If you’re about to start building a home, chances are it is something that you’ve been planning and dreaming about for quite some time. Building a home, especially a luxury custom home, can be a very long and stressful process. It can also be an exciting time as you see your dream home take shape before your very eyes.
The challenges of building your own home can rob you of the excitement of doing it yourself, and cause nothing but headaches and regret. This is undoubtedly one of the most important projects that you’ll ever undertake in your life, so hire an experienced construction consultant or builder to help you through the process. Protect yourself and your investment by doing it right the first time. Also, knowing the difference between a true custom home build and a spec home build can save you a lot of time and frustration.
To make the process go smoother and avoid costly mistakes, we’ve outlined the initial steps to take in preparing to build your new luxury custom home:
Determine your budget
Pre-Qualify for your financing in order to determine your budget. Be realistic and seek professional advice if you are in doubt.
Know what you want before you begin
Consider your lifestyle and how you want to live in the future. Decide the setting you want for your new custom home. How do you want your new home to look and function? Will you need three rooms, or six? Do you want a garden, and should you have an open floor plan for entertaining? It’s a good idea to sketch out your vision giving the designer-builder or architects a visual representation of what you want your home to be. The feel and flow you want for your new home will play a big role in the design phase.
Hire a professional consultant or designer-builder you can trust
The difference depends on how much help you want.
A construction consultant is a person (preferably an experienced general contractor) who is hired to act as your advocate and to consult and assist you throughout the design and construction process. The consultant will also oversee the job to guarantee that all trades deliver quality work.
A designer-builder offers the same services as a construction consultant but is also a licensed contractor who can actually build your new home, and who offers internal design services providing a one-stop-shop for the design and quality construction of your new home. Coppertree Homes is qualified and experienced in designing, consulting, and building high-end custom homes.
Having a professional builder in charge of solving problems takes a lot of stress off the homeowners. At Coppertree Homes, our knowledge, skill, and comprehensive approach allow us to execute the most complex and sophisticated custom home projects with complete confidence.
Decide where you want to be
If you don’t already have a lot, decide where you want your home to be and purchase the land. With the help of a professional, learn the details of your property before starting the designs. Why? Constructing a home with a full basement on a flat lot takes more work and money than would have had you selected a lot with a slope from front to back.
There are many issues to consider when buying land including:
- Grade and soil conditions
- The costs of connecting and maintaining basic services (i.e. water, electricity, gas, telephone, sewer, and fire control)
- Restrictions associated with creeks, dams, or watercourses on or near the site
- Insurance issues (for example, due to flooding or fire risks)
- Whether there are any easements (i.e. sewer, electricity, etc.)
- Requirements for geographical reports or extensive engineering drawings
- Zoning restrictions or requirements
The design phase
Whether using an architect or designer-builder, always include the builder and/or consultant in the design process. In some cases involving the interior designer is recommended as well. Many clients have the perception they should hire an architect, design their home and then go to several builders for bids to decide who will build their home for the best price. In reality, more money and much more time will be saved if the builder is selected early on to help manage the design process and collaborate with the architect and the client. During the design phase, the builder will work with the architect to ensure the floor plan, elevations, roof, and custom features are cost-effective to build. The builder will also involve and manage subcontractors during the design process so the design team can coordinate key building systems into the design of the home.
Many of the very best design professionals can lack the knowledge of what the construction costs really are, which results in a design that is more costly to build than what the client expects… in other words, the project has been “over-designed”. The consultant and/or builder will monitor the design phase for cost-effectiveness and efficiency.
Acquire the appropriate permits and insurance
Once the plans are complete, the builder has to work with local zoning and code authorities to secure the proper permits. Construction consultants and builders have a thorough understanding of building codes, as well as good working relationships with local authorities. This is another benefit to hiring a professional.
Sending your project out for bid
First, know the difference between an estimate and an actual bid. An estimate is a much looser figure, in which the builder employs a lot of guesswork and assumptions. Of course, experienced builders can often provide very accurate estimates, but there is still a chance your final cost could vary greatly from the estimated cost.
Don’t let price dictate your choice. Think of hiring a contractor as you would selecting a surgeon to perform open-heart surgery. Do you want the doctor who offers you the lowest price or do you want the surgeon who will give proper attention and do the best job?
If and when to involve an interior designer
The decision you make about hiring an interior designer will have the largest impact on the final appearance of every room in your home. Hiring the right interior designer for your project is going to take time, just like it did when you were finding the right architect and contractor. Don’t hesitate to ask your construction consultant or builder for recommendations. When to involve the interior designer is a matter of preference. Luxury custom homes are one of a kind, so it is wise to have the architect, builder and designer work on the project together as a team. Leveraging their collective knowledge and experience can produce spectacular results.
An interior designer can offer:
- General Inspiration
- Spatial Planning from Room to Room
- Cost and Product Comparisons – furniture, lighting, flooring, fixtures, etc.
- Product Research
- Color Selections
- Lighting Designs
- Furniture Selection
- Layout Planning
- Wood Floor Design
- Designing for Special Circumstances – Wheelchair, Aging in Place, Designing for Children or Special Needs Family Members
If you are already working with a custom home builder, utilize their list of trusted subcontractors as a resource. Professional builders will have close relationships with quality subcontractors. Because the builder is a source of ongoing work for those contractors, prices offered to the builder will likely be less than prices offered to anyone else. The builder can also confirm the quality of work and customer service expected.
Building a home is a large undertaking and many problems can arise that will end up costing extra money or making the project take longer than estimated. If you hire contractors who are unlicensed or uninsured, you could be held liable for any accidents or injuries that occur on your home-building site. Finding qualified, honest, and trustworthy contractors will ensure a smooth process, and you’ll have less stress to deal with and a much better overall experience. The research is worth your due diligence.
Negotiate your contracts
Once you have selected a contractor it is time to negotiate and execute a contract that includes detailed specifications. Make sure you’re satisfied with all of the terms before you sign. You can always ask to renegotiate the terms before you make an official agreement, but afterward, you’re stuck with the terms as outlined in the contract. Remember, a good contract should be fair to all parties. Once the contracts have been signed and legally reviewed, you’re ready to begin!
Do you have questions about building your own custom home in Columbus? Give us a call and let’s start the conversation!!