Editor's note: This is the sixth and final article in a series leading up to the Summit County Parade of Homes. The parade
continues Saturday and Sunday.
The collapse of the United States' economy in 2008 sent shockwaves throughout the nation, and the construction industry became a primary victim. In the aftermath, it became clear that an ideological shift was needed in order to chart a path for the next generation of custom home building.
In years past, clients traditionally began the process of creating a custom home by working with a Realtor to purchase land. Then they hired an architect, designed a beautiful home, and, finally, engaged a builder. Cost was often an afterthought. But with tightened credit markets and money no longer growing on proverbial trees, we're now seeing a generation of savvy clients who are completely reversing the process. Now they start with the builder, create a budget, then find land and engage an architect to design a home that fits their budget.
By choosing a contractor first, clients know exactly what to expect and what's financially feasible. Sophisticated software allows contractors to estimate costs based on early hand sketches - typically within 5 percent of the eventual cost - and guide the design process, providing clear expectations along the way. Having a clearly defined budget at the onset allows clients to decide how to allocate funds toward a particular lot, a particular architect, and more importantly, the eventual home they will create.
A contractor can evaluate a potential building site and provide feedback about potentially unforeseen construction issues, as well as hidden costs or opportunities. And when speaking with architects, a contractor can be instrumental in navigating designs, often suggesting less expensive alternatives with little impact to the finished product.
Clients who start the home-building process with a general contractor inevitably have far fewer surprises and a much more enjoyable home building experience.