Building a Home 101


If you have ever thought of building your own home, this page will take you through a simplified version of the process.  We'll attempt to answer as many questions possible, to take much of the guess work.  We'll attempt to break the process down step by step.  The process of  putting your thoughts on paper, to project completion.  With over 70 years of combined home building experience,  Chris & his design partner, Carl, would love the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your dream of building your own home.  

It starts with money - Financing

Just like when buying a home, financing is a good first step.  
1- You need to know what to budget before you start lot selection or design work.
2- Construction financing is a bank specialty, not all banks have Construction Lending Depts.
​We have several National or local Banks & Lenders we can refer to you:

Banks & Lenders have different programs and qualification processes, so please talk to them all.  

Lot Selection

No two lots were created equal.  Invite us out to take a look, we'll give you our opinion.  
Variables include:
SLOPE - Upslope, backslope or even a gentle slope.  Each has its advantages and disadvantages.  The advantage to this backslope lot is its view of the Valley.

TREES - Counties & Cities have differing laws on how much a lot can be cleared for a building pad.  Not only the number of trees, but  certain types of trees might put you into a mitigation program.  Mitigation programs are typically fees to plant more trees elsewhere. 

SHAPE -  Square, rectangular or even a bit irregular.  Let's make sure the home (and amenities) you want fits on your lot selection.
ROCK -  It looks pretty, but some of those large boulder can take some big equipment
LOCATION -  Counties & Cities have differing fee structures for home building which can be as much as $50,000 or more.

CONTRACT STRUCTURE - We'll give you ideas on how to structure your purchase contract.
HOA & CC&Rs - Get a Copy!  You need to know whats in that design criteria.  Are you aware that CC&R's can have a minimum size?

We are more than willing to help out on lot selection & advise free of charge. 

The Fun Begins

Rough Draft Design

 Communications is key.  There are many things to consider when designing, but don't forget your budget. You want a designer who is familiar with today's building costs & trends.  Keep yourself away of redesigning your dream.
By this time you probably have a rough idea of what you want in a home.  # of Bedrooms, # of Bathrooms, square footage, Are you looking at model homes, magazines, homes of friends, driving through your favorite neighborhoods.  All are great ways to get those fantastic ideas to start putting on paper.  You want to have your "rough ideas" layed out on the plot of your lot before you finalize the purchase.  

Don't forget to read through the CC&R's and any Building Design Criteria first! If working in a subdivision that has an HOA, talk to them about the review process.  It's not a bad idea to start the review process after you have a rough draft  of the floor plan & elevation in hand.  This can save a lot of hard work and a lot of time vs handing over finished plans that don't meet the CC&Rs  or design criteria. 

Design & Spec's & Allowances

 Specifications are as important as the plans themselves.  The little details are included here from the kitchen appliances to the type of door style, from the finish on the interior walls to the quality & grade of the carpet & pad.

Allowances on finishes are an easy way to control your budget.  They allow you the customer the ability to choose what you want in your home whether its lighting or plumbing fixtures or appliances or carpet.

If we are building your home, we have a list of local vendors that supply much of what you will need & make the selection process easy.

Lastly, it is very important to have a complete & final set before bid.  While we understand changes are caught and made, bids can vary greatly if builders and suppliers are working of differing sets of plans & incomplete specifications.  Incomplete specifications lead to assumptions by the contractor.  Assumptions will make for a larger difference in bid totals & a lack of quality finishes included in the low bid. 

Bids & Check those Referrals!

 Your bids should come back relatively close unless there was a mistake made or the builder made some wrong assumptions. Although it might look good as an initial bid, bid mistakes are never good.   Mistakes lead to incomplete jobs, inferior materials, inferior workmanship, contractors getting fired (and having to hire another contractor to finish at a higher price) and lawsuits.    If you get 3 bids and 2 are close and 1 is different, select your builder based on the 2 bids that are close in price. 
How is your contract structured? Builders have their own preference or the bank you are working with might have their rules.  I have found that to keep budgets close, my clients prefer a hard cost figure. This also gives my clients a spec sheet and allowances for many of the finishes (appliances, carpet, plumbing and lighting fixtures) Other builders prefer a cost plus approach, this can be a cost + flat fee or cost + %. Fees & percentages are always negotiable.  Check with your lender, some lenders require a minimum profit (they don't want to see a builder cutting corners to make money)!

Check referrals!  In today's busy home building climate, builders are coming out of the wood work. That by no means says every new home builder is bad, but don't be afraid to ask for referrals. Make sure your builder will walk you through a home or two that he has recently built.