FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Building a custom home can be a bit daunting: there are budgets, timelines, meetings, and more. At Paramount Homes, our goal is to make this as easy of a process as possible for you. These FAQs (“frequently asked questions”) should be of some help. Of course, if you get stuck or need help, you can always contact us with your questions, and we’ll be happy to offer our support.
How long does it take to build a custom home?
5 to 7 months is our typical build time, depending on the size of the home and the type of lot.
I’m contemplating building a custom home - when should I involve a Builder in the process?
Our experience shows us that an Owner and an Architect, left to their own devices, will design a fantastic house that is almost invariably over budget. This is not an indictment on either architects or owners, but simply put, budgets are probably not one of their areas of expertise, and in the excitement and enthusiasm of the design, “scope creep” occurs. A little bit here, a little bit there… it doesn’t take all that much to have a project run 10 or 20 percent (or more) over the initial budget. A good design team needs to have a budget manager—someone who has a solid grasp of current costs and can ensure the design is in line with current costs and pricing, and have value engineering solutions. Enter the Builder.
On average, we process approximately a quarter of a million dollars of vendor invoicing each month; we know exactly what our costs are and bring invaluable input to the design process. Over the course of decades, we have figured out what is cost-effective, what isn’t, and where we can give our clients the most bang for the buck.
Additionally, an experienced Builder will be able to bring insight into your lot purchase, financing, and many other elements that most owners have never considered. The short answer – involve your Builder as early as possible; the value he or she will bring is invaluable.
What if I don’t have land?
We have established relationships with several real estate professionals who specialize in land acquisition. We can absolutely assist you in finding that perfect piece of property to build your dream home.
When should I consider building? Summer months only?
We’ve started jobs during every month of the year, and while typically late winter/early spring isn’t ideal for excavation and foundation work, we all know the saying: “If you don’t like the weather in Colorado, just wait a minute.” The late winter/ early spring of 2017 has been a perfect example – most of February was in the mid-60s with little precipitation and was ideal building weather.
How many homes have you built?
Last tally, well over 100, plus countless more remodels and additions. All said and done; we’ve managed in the neighborhood of $40MM worth of residential construction across nearly three decades.
Can you accommodate an out of town/out of state Owner?
We have had countless owners that fit this description, and we’re able to make a custom home build a very enjoyable experience despite the distance. We use a project management software that does an excellent job of keeping the Owner and Builder on the same page with all aspects of the project; the Owner is kept apprised of schedules, selections, and finances. Combined with a VERY accessible and communicative staff, we easily overcome the obstacles that being an out-of-town Owner can present.
Do you have experience with expansive soils?
Yes—lots of it! Over the years, we’ve built many successful projects on lots that have problematic soil and can calculate the additional costs that will be incurred before actual construction.
What price point do you build at?
Just within the last five years, we’ve had budgets ranging from $400,000 to almost $2,000,000. We can accommodate a very wide range of budgets. Over the last few years, our average contract has been around $800,000.
How does the financing of a custom home project work?
At the risk of oversimplification, the simple answer is this – the Owner procures a construction loan for the project, and at the end of the project, the construction loan is replaced by permanent financing. In some cases, the lender can offer a “one-time close” option.
Do you have lenders that you can recommend for a construction loan?
Absolutely, we have a handful of folks that we work with on a regular basis. We would be thrilled to make an introduction.
What protection do I have that the price I’m quoted for the home build won’t increase?
We enter into a fixed-price contract, so contractually, you’re protected. Change Orders (increases to the cost of the home) are issued only when the Owner requests an increase or change to one or more of the predetermined scopes of work.
Are there ways I can save money on my custom home build?
Absolutely! There are always ways to save money. No custom home is the same; each is unique, as are the goals and objectives of each Owner that we work with. “Value engineering,” the process by which we work with our clients to determine the ideal balance of square footage, quality of finishes, and cost, is something that we’ve become very, very good at.
What style of home do you build?
The short answer is – whatever style you want. We’re not married to any particular style; we want to build what YOU want.
How much involvement do I need to have in the project?
That is largely up to you as the owner. While we certainly need your input in making selections on design decisions, such as plumbing fixtures, cabinets, flooring, countertops, appliance, electrical fixtures, and so on, the amount of time you spend making those varies significantly based on your personality and temperament. Some folks make all of their selections with a few days’ time spent; other folks spend countless hours. Neither one is right, only preference. We’re happy to accommodate them all!
What energy saving features do you offer?
This is another topic that cannot be adequately addressed in a short response; nevertheless, the short answer as follows.
We use 2×6 construction with R-23 wall insulation and R-50 ceiling insulation. Our HVAC systems are high efficiency, and we employ a number of techniques that offer significant energy savings (such as “energy heels” on trusses). We have extensive experience with alternative energy systems such as:
- Solar PV
- Solar Thermal
- Structural Insulated Panels
These types of decisions will come about in our planning phase. We can build whatever you’re hoping to have. There’s an overwhelming amount of content on the internet about energy-efficient building systems, with most of it likely being inaccurate. We’re happy to discuss with you the options that are available to you, and the costs associated with those options.
Can I help with the building process?
“Can my brother-in-law, the electrician, do the electrical work? Will that save money?” This is a question that comes up a lot, and there’s no set answer for it. We have to evaluate each request on a case-by-case basis, as there are many factors involved.
- What are the owner’s objectives by doing this? Will it actually save money?
- What is the ramification to the schedule if they don’t perform?
- Is the owner willing to enter into a Subcontractor/ Builder relationship for that portion of the project? (This looks very different than the Owner/Builder relationship).
- Is the owner willing to leverage a family relationship?
Typically, we understand the owner often wishes to help in the building process to invest more than finances into the project. We know how rewarding it is to have blood and sweat invested into your home (though hopefully only sweat.) We endeavor to say yes here wherever we can. However, historically, we’re usually able to walk our owners through why this generally isn’t a good idea.