Getting Started

Polish or Demolish? How To Decide Whether To Renovate or Tear Down a House

If you’re thinking of building a new home, you’re probably looking at empty property – a lot in a subdivision, or like many of my clients, a larger bit of land further out.

Or maybe you’re buying an existing house with the intent to renovate it and make it your home.

But what if you’re somewhere in between – you’re building a new house, but the property you’re thinking of buying already has a house on it. When does it make sense to fix it up, and when does it make sense to tear it down and start over?

Plan Ahead to Avoid Problems with Your New Home or Renovation

Two demons wait for unsuspecting homeowners, hoping for their chance to gobble up time and money for those who don’t plan ahead for a new home or remodeling project.

The Ripple Effect lurks quietly in the background. Just like the movements on the pond surface for which it’s named, The Ripple Effect starts out small and grows, expanding until it engulfs the entire project.

4 Strategies for Getting Your New Home or Remodeling Project Past the Dream Stage

So you’ve been trying to get your new home or remodeling past the dream stage for a long time now. You’ve looked at dozens – maybe hundreds – of house plans online.

You’ve built up a huge collection of photos on Houzz, or Pinterest, or both.

And yet somehow, you don’t feel any closer to your dream house. Maybe you even feel a little further away from it. You thought that by taking your time and collecting ideas and information you’d make progress, but instead, you’re stuck.

When Is A Design Trend Not A Trend?

A client of ours called the other day to tell us she’d just returned from the local “Street of Dreams” (also called the Street of New Homes, New Home Show, Home Parade, or something similar depending on where you are), and said she had a few new thoughts about the home design we’re working on with her. She wanted to talk about the latest home design trends.

Sometimes that’s good, and sometimes that’s bad, but generally, we don’t recommend that our clients make a habit of visiting home shows for design ideas.

These 4 Keys Are Essential When Choosing A Site For Your House

Great home design always starts with the site – a truly special home is never designed first, then placed on the property. That’s because good home design responds to the site in ways that improve the quality of the home and the experience of daily living.

So it’s important to carefully evaluate possible building sites before you start designing, and a good place to start is with the four “S‘s” – Slope, Sun, Soil, and Sewer.

3 Big Differences Between Building in a Subdivision and Building on “Raw” Land

It’s tempting to look at the rural property, the remote wooded land, or the 5-acre lakeside lot when you’re planning a new home.  Raw, undeveloped land can be far more appealing than a rectangular lot in a subdivision with houses on either side.

The majority of my custom home clients build on undeveloped land, because they want the trees, the views, the freedom to build what they want, and mostly, the space.

Raw land has many advantages – but before you commit to building your home in a cornfield, be sure to consider the additional work and expenses.

Can’t get Started? 5 Ideas to Jump-Start your New Home or Remodeling Project

I think I’ve heard every imaginable reason why prospective clients are anxious about getting started on a new home project. A few of the most common are:

  • I can’t find a design that I like
  • I’m afraid of the whole process of designing and building
  • I don’t know if my ideas make sense
  • I just can’t visualize a design
  • I don’t know how to start looking for land / houses / plans / Architects / builders

The Home Design Process – A Little Like Writing a Term Paper

Very few people ever have more than one custom home or major remodeling project designed for them, which means that almost every time an Architect starts the design process with a homeowner, it’s the first time for at least half of the people in the room.

It’s that “design process” that you probably wonder about the most – how does it work?