Inside Tips to Building a Custom Home
BY DOUGLAS DEHAAN
The process of building a custom home involves a lot more than just constructing a building. It's a very complicated process and involves interaction with many people across a wide array of disciplines. And, quite frankly, a lot of builders don't see the "Big Picture."
Douglas DeHaan has taken over 25 years of experience in the art and the science of building custom homes and put it all down in a concise, easy-to-read, and, often, humorous book where you will find such sage advice as: "You can't buy a Lexus at Sam's Club" and "If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there." and "Hire a competent builder to do the building, and save your friends for the moving and housewarming party."
The book is divided into four sections: Before You Build, The Design Process, The Construction Process, Helpful Checklists.
There are 51 chapters, each two or three pages in length. Each chapter deals with specific "problems" in the process and discusses the pros and cons of the different options in addressing those problems. Each chapter is summarized with a one-sentence "Douglas's Advice." Chapters like: Don't Buy that Lot! Call Your Builder First (chap. 2), Don't Begin Designing Your Home Until You Have Completed This! (chap. 25), Eight Common Disagreements Builders May Have With Their Clients and How to Avoid Them (chap. 33) and The Top Eleven Mistakes made by Homeowners (chap. 39) could literally save you from disaster.
Anyone contemplating building a home should must read this book.
Part I: Before You Build
1. Should We Build or Buy an Existing Home? 10 Questions to Help You Decide
2. Don't Buy that Lot! Call Your Builder First
3. Which Comes First: The Architect or the Builder?
4. Putting a Square Peg in a Round Hole. Finding a Competent Builder
5. Why Selecting the Right Builder is Half the Challenge
6. Do I have to Like My Builder?
7. Select Three Out of Four: Quality, Speed, Service or Price
8. Where Should We Invest Our Money? Key Areas of Interest
9. Should I Use a Fixed-Price or Cost-Plus Contract? Part 1 - Fixed-Price
10. Should I Use a Fixed-Price or Cost-Plus Contract? Part 2 - Cost-Plus
11. Surprises That Could Inflate Your Custom Home Cost
12. Design Your New Home With Some Resale in Mind
13. Should I consult Legal Counsel?
14. How Much Do You Charge Per Square Foot?
15. How Many Prices Should I Get For My New Home?
16. What Kind of Warranty Can We Expect?
Part II: The Design Process
17. Plan Ready Prints or Custom Design? Read This Before You Decide
18. Needs Versus Wants - The Lifestyle Study
19. The Starting Step Most New Homeowners Miss
20. Welcome to Art Class! Create Dream Home Notebook
21. What's So Important About the Kitchen Anyway?
22. Close Enough to Perfect? Identifying Expectations
23. The Hidden Gold in Your Pocket
24. Choices, Choices, Choices! Choose Before You Lose
25. Don't Begin Designing Your Home Until You Have Completed This!
26. Will I Go Over Budget?
27. The Truth About Building "Overbuilding"
28. Excellence or Perfection?
29. How Do You Avoid A Builder Scam?
30. How to Maximize Your Valuable Investment
Part III: The Construction Process
31. Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
32. What Language Are You Speaking?
33. Eight Common Disagreements Builders May Have With Their Clients And How to Avoid Them
34. Amount of Time to Build a New Custom Home?
35. Should I Fear a Client Request Form/Change Order?
36. Why Do I Have to Pay a Builder's Margin on a Change Order?
37. Should We Hire an Independent Building Inspector?
38. Why You Shouldn't Use Friends as Subcontractors
39. The Top Eleven Mistakes Made by Homeowners
40. How to Make Your Builder Love You
41. What Can I Expect After I Move In?
42. Is Going Green the Way to Go?
Part IV: Helpful Checklists
43. Checklist #1: What To Do Before You Hire A Builder
44. Checklist #2: Top Questions to Ask a Potential Builder
45. Checklist #3: Top Questions to Ask Your Builder's Previous Homeowners
46. Checklist #4: Before You Begin Construction
47. Checklist #5: Before Your Builder Installs Drywall
48. Checklist #6: In The Weeks Prior to Move In
49. Checklist #7: Pre-Completion Quality Control Punch List
50. Checklist #8: 18-Step Pre-Construction Process
51. Checklist #9: The Lifestyle Study