What Should Your Builder Be Doing During Pre-Construction?

If you’re reading this blog entry, you’re likely past the architectural design process and ready to dive into that pesky pre-construction phase. We bet you’re full of questions.

With an organized builder on board, your pre-construction phase will be full of progress, even though a good majority of that progress will be accomplished behind the scenes. You might be wondering what your builder is up to, but rest assured that his or her to-do list is long. Between HOA approvals and city permits to obtain, utility orders to settle on, potential constructability issues to solve, selections to decide on, builder’s risk insurance to quote, a project schedule to organize, subcontractor agreements to execute, key trades to line out, and a budget to refine within each individual section of your project…your builder has full hands.

In this article, we’ll dig into a few of these To-Do list items to put your mind at ease and give you a glimpse of how your builder is laying the groundwork for a successful custom home building experience for you and yours…and from start to finish!

1. Creating (and Following) a Pre-Construction Timeline

Your custom builder should create and send you a pre-construction timeline during this time. This will allow you to hold your builder accountable after the construction phase begins. While every pre-construction timeline is different…just as every home and location and client is different…a good builder will work overtime to make sure you are comfortable with the way things are going. Your pre-construction timeline should generally include target deadlines for the following:

  • Completion of structural engineering
  • Creation of comprehensive construction budget
  • Completion of various surveys, drainage plans, MEP plans, etc.
  • Submission to HOA for approval (and expected approval date)
  • Submission to city for building permit (and expected permit date)
  • Creation of comprehensive selections schedule
  • Execution of sub agreements
  • Kick-off meeting with key subs
  • Preliminary site work (tree removal, temporary fencing, etc.)Keep in mind that these deadlines are TARGET deadlines, not hard deadlines. Your builder’s successes in this stage should be measured not in the exact execution of these dates but rather in the effort of organizing his or her team and responsibilities in order to efficiently and effectively get your home to the starting line.

2. Creating a Clear Selections Schedule

This is of INCREDIBLE importance because making as many selections as possible up front sets your home’s construction up for some serious success. During the pre-construction phase, your builder should provide you with a detailed list of selections and will need your selections to be made before breaking ground. This way, the builder, the interior designer, and you as the homeowner know far in advance what to expect during and after construction. It’s a win-win-win! Some of the selections you’ll be making during this time include:

  • Windows
  • Exterior doors
  • Roof
  • Appliances
  • Plumbing
  • Interior beams
  • Fireplace details
  • Interior flooring
  • Floor plug locations

These selections listed here impact your future home’s structural foundation, and architectural design, as well as the plumbing groundwork and electrical plan. Choosing them ahead of construction is the only way to go.

3. Create a Project Schedule

In addition to the above steps, it is imperative that your builder create a customized construction schedule prior to breaking ground. Doing so provides their team and network of subcontractors a roadmap of accountability and follow through. Review your project schedule with your builder so that you fully understand how the construction of your home will progress as time goes on.

The pre-construction phase may not be the most fun, but it is of vital importance. The efficiency with which your builder works during this phase will have an enormous impact on the rest of your home building journey. We wish you the best of luck!

Building or Buying? Some Points To Consider Before Making Up Your Mind

To buy a home or to build a home? That is the question. But when searching for a place to put down roots, it can be difficult to find one that has everything you want and need—especially if you have a specific location, location, location in mind. On the other hand, building a home from scratch takes guts and gumption, and if you hire the wrong team, it may not be as easy or cost-effective as you hope it to be at the start.

All in all, there are several factors to consider before deciding whether building a home or buying a home is a better option for you and your family. If you’re on the fence, keep reading to help make this life changing decision a little bit easier!

Pro Building: You can always get what you want.

The biggest advantage of building your own home is that you know you can get exactly what you want—as long as what you want fits into your price range, that is. Since you’re building your home from the ground up, you will be able to customize your home’s layout, flooring, colors, and unique features. In addition, you should consider the following pros listed below.

  • Newer homes are usually built to meet current building codes.
  • Newer homes are most always more energy efficient and include updated features.
  • You’re the first owner of your home and have a hand in creating it. No mystery there!
  • You won’t have to worry about repairs and replacements any time soon.
  • There is no competition amongst other home buyers. Save yourself some stress!
  • Newer homes are not made with toxic materials such as lead paint and asbestos.

Con Building: Good things take time.

The most important “con” to consider before building a home is that it may take much longer to make it to move-in day. The US Census Bureau estimates that it takes about 7 months to build a home from start to finish.

However, bad weather, natural disaster, and human errors can make the process take even longer than 7 months. The average time to close on a home purchase is just 45 days. In addition, you should consider the following cons listed below.

  • If you don’t work with a good builder, there may be unexpected costs and price increases.
    Between plotting out the land, creating a floor plan, and choosing materials, finishes, and colors, there’s a lot of decisions to make!
  • Get out your green thumb because you’ll also need to create a landscape.
  • While you don’t have to deal with a seller, you also may not have the opportunity to negotiate a lower price.

Pro Buying: It’s less of a commitment.

As exciting as building a home may be, it can also be a stressful experience…especially if you choose the wrong builder to help you along in the process. However when you build a home, you won’t have to worry about purchasing land, working with a builder, and making sure all of the design decisions stay within your budget. (Although, you won’t have to worry about much of that if you work with DeFatta Custom Homes anyways.) In addition, you should consider the following pros listed below.

  • You may be able to move in sooner rather than later as it takes less time to purchase and close on a home than it does to build one from scratch.
  • You won’t need to grow a lawn, wait for trees to mature, or figure out landscaping as your home will most likely already feature an outdoor landscaping design.
  • You may be able to negotiate a lower sales price.
  • You can make upgrades while you live in the home or once you have the time and money to make them happen.

Con Buying: You’ll have to make a few sacrifices.

While it can be stressful to build a home from scratch, if you work with the right builder, it allows you to have everything you’ve always wanted. That is almost never the case when you buy a home, as it was originally built to suit someone else’s lifestyle entirely. In addition, take a look at the following cons listed below.

  • Older pipes, electrical systems, and appliances may require costly maintenance, repairs, and replacements.
  • What’s more, older HVAC systems may result in higher energy costs throughout the year due to age-related inefficiencies.
  • You may experience buyer’s remorse if you decide to settle or compromise on what should have been dealbreakers.
  • Dealing with competition in the housing market is stressful in and of itself, especially if you’re looking to buy in a sought after neighborhood.

To close, we will leave you with this advice:

If you’re not sure whether you’d like to build a home or buy a home, give one of our experts at DeFatta Custom Homes a call. We’re happy to help you make the right decision for you, whether you decide to build with us in the end or not. We are looking forward to helping you find your dream home by any means necessary!