The first step is to meet with and choose your builder (hopefully, SeBern). There are several key reasons for this:
- You need to decide whether you will need an outside architect, or if one works for the builder (a “Design+Build” firm). This affects everything. The design of your home determines the outcome of your home. Architects tend to be wonderfully creative and can work wonders…regardless of cost! Builders tend to stick to your budget…regardless of creativity! A design+build firm like SeBern ensures that you receive the best of both worlds – the creativity of an artist/architect, and the budget-minded, down-to-earth point of view of the custom builder. It’s tough to soar over budget when you work for the builder…and it’s tough to avoid creative problem solving when the architect works in the next office. When they work together, for the same company, you have a far better chance of getting exactly the home you want and doing it within your budget.
- You need to set priorities and discuss your lifestyle. What properties are available and for what price? Are there zoning regulations that won’t allow too large or small a home in a neighborhood? Do you have children? If so, schools may be most important. Do you have elderly parents? If so, a larger home with a separate living area for them may be necessary. Are you in the sandwich generation, squeezed between caring for children and aging parents? Then convenience may be your highest priority. You may want to be near shops, stores and supermarkets. Do you shop from home, work from home, buy stocks or do research? Then a library, study, home office, and/or multi-media room may be key. Do you like movies? How about a home theater? Do you exercise regularly? An exercise room or an indoor pool might be part of your planning. Do you entertain? If so, do you have a couple of guests at a time, or parties with hundreds? Think about your kitchen or bar or Great Room. Or is your Master bathroom what you long for each morning…a shower with a TV…radiant heated bathroom floors…a walk-in closet.
Anything can be done but everything costs money. You and your builder need to set priorities, discuss a budget, decide on a timeline, brainstorm financing, and get prepared for the second meeting. That’s when you bring in your ideas, magazine pages, drawings, and I-pad photos, sit with the architect and builder, and begin one of the most exciting creative projects in your life.