Frequently Asked Questions About Building a Home
Contact us for our references, and feel free to ask these types of questions of our previous clients.
How much will my home cost?
- That depends on your answers to the following:
- How big a home do you need to meet your wants/needs?
- What materials do you want to use?
- How difficult is your lot to develop?
- Once we have our initial meeting with you, we can give you a ballpark idea of what your home will cost.
- As we refine your selections and the home plans we also refine your costs.
- Before a contract is signed, you will be provided with plans and specifications that describe the project and the materials to be used.
- Our custom homes have ranged in price from $400,000 to over $3,000,000.
- Cost per sq. ft. for a truly custom home in northern Virginia typically ranges from $160/sq. ft. to $220/sq. ft. The swings in cost are normally driven by size of home,complexity of construction and level of finishing. Be careful when using costs per sq. ft. to compare builders or plan a budget. True cost per sq. ft. should be based on the finished top two floors only (a finished basement should not be included in this cost).Remember that land purchase and land development are not included in standard cost per sq. ft. analysis.
Who are your clients?
Our typical client is a first time custom home client that has a busy schedule and comes to us with no idea of how to make their dream into a reality. They are willing to pay a reasonable price for good quality and want to be treated fairly and kept abreast of what is going on with their home.
What do you build?
- If you can dream it – we can build it!
- We have built homes from 1300 sq. ft to 20,000 sq. ft.
- We have built houses ranging from contemporaries to traditional center hall colonials on estate lots.
- We have built on 6,000 sq. ft in-fill lots to an 18-acre estate lot.
- Most of our clients come to us because they want their home to fit their needs and not what a marketing director thinks will sell.
- We are also experts in extensive remodeling projects.
What if the property has an existing house that needs to be removed?
- We can handle all the paperwork, obtain the approvals and remove the existing home.
- Many older homes have hazardous material in the structure and the federal, state and local laws may require the identification and removal of these substances be done in a prescribed manner by licensed experts. We have those crews and can do it all.
- If an existing well or septic field needs to be abandoned, we can take care of that as well.
- Sometimes the old utilities can be reused depending on age, location and size. We research all this and report back to you so you can decide what to do.
We can’t find any home plans we really like. How can you come up with a plan we will like?
- We design, or oversee the design for most of what we build.
- Our years of experience have taught us how to skillfully interview clients, listening to their answers to come up with a plan that will fill their design needs.
- We design with your budget in mind and look for ways to build efficiently to keep the costs in line.
- We have a number of In-House home plans that we created that often are a wonderful starting point to create the perfect new plan for you.
- We are Custom homebuilders so we expect unique requests and have the willingness and skill to meet even the most unusual requests.
What happens if we have a question or a problem during construction?
- Our field staff is available by email even when in the field.
- You will also have the email address and personal phone numbers for the principals of the company.
- We will answer any question within 24 hours if possible.
- You will have your superintendent’s number and a 24 hour a day emergency contact number.
Do you practice Green building standards?
We are totally committed to being environmentally responsible in all our projects and invite you to visit our “Green Building” section to learn more.
How long will it take to complete my home?
- That depends again on how you answer the following questions:
- How big is the home?
- What materials do you want to use?
- How difficult is the lot to develop?
- time of the year will it be starting and finishing?
- Are you going to make your selections on time?
- In general, the following schedule would apply:
- Once the contract is signed, our average time to modify a plan to be ready to submit for building permit approval is 3 weeks provided all civil engineering is complete.
- Permit approval ranges between 1 and 3 months.
- From permit issue we will start in 2 to 3 weeks.
- Once we start actual construction, it usually takes 1.2 to 1.5 months per 1,000 finished sq. feet on top 2 floors;
Where do you build?
- We are not locked into any particular lots or area.
- We build anywhere in Northern Virginia.
- Most of our clients in the last two decades have been in McLean, Great Falls, Vienna, and all parts of Loudoun County.
How much of the project will you oversee?
We do it all from the beginning to the end including finding a lot, evaluating the lot, designing the home (or working with your designer), specifying the materials, pricing the project, obtaining the building permit, and building the home. We can provide you assistance through the entire process.
We’ve never built a custom home before. How can we possibly make all the decisions?
- Most of our customers have never built a home before, so we know how to simplify a complicated process, guiding you every step of the way.
- Once our customers move in they consistently tell us that everything was a lot more fun and a lot simpler than they had anticipated.
- Once you tell us what your tastes are, we will suggest materials for everything in the home but you make the final decision.
Who will we be dealing with?
Each step of the construction process is handled by an expert in that particular area. From designing the home, picking out your finishing materials, to the construction of your home someone will be there to guide you along the way. Your entire experience will be overseen by the principle partner, Shawn Foley and he is always a phone call away if you need him.
We’ve heard all homes go over budget and that “change orders” are to blame. How can we be assured this will not happen to us?
- Change orders are not a bad thing. In fact they are a good thing, because they allow you, the homeowner, to change your mind about a material, design, system etc. while construction is on-going.
- Our contract will include a price to build the home as drawn and specified so that you have an understanding of what you are getting for the price.
- If you don’t surprise us with a drastic deviation from your original decisions, then you will stay within your budget.
- We give you a guaranteed price for your home and we will deliver for that price unless you choose to change it or some unforeseen condition is discovered such as bad ground, etc.
- When you choose to make a change once construction starts (change order) we contractually guarantee that you will be charged the same rate that you paid for the rest of the home.
- We do not discourage or penalize our clients for making changes in a timely fashion.
- Our customers have an average of 20 to 30 change orders.
- Most of our customers (even with 20 to 30 changes) stay within 2% to 3% of the initial contract price.
How do we know you will do what you say you are going to do?
- Call our references!
- Our best spokespeople are our previous clients. We can supply you with an extensive list of references for custom home construction or remodeling going back decades.
- Our previous clients already went through what you are contemplating and have proven to be very generous of their time to answer questions. So, ask them anything.