As you go through the seven steps, you will learn about how our system works, how to budget for your new home, and how you get to be your own project manager surrounded by experts. Our proprietary software helps builders become better builders. In our system, the definition of “builder” means a builder who just wants to be a project manager on their own home so they save money, get what they want, and know that their home was built exactly how they wanted all the way to a custom builder who made building his/her career.
Our goal is to complete all the steps below to prepare you for your build. You can stop at any time if you feel we are not the best team to help you reach your goals. Our goal is not to give you a sales pitch or underquote you to get you to commit to working with us. This is truly a team effort to build your new home. We both need to feel confident that working together is best for all involved.
If you are ready to get started, here are the seven steps we need to complete. I highly recommend going in the order listed. If you have completed anything below, that is great! Just make a note so we can review. In the Forms section of the website, there is a Seven Steps Checklist you can download to help organize your time and information.
In the beginning, most of our clients were not sure what it would cost to build a home. A great first step is to take a look at homes either built by some of our clients or plans available on-line to give you an idea of what different sizes, types, and styles of homes cost based off of our client’s preferences. Below is a link to show you some examples of homes using plans available on-line with a budget range for construction and basic details. The budgets for these homes include all costs to build except for the cost of the lot itself. Keep in mind, a lot can have a significant effect on costs depending on HOA requirements, county requirements, utilities needed, etc. The examples are provided only to give a general idea of what you can expect, not an actual budget for your specific home. Doing a Reasonable Expectation of Costs which you will read about in Step Five is designed to give you a more detailed budget based on your lot and your custom home.
If you own your lot, that’s great! A huge step in building your new custom home is finding an amazing place to build it. If you are currently actively searching for a lot, we can help with that. Below is a link to Eastway Real Estate. They are familiar with the information we need and have access to our team for questions. Items that can have a huge effect on cost include but not limited to water or well, sewer or septic, clearing, demolition of existing structures, driveway culvert, length of drive, county impact fees, etc. This information is important when determining the overall budget for your new home. A lot cost matrix form is available in the Forms Tab. This form is used to keep track of lot costs as well as home costs to better develop the overall budget. Note - If you do not have a lot and not currently shopping for a lot, stop here. There is no need to be pre-approved by a bank. Because the cost of construction changes frequently, pricing out a home that you want built a year or more from now will not be accurate.
Once you have checked out the homes listed in the first step and feel like we are “in the ballpark” and you either own or are actively searching for a lot , we need to establish your construction budget. The best way to establish your budget is to reach out to a bank and ask to be pre-approved for a construction loan. I recommend that you find out what the most is you would qualify for as well as a breakdown of what the monthly payments will be. The goal is to establish a safe budget that fits within your comfort zone both in overall loan amount as well as monthly payments. Remember to consider the cost of the lot itself, whether you own a lot with a mortgage balance or currently searching for a lot. A Lot Cost Matrix form is located under the "Forms" tab at the top of the page. This will help organize all the costs associated with building your home.
We highly recommend Wendy McClellan at First Federal. She earns the majority of our client’s business and completely understands our system. A copy of her information is attached. Also, a link to her website is listed below. *Note – Your budget needs to be verified by a bank. Please do not go through this process without having commitment from the bank that they will provide the funds for your new home and lot. The best way is to ask the bank to provide a pre-approval letter showing the budget they will allow. You are not committing to the budget, only asking for written documentation from the bank. Please make your pre-approval letter as part of your planning documentation.
Once you have established that your custom home budget is “in the ballpark” compared to homes shown on our site, you have completed the Lot Cost Matrix Form for the lot you own or potential lot(s), and have determined a budget with a lender who has provided you with a pre-approval letter showing their commitment to you, the next step is to gather information specific to the home you want to build. To do this, we need you to do a little homework.
Our program allows you to build your home, your way. To guide you, we need to know the size and style of the home, what things in the home are most important to you, and what your tastes are in finishes. For this, we need the design of the home and two helpful budgeting tools completed to provide information used to create a Reasonable Expectation of Costs.
The first is an idea of the size and style of home you want to build. This can be a rough drawing, a plan found on-line with a list of changes you would like to do, or a completed blueprint. NOTE - You do not need to hire anyone to do a blueprint or purchase plans before creating your budget. It is better to establish the size and scope of your home prior to paying a designer to create formal plans.
The second is a Must/Like list. A huge advantage of our program is that you can design your home how you want it and focus attention (and budget) on what is most important to you. This list is a way to prioritize your budget. Detailed instructions can be found on the Must/Like worksheet.
The third is a shopping list. This form will help to create budgets for finishes. At this point, we do not expect you to be a savvy shopper. Retail cost on the shopping list is ok to use in establishing the initial budget. As you move through the program, cost is whittled down using savvy shopping and builder pricing when items are sent out to bid.
In our program, we use our Construction Navigation Software to create your home budget. Our program is designed to provide a budget for all items needed for your home build except for the cost of the lot itself. The Lot Cost Matrix is used to include the cost of the lot as part of the overall budget. Our goal is the same as yours, to build your home as inexpensively as possible without compromising quality. It is vital that we work together on your budget.
To create a Reasonable expectation of cost report, there are two options. The first is to purchase a membership to the Construction Navigation Software. With it, you will be able to answer a series of questions and develop a budget on your own based on the information provided. This option is great if you wish to work on your own or are more than a year out to build and want to start a preliminary budget. The software is adjusted periodically to show changes in the market.
The second option is to set up a meeting with us to develop a Reasonable Expectation of Cost Report together. There is no cost to work together on the report. However, it is required that you complete Steps 1 through 4 before setting up an appointment.
Eastway’s computer system and documents are designed to give you a step by step guide to building your new home. We use a combination of our step by step Seven C’s program which is explained in detail, a management system called Buildertrend, and our Construction Navigation Software to coordinate the planning and construction of your new home. Using these three tools, we can give you complete control and transparency while still providing builder expertise every step of the way.
A common request of people interested in working with our team is to meet the owner/builder of Eastway Custom Homes. This meeting is not a requirement for you to work with us but is a great final step before signing an agreement. The goals of this meeting are to walk the lot with you so you can share your vision as well as discuss your thoughts and concerns.
To make the most out of your time together, we recommend you complete the “Meeting with the Builder” Form prior to the meeting. Our goal is to make sure you are comfortable with our team and the program. This meeting should alleviate all concerns about being the project manager of your new home. This meeting normally takes about an hour.