Posts By justangl


We all know that baking a cake is part science and part art. Although the recipe may suggest your creation will be ready to eat in an hour, bakers know that other factors can extend that timeframe. From switching to an unusual type of flour to using an oven that heats unevenly to adding layers of fondant, each option affects the clock.

The same is true in the world of custom home building.

Most custom home builders can suggest a standard number of months that it takes from designing a home to move-in day. In the Middle Atlantic region, the United States Census Bureau suggests that figure is around seven to nine months. Some considerations can be controlled; others cannot. At the end of the day, the goal is for you to have an incredible residence that fits your needs.
From a practical standpoint, it’s critical to start talking about all the elements that go into shortening or extending the time it takes to make your custom home ready for habitation.

The Overall Look of the Home

As you might suspect, the more complex your anticipated home, the longer it will take to design and build. A 1,500 square foot ranch home is going to require different specifications than a 3,500 square foot home. For this reason, custom home builders will take time upfront discussing all the intricacies involved in complicated or unusual floor plans. Certainly, it’s fine to build your dream home with all the amenities and offerings you want. But it may add time to the final project.

Getting Permission to Build

Even if you already own the land on which you intend to build your custom house, you’ll have to go through the process of getting permission for your home to go on the spot. Every area has its own regulations and processes; some municipalities and governments approve permits faster than others. Make sure you talk to your builder and know ahead of time what to expect. It can be tough to wait for bureaucracy, but it’s a necessary factor.
There Are Lots… And There Are Lots
Each lot has its own nuances and must be cleared, graded, leveled, etc. Even if the ground looks perfectly flat to you, it might not be. Plus, you never know what surprises lay under the topsoil. We’ve all heard of builders finding hiding springs, caverns, and boulders. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that your home sits on earth you can trust.

What’s the Weather?

In the Middle Atlantic region of the United States, weather happens. And that includes bad or “iffy” weather, like torrential rain, sleet, snow, annoying freeze/thaw cycles, and more. Weather certainly is going to play a role in how long it takes to build your home. Plus, the time of the year you start your planning will change the end date.

Think About the Labor Supply

You see plenty of custom home construction starting in the springtime and going far into the autumn months. Every professional laborer knows that this is the height of the home building season. It’s also a time when labor shortages can arise. Consider it a basic lesson in economics: When the need goes up, it can be tough to find knowledgeable, skilled workers.
This emphasizes the need to work with a custom builder that understands how to hire laborers and specialists such as framers, drywallers, and plumbers before they agree to work on different projects.

Oh, Those Last-Minute Changes!

Most custom home builders will try to get clients to make all their home plan decisions ahead of time, but sometimes people do change their minds. When that happens, changes have to be made. This can extend the timeframe of the building process, sometimes significantly.
In addition to last-minute changes on the actual framing and building of the home, picking flooring, cabinetry, finishes, and fixtures at the final moments will delay when you can actually move in.

Additional Considerations for Your Home

Finally, it’s important to think about all the other add-ons that you may want to include in your home building.
Every time you make a large or (seemingly) small switch as a homeowner, you risk changing the project end date. As long as you’re okay with it, and don’t feel the need to rush the process, you won’t feel a ton of stress. On the other hand, if you need to move in soon, you might want to rethink last-minute add-ons, or postpone them for the future.

Collaborate With Your Custom Home Builder for Sanity

Will it sometimes feel like everything isn’t happening rapidly enough during your home building experience? Absolutely! It can be difficult to sit back and wait. After all, you want to move into your new home right away. The key to keeping your sanity despite unexpected delays, exasperating weather, and last-minute alterations is to keep those lines of communication open

You see plenty of custom home construction starting in the springtime and going far into the autumn months. Every professional laborer knows that this is the height of the home building season. It’s also a time when labor shortages can arise. Consider it a basic lesson in economics: When the need goes up, it can be tough to find knowledgeable, skilled workers.
This emphasizes the need to work with a custom builder that understands how to hire laborers and specialists such as framers, drywallers, and plumbers before they agree to work on different projects.

Oh, Those Last-Minute Changes!

Most custom home builders will try to get clients to make all their home plan decisions ahead of time, but sometimes people do change their minds. When that happens, changes have to be made. This can extend the timeframe of the building process, sometimes significantly.
In addition to last-minute changes on the actual framing and building of the home, picking flooring, cabinetry, finishes, and fixtures at the final moments will delay when you can actually move in.

Additional Considerations for Your Home

Finally, it’s important to think about all the other add-ons that you may want to include in your home building.
Every time you make a large or (seemingly) small switch as a homeowner, you risk changing the project end date. As long as you’re okay with it, and don’t feel the need to rush the process, you won’t feel a ton of stress. On the other hand, if you need to move in soon, you might want to rethink last-minute add-ons, or postpone them for the future.

Collaborate With Your Custom Home Builder for Sanity

Will it sometimes feel like everything isn’t happening rapidly enough during your home building experience? Absolutely! It can be difficult to sit back and wait. After all, you want to move into your new home right away. The key to keeping your sanity despite unexpected delays, exasperating weather, and last-minute alterations is to keep those lines of communication open

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Understand the basics of the home building process – Part 1

Step 1: Home Building Basics

 

Building a new home is the largest investment most people will make in their lifetime, so it is important to get it right the first time. The understandable question that we’re asked time and time again is: “What does it cost to build a house?”

As you’ve guessed, it’s not an easy question to answer. But we’ll teach you how.

This Guide

This guide will take you step-by-step through the complex process of learning what goes into designing and building your dream home, the impact that the lot will have on the design, understanding primary building cost, and making sure that you and your builder are on the same page so that your home construction is on time and on budget.

Knowledge Relieves Anxiety

As you go through each step along the journey to your new, custom-built home, you will need to hire several experts from several disciplines, who will have to work together to ensure that your new home comes together as a whole.

By learning what to expect well in advance, you’ll be able to develop a budget that will cover all contingencies and ensure a relatively stress-free time period while you wait for the day when you can move into your new house and start making it your home.

Preparation

BWthe-tumalo-under-construction-100Everyone has a dream of what they want their home to look like – the number of rooms, the view, the amenities. And they know the setting in which they’d like the home to be placed. The setting is the land on which the home will be built – corner lot in a housing development, close to a lake, with a territorial view, on a slope, etc.  The complexity of the setting, and the climate in the region where the home is being built affects the cost of the build.

You may have had a piece of property for years, just waiting for the time when you’re ready to build it. Or you may have purchased a property with structures already on it which you’ll remove so your builder can start anew…or you are looking for an empty lot to build on.

Each instance will have a different impact on how your home will be designed and built, and, again, its ultimate cost.

Choosing Your Builder

After all your preparation comes perhaps the most important part of the process – the putting together of the home itself – the crafting of it, you might say – using quality materials and following all building codes, by an experienced and knowledgeable home builder.

Following the instructions in our ebook: A Guide to Hiring a Custom Home Builder will help you choose the right builder for your project.

Our goal is to ensure that you have all the information necessary so you can make informed decisions about every step of the process of building your dream home.

Part 2 -Understand the basics of the home building process

What Fees and Expenses Are Typically Associated?

Understand the basics of the home building process – Part 2

Step 2: Know the Experts and Fees Involved in Building a Custom Home

 

It can take anywhere between eight and twelve months from the time you purchase a lot, choose the design of your home and start interviewing builders, to the time you finalize your choices, acquire a loan, have blueprints made, have the house built and ultimately move in.

Choosing the best custom home builder for you and your project is essential to its success. Remember, you will likely be working together for 6-12 months; so as in any relationship, there needs to be trust and clear, honest communication. Our guide How to Hire a Custom Home Builder will help you through this process.

The entire process is an intricate one and can involve up to 30 different businesses and entities.

The cost of the home construction itself will be your largest expense, of course, and that cost is impacted by characteristics of the lot where the home will be built. So in our next installment, we’ll talk about The Land, and after that, we’ll go into detail about Primary Construction Costs.

For now, let’s discuss the fees that will be due to everyone who will be involved in the construction of your new home.

The Experts and What They Do

Architectural Design Fees

If you want a custom-home, designed from scratch you will need to hire an architect or designer to design the home and prepare detailed blueprints. The fee for this is anywhere from 5% to 15% of the construction cost of the home.

If you can find a pre-existing house plan that is close to the design you want, you can save many thousands of dollars and often months of time compared to a custom design. Most existing house plans can be modified to suit the specific needs of you and your family. A pre-existing plan typically costs 2% or less of the home’s construction cost.

Example

For example, let’s assume that you are going to have a 2,000-square-foot house built and the cost for construction will average out at $200 per square foot.

 

EXISTING HOUSE PLAN

$1,800 to $3,000 + Modifications

 

CUSTOM DESIGNED HOUSE

2,000 sq. ft
 
$200/ sq. ft = $400,000
 
$20,000 – $60,000 (5%-15% fee)

 

(The above is just an example. As we’ll explain in the Budgeting for Home Construction section of this course, even two houses being built to the same plan will not cost the same, for a variety of reasons.)

Structural Engineer Fee

BWthe-tumalo-under-construction-113Whether you are having a home built according to a pre-existing plan or a custom plan, you will likely need the stamp of a structural engineer. Many local/state governments require that a structural engineer go through the plans for any new building to confirm that the specifications will work for a certain geographic area.

New home construction is done in stages, and with each stage an inspector will visit the home to ensure it conforms to the International Residential Code (IRC).  The IRC is a minimum standard, and your builder should really build to exceed that code.  The engineer can take a look at the plans and often help to simplify the structural design, and ensure that the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are meshed together properly, which in turn can save both money and time during the permitting process and the construction of the home.

 

Loan Fees

A “New Construction Home Loan” is handled very differently from a loan to purchase an already existing house.

You will interview at least three lenders to see who can offer you the best rates. Once your loan is approved, your builder will “draw” upon that loan at certain specified times to pay for work done. An officer of the lender will visit the home to ensure that the work actually has been done and that everything meets code.

Be sure to talk to each lender you interview about how they handle their loan fees.

Recommended Reading:Residential Construction Loans: 10 Things You Should Know

Potential Fees from a Variety of Professional Firms

Professional firms you may need to employ include surveyors to ensure that the lot you wish to purchase has been platted properly, geotechnical engineers (who ensure that the soil on which a home is to be built is suitable), and energy experts should you desire a “green” home.

Permit Fees

Local and city governments will require that you have permits to build or install the various systems of your new home. The permits needed will vary from city to city. Some cities can be very highly regulated, others – not so much.

Will an existing building on the plot need to be demolished? You’ll need a permit for that. Building a pool? You’ll need a permit. The list goes on. Prices for each permit will vary. It’s a good idea to speak with your local building department before you begin the process to get an idea of the individual permit costs.

It is up to you, with the assistance of your builder, to ascertain and acquire the required.

Site Preparation Costs

You’ll need a permit to demolish any structures on your property before constructing your home. You’ll also need to pay someone to demolish or deconstruct the structures and remove the debris.

  • Other potential costs – questions to ask:
  • Does the lot need need to be graded?
  • Will you need a brand new septic tank?
  • Will power and water hookups need to be added?

Primary Construction Costs

We’ll talk about this in more detail below, never fear! Construction costs include the exterior (the frame of the house, the roof, etc.) and the interior (flooring, counter tops, etc.)

BWthe-tumalo-under-construction-109Builder / General Contractor Fees

Your builder will charge you a percentage of the total cost of the home to build it. This often starts at the 10% range, but may be higher.  When you first meet with and interview potential builders, the question of their fee is one you’ll need to ask. (More about this in the next E-mail lesson.)

Hardscaping and Landscaping

Once your builder has completed your home, there’s still the “hardscaping” – the driveway, patio and walkways, and the “landscaping” – the irrigation system, laying of sod and planting of trees, as well as outdoor lighting, to be considered.

Final Cleanup

There will always be debris left over from the construction process on the interior and exterior of the home that you’ll want to have removed / cleaned.

Sales Tax

All materials you purchase (or your builder or sub-contractor purchases for you) will come with a sales tax.

Real Estate Tax and Insurance

Once you begin the purchase of the land on which your home will be built, you will owe real estate taxes.

You will also want to consider taking out a Home Owner’s Insurance Policy as soon as construction on the home actually starts.  Ascertain that your builder – and any subcontractors they employ – have their own insurance in case someone gets injured on the job.

Unforeseen Expenses

There will always be unforeseen expenses, for which you will need extra cash on hand. Always try to budget about 5% of the cost of the home for unexpected costs.

By using due diligence and hiring the most experienced and skilled professionals in each discipline, you’ll make the process as stress-free as possible!

 

Luxury Custom Home Construction | Culver City

   LUXURY CUSTOM HOME | CULVER CITY CALIFORNIA

Farnsworth Builders is delighted to be a partner in the development of this new home build in Culver City, California. Constructed from natural woods fused concrete, stone and metal work, this tri-level 4 bedroom home is designed in the genre of modern industrial architecture. Clean lines and cutting edge style present a dramatic and imposing structure.

New Home Build | Venice CA

 

NEW HOME BUILD | VENICE CALIFORNIA

Farnsworth Builders is proud to be a partner in the creation of this exquisite luxury custom home in Venice California. Immaculate in design and detail with  elegant finishes, this open floor plan will inspire and enhance a true California lifestyle experience. Farnsworth Builders specializes luxury home construction.

 

Design+Build | Los Angeles CA

LOS ANGELES CUSTOM HOME | IN PROGRESS

Modern architecture with subtle refinements makes this Los Angeles custom home a unique expression of contemporary lifestyle living. Dark natural woods against a canvas of white surfaces and concrete floors make a bold statement of minimalistic elegance. Farnsworth Builders is a leading Design+Build firm in Los Angeles. Request a consultation today to discuss your dream home.

 

Custom Home Build | Sherman Oaks CA

SHERMAN OAKS CUSTOM HOME | IN PROGRESS

Farnsworth Builders has partnered with architect Harper Halprin to build this Sherman Oaks custom luxury home. Starting with a traditional California ranch-style design, the property quickly moves into a modern contemporary genre with its eclectic mix of stone, marble, wood, and concrete surfaces. Large floor to ceiling windows and bold interior design elements invoke a monumental presence to make this home a visually stunning residence.  Request a consultation today to discuss your dream home.

 

 

Residential Construction | Marina Del Rey CA

 

MARINA DEL REY | COMPLETE HOME REMODEL

Farnsworth Builder’s recent custom home remodel is the result of collaboration betwen Wes Farnsworth and architect Harper Halprin. Careful consideration was given to the the original 1940’s residence to maximize the potential in creating a contemporary lifestyle experience. What was once, three tightly squeezed rooms, is now one great open space, thanks to the removal of a dividing wall and newly vaulted ceilings. This area’s footprint essentially stayed the same. The bedrooms were rearranged slightly to carve out a ‘circulation spine’ down the center of the house that connects to the backyard. Learn how Farnsworth Builders can help with your project.  Request a consultation today.

Luxury Home Build | Venice Beach CA

 

Custom Luxury Home | Completed 2016

Farnsworth Builders recent project in Venice, California exemplifies’s the firm’s artistic approach to luxury lifestyle homebuilding. Modern minimalism is the signature of this exquisite beach property with multiple sundecks and outdoor entertainment spaces. Sleek lines and expansive rooms are anchored by an all white, ultra-modern gourmet kitchen. The master bedroom suite includes a huge dual shower, ample seating areas, and an in-room sauna reflecting California architecture at it’s best. Request a consultation today to discuss your dream home.

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Custom Home Remodel | Mar Vista CA

Mar Vista Remodel | Completed 2015

Another complete home remodel by Farnsworth Builders. This contemporary home in Mar Vista is a perfect example of a home reimagined. What was once a confined dated floorplan has been recreated to be a beautiful and efficient entertainment home. Expanded rooms, intelligent use of glass, available light and thoughtful integration of indoor and outdoor living spaces give this home both beauty and relevance as a California beach home. Exploring ideas for your home?  Request a consultation today.