity of a vintage farmhouse.
Bigger isn’t always better, according to the tiny house craze sweeping the country. From farmhouse to modern to craftsman, tiny homes come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and have become highly popular with environmentally-friendly millennials. Most of these smaller homes are 1,000 sq. ft. or less and are either mobile or permanent residences.