Building a Custom Home
BUILDING A CUSTOM HOME
We understand what it takes to build a custom home. We know how daunting a task it can seem to our clients. We believe the most important aspect of the custom home building process is that you have faith in and trust your builder. It is essential that you feel you will not be alone in this process. We have carefully selected and organized our team of professionals to make the process as easy and straightforward as possible. We have the systems, staff and resources in place to guide you in the selection process and oversee every aspect of the project. We have intentionally structured our team to allow for layers of oversight so that no detail is overlooked. You can be as involved as you want to be, from the most critical decisions to the smallest of details, and anywhere in between. That is the beauty of building a custom home with us.
CUSTOM HOME CREATION PROCESS
Once you have decided a custom home is in your future, the first order of business is to review the homesite you have purchased or to help you find a suitable homesite. If you choose, our land acquisition specialists at John L Scott, Port Ludlow are available to guide you through this process. They will need to know the size and price point in addition to all other requirements such as, homesite size, waterfront, views, etc. We always like to pick out a homesite before beginning to design your new home. On the Olympic Peninsula, it is much too difficult to start with a plan and try to force it on a homesite because of the topography, homesite size, and view constraints. We find a homesite and then design to maximize the unique characteristics of that homesite.
To maximize customer satisfaction and reduce stress we depend heavily on our preliminary budget program. Once a homesite has been selected, we can then sit down with you and fill out an entire set of specifications. We can recommend one of several architects or we will be pleased to work with a firm you have already chosen. Once we have a budget number established, it is a good idea to check on financing. We have several regional lenders and will match you up with one to fit your needs or we can work with a lender you have selected. Most lenders can usually pre-qualify you within a couple of days.
We pride ourselves in understanding your budgetary needs in the first meeting with our clients, so that they have a very good idea of what they are going to get for a particular price, and then creating a home that keeps you on track with that budget.
After you decide Westharbor Homes is a match for you, it’s time to go to the design stage. To start the design, we require a deposit on a home site you have selected in our inventory of available lots. The deposit for design on a customer's own homesite is also required, plus the cost of topographic and tree spot survey, and any other tests or reports required to complete the design. These deposits are non-refundable but will be credited toward the purchase price of your new home. The deposit is typically sufficient to complete a preliminary set of plans so we can give you a firm price for your home.
Before we start the design, we will also need to get the homesite under contract. If you are purchasing the homesite from an outside entity, we can assist you with the process. If you are purchasing a homesite from our inventory, we will execute a Purchase and Sale Agreement with you.
Once you approve the architectural plans and the budget pricing, we will then be ready to finalize the contract price. At this point we need to have drawn any other elevations or sections needed to get a firm price. For final pricing, our estimating department will measure all quantities in detail and solicit prices from our subcontractors and vendors.
In the typical custom home scenario, the client purchases the lot, and we contract to build the improvements on that lot. For this reason there are two contracts involved in the typical transaction: a lot sales contract and a construction contract.
Several items still need to occur before we can start construction on your new home. Fortunately, most of them can occur simultaneously. These items are as follows:
- Interim financing - Assuming you have already been pre-qualified, this process should take 1-2 weeks.
- Septic engineering and permit (if applicable) - this process will take anywhere from three to twelve weeks depending on workload and system complexity.
- Permits - This process can take anywhere from two weeks to sixteen weeks depending on the type of permit and the government entity with which we are dealing.
- Architectural Control Committee approval – Usually this process only takes a couple of days, but it can take a few weeks in some communities.
- Close on lot and interim loan – This can usually occur as soon as the lender is ready. Funding should occur the next day.
- Pre-construction Meeting – The purpose is to understand all your needs. This meeting typically takes 2-3 hours.
- Final plans – We typically wait until after the pre-construction meeting to finalize the plans because there are usually a few changes that occur as a result of this meeting.
- Phase I selections – These are minimal selections but they are often needed for architectural control committee approval.
The selection process can be the best part of the home building process with all of the unique and wonderful selection options available. You may work with our interior designer(s), chose your own design firm or make selections on your own. Our recommended Interior Designer works on an hourly basis, and they will spend as much time as you need to make your selections. The timing of making your selections is extremely important so that the construction process is not disrupted.
Just the mention of the term “change order” often brings up a negative image. However, we go to great lengths in the design process to understand our clients’ needs and make sure they understand the process in order to minimize the number of change orders. Change orders take time and do add cost to any construction project, but most builders will admit that we have never built a home without a change order.
We are a custom homebuilder and will make any change a client desires as long as it doesn’t jeopardize the integrity of the home, violate any building codes, or compromise safety in any way.
Many of our clients enjoy being involved in the construction process. We want to involve you, as much as you want, in our process. We have some clients who handle most of the involvement by email or phone and we have other clients that walk the job site weekly.
Your new home comes with a one year Builder Limited Warranty, which includes a one year “bumper to bumper” coverage for specific defects in workmanship and materials and ten year structural coverage. We also offer extended warranties. Please review the Builder Limited Warranty and Performance Standards provided by us for specific details of this coverage included in the purchase price of your new home.
Notification – When you have a warranty issue email or call us to arrange an appointment. We will then return your call to set up an appointment to review the defects unless they are self explanatory and we can just send a contractor directly out to correct the problem.
TYPICAL CONSTRUCTION STAGES
Lot clear stage
Plan on meeting with the Construction Manager on the lot prior to clearing. You will want to discuss trees to be saved, optimizing views, excavation, etc.
This includes dirt movement to pour foundation including multiple inspections by city or county officials.
We use both standard-framing practices and for our Built Green homes we use wall panels. Wall panels are preconstructed in a factory and brought to the site on large trucks.
Mechanical Rough Stage
Plumbing topout (piping installed in the frame)
HVAC rough (installation of furnaces and ductwork)
Electrical rough - You will coordinate with us to complete a thorough walk-through of the electrical fixtures
Framing & mechanical inspections - This is a critical and time-consuming part of the process. The government or third party inspector will inspect the home. At the same time, your Construction Manager will be inspecting the home for accuracy to the plans and specifications and quality issues. It is imperative that we get everything right before we go on to the drywall stage. On occasion the inspector will re-inspect to verify compliance.
Exterior Paint - We will want you to approve a paint sample before we paint the exterior.
Insulation inspection (if required by government authority)
Drywall inspection (if required by government authority)
Tape & float drywall
Texture - If there are any special textures, we will want you to approve a sample before we start the work.
Install doors & trim
Install wood floors (if applicable)
Install septic system (if applicable)
Install driveways and walks
Tile stage (some of the items may occur during the trim stage)
Tub & shower surrounds
Finish Plumbing fixtures
Finish electrical fixtures
Finish HVAC condensers & grilles
Install mirrors & shower doors
Sand, stain & seal wood floors (if applicable)
Install pre-finished wood floors (if applicable)
Punch out Stage
The term "punch out" is used in the building industry to describe the process of correcting the diminutive deficient items in a home. Actually, punch out will occur on your home throughout the construction process and keeping this punch out stage to a minimum is an important goal.
Final walk-through - Once the home is complete, your Construction Manager will schedule a CELEBRATION final walk-through with you. The purpose of this walk through is to demonstrate all the systems of the home to you. This walk-through should occur several days before closing, which will give us the time to answer any question. Our goal is to have zero defects at the time of closing.