Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ & Resources





How long does it take to build my home?

Of course the size and level of detail will affect this, but we start at around 4-5 months for a 3 bedroom, 1500 to 1800 sf home.

How much does a new home cost per square foot?

That's a tough question. Kind of like, how much is a car per pound? What we can tell you is, they cost more every year. For some reason, people just keep adding more features & nicer amenities and our government keeps adding new fees & new requirements that add to the cost. We are currently building homes starting at approximately $115 per sf, and have others for up to $175 per sf. We can also tell you, that all things being equal, it costs less to build up than out, that is to say that for equal size and amenities, a 1 story costs more than a 2 story home.

What is the payment process as we are building?

Most customers get a construction loan. We require a small down payment, then submit monthly progress draws to the lender. Every construction draw is backed up by a notarized sworn statement and signed lien waivers from our suppliers and trade contractors. At the time of occupancy, customers typically convert their construction loan to a mortgage. Call us for a list of recommended mortgage officers who can talk to you about this process.

Are banks still lending money to build and buy homes, or have they stopped for now?

Don't believe what you read in the papers. There are many very competitive loan programs available, call us for the names of some local mortgage officers.

What is a construction loan?

A short term (6 months to 1 year) loan that pays for construction as it progresses, you pay on what is drawn, interest only. At the end of construction, the loan is usually converted to a regular mortgage.

Can I buy my own materials?

Generally speaking, the answer is no. That, to us, is like asking your waiter to have the kitchen boil the pasta you brought in with you. There are some areas where your materials are OK. Appliances are usually the first that comes to mind. And other allowance items, such as light fixtures, tile, etc. may be brought in, but the customer is generally responsible for correct quantities and quality of materials.

Do I need to buy insurance?

Yes, you will need what is generally referred to as "builder's risk". It is basically homeowners insurance, without the contents. We are listed as additional insured on your policy, so that work in progress gets paid for in case of an event. We are fully insured with liability insurance, workman's comp, and theft of materials on-site before installation.

Do you take out the building permit?

Absolutely. We are licensed residential contractors, and pay all local and county permit fees associated with the building project. All work over $600 in Michigan requires a licensed contractor, and most work requires a building permit.

Do you have a warranty?

1-year-warranty is provided to all residential customers. We do a walk-through at occupancy, to make sure everything is right. We do a 30 day checklist, after you move in, for anything that we missed, or needs adjustment. And then, at the end of your first year, we send you another checklist to make any needed repairs, as well as a comprehensive checklist that our customer care specialist reviews. All of the manufacturer's warranties and instructions are neatly filed in a binder for your long-term use.

How will we ever find a plan?
  1. Make a list of the features & spaces you want and create a column for each:
    • options you must have
    • options that would be nice to have
    • items you absolutely don't want.
  2. Decide what style you're looking for (i.e. Traditional, Contemporary, Country, etc.).
  3. Figure approximately how large your home will be.
  4. Go to the find a plan page and use the form to search and view plans.

Most plans can be modified to suite your individual needs, and if you absolutely cannot find the right plan, or have a "special" building site, then we can have a custom plan drawn for you.

How will we have time to find all of our materials and finishes?

No worries here. Come into our design center, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and peruse our library of ideas. The design center is set up so that with the help of our designer, you can make almost all of your selections with professional guidance, without running ragged around town. We will work to your style and within your budget.

Do you do all the work yourselves?

We employ a number of skilled carpenters, and do most of the trim, cabinets, countertops, wood and tile flooring, shelving, etc. We do our own underground drain tile, and preparation for basement floors. We contract some of the areas highest quality trade contractors, for work such as framing, plumbing, heating, electrical, siding, concrete, and roofing.

How do I know you are paying all of your suppliers and trade contractors?

All payment requests are accompanied by a notarized sworn statement, with signed waivers of lien from our trade contractors and suppliers attached. We welcome you to contact any of our vendors to check on our payment history.

Do you have a license and insurance?

Absolutely. We are a Michigan Licensed Residential Builder (lic. # 2137023), and have both liability and workman's comp insurance, as well as theft insurance on un-installed materials.

Why do you have all of those carpenters working for you, I heard it was cheaper to use subcontractors?

Its all about the quality, control of all the details that you see in your home, and the process we use to complete your home. If something needs to be changed, or redone, we can respond quickly and accurately.

What are allowances?

Allowances are items in the contract where pricing may vary depending, usually, on a customer selection. Light fixtures, flooring materials and appliances are examples of common allowances. If building on a customer's property, we may include the excavation costs as an allowance. We try our best to make sure allowances closely match the projected cost. At the end of the job, customers will either write us a check for the overages, or we write one back for any credits. Since we strive to be accurate in allowance amounts, we generally do not add overhead or profit to allowance overages.

What is a change order?

A change order is written when the client, or job-site conditions, require a change in scope of the original contract documents. Change orders may be a cost, a credit, or a no-charge item. They may add time to the construction finish date. And if work or materials are added to the project, we generally add our overhead and profit to the cost of the change.

What does it mean to be green built?

Please refer to our green built page.

What is a rain garden?

Rain gardens, or bio-retention systems, are beautiful landscaping features that manage storm water on site. Their loose, deep soils absorb water and filter pollutants. Rain gardens complement any style of landscape, their size can vary, and they can fit into odd shapes and spaces. They are an excellent method of keeping storm water on site and out of the sewer system. For more information visit www.RainGardens.org





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