As a leading luxury custom home builder in Northern Virginia since 1998 with hundreds of luxury custom homes in our portfolio, we wanted to share some “lessons learned” with regard to the custom home planning process. We believe they will be useful as you begin your home building process.
Choose the right lot for your dream home
You probably already have a general idea about where you would like to build, but be cautious about purchasing the last lot in a neighborhood. There may be a good reason why it is the last lot. Location, location, location is an old adage, but it still holds true today, especially in predicting future real estate value. Look carefully at the surrounding homes and their resale value and appeal, the smallest and largest home in a neighborhood is often the hardest to sell. The design and style of your home should be similar to those in the neighborhood: a stucco home will look misplaced next to Victorian styled homes.
Never act as your own general contractor
On the surface, you may think that owning a business or managing a professional team qualifies you to manage a home building project, but you will save money and stay on schedule if you hire a custom home builder. Managing the extensive process on your own could be disastrous to your bottom line and the finished product. When you choose a reputable and qualified builder like Suburban Builders, you can rest assured that the company has already established relationships with subcontractors for each part of the job and will keep the project on time and on budget. They will act as the general contractor and project manager, checking in daily on progress and possible delays, and reporting back to you.
Do your best not to alter design plans in a significant way as the process moves forward
Once you’ve selected a builder, work hard to finalize plans and do not start the build unless you are completely confident with the plans. Moving doors or windows, for example, may seem like an easy task, but can have a domino effect on beams, walls, and the like. Similarly, moving a laundry room to the upstairs to be closer to the bedrooms means moving plumbing, venting, electrical lines and many other “hidden” processes.
Stay informed with weekly updates
Once the ground has been moved and construction begins, your builder should provide you with updates about the progress and timeline of your project. We are hands-on and pride ourselves in knowing each client. Your main point of contact throughout the process will be an experienced construction professional and a client liaison. They will visit your site each day and provide communication to you throughout the process. Suburban’s owner is also available for all clients. When choosing a builder, make sure that communication is a top priority and if they are not meeting your needs during the process, do not be afraid to address it quickly.
Consider buffer room in your budget for interior items
It’s essential to have a budget and to stick to it, but consider keeping contingency dollars for items such as cabinetry, flooring, and décor. Often you may discover a new flooring product or lighting fixture that you simply “must have” but it will put you over budget. Allow some wiggle room to make those changes on the fly as the process moves inside the home. Feel confident in your interior design choices, but also realize that interior design can be changed with trends, lifestyles, and your evolving tastes. Have fun choosing paint colors, trim, lighting, and décor – this is one of the benefits of building a custom home.
When you’re ready, give us a call or set up an appointment so we can help you design and build your luxury custom home in Northern Virginia.