It takes a small village to build a custom home.
There are a lot of shows out there that tout a very streamlined effort with an interior designer and a contractor who gives verbal pricing on the spot – folks, this is not real.
What these shows are NOT unveiling are all the cogs in the proverbial construction wheel that it takes to build a home. Are you thinking of building the home of your dreams? That’s great!
Here are the next steps to get your construction process started:
Hire your architect
Choose an architect that is familiar with your climate. A home built in California has different design criteria than one built in Michigan. For example: that stunning cantilevered great room overlooking a vineyard with floor to ceiling windows spanning 500 linear feet may be a slice of heaven in California. In Michigan? It’s really, really cold…it will end up being a $350k sunroom.
Choose an architect that has a robust schematic design process where you can be afforded multiple options to consider and ample time to work out different concepts with early pricing takeoffs from your builder. Pop quiz: what does time equal? That’s right: money.
Talented architects cost money. Talented architects are worth their weight in gold. They are leaders and their leadership will transform your project experience. They will spend the time to guide you through the design process and they will be your true advocate during the construction process.
All architects are NOT made equal. Hire the good ones. Trust me: if you hire a low-bid architect, it won’t be long before you realize the value of the right architect was actually priceless.
Choose your builder
What’s more dangerous than hiring the wrong architect? Hiring the wrong builder. Builders are NOT a commodity, they’re an experience. Hire the good ones. What makes a good builder? Collaboration, communication, transparency, and craftsmanship. Your builder should be friendly. They should have strong examples of and references for their project management. Their pricing should be clear, easy to understand, and broken down by trade. Their prior work should be beautiful and on display. Do you know how to find a good builder? Ask your architect!
Hire your landscape architect
Have you heard the term “shovel ready” or “break ground”? – that’s a popular phrase used by architects and builders to describe a project that is ready to start. It’s a popular term because it a visual representation of what the first step of construction will be which is to start digging. Digging is messy. At the end of the project, you will have a beautiful home surrounded by dirt.
Your final step in the construction process is not moving in, it’s landscaping. Ideally, your architect and landscape architect will both be working together during the design process so that all of the aesthetics of your home can be wholly envisioned and understood so there are no “ ’shoulda’, ‘coulda’, ‘woulda’s” later. Plus, let’s face it, landscape drawings are fun to look at!
Realistically, if you are diligent, you should expect to spend 6 months to a year with your construction team before your home is “shovel ready”.