Build my dream home with me: Hiring the professionals

Created by: Federica Chacon D.
Date: Jan/24/2024

New house construction


Welcome back to our series, where we share our journey of building our dream home. Thus far, we've discussed finding the perfect lot and purchasing the ideal modern house design for our dream house. Today's article explores and explains our process for finding and hiring the right professionals to get the job done. From here on, the process becomes more technical, so buckle up.

Building a new house is an exciting process and yet a complex undertaking. If not done correctly, it offers many risks. As a couple embarking on this journey, we understand it is a big undertaking time and economically wise, so we came to realize the importance of assuring a great team of professionals to ensure a structurally sound house that complies correctly with local building codes, is built in time with hopefully no over-cost or at least a small one and caters to our quality expectations. In this article, we'll share our experiences and guide you through our process of hiring the right professionals to bring your dream home to life.

Step 1: Finding the Perfect way to build our new house

At this stage, evaluating how much time we were willing to spend on this process was essential. As we discovered, there is more than one way to execute. The first is where a general contractor assumes the total responsibility for the building process "contractor built." The other is the owner-built, where the owner(s) directly participates and may organize the complete process. Of course, this participation varies depending on the owner's abilities and knowledge in home building and the available time to participate in the project. The road you take will also depend on the budget and the type of participation wished to undertake.

In our particular case, we understood we had absolute expertise and time limitations, so we hired a home builder, the contractor-built modality, for the job. Thus, choosing the right architect and home builder was crucial to the success of our hose project. Here's how we approached the challenge:

1. Research and Referrals: When we started searching for an architect, and for a home builder, we did not know anyone who could help us. So, we initially sought recommendations from friends, family, and our real estate agent. Online research helped us check and identify reputable local architects and home builders with a portfolio of custom homes and recent success stories.

2. Portfolio Assessment: We carefully reviewed their portfolios to gauge their craftsmanship, attention to detail, responsibility, and ability to help us and deliver on our vision the way we envision it. Looking at their previous work gave us great reference and confidence in their expertise and work. We even visited and checked some projects/construction performed by some of the filtered architects and home builders.

3. Licensing and Credentials: At this stage, we needed to select a licensed architect

and home builder with experience, relevant certifications, and memberships in professional associations to ensure our house design complies with construction laws, industry standards, sustainable materials, and best practices.

4. Construction Law Support: As imagined, zoning and regulations vary from location

to location. Understanding and complying with them is essential for a smooth construction process. Here, an experienced architect would know how to navigate and adapt our house design/house plan to the construction laws and ordinances directly affecting the project. So, we prioritized architects who could guide and support us through this process (land approval, zoning, ordinances, covenants, building codes, and permits), reviewing and making some minor adjustments to the original house plan.

Therefore, in our research, we sought an architect with in-depth knowledge of construction laws and design. This expertise proved invaluable as we went through the zoning process, regulations, and customizing our house design, minimizing potential roadblocks.

In summary, building permits are a crucial aspect of the process, as they ensure that the house complies with local safety and building code requirements. Fortunately, our architect had established relationships with local authorities and had extensive experience promptly obtaining the necessary permits. It saved us valuable time and prevented unnecessary delays in the construction timeline.

Finally, as we embarked on our home-building journey, we quickly realized the importance of finding the right home builder to construct our house within our budget. Finding a professional who could bring our vision to life and ensure that our project stayed within our financial means with the fewest complications was crucial - our most important achievement.

Residential architecture


5. Managing the budgets: Building a home involves an extensive list of activities, from land preparation, house structure, drywalls, exterior and interior finish products, electrical, plumbing, ventilation, and air conditioning, etc. So, we understood the importance of finding a builder who could give us a high-quality product and excelled at managing budgets to avoid unexpected expenses and maintain financial stability. The builder we ultimately chose had a proven track record of delivering projects within specified budgets, providing us with peace of mind and confidence in its ability to keep our expenses on track. 

Choosing a builder with all these skills is helping us from derailing and taking potential financial and legal setbacks. It has given us the confidence that our project was in capable hands. Its guidance alleviated our concerns and allowed us to focus on the creative aspects of designing our dream home.

Step 2: Working on the Interior Design of our home

As soon as these initial stages were overcome, we focused on the interior design of the house. With countless options for flooring, wall finish and colors, kitchen and bath tiles, furniture, and others, we had first to sit down and decide on the interior design style we wanted. Of course, the house design we purchased was a modern one with a modern open floor plan. So, we wanted an interior design that would respect and work harmoniously with the house's design style.

As soon as we had a clear idea of how we wanted our house interior decorated, we hired an interior designer to tap into their expertise and creativity to organize and fine-tune our ideas. The final interior design concept ended up simple and crisp, with selected focal pieces accenting throughout the house, reinforcing the house style beautifully. 

Searching and purchasing floor/wall finish materials, windows, and patio doors, entrance doors, bath and kitchen fixtures-appliances - Early Research:

We realized... the sooner, the better! Starting to search for the finishes and fixtures would only lead to unnecessary stress and potential budget overruns. Starting as soon as possible would allow us to explore different options, compare prices, and fine-tune the budget.

Modern house design


Step 3: Coordinating with Other Professionals

Building a new home is a many-stage task involving different building specialties. As mentioned, we hired a general contractor to undertake most construction tasks and to guide the process as an orchestra director. Also, we hired, early on, an interior designer to help us put together all the house interiors. 

However, it was also crucial to hire different subcontractors for works such as drywall, plumbing, electrical, ventilation, AC... At this, we discussed two options with our home builder. The first option involved the builder recommending and managing subcontractors he usually works with for different specialties. The second option allowed us to hire independent subcontractors directly. This second option is tricky because subcontractors need to synchronize their work with the home builder perfectly. In the end, we hired subcontractors for the drywall, plumbing, and electrical installations referred by our home builders. For floor and other finishes, we hired subcontractors recommended by the respective supplier.

Step 4: Construction Management and Inspections: 

Another team member you must include is the building manager/inspector. This professional will ensure the work carried out by the homebuilder and subcontractors is done correctly and according to the plans and the established project schedule. Additionally, he verifies compliance with building codes, checks and confirms the contractor and subcontractor's valuations, monitors costs and provides progress reports. This person served as our advocate throughout the construction process.

Understanding the whole team -contractor and subcontractors- must synchronize perfectly to make your vision a successful reality is crucial. Therefore, having a construction manager/inspector overseeing the process will help you navigate the complexities of home construction confidently. Please, take the needed time to select a reputable group of specialists. If done right, the reward will be tremendous.

In our journey to build our dream home thus far, we have found and hired a team of professionals who have been essential in guiding and helping us to achieve this intricate process successfully. Nonetheless, we have faced challenges from the beginning, but we have also successfully overcome all difficulties and setbacks and maintained a budget aligning with our financial goals.

Completing the house design phase (house plan's plan set) and planning the construction process marked a significant milestone for us. With the assistance of the architect, home builder, and interior designer, we have made tremendous progress and decisions in creating a customized and cohesive vision for our home. By sharing our experiences, we hope to provide valuable insights and inspiration to others embarking on their home-building journeys. See you next time!



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