Planning Your Custom Home Package
The Right Questions to Ask
Building from a home package can have enormous benefits if you select a proven home package supplier. You also need to know the right questions to ask in order to make the best choices to build real value into your home. Here’s a comprehensive list of questions and other important information to help provide solid answers.
Design to Suit Your Property
To start your project off right, you need to ensure you get building plans that make the best use of your property. These need to be proper, detailed construction blueprints that a qualified builder can build from, and that can be used to obtain the proper building permits in advance of your build. To avoid surprises, you should ask the following questions:
- Do you have custom design sources in-house that offer complete flexibility and realistic timelines in designing my home?
- Will you work from my rough sketches, pictures and ideas to create a unique design including floor plan and all exterior elevations?
- Can I choose between post and beam, timber frame, hybrid or a conventional style of design?
- After you create my custom concept drawings, will you make alterations at no added cost prior to the preparation of construction blueprints?
- Can you produce true site-specific blueprints that take into consideration the location of the house and slope of the property, access, zoning, and local building guidelines?
- Do I have direct access to the design team when needed?
The Importance of Quality Materials
One critical aspect to consider is having the right materials for your home to be constructed to “lock up” stage – or the point at which you can close and lock the door on your home and have a secure, weatherproof structure. The remaining materials such as insulation, drywall, flooring coverings, paint, and so on, need to be as high quality as you can afford. However, if the structural materials are not high quality, the finishing process will not go as well and could cost more to get a good result. Be sure to ask the following questions:
- Can you guarantee that my home package’s framing lumber is kiln-dried, high-grade export quality framing lumber to ensure a superior finished result?
- Can I select from a wide range of premium-grade siding material and other building products?
- If required in the design, are the structural glu-lam beams made of high-performance Douglas fir complete with engineered hardware?
- Are quality, major brand name windows supplied to get the best design result, performance and warranty? (If windows are made in-house, what is their performance history for water penetration, seal failures, etc.?)
- Do you include all the major building components needed to complete my home to the lock-up stage; and are these major components under full warranty for quality and performance?
- Are 30-year fiberglass shingles, roofing felt, ice and watershield, flashing and venting material included as standard?
- Can you design and supply materials for: i) a daylight basement (including beams, walls, windows, doors and siding)? ii) an exterior deck (including structural lumber and railings)?
- Can you give me a comprehensive list of materials that matches the quotation and the products I have selected?
- Do you have any clauses in your contract that allow you to make price increases to the materials or services prior to delivery, or small print clauses that allow for arbitrary material substitutions?
Building it Right
An experienced, quality builder is essential to the completion of a successful project. This is someone who has past experience with home construction projects as a whole, has a long list of solid references, proper industry credentials, and can show you projects that have been successfully completed. Here are some important questions to ask a builder you are considering for the project:
- Can I choose my own level of involvement in the construction process?
- Will you provide me with the information I need to make key decisions?
- Do you have experience with this home’s construction method?
- Can you provide a written contract with a detailed scope of work and amendment procedures?
- Will you be able to provide customer references for building similar quality homes?
- If you are quoting price per square foot, can you show me detailed worksheets outlining realistic costs of the design, materials and construction labor needed to complete the project?
Other Important Questions
- Am I getting the best possible price for the design, materials and expertise included in my home package?
- Will you spend adequate time to get the right combination of design and materials to give me the best result?
- Can you provide multiple references from satisfied customers and builders on the benefits of the design and product?
- Other than the show home, can I visit a home under construction or a finished home to see the quality?
How Does Linwood Measure Up?
Ask the above questions, and shop and compare. Linwood is the largest custom cedar home design and material package supplier in North America. Linwood is proud of its long-standing mandate to offer substantially more value than competitive alternatives. Says Linwood President Bill Mascott, “As a frequent award-winner of quality custom homes, Linwood is dedicated to creating value for our customers. This means the ability to deliver a better lifestyle experience in a superior home with a high market value. We understand what it takes to get the right results.”