Helpful Hints for Building A New Home | Q&A

Click on the tips and questions below for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions when considering building a new home.

How to Select the Architect

Selecting the architect is the single most important decision you make. Make sure you understand and like the architects sense of design, finishes, colors, etc. But also make sure you understand the relative costs of those designs and details.

Are there any surprises along the way?

Avoiding surprises is the most important goal in building a new home.
If you engage an owners advocate, he can help you understand the drawings, so that you are not surprised by what is being built later.
Changing the drawings is much less expensive than altering the construction.

Building Schedule

“It always takes longer than it should.” This does not need to be the case. A 4000 square-foot house can be readily built in 12 months or less. Be certain to understand what you’re intending to build and avoid change orders. They are expensive in time and money.

Moldings and Details

Picking out the moldings and materials for your house is a very subtle and difficult task. The most effective way to do this is to create life-size mock ups so that you can see the finished product before it’s fully installed.

Designs and Costs

Your owners advocate can help you understand the cost implications of designs and changes. The $5000 change orders add up quickly. Be certain that you or your owners advocate keep a detailed list of all changes.

Hiring an Interior Designer

Hiring an interior designer early in the process is an important step. The designer can help avoid problems later by working with the architect on furniture layouts and each and every room.

Your Likes and Dislikes

Knowing your own taste before you begin designing is one of the most important factors in efficiently completing the design process. Tear out magazine pages and take photographs; these will expedite the design process for the architect.

Your Mantra

This is my house and my money. Your owners advocate is there to help you get exactly what you want at the price you’re willing to pay for it.

Do I Bid or Negotiate the Construction Contract?

Should you bid your drawings with two or three contractors or negotiate a price with the single contractor? Your owners advocate can explain the pros and cons of each approach.

Which is the Lowest Bid?

Is the low bid always the lowest bid? Absolutely not! Only after a careful analysis of all the bids and clarifications from the contractors can the lowest bid be determined.

What is the Design Process?

Create a wish list of what your new home will have and feel like. Prepare a budget and a schedule. Schematic designs are the first pass at the design based upon the contents of your wish list.
Design development drawings take the approved schematic design and refines them, adding more precision and details.
Construction drawings are the fully developed, detailed, and dimensioned drawings for bidding and for construction.

What are the Major Cost Drivers of a New Home?

The size of the house.
The materials selected.
Site conditions.
Details and design choices.
Finish selections and quantities.
Your owners advocate will help you understand these choices throughout the process.