Transformational Building- Continuation of "Transforming the Nature of the Transaction!
Locating a builder was easy, selecting the right one to take on a custom home project was infinitely more complicated. The Grand Rapids Home Builders Association on-line at http://www.hbaggr.com/ was a great starting point. The site is full of great information about the homebuilding process as well as the names of several builders and other subcontractors who specialize in custom home design and construction. Through our real estate network of contacts, we had met several builders and compared notes to decide on whom to approach. Ed & Penny were also hard at work, following up on numerous leads that they had received. It's important to understand that the process needs to collaborative and can generate amazing results if an agent team and homeowner function synergistically.
We sat down to begin the interviewing process fortified with coffee and snacks. Our cozy conference room was the setting for the preliminary meetings which spanned several days and hours of conversation. If I was to name a seminar for this stage it would be titled "How do you Compare Apples & Oranges?" The initial presentations were approximately an hour for each company/owner. Each builder had been given a set of questions to review. You can request a copy of the Builder Interview Questions by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. It became rapidly apparent that there were vast differences in style and organizational structure and we became intrigued by the ways in which this could impact the process. These preliminary interviews ran the gamut which ranged from a well prepared notepad demo, which included a sample of architechtural renderings, to very limited support material and and even more limited presentation skills.
Custom home design requires a lot of cooperation and collaboration between a variety of disciplines including the banking industry, architects, surveyors, builder & numerous subcontractors, designers and Realtors. The ability of a builder to effectively coordinate all these disciplines is not necessarily related to the size of his/her organization. We found that the relationships that the builder has cultivated with his subcontractors were critical to the continuity of the process. In our experience it is not unusual to find homes sitting without any work being done for a significant amount of time while the next contractor for a key stage is finishing off another assignment; the result of poor planning and coordination. This can be very costly for the homeowner who is paying the interest on a construction loan.
The Golden Rule was evidenced by its variant "He who has the Gold Rules" which when it comes to homes close to the Big Lake (Lake Michigan) translates to lots with lake access. Builders who had options to purchase these lots or who owned them outright could and did insist that buying the lot was equivalent to hiring the builder. The problem was that these builders were not always the most competitive in their pricing and service strategy. A little weary after 2 days of interviews and home pre-viewing, we met at Joel's home. Joel is a builder and owner of J&E Enterprises. He has worked in the commercial sector and built homes of distinction with the precision and attention to detail and production management not normally associated with residential design-builds.
Settling down in their comfortable new home, the hearth ablaze with a warm fire, Joel & his wife Bonnie shared their story and vision about what building a home was all about. Here we explored the stuff of life, the why of motivation and the excitement of dreams. The dining room table became the sketch board and the backdrop in which animated discussions and questions provoked more thoughts and further questions. We toured and retoured their home, examining the detailing and craftsmanship. At this stage, we were framing the big picture, painting in broad strokes accross a canvas with few limitations.
Joel is a man who is deeply connected and grounded to the earth and has an innate understanding of how a home will settle and conform to a lot. This kind of earthy, common sense wisdom is profoundly valuable in preserving the unique scenic elements of a home setting. He offered to assist us in locating a suitable lot which was becoming a very challenging proposition. Ed & Penny began to "breathe", the tension of the past couple of days dissipating as they became tangibly engaged in working with a visionary who could deliver their dream into reality.
to be continued...
*photographs of Lake Michigan are courtesy of Lola Audu. We are hoping that Ed might be persuaded to share some of his beautiful print in future posts.
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Lola Audu, is the Designated Broker & Owner of Audu Real Estate. Our company specializes in helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Grand Rapids, West Michigan area. You can contact us via e-mail @ email@example.com or by phone at 616-791-0511. Thanks for visiting our blog. Here are links to some of our most popular posts for you to enjoy!