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At Clarum Homes, we get a lot of questions from clients about custom home building. And it makes sense – building a custom home is a nuanced process that not only requires a phenomenal team, but also a fair amount of planning to get just right.
When clients engage us for a custom home building project, we try to impart as much information as we can from the outset. It’s important to our team that you have all the knowledge and resources you need to get your dream home completed on time, within budget, and exactly the way you envisioned it.
That’s why we’re sharing some insight on custom home building, including: when to build versus buy, how to choose a builder, and what you should know about building in Silicon Valley.
If you’re looking for a new home, your first inclination may be to purchase a pre-existing residence — but one of the best things about building a home is that your wants and needs are completely fulfilled. By investing in a custom home, you’ll start with a blank slate, giving you free rein to design an environment that will work for your needs.
With high-performance homes, this means incorporating healthy and sustainable building materials as well as energy efficient appliances and equipment. You can also rest easy knowing that your new home will be built to code and likely won’t need any costly replacements or repairs.
A custom home building project usually occurs in two phases: pre-construction and construction. During pre-construction, you’ll work with your builder to determine the scope of your project to include budget, financing, property selection, surveying, permitting, and design. This phase is arguably the most important in a high-performance home build as decisions around design details, materials, and installation methods will ultimately factor into the overall efficiency of your new home. Provided all goes well, you can expect this phase to take a little over six months from start to finish.
Once construction is underway, you can expect your high-performance home to take approximately 12-24 months to complete depending on your home design. As with all custom home builds, the timeline for this phase will depend on your project scope and the proficiency of your builder. Whether you decide to work with us or another builder, you should always ask for a fixed start and completion date, as well as a timeline with major milestones.
High performance homes have several distinct advantages compared to their conventional counterparts, most notably a smaller carbon footprint, more predictable energy costs, and little to no environmental toxins.
With a high-performance home, you’ll find that indoor air quality is much healthier due to better building materials and more intentional design. High performance homes also consume less energy – up to 90% in some homes – lowering your bills and carbon output while also increasing your home’s value. There’s also a benefit to using sustainable building materials to ensure the longevity of your home while reducing negative environmental impacts.
Overall, you’ll enjoy a greater level of health and comfortable without compromising on style.
While it’s hard to estimate the cost of a custom home without factoring in details like size and style, you can make some general considerations pretty early in the process. Building a high-performance home is pricier than building a conventional home, equating to about 5-10% more in upfront costs. That said, a high-performance home will provide a better ROI in the long term as energy efficiencies add up to offset your initial investment. You may also be able to qualify for green building incentives at the state and federal level – a ‘win-win’ for both your wallet and the environment.
Before deciding to build a custom home in Silicon Valley, it’s important to understand the housing market in this area. There’s often high demand for vacant properties and limited availability, making it particularly important to partner with the right builder from the start. A builder can help you better determine a property’s potential, allowing you to make a quick decision and speedy offer. You should also consider working with a builder who’s familiar with the local planning and building departments as they’ll be able to help you efficiently navigate the permitting process.
The relationship between you and your builder is key to a smooth home building process. But how do you make that great match? A few important factors to consider when evaluating a builder include:
These insights, among others, will help you determine the right builder for your new home.
A custom home build can take up to six months to get rolling, so deciding on a time of year to build is an important part of the planning process. Whether you decide to break ground in spring, summer, fall, or winter, there are pros and cons to each that will likely hinge on one or several factors:
Above all else, be sure to work with a builder who understands your priorities and will keep you updated every step of the way.
At Clarum Homes, building better, more sustainable and efficient homes isn’t what we do, it’s what we’re deeply passionate about. If you’re curious about high performance homes and ready to take the next step toward building your dream home, contact us today!