The Custom Home Building Process
The best part of being an on your lot builder is that we build your home on the location of your choice. The location is up to you – in a rural setting, family farm, on a lake, in a development – wherever you choose. Whether you currently own a site on which to build your new custom home, are narrowing down your options between multiple sites or are just getting started – we can help you through the custom home building process.
Great! As a custom builder in Fresno, Clovis, and areas surrounding Fresno CA, BLC Homes knows each lot has unique characteristics. We build your home on your land – the way you want it. With hundreds of home plans to choose from and each one customizable to fit your needs, we will work with you to make sure your home fits perfectly.
Free Home Site Evaluation
We would be happy to come out and do a free home site evaluation. As your personal custom home builder we will be working with you throughout construction will meet you at the site and answer questions like how your home will be positioned on the lot, what trees will need to be cleared, what utilities are available.
Don’t have land?
That’s no problem. About half of our home owners didn’t have land before they came to us. We have valuable relationships with the real estate community in each of our building areas of Fresno and Clovis who will be happy to help you find the perfect lot for your home.
Most of our home owners choose a one-time closing since you only have one set of closing costs. This combines the cost of your land and the cost of your new custom home. Or, if you own your land, you can use the equity towards the down payment. Keep in mind, you do not have to pay off the lot first – the lot and home can be combined into one mortgage.
Step 1: Find your dream location+
We can build on your land or we can help you find the perfect location (we know many of the local realtors and developers). And as the builder, we can often negotiate discounts on building lots.
Step 2: Find your dream plan.+
We are very flexible with regards to design. We can work directly from your plans. Or we can easily customize one of our existing floor plans using our state of the art building design program that allows us to produce 3-D views of your finished home.
Step 3: Decide on Features & Finishes+
BLC Homes feels strongly in investing a significant amount of time in project planning and we feel that this investment is paid back many times over during construction.
Typically, we ask the Customer to fill out as much as possible but not to stress over getting it completely filled out. This is something we can and will go over in detail with you in person. We also ask that you work on this jointly with your spouse so that you are both on the same page. It’s a great tool for getting you to think about all the choices afforded you in the building of a custom home.
Step 4: Establish your budget+
Experience tells us that it is almost inevitable that you will request a house that costs more than you expect. And as the building of the house progresses, you will want to add features to the house that will further increase the cost. Building a custom house can be a lot of fun, but exceeding the budget can put a strain on both the Customer and your builder.
While not absolutely necessary, we think it’s important that you share your budget (or at least a budget range) with your builder. Building a home requires a strong collaborative effort between you and your builder. Your builder should be an expert with respect to how much things cost and can make many recommendations as to the pros and cons of various features with an eye on their effect on the bottom line.
And lastly, it takes us as much as two to three weeks to put together an accurate proposal and estimate (we’re very thorough). This is a significant expenditure of time and it’s important to know if we are at least in the ballpark before starting on a detailed proposal. We can usually give you a rough price range estimate after we see your plans and have a preliminary discussion about the house features. This way, we can both agree it’s worthwhile to move forward.
Step 5: Line up financing.+
It’s never too soon to get pre-approval for your project.
Step 6: Meet with us+
Obviously, at some point, we need to spend some time together. We need to sit down in person with you and go over your plans and ideas. We’ll go over them item by item and we can assist you in explaining the various options and their relative pros and cons as well as their costs.
Of course, you’ll want to get to know us a little and see some of the houses we’ve built. And we’ll want to visit your house site together. We will usually bring out an excavator (and sometimes our concrete contractor) to meet with us so that we get a very good idea of the work needed to build your foundation.
Usually, this meeting is done in person. While difficult, it is possible to take care of some of this over the phone. And from time to time in the past, we’ve made special trips to a Customer’s home if they don’t live too far away or we happen to be in their area for a few days.
Step 7: Work on the Proposal+
After we’ve met and the floor plans and questionnaire are complete, the Proposal process begins. This can take several weeks depending on the level of complexity. We’ll usually go through several draft Proposals before agreeing to all the features of your home. Each draft will give you a chance to review the proposal and for us to ask more questions for clarification purposes.
When the Proposal is finalized with respect to the features of the home, then the home goes through the pricing. After pricing is finalized (about a week long process), then a completed Proposal is delivered to the Customer.
Step 8: Sign a contract+
Once we’ve agreed on the Proposal, the next step is signing the Construction Agreement. This document incorporates the Proposal as well as any other Construction Documents (like the plans) and is the formal agreement governing our relationship during the building process. A detailed warranty is also included in this document.
At the time Construction Agreement is signed, we will establish a proposed starting date for the project and also require an initial non-refundable deposit to hold your turn in line.
Step 9: Obtain financing+
In a previous step, you begin the process of obtaining financing. Now it’s time to put that into place. At this point, we will also establish a draw schedule with the bank. Usually this is five to six draws based on a pre-determined schedule over the course of the project. We request an initial draw be made available immediately prior to commencement of construction. Then the bank monitors draw requests which are funded only if specified work is verified as complete by the bank’s inspector. A final draw is typically held back until completion of the project and obtaining the Certificate of Occupancy.
Step 10: Build the house+
Finally, we get to the good part. Construction usually takes six to nine months depending on the size of the project and many other factors (weather, building department, availability of sub-contractors). We suggest you plan on the long end of the range and then you’ll be happy if we finish early.
During the building process, we will provide you with regular updates and can also provide pictures as requested.
Inevitably, during construction you will want to make changes. We encourage changes as they are one of the great benefits of building a custom home. However, there is an administrative burden associated with making a change and therefore we charge a Change Order fee. For documentation purposes, we maintain a Change Order log and periodically go through the process of obtaining signatures and requesting payment.
Step 11: Make customer selections+
Soon after construction starts, we will provide you with a Customer Selection Schedule. The Schedule outlines all the selections you need to make and the timing of making those choices. If you need help with materials, colors or finishes, interior design consulting is also available.
Step 12: Take occupancy+
Once the house is done and the Certificate of Occupancy is obtained from the building department, we’ll have a final walkthrough, establish a punch list for changes, agree to the final disbursement of funds and then the house is yours.
Finally, Refer Us to a Friend!+
We’re confident that you will love your home and hope you will tell everyone you know !!! We also hope that you’ll let us post pictures of your home to our web site.
Giving your bathroom a boost doesn’t require a lot of cash or space — just a little planning and creativity before you get started. Refresh your bath’s look with a wow-worthy makeover that improves its style and function. Whether you’re planning to design your dream bath or simply update your existing one, start with inspiring ideas to transform an ordinary bathroom into a relaxing retreat. Enhance your bathroom with impactful updates to add lasting value to your home. Get a fresh start by revising a layout, remodeling to add storage, or replacing fixtures.
BLC Homes is a licensed home remodeling contractor in Fresno and Clovis with years of experience in the remodeling homes. Whether it is a bathroom, kitchen or deck we will get the job done.
10 Steps to Remodeling Your Kitchen
You’ve decided to remodel your kitchen. Now what? Not knowing where to start, many homeowners fall into two camps. Some start by looking at appliances. Others start by collecting inspiration photos. Both are steps any homeowner can take without the commitment of hiring a professional, and sometimes a homeowner will find themselves in this stage for a year or longer.
Once you’ve simmered in this phase long enough and you’re ready to green-light a kitchen remodeling project, then what? Here we’ll start with the first 10 steps and we’ll get into the nitty-gritty details under specific steps as we move through the workbook in the coming weeks.
Step 1: Gather Inspiration+
This step is all about finding your style using every resource possible, including design books, ideabooks and photos, magazines and blogs.
It can be organized and beautiful like a scrapbook or it can be a hardcopy or computer file folder stuffed with random, unorganized images. How to Organize Your Ideas
Step 2: Explore Your Style+
Do you like modern, classic, traditional, cottage — some sub-style in between? Do you want a white kitchen, a natural wood kitchen, or do you want some color? What about flooring?
Most homeowners get overwhelmed when thinking about all these decisions at once — so don’t. Who says you have to? Just add those kitchen inspiration images to your folders without thinking about why you like it, and worry over the details later. It’s so much easier and more fun this way.
This is also a great time to start shopping for a designer or architect as well if that’s in the cards for your type of project. Some homeowners hire a professional right away to help them through the inspiration-gathering process.
Step 3: Research and Plan+
Ready to green-light that project and take the plunge? The best place to start is by formulating what’s commonly referred to as a “scope of work” and figuring out your preliminary budget.
Both of these may be subject to change, so don’t feel like you have only once chance at this. Budget and scope are intertwined and often change many times during the design process as you become more educated and able to reconcile what you want and what you can afford. As a homeowner, you’re not expected to walk into this knowing what everything should cost. Remember, this is an educational process.
Step 4: Hire a Professional+
Even if you’re going the DIY route, unless you’re building your own kitchen cabinets and doing your own electrical and plumbing, you’re going to have to work with a professional at some point. It may be as brief as leaning on your salesperson to help you in selecting and ordering your appliances or cabinets, but it’s something to plan on either way.
Some people start by visiting big-box stores or cabinet showrooms where they can see everything. Many homeowners get referrals from friends or colleagues and start by hiring an architect or designer. Still others might work on their own with a builder or contractor. This step includes so many levels that it warrants its own in-depth story to cover everything from contracts and permits, to space planning, budgets, product ordering and project management.
Step 5: Schematic Design+
This phase includes sketches, space planning, preliminary floor plans and elevations showing the layout and cabinet sizes. You’ll look at color studies and talk about finishes and fixtures such as cabinet color, flooring and tile options, color palette, backsplash and countertop materials.
At this point you may be narrowing selections down to your top three. I try to keep my clients focused more on layout and space planning, even though the temptation is to talk about what the kitchen will look like, ie. fixtures and finishes. But I find that getting caught up in the look too early can distract from the space planning phase.
Plus, you need a plan in order to figure out what materials will go where, and how many square feet you will need, and ultimately how much this will cost. Preliminary budget work can also be done at the end of this phase. I like to begin the contractor interview process early and give them a preliminary drawing packet and scope of work so we can get some ballpark construction numbers. At the same time you can be sending out drawings for estimates on finishes and fixtures.
Step 6: Fixture and Finish Specification+
Final selection of finishes and fixtures is made. This usually includes:
•cabinetry construction type, doorstyle, finish and color
•refrigerators and other appliances
•sink and faucet
Step 7: Work on Design Development and Construction Documents+
This is the stage when you finalize the design and prepare final floor plans, elevations, details and, if applicable, mechanical and electrical drawings, lighting switch plans, and exterior elevations.
This is where your final permit set or Construction Drawings (CDs) come into play. It’s important to have finishes and fixtures selected at this time, since this is what will be considered in the final pricing from the contractor.
You’ll submit drawings for permits. These have a lead time, so check the timing with your local village. You’ll need a contractor signed up to finalize the paperwork and pick up your permits, so get ready to hire someone in the next step. I often find that we’re submitting for permits around the same time or a little bit after we’ve placed the cabinet order, due to similar lead times.
Step 8: Get Contractor Estimates+
On occasion, this step happens earlier in the process; it depends on the type of job. I always recommend to my clients to get at least 3 different contractor estimates. I like to do preliminary walk-throughs with the contractors once the schematic designs are done so we can get some ballpark estimates and find out if we’re on the right track or need to pull back some to fit the budget.
Step 9: Get Ready for Demo+
The big day is upon us, most likely something like 4-8 weeks from when you submitted for permits. Time to get that schedule firmed up and plan on cleaning out the cabinets, putting what you don’t need in storage and — if you’re living in the house during construction — setting up a temporary kitchen so you don’t lose your mind!
You may be moving out of your house temporarily, but most homeowners white-knuckle it and try to live in the house through construction. Preparation and organization can save your sanity.
Discuss the logistics ahead of time with your contractor. Will you meet once a week for updates? Will you have to be out of the house for certain tasks like demo or flooring? What about debris removal and dust? Are there any family allergy issues? What is a typical work day for the crew? Getting all this on the table beforehand can set expectations and make for a smoother ride.
Step 10: Surviving the Dreaded Punch List+
Once construction is over, well … almost over … there’s always this annoying little list of items that are missing, wrong, or simply forgotten about. A missing light switch plate, a caulk line that shrank and pulled away from the wall, paint touch ups — small things like this, and sometimes bigger things like the hood doesn’t work, or there’s a big scratch in the newly refinished floor.
Sometimes the homeowner does the punch list. It can be as informal as an emailed list of items that need to be fixed or finished. I like to use a little form I put together that identifies the item to be fixed or finished, the responsible party and the date of completion. I send it to the client for review, changes and additions, and then off to the contractor.
It’s inevitable that the contractor may have to make multiple visits back to the house to finish these items; prepare yourself for more than one visit and you’ll be fine.The best way to approach this is with a Zen attitude. Things happen, little things get missed. It’s sort of like making a list for the grocery store and still forgetting some key ingredient. We all do it.
Tips for Home Remodeling
1) Dream. Dream simple.+
Recognize your needs and estimate the simplest solution. This project will quickly grow if you let it. Look at the money in your wallet/bank account and bid it. If you have a spouse, make sure you both have the same dreams. It’s a lot easier to understand the sacrifices you’re both making for something you both want than for one partner to make sacrifices for the other’s enjoyment. And there will be sacrifices.
Go to the library and look at magazines appropriate to your needs. If you need another bathroom, stay away from bedroom magazines. Stay away from color and textures. If you can make do with an improvement or conversion of an existing room, do so.
Unless you are competent at drawing, use graph paper and measure the room you’re building/converting. This is to help you better express yourself. The people selling services and supplies can understand a 2-dimensional bathtub in a 5 foot wide room better than your description of greco-roman social norms.
4) Talk to an electrician and a contractor+
Talk to an electrician and a contractor about the construction cost. Ask for an estimate on each of the parts. If you can do drywall, then you can save money. Don’t do roofing unless you already have twice before, at least. Don’t do electricity unless you really can. High school science doesn’t count. Look at the cost estimate and reconsider.
5) Hire an architect+
For one room, it may not be worth it. But it won’t be very expensive, either. Your city planning office will appreciate the architect’s drawing. Part of the value of your architect is that he’ll prompt your thinking about the project and offer ideas and suggestions you may not have thought of. A good architect offers a unique, critical and connected view of your project. Talk to your spouse about what the architect thinks and asks you. Also ask the architect for their thoughts on contractors, but know that the responsibility for the contract with the builder will be yours as the homeowner. Ask the architect what permits you will need and ask if s/he can assist you with getting them.
6) Go to the bank and apply for a loan+
Go to the bank and apply for a loan for at least 10% more than you think the job will cost. Even if you are doing the work yourself, there are cost overruns.
7) Ask your friends and colleagues+
Ask your friends and colleagues who have had work done to their homes about experiences with certain contractors. The loan officer may also be able to help with this.
8) Find out if your contractor or architect will be applying for building permits+
Find out if your contractor or architect will be applying for building permits as well. If you are in the City, there is a city building permit; County, county.
9) Talk to several contractors about your project.+
Request a written itemized estimate for the cost of work, including labor and materials. Note that you may not wish to go with the low bidder, but also that price is not necessarily quality. Reputations are very important; that’s why you were talking to so many people about contractors.
10) Contractors are usually willing to negotiate the price+
If portions of the work seem easy, or within your skill range, you may wish to complete them yourself. It’s also a wonderful feeling to know that you completed portions of the remodelling, assuming it is completed satisfactorily. Most people that are at all handy can hang sheetrock/dry wall (that white stuff that comes in 8×4 panels.
11) You may also wish to include in the contract provisions for completing before the rains begin.+
Or at least completing the roof before the rains begin. You will have to accept the responsibility of guessing the day for beginning rains. No reasonable contractor, except in Arizona, will promise to complete the work before it rains, but he should be able to finish before October 15, for example. For example, you may specify that the roofing will be complete by October 15th or deduct $5,000 from the cost. You won’t get it free.
12) Hire a contractor.+
Schedule weekly visits with the contractor or foreman to discuss progress. You don’t want to get in the way of the work, but you don’t want something to progress too far before it gets fixed. This is where that 10% extra begins to disappear.
13) Each day, inspect the work+
Each day, inspect the work–after the employees have left for the day. You may wish additional electrical sockets, lights, sinks than was described in the plans. For most of us, the physical manifestation of walls is easier to understand than blueprints. Also, if something doesn’t seem right, for example a bathroom vent has no outlet, tell the contractor within a day of noticing it. The more the work progresses, the more it will bury those little problems. The more the little problems are buried, the more expensive to fix.
14) Don’t try to take advantage of the contractor+
Don’t try to take advantage of the contractor, don’t try to cut corners much. While you may have the money, the contractor has your home and you hostage. The best is that you both wind up happy with the outcome