Over the years, we’ve built many custom homes and know what a stressful time it is for our clients. Below we’ve compiled a “Do” and “Do Not” list to make surviving your custom home build a little easier. However, we’ve also found that time and again, the best tip is assembling your Dream Team! Each professional on your Dream Team’s job is to bring their expertise to the table to make your dream of owning a custom-built home in beautiful Durango a gratifying reality. Each professional is filled with their own tips and tricks specific to every part of your new labor of love.
Your Dream Team:
- The Real Estate Agent
If you don’t already have a specific property in mind, your Realtor will prove invaluable in your search for just the right location in and among the many beautiful and diverse areas Durango has to offer. Consider bringing your builder along to give you an idea of the real cost of turning that remote land into a buildable lot.
- The Architect
Your architect will show you where to place the house to best take advantage of Durango’s stellar views and the varying sunlight, shadows, natural landscape and more by working through the possibilities of the site. Sharing your budget for the house with your architect will make it easier to discuss whether specific features are worth considering for your price range. Most firms have extensive libraries of floorplans that may already be ideal for your taste, needs, budget, and location. Another option includes investing in a custom home plan uniquely created for you that can fully reflect your dream.
- The Lawyer
Get everything in writing! This applies to subcontractors, as well. Building a home is a major investment and a small lawyer fee up front could save you thousands of dollars down the line. An extremely detailed contract will be your best friend: there to protect you, speak for you and intercede on your behalf. If you’ve talked about it, memorialize it in writing.
- The Structural Engineer
A structural engineer is a licensed engineering professional who performs design services and structural evaluations. They have extensive training and can provide a wealth of knowledge when it comes to building and designing. Your Structural Engineer’s job is to ensure a sturdy and stable structure and optimal design to prevent disastrous troubles later on.
- The Banker/Accountant
Your banker is a critical piece of the process that can save you thousands of dollars in the beginning as well as thousands of dollars of interest over the lifetime of your mortgage. Your Accountant should not only know that Congress has passed many laws recently that are favorable for homebuyers and homebuilders but they will also know about those tax credits for the new energy-efficient windows, insulation, low-flow toilets, geothermal units and more.
- The Builder
A well-established local builder should have plenty of nearby subcontractors, suppliers, and resources meaning no costly delays waiting for out-of-town crews and materials. Also, choose a builder that has enough buying strength to offer you the best prices for materials. Look for a builder that has a trustworthy warranty program. And always, always check references from local vendors and previous clients.
Do and Do Not Tips:
- Build for Your Future: When planning your home’s layout, think not only about your current lifestyle but also plan for a few years down the road. Will you have children in the home, elderly parents, or special needs? What may be right for you now, may not be right for you in five or even ten years. And while larger houses may appeal to you now, they are also more expensive and more time-consuming to upkeep, repair, clean and insure.
- Check References, Licensing and Reputations: Talk to previous clients in detail about how their build went. Visit the final results if you can. Was the job completed on time? On budget? Were the materials delivered and available for the subcontractors? Is the homeowner delighted with the design? Did the Architect meet their needs? What about the Banker? Or Accountant? Was the financing in place in time? Are they satisfied with the mortgage? Word-of-mouth references from reliable sources are a good way to measure your Dream Team’s reputations so make sure you ask around.
- Visit the site … Frequently: Survey the site for progress and assure yourself that you like the way you see things developing. Make the effort to stop by several times each week, preferably daily, to help make decisions.
- Go with the Very Latest and Greatest: The very latest technology and state of the art amenities are fantastic but may also be obsolete by the next ‘Black Friday’ sale. Save money and buy products that have been on the market for at least a year or two. And avoid obvious trends. Nothing dates a home like a trend… Have you not forgotten avocado shag carpet and orange countertops? Consider choosing design classics so that your home always looks current.
- Don’t skimp on the planning process. This is worth repeating: Don’t skimp on the planning process! Anything on paper is easily changed including floor plans, materials, resources, and design elements. Once you start building, deviations can become extravagant especially once the framing begins. Don’t build before you’re ready!
Many people dream of designing and building their perfect home from the ground up and turning that dream into a reality to enjoy for decades. Choosing the right professionals can make designing and building your dream home one of life’s greatest joys.