Building a custom home can be a major undertaking. Whether you live next to a sunny beach or up in the mountains of Central Oregon like I do, the same principles apply. From putting your building team together, doing home construction research, asking the right questions, and being well organized, we’ve put together an essential checklist for building a custom home.
Assemble Your Team
The first thing to do before getting started on a custom home is to assemble your team. There are going to be many people and companies involved. This ‘team’ will help you find the right property, design your custom home, finance your custom home, and build your custom home.
The main parties involved are a realtor, a custom home builder, and an architect. It is wise to consult these 3 professionals before getting started in order to establish some basic parameters like cost, timeline, and logistics.
For example, you may find a ‘great’ piece of property on a hillside with an excellent view, but what if the excavation and foundation will cost an arm and a leg? What if the design requires a lot of stairs in the house and a steep driveway? What if the HOA has strict design guidelines that conflict with your vision?
A good custom home builder, architect, and realtor should be able to help you navigate this process successfully.
Remember that Cost Per Square Foot is a moving target. You won’t know for sure until you have made a large number of decisions and a basic set of plans have been created. Cost per square foot is a great tool when you build the same house 100’s of times.
When you design and build a custom home, you need to keep in mind that it has never been built before and will never be built again. Be flexible in your design and selections and always maintain a buffer in your budget. Use the cost per square foot as a starting point.
Ask the right questions
During the interview process make yourself a list of questions and try to imagine what are going to be the most important qualities you are looking for.
Some of the more important questions you should ask include showing an example of a budget, who will be working with you directly during the process, how they organize communication, and how they plan to be transparent during the building process.
Ask the same questions so it becomes easy to compare answers. Ask for referrals from current and past clients and don’t be afraid to ask how they get paid or what their pricing structure looks like.
Do your research
There is no such thing as too much information when researching your custom home build. Despite our best efforts, no custom home builder can see inside the minds of their clients to extract information about the things that are most important to them in designing a home.
It’s a good idea to provide pictures, ideas, and information as best you can. The more precise you can be, the more precise your custom home builder can budget for you and make it happen.
Be open to value engineering
One of the greatest benefits to attaching a custom home builder to your project early on is to avoid the easy mistake of designing a home that you cannot afford to build.
A good custom home builder should be able to offer pricing insight, as well as offer other ways to achieve your goals. Use your builder as a resource to get the best ‘bang for the buck’ that you can.
One of the biggest pitfalls in home construction is losing track of things. Keeping everything organized like receipts, phone numbers, dates, and conversations can save a lot of time and headaches during the building process.
It helps to have a folder set up specifically for receipts, since you’ll have a lot of them. Keeping all your phone numbers in one place will save you a ton of time.
Having a calendar set up specifically for the building project is also a really good idea. Write down the date that specific things were done and the due dates for when projects are supposed to be finished. It’s easy to lose track of everything during the building process.
It’s also a good idea to have a notebook set aside to write down the different conversations you have with contractors, banks, etc. Also note the date that the conversation took place. If an argument dispute should arise, having good documentation is essential.
Remember to have fun!
Building a custom home can seem daunting at first. There is so much to consider and organize that it can become overwhelming very fast.
Following this checklist should remove a majority of the stress, but it’s important to remember to have some fun! Keep in mind that this could be a once in a lifetime experience.
Try not to make big issues out of small problems. Once you assemble your team, use them. You don’t need to try and do it all by yourself.
If you’re ready to talk about your custom home project, we’d love to have that conversation with you! Call Black Label Design Group at 971-277-8877 and set up an appointment with us anytime.