Hello Everyone! While everyone is busy Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, I’m over here stressing over decisions that need to be made for our new home!
Today, I’m back to share a little bit about the Pre-Construction Phase, of our home build, or the process when we through, to get to the point that our home was ready for construction.
- FIND A BUILDING LOT
The first step was for us to find a building lot. Because of my work, we are lucky enough to know a number of builders in our area. I had mentioned to one of them, that if he ever got word that a particular area of privately owned land was going to go up for sale, to let me know. Well, it just so happened that 3 days after we decided that we were going to sell our home, one of the builders called me to let me know the land owner was ready to sell! Two days later we signed papers to purchase the lot!
2. CHOOSING AN ARCHITECT/DESIGNING YOUR HOME
Now that we had our lot we needed to design our home. We chose to find the lot we were going to buy and then design a home that would fit on it, while others decide to design a home and then find a lot that will accommodate their home plan. There are definite pros and cons to doing it either way. For us, the location of our home was more important than the home itself, so we decided to find the lot and design a home to fit.
I’ve known for years that my next home would be Coastal in style, so we used that as out jumping off point. Next, we made a list of all of our “must haves” in the new home. A few of mine were, a grand entry, two islands in the kitchen, a large and spacious mudroom and separate laundry room and a big walk in pantry. My husband had his own list. We combined our lists and started looking through what seemed like a gazillion home plans online. We never found anything that fit all of our needs, but it helped us prepare for our meeting with the architect who would help us take our “must have” lists and incorporate them into a functional home for us.
Choosing the right architect can be tricky. Here are a few tips to help you pick an architect that is right for you.
- Ask around. Ask anyone you know that has built a custom home about their architect and what they liked/disliked about them.
- Drive around and knock on doors. I know this sounds crazy, but a little crazy is well worth finding the right architect to design the home of your dreams. If you see a home that makes your heart skip a beat, go knock on the door and ask who the architect is. Chances are the homeowners will be flattered and you will have another name to add to your list of potential architects.
- Once you have compiled a list of architects. Take the time to stalk their websites and social media to see more of their work. Then, call and talk to each one! A five minute phone call can tell you if that particular architect will be a good fit for you. Ask about their experience, process, pricing and if they specialize in any given style.
- Step 3 should help you narrow your list of potentials to just one or two. Make an appointment to meet with them for an initial consultation. At the consultation, you should be able to speak more specifically to what your wants and needs are for your new home. The architect should be able to start communicating with you regarding the design of the home at a very high level. This meeting is still exploratory, so there’s no need to get super specific.
- Make a choice. By now, you should feel confident in your choice of architect. Set up a your first design appointment and let the fun begin!
When you go to your first design appointment with your architect, you should be armed with as many pictures as you can, which exemplify elements you would like to see in your home. A plethora of exterior and interior pictures will help guide your architect for the initial home design. Also, having a good general idea of the floor plan and how many square feet you want your home to be, helps.
I think we went through 7 revisions of our home plan before it was exactly what we wanted. Be patient, designing a custom home is not a fast process, but the time it takes is well worth creating a plan that is perfect for you and your family.
3. CHOOSING A BUILDER
Picking a builder is much like picking an architect. Do your homework! We chose our builder based on a personal relationship and my past experience while designing homes for clients who built with them. Havenhill Homes is one of the top custom builders in our area. The quality of the homes they build is top notch, so we felt confident in having them build our home.
4. THE ESTIMATE/BID MEETING
Now, let me talk about the MOST IMPORTANT meeting you will have during the pre-construction phase. It’s called the Bid or Estimate Meeting. This is the meeting that will help you find out how much your home is going to cost to build. So, here is where I put my plug in for designers. If you are going to hire a designer to help with your home, hire them BEFORE you have this meeting. Here is why… at this meeting you will sit down with your builder and talk about the details of your house, i.e.. What kind of materials are you using for the exterior, what level of finishes are going into the interior, what kind of cabinetry, countertops, lighting, hardware, tile and so on and so on, are you planning on putting in. The builder needs to know these things to give you an accurate estimate. The problem is, most people don’t know the answers to these questions when they go into the Estimate Meeting. They generally end up bringing in pictures (which I highly recommend), to show the builder what they want. However, without specifics, those pictures are up for interpretation and in most cases the builder can’t bid the house accurately with pictures alone. The result of an inaccurate bid is a frustrated homeowner, that has to blow the budget to get what they want in their home.
An Interior Designer can help you get a more accurate bid by speaking specifically to the design of the home in the bid meeting, and by making sure that budgets are set in line with what the design dictates. We know how much these things cost because we work in the industry day in and day out. Take advantage of our knowledge! That being said, if you choose not to use and Interior Designer, take your time to make as many design decisions as possible BEFORE the bid meeting and be prepared to communicate those decisions, in a clear manner, to your builder.
A typical estimate takes roughly 4-6 weeks to come back after the Bid Meeting. At that point the builder will call you in to go over the numbers.
A quick note about how builders charge for residential new construction. Most builders work off of either a Fixed Price or Cost Plus Model. There are pros and cons to both models and the one you choose for your new home build is entirely personal. This blog post does an excellent job of explaining both models and the positive and negative aspects of both.
After you have worked out all the details of the price of the home build, your builder will give you a construction start date. Man oh man, is it exciting when you see the backhoe take that first chunk of dirt out of the ground!!
Construction of our house began in late August. We had a bit of a delay that pushed our framing start date back, but now our home is taking shape. Framing should be done in the next few weeks and then we move on to rough plumbing and electrical!
I am beyond excited for you to see our home come together. We are fortunate enough to be working with some amazing brands, whose products will be featured in our home. We aren’t cutting any corners on this house and the brands we are working with are top notch! I can’t wait to share more about that with you!
I hope you found this post informative and helpful! If there is something specific to the building process you would like me to address, leave a comment and let me know!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram to see more progress photos and videos of the #smiinlandcoastal.