Design Build Homes

Learn to plan, design and build an energy efficient home that uses the latest technology & provides future accessibility. We define proper design planning, financing strategies, & contractor communications to prepare anyone to manage this investment.

Design Build Home Construction

Monday, June 22, 2009

How to Manage New Home Change Orders

During the home construction process, if you make any changes to your home plans and/or specifications; it is done through a document called a "change order".

The affects of each change order can have a positive (+), negative (-) or zero dollar value change to the price of your home.

Your lender and builder agreed to contractually provide a loan and build your home for a set price. The lender's loan value and the builder's fixed price was based on an appraisal of the original drawings and specifications you contractually agreed upon.

The change order is your means to make design changes during construction; within the original loan value. Remember, the bank is NOT going to increase your loan value.

The added costs of any change order that goes beyond the original loan value; must be assumed by the homeowner (you).

Negative change orders will reduce the cost (value) of the new home. However, a significant decrease must be balanced with an equal valued positive change order. The home value cannot fall drastically below the original loan value.

Your goal is to have the positive (+) change orders and the negative (-) change orders "zero out" each other; while staying equal to your original loan value.

You will have a chance to review the cost affect of a design change. The builder will provide you with a cost (positive, negative or zero value). If you approve the change order; you will sign it. This provides the contractor with the documented means to complete the design change.

When construction is finalized; the lender will perform a final appraisal of the built home. The final appraisal will serve as the basis for converting your construction loan into your fixed or adjustable rate mortgage.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Plan to Succeed | Your Winning Playbook

Detailed, documented planning will keep your new home project on time and budget.

Maintain and manage your project with;
  • a daily pocket size journal for questions and ideas you run across
  • a To Do list from your contractor meetings,
  • a letter-size, full year calendar to map out important dates and meetings
  • letter-size printouts of home floor plans, elevations and site plan for meetings.
  • 3-5 color highlighter-pens | use color to designate responsibilities, actions, to dos, meetings
  • sort and store documents in colored pocket folders for each team member
  • a list of email addresses, cell phone numbers and mailing addresses of everyone on the project team.
  • keep it portable; your documents and planning tools need to fit in a legal-size envelope.
These are your battle plans; your team's winning playbook. These plans are destined to keep your new home construction on budget and on time.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Mobile Web Improves Homeowner-Contractor Communications

Today's mobile communications make it easier for homeowners to leave a voice mail message, send an email or text message directly to their contractor's cell phone.

Ask your contractor for their direct office and cell phone numbers. Ask them for their email address or an email address that connects directly to their mobile phone.

Provide your contractor with your cell phone and email address. Specify to your contractor which is the best and the first to use when contacting you.
  • If you're at work; should the contractor contact you via email rather than using your cell phone?
  • How often do you retrieve messages or email from the cell or email accounts that you provide them?
Contractors have contacted me numerous times when they needed an immediate project decision from me. Each time we avoided costly time delays from playing "phone tag".

Double up and document your contractor communications. After calling or leaving a voice mail with your contractor, send a short email to your contractor itemizing the points of your call or voice mail. If you first sent an email; call and leave a short voice mail asking the contractor to check their email when they return to the office.

Print all emails that you send or receive from your contractor. Place them in your project folder for future reference.

Place a couple test phone calls and emails to the contractor to verify "all systems are working". Ask them to do the same by leaving a couple voice mails and emails prior to construction.

You're both busy. Checking and documenting your contractor communications will improve the consistency of the construction-design decisions that both of you will make during homebuilding project.

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