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21 Secrets in Mastering the Process to Building a Custom Home

Just like your mobile phone, and clothes, a home is an extension of you; it demonstrates your style, nature, success, presence, and personality. But how you get from your current residence, into a customized home that is personalized to match your character can be disorienting for some, and as such many people avoid the risk and confusion, but this article will help guide that path, and reassure you that investing in a custom home is in fact much more straightforward.

Massive Search Inquiries

Do you think you’re alone having interest in a custom home? Think again, one source shows us that over 9,900 searches for a custom home builder are entered every month. Nearly 120,000 searches a year.

The new age buyers look for individualism and identity in everything they invest in. ‘Stock’ and ‘Vanilla’ plans or designs are out of question, and projects with personalization is what attracts them the most. Therefore, to make their OWN kind of home, buyers are nowadays heading to the custom home building market.

“Isn’t building a custom home much more expensive than buying a custom home from a builder?”

Misconception about Cost

Absolutely NOT. In fact, you have more control over the costs if you pursue a custom home. Homes from builders are often prototyped; only providing you with a hand full of plans to select from, then they charge you extra to make any changes to it. Think of it like this; the more control you have over costs, the more you are able to work toward a budget that fits you. This is part of the uplifting appeal that most people don’t think about when considering custom homes.

So making the decision to consider a custom home is a start; yet knowing where to go from there is where this article can help. For one, there isn’t one right answer.

  • Some, begin reflecting on past home floor plans, and begin piecing together what their new home may look like.

  • Others, may poke around on sites such as houzz or Pinterest, searching for inspiration ideas.

  • Another approach, is to begin contacting local custom home builders.

But no matter which direction you go, it will all lead you to the same starting point; with a house design architect.

The Cornerstone Player

The architect is the only person who is trained to combine your design, and the construction knowledge into a composition called the construction documents. The documents contain drawings that address complex, detailed construction illustrations and language which encompass all the design decisions, selections, building details, and code compliances in order to obtain a home construction permit from your local building department. Then the same drawings are used to instruct the contractor on what the finished product should look like, down to one eighth of one-inch accuracy.

The selection of your architect is important, but not as important as understanding how much control you wish to have in the design. Some buyers like to provide a location, design inspiration, and budget, and let the architect do the rest. Others, might like to be deeply involved in the intimate design decisions. Either one is fine, but knowing your level of comfort is important in some of the initial conversations you may have with your architect.

Here are some more tips for hiring an architect that fits you:

  1. An Architect is like an artist; he gains perfection with practice and experience. Therefore, experience should be the primary trait in an architect that you should be looking for. Experience not only in terms of years but also in terms of completed projects. Also, ask the architect if he has worked on similar sized projects previously, and recently.

  2. Ask for the samples of the earlier work and testimonials or even previous client contact information. The best form of understanding how smooth a process is ahead, is by looking into the past.

  3. An architect has to be imaginative. Tell him about your requirements and ask for his creative input. Put a variety of question in terms of creative challenges and pay attention to his solutions. Check how neatly and how cleverly he thinks and that should give you an idea of the kind of designs you can expect. A lousy answer, unimaginative, or too obvious may be a clear demonstration of how the design ability.

  4. Most of the architects work on more than one project at a time. This means that if the architect already has a lot of projects under his belt, he might not be available for support when you need him. While hiring an architect, look for reliability, responsiveness, accessibility and stability.

  5. Hire an architect who can make you feel magical about your upcoming home and who is a good communicator. You do not need someone who you have to spoon feed, or push along. He should be well-organized, equipped with ideas of his own and updated with what’s hot in the market and what is trending in the future.

  6. He should be cooperative with the contractor; because if your custom home builders are facing problems with a structure and your architect delays the solution or finds a way around answering the question, you will find yourself in the middle of a chaos.

  7. Avoid an architect who thinks his opinion is superior to yours. Some experienced designers develop a lot of ego as they grow. However, this should not be the reason for you not getting what you want. An architect should present his opinion and guide the client and not force his ideas on the client. He should be able to tell the latest designs and what all a client can get in his budget but at the same time but at the same time, he should not be the one making all the final design related decisions.

Finding a good architect is a must if you want your custom home to represent you in both quality and detail. No matter which contractor you pick out of the hundreds of custom home builders waiting for your project, the home will never be as personal as you want it to be without an architect; and this is one of the single largest advantages of designing your home; personalization.

The Main Stacker

After finding and while working with your architect, you can continue the search for a handful of generally qualified contractors. How can you tell if they are qualified? Well one of the best ways, is to speak with them.

Be prepared with the facts and figures of your property like house and property size, budget and location for the build. These three things will help your contractor provide you with useful feedback such as a cost per square foot, construction time frames, things to look out for, etc.

That being said, you should also be ready with a set of interview questions for custom home builders you are going to meet. These questions will help you understand your contactor better and assist you in deciding if this is the best contractor to construct your new house or renovate an old one.

Here are a few questions that you should be asking the contractor:

  1. Ask the contractor if they have worked on a similar sized project previously. If yes, ask for the examples and arrange site visits if possible.

  2. If a contractor has not worked on a project similar in size to yours, interview them thoroughly and check their testimonials. In this circumstance, it’s important to get contractor who has a track record of success, a determination to do things right, a drive to maintain a reputation, and one that is the most reasonably price.

  3. Ask them about advantages or deals they can get on the construction supplies needed for construction. You will be spending a lot of money on these supplies and any deal you can get will put you into a better situation, financially.

  4. Ask them what kind of contract would they prefer? Are they willing to take part in a bid, or are they willing to negotiate a contract?

  5. Verify that the custom home builders you are going to interview are all licensed in their state and if they are a part of a reputable builder’s organization, and check with the organization on what they know about the builder.

  6. Check the Better Business Bureau, check with the contractor licensing board for any complaints. Also, check with your counsel or attorney to see if they have any pending, or past lawsuits.

  7. Ask them about the breadth of the services they can provide – for example do they have any services in house such as architecture, interior design, estimating, etc? These types of clues will help determine efficiency within their office.

  8. In case the contractor provides all the services but you are willing to bring your own interior designer or architect, ask the contractor if it is possible.

  9. Feel free to ask any more questions that you might be having pertaining to the ability of the contractor to take up your project.

You should feel confident while giving your project to custom home builders. If you are not feeling confident with a contractor, move to the next one until you have found the one that you like.

The Team Effort

A contractor just builds what the drawings tell them to build, but an architect is the one that truly shapes your home. An architect with his ideas can make or break the house and thus it is of utmost importance that your architect should understand your taste.

Custom home builders will occasionally provide an architect in the form of a package deal. While this saves you some money, getting this deal will rarely satisfy your need to have a personalized home. An architect who is aligned with a contractor will usually try to minimize the cost of construction of the builder and thus increase their own profit. On the other hand, hiring your own architect will give you the purest form of flexibility without bias, in terms of creating a home that truly holds your essence.

On the other hand, there are many benefits of hiring custom home builder that might contain a designer in house to help make your own kind of home. You are free to experiment with anything you want. The possibilities are endless and you can create a fusion of as many designs and structures as you want. With inputs from your architect and contractor, you can be a proud owner of a totally unique kind of a home. BUT all of this is only possible if you decide to ditch the stock plans available online and start putting efforts in a design of your own.

Can I hire a traditional contractor to construct my design?

A traditional contractor knows everything about a only a few certain kinds of project types. He is undoubtedly well versed with all the measurements and calculations that go into the construction. He knows what kind of material is required for the terrace and how to erect the pillars and other structures but what he does not know is how to create a yard with minimum ornamentation and still look rich. He will never be able to create a Mediterranean feel to a second story house, within a small house plan. This is mainly because of the fact that he has never worked on such designs.

He is used to the traditional way of building the project types that he is familiar with. Whereas, the specialized custom home builders know all the problems and troubles that can arise while constructing a house. They have been working on challenging designs and know how to construct beautiful structures within budget. Therefore, hiring a traditional contractor is never recommended for a custom house project. Luxury custom home builders have spent years in the business and have learned a lot from their early mistakes which their traditional counterparts haven’t. There are more reasons than this when it comes to the recommendation of hiring custom home builders for construction.

Here are a few reasons why you should hire custom home builders only

  1. Custom home builders have learned the tricks of the trade. They know the right suppliers for the right kind of material and can even get you building material at a very competitive price.

  2. Thanks to the years of experience, they know how to achieve maximum output with minimum input. Ultimately, money not spent is money saved for you.

  3. Custom home builders exactly know how to avoid common, or perhaps unknown problems you one may face with certain structure; and thus help you with their feedback right before starting the construction. This feedback can come in handy even in the long run. They can help you estimate the cost of maintenance and renovation that you would have to bear after some years.

  4. They can clearly project and anticipate the timeframe of completion, and the budget that you would require for a certain design you are looking for. Although the architect creates the design, the builder puts life to your project, and if he is clear with the design, he can exactly tell the money and time that will go into the whole project.

  5. They also have contacts with the manufacturers and consultants that are trustworthy, reputable, and likely to have discounts. Therefore, good custom home builders can save your time and get you in touch with everyone that is important for the construction of a sweet custom home.

Continue reading about House Plans, and other top styles by visiting our Style Selection Page or learn more about our previous projects, inspirations and highly affordable packages at our Custom House Plans.

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