Building a home from scratch is a big undertaking, but the team at Hensley is here to help you in every step of the custom home process. We can’t wait to get started making your dream home a reality. Here’s how your project will unfold once you’ve determined your total budget and financing options.
Because your site can affect the design of your home, we suggest you begin by finding property. We typically have several sites for sale in desirable communities. You can also work with a real estate agent or scour local listings to discover available properties.
If you’re torn between two lots, let us know. We can help you decide which would be best for the home you envision.
If you’ve already bought a lot for your new home, we will visit your site to discuss its conditions and characteristics. While on site, we talk about topography, views (those you’d like to highlight and perhaps a view you’d like to block) and access to the home from the street. We investigate soil conditions and possible water drainage.
All lots require some site work before construction begins. We’ll brief you on how your site will be cleared and graded. We’ll also review any necessary setbacks from lot lines or restrictions imposed by local building codes.
The Custom Home Design Team
In the custom home process, a team of professionals works together. You may already have a designer or architect for your home, or even an interior designer, lighting designer or kitchen designer. At Hensley, we welcome design partners.
To begin formulating your home plans, we’ll ask some basic questions:
- Is there an architectural style you prefer?
- How many floors would like in your new home?
- What’s your desired square footage?
- What size garage do you prefer?
- Do you have a target bedroom and bathroom count?
- Where will your master bedroom be located?
From that quick rundown of your custom home vision, we proceed to gather more information on other spaces you’d like and their functions. You might be envisioning:
- An open floorplan
- A formal living or dining room
- Guest rooms
- A gourmet kitchen (and a secondary kitchen inside or outdoors)
- A home office, library or den
- A finished lower level
- Outdoor living and dining areas
- Hobby or specialized rooms
During the custom home process, photos are helpful in relaying your wants and needs. You can share them with your designer in a scrapbook or by using an online board on Pinterest or Houzz. Photos or drawings that show your preferences help us deliver exactly what you have in mind.
Honing the Design
At the beginning of the custom home process, the rough sketches you’ll see are meant to provide a very general idea of your home. A bubble diagram helps plot room sizes and the relationships of rooms to each other. This sketch also shows how your home relates to its site. You’ll see which rooms will get morning or late afternoon sun, get an idea of door locations and start to imagine what the views from each room will be.
Reviewing and revising are part of the custom home process: It’s how we make sure your home is perfectly suited to your lifestyle. As you mull over and make changes to the first drawings, your designer will develop more finished plans. At this point, the designer also creates preliminary elevation drawings that show how the home’s exterior will look from each side.
After meetings with you and your designer, we will generate a preliminary list of specifications for finishes and fixtures. These “specs” will evolve as the custom home process continues, but for now, they give everyone a quick look at the level of your home’s amenities.
Estimates and Approvals for Your Custom Home
To finalize all the many parts of your home, from door knobs to outlets to carpeting, you will meet with our selections expert. Together, you will choose cabinets, appliances, plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, entry door, trim details, windows, bricks, shingles, floor materials, and so on. Some meetings will be in the Hensley Design Center, others will be at vendors’ showrooms.
With final plans and a list of specs, we send your custom home package out for subcontractors to bid on. Based on those bids, we create a job cost detail sheet for you. Your home’s preliminary price is based on your plan, specs and allowances, and labor costs.
At this time, we also explain your proposed job schedule, which is based on job size
Your next part in the custom home process is to review the cost estimates closely. Ask questions about anything that’s not clear to you. Go over the list of specifications, noting where your preferences might have changed since the start of the design process. At this point, nothing has been purchased or constructed yet, so changes are easy. Make sure you understand the job schedule and deadlines we plan to meet. Communication is key and our goal is to listen closely to you.
With everyone on the same page, contracts are signed and we are ready to move forward with your new home.
Using your final plans, we request all the necessary permits. Then we stake the house out on your site. Excavation of the foundation can begin. Once the foundation walls are built and underground plumbing is installed, the work must be approved by an inspector.
Wall framing comes next, then subflooring is installed. At this point, we walk through the project with you. It’s an exciting time and an opportunity for you to get a feel for the home’s layout.
As the custom home process continues and materials are delivered, we coordinate all inspections of framing, electric, HVAC systems and plumbing.
Now the many moving parts of your home project come together: The crew hangs drywall and finishes it with primer. Cabinetry and plumbing is installed. Appliances, bathroom fixtures, tile and flooring arrive on site. Wood floors are stained and lighting is installed. Meanwhile exterior finishes are buttoned up and concrete driveways and walks are poured.
Finally, the last inspection takes place and produces a certificate of occupancy. The home is ready for our final walk-through with you. We keep a punch list during this visit of any outstanding issues to address.
Wrapping Up the Custom Home Process
Now it’s time to close on the sale of your home, and for us to hand over your keys. But our relationship with you doesn’t end. Every product in your home carries a manufacturer’s warranty, and we offer a one-year builder’s warranty on the home’s construction. After a year, we walk through your home again to ensure that it is living up to your expectations.
Our ultimate goal is for you to be in love with your Hensley home.
What can we build for you? We’d love to hear from you.