Custom Home Building FAQ’s

  • How long does it take to build a custom home?
    • Typical construction contracts are for 12 months of construction.
  • Can you build quicker?
    • There’s so many variables. If the home design is typical and we start excavation in the early spring, we typically finish in the fall. However, if we start late fall it may take a full year due to winter and potential road closures.
  • When does the contract start?
    • The construction contract starts when all the permits are issued.
  • How long does permitting take?
    • It’s dependent on the building jurisdiction. Spokane County is fast and 3 to 4 weeks is typical. Kootenai County can take up to 6 months.
    • There may be additional permits required for site permit, septic permit, and well permit.
  • How long is the construction financing process?
    • Typically, the construction finance takes 7 to 8 weeks. It’s dependent on how quick the borrower responds to the lender for additional items and information that may be required.
  • Do you provide design and plans for custom homes?
    • For a custom home plan, we use cdahomeplans.com for all plan work. Cdahomeplans.com utilizes cutting edge 3D design CAD systems to design and pre-build the home in 3D prior to the construction process.
  • What if I have my own house plans?
    • If you have professional house plans, we will absolutely use those plans to prepare an estimate or bid.
  • Do you work with Architects and Interior Designers?
    • Absolutely! We work with the leading architects and designers in the Pacific Northwest.
  • What are selections?
    • Selections are items that the homeowner can select from which will change their “standard” selections.
    • In pricing a home, we provide a “platinum” level selections. The price of the home reflects those selections that are pre-selected by the home builder.
  • Why do we have selections before we start construction as we will change selections once we start construction?
    • For pricing, we must have a base line of selections with cost to determine the initial price.
    • For time/material contracts, the baseline selections provide the estimate with cost for an overall estimated price for the project. In fixed price contracts, the baseline selections are part of the contract for the home.
  • How do we know what the baseline selections are prior to signing the contract?
    • We provide a selection book that has every platinum selection with a picture and description.
  • Are allowances part of the selections?
    • Yes, allowances are an important part of the selection system.
  • How do allowances work?
    • Allowances are items such as flooring, cabinets, electrical fixtures, appliances, and countertops.
    • We know that these allowance items almost always change during construction and our allowance process is an easy and simple process to allow our clients to change such items.
    • Allowances are always keyed to a specific product for pricing. For instance, if the plans call for carpet in the family room, your allowance for the carpet will be based on the actual square footage of carpet and our platinum level of carpet that is preselected. When you change the type and color of carpet in the family room with our vendor, they will provide the cost to make that change and you will pay the vendor direct if there’s an average amount owed.
    • For time/material contracts, our fee is based on all products. Whatever you select, we will add our fee to that amount.
  • How do you price a fixed price project?
    • To price a fixed price project, we require finish blueprints, specifications and we will apply our standard platinum selections to calculate a price. Trusses, lumber, floor systems, trusses are items that are bid out. Other components will be analyzed and calculated in-house.
    • Cost that cannot be ascertained such as wells, septic systems, rock work, etc will have an allowance provided.
    • Anticipated cost increased will also be factored in.
    • The final cost, including our standard profit, is the contract price.
  • How do you price a time/material project?
    • To price a time/material project, we require all the components of a fixed price project.
    • However, we provide an estimate of the actual cost of all labor and material.
    • We also add a fixed price for “general labor”, “builder labor”, and “general conditions”. These cost are applied to the cost of our labor for the project.
    • The final cost is the total estimate for the project. This is an estimate and not a bid.
  • What are the parts to a construction contract?
    • A construction contract consists of the contract to build the project, the blueprints, cost breakdown (or estimate), and the standard platinum selection book.
  • What type of contracts are there for construction?
    • Fixed price contracts for buyer financed projects are personal service contracts and are not real estate transactions.
      • The construction contract provides for a fix price and taxable amount.
      • The blueprints, cost breakdown and selections are incorporated in the contract via addenda’s.
  • What is the difference between the two types of contracts?
    • Time/material contracts for buyer financed projects are the same as a fixed price contract, except there is a time/material addenda added the contract. The t/m addenda changes the fixed price contract to the time/material contract.
  • How long are construction contracts?
    • Most contracts are for 12 months from the date permits are issued to completion.
  • Do you offer construction financing?
    • No, we do not offer construction financing as builder financing adds up to 9% in additional cost to a project.
  • Can you help with financing?
    • Absolutely! We work with Banner Bank, Mountain West Bank, Nevada State Bank and several Credit Unions. We can provide contact information for those loan officers.
  • What if it takes longer to build the home then the construction loan covers?
    • We are only liable for the time that our contract calls for and not the loan duration.
    • Please, never sign on a construction loan that is less then 12 months in duration.
  • What if permitting takes longer then expected since your construction contract starts from the date permits are issued?
    • This is typically not an issue except in certain circumstances.
    • Certain permit issues can take up to 6 months to process. If a project requires a well, septic engineering and permitting prior to the construction permit, this can pose an issue.
    • When inquiring about a construction loan, always ask the cost and process to extend the loan if required.
  • Do you handle permitting?
    • We handle and process all construction permitting.
  • Are there other permits we may need to apply for?
    • Depending on the project, other permits may be required. Additional permits may include:
      • Site permit
      • Shop permit
      • ADU permit
      • Well/septic permits
      • Access permits
      • Logging permits
  • Can you prepare and process additional permits if required?
    • Absolutely! There may be additional cost for permitting and the labor involved in preparing those permits.
    • Site permit in certain jurisdictions may be complicated and require geo-tech engineering and site plan blueprints.
  • Can we build a home if we don’t live nearby?
    • Absolutely! Many of our clients live in different cities and states. With our technology, we provide a great building experience for our clients that can’t be here.
    • We do require our clients to meet with us on site for the project layout prior to pouring foundations, after the house is framed up to review the framing and the meeting with the electricians and the final walk through of the finished home.
  • Do you provide a construction schedule?
    • Yes, our Project Manager provides a live view of the construction schedule as milestones and activities are completed.
    • All critical meetings, selections, and key construction activities are always available on your personal project manager site.
  • What if we see something that is not correct during construction?
    • Holler! If something is not according to your selections, specifications and/or blueprints, always contact us asap.
    • The process of construction is 95% build, and 5% corrections. We are an excellent home builder for many reasons. The number #1 reason is that we professionally correct any mistakes.
    • We will often know of the mistake and we’re wait until the right time to make those corrections (often, prior to an inspection). However, we always want to know if you have any questions or concerns.
  • What is a change order?
    • A change order is when the client wants to change something during the construction process that has already been completed.
    • On a fixed price contract, a change will only be made if there is a signed change order that states what the change is, the cost of the change, the additional time it will take (contract extension), and if there is a penalty fee.
    • We hate change orders. Although certain home builders try to create a large number of change orders and penalties, we strongly feel that a change order is only something we do as a last resort. A good build should have no change orders as we pride ourselves on clear communication, preparation, technology and making certain our clients understand the process and plans.
  • What can interfere with the construction?
    • Weather can slow down construction. However, our 12 month contracts allow for winter builds.
    • Road restrictions can pose significant construction delays. In the early spring, some jurisdictions will close local roads to heavy traffic until the ground under the road firms up. The Lakes Highway District in Kootenai County can impose road restrictions for up to 5 months in late winter. Often, we can devise alternative methods to build but that can be more costly for the homeowner.
  • Do you submit permits?
    • Yes, we prepare and submit all the construction permit documentation for our clients.
  • Are there other permits required?