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Should I Buy a Spec Home or Build a Custom Home in 2020?

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, Nov 12, 2019 @ 14:11 PM

If your current home no longer meets your family’s needs, you might be considering the best housing options. One question you might be asking yourself is, “Should I buy a spec home or build a custom home in 2020?” Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons you’ll want to consider—and whether the coming year is a good time to make a move such as this.

Building a Custom Home

Farmhouse Kitchen in Custom Home in Rochester NY

Pros: The advantages of building a custom home are fairly obvious. You get to design a floor plan that best suits your specific needs. In many cases, you have the option of choosing the lot you want. You determine what finishes you want for your flooring, your cabinets, and your countertops. Additionally, you can also create a bathroom or a kitchen that is designed to enhance your lifestyle—and your sense of design. For many custom homeowners, there is a great sense of satisfaction in knowing that the home has been designed and built specifically for their comfort and convenience. And they enjoy the knowledge that no one else has ever lived in the home before them.

Farmhouse Living Room in Custom Home in Rochester NY

Cons: Building a custom home generally costs a bit more than purchasing an existing spec home. The exact amount will vary depending on the features and material required. Over the long haul, however, the value of the home is likely to remain higher. And given the fact that higher quality building means that fewer items will need to be replaced, it may make more fiscal sense. Some people choose not to build a custom home because they don’t want to wait to move in. Others simply don't want to deal with the decisions involved in the custom home building process.

Learn more about building a custom home in our FREE Custom Home Guide!

 

Buying a Spec Home

Pros: One benefit of buying a spec home is that it has already been built. This means that you not have to wait for construction to be completed before you can move in. In addition, most spec homes are located in newer communities, so the infrastructure (streets, sidewalks, sewers) is new as well. You also have the advantage of knowing that everything in the house is brand new from floor to ceiling. And if there are ever any issues, they’ll most likely be covered by your warranty. From a financial perspective, you will probably pay somewhat less for a spec home than for a custom home.

Livingroom in Spec Home in Rochester NY

Cons: Purchasing a spec home, however, still means accepting an existing floor plan. You may have to adapt your lifestyle to the layout of the home. Additionally, you won't have the same opportunity to add your own personal touches to your home as the selections have already been made. One last disadvantage is that you may have less choice when it comes to location or lot. The home you like best may not be on the lot you prefer, however building a custom home will give you the freedom to build anywhere that you'd like. 

Custom Home in Rochester New York

Ultimately, the choice of buying a spec home or building a custom home depends on what best suits your needs. If you’d like to explore the idea further, we build in several great communities in the Greater Rochester area and have dozens of beautiful floor plans that can help you start your planning for a custom home that will meet your family’s needs.

Schedule a Consultation to Build a Custom Home in the Greater Rochester area

Topics: Custom homes, buying a new home, Building a New Home

Creating a Luxurious Master Bathroom in Your Rochester Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, Nov 5, 2019 @ 08:11 AM

Of all the rooms in your home, your master bathroom may be the most personal. It’s also a room that you use multiple times every day—and it’s one that you can creatively customize to provide comfort, convenience, and a touch or two of luxury. Let’s explore some ideas for creating a luxurious master bathroom in your Rochester custom home.

 

Custom Convenience

Farmhouse bathroom vanity and storage in Rochester NY
 

First and foremost, your master bathroom needs to be fully functional and offer outstanding convenience. It's important to remember that it's probably going to be a shared space, so your bathroom design should consider that.

 

Vanities Are About More than Vanity

Master Bathroom in Rochester NY Custom Home
 

Togetherness is a great thing—except in the bathroom. Nobody wants to struggle for space when getting ready for work in the morning, or when they are trying to wind down for the night. That's why dual vanities are an absolute must for any custom master bathroom. Not only is it much more convenient to have your own sink, but it's also nice to have places for all of your toiletries where they are easy for you to access. Of course, having vanities that look great is a huge plus. The great thing about a custom master bath is that you can take the design in any direction you want. You can go for a sleek, modern look that sets the tone for the whole room. Or you can opt for stand-alone vanities that are custom-made (even from antique furniture) to create a warm, inviting space. Here’s an article that takes a more in-depth look at various vanity options.

 

Super Showers

Contemporary Master Bathroom in Custom Home in Rochester NY
 

Today's showers have come a long way from the simple showerheads that sprayed into a conventional bathtub. Spacious showers with multiple showerheads (such as rain showerheads and body sprayers) are increasingly popular. Many homeowners are opting for barrier-free walk-in showers that have great lines and are a real benefit for maturing homeowners who are thinking ahead about aging in place. Many homeowners are adding elegant grab bars and seating options that not only look great but also add functionality and safety.

 

Customized Comfort

 

Your master bathroom can also offer lots of comfort. Adding features such as towel warmers may seem like a small thing, but you’ll love grabbing a warm towel when stepping out of the shower on a cold Rochester morning. You can also take that warming comfort to another level by adding radiant floor heating. Nobody enjoys stepping on a cold bathroom floor in the middle of winter. Your master bathroom isn’t just a place to get clean. It can be a great place for a solitary soak in a freestanding soaking tub at the end of the day.

 

Light, Bright, and Private

Traditional Bathroom Vanity Lighting in Rochester NY
 

It's easy for homeowners to overlook the importance of great lighting in the bathroom. Of course, you'll want task lighting for applying makeup or for shaving. But you'll also want to let in as much natural light as possible to keep things bright. Adding skylights or high windows to your bathroom lets you do that without having to sacrifice privacy.

 

Extending the Luxury

Dressing room in master bathroom in custom home in Rochester NY
 

Your bathroom itself isn’t the only area where you’ll want luxury and convenience. As you design your room, you may also want to consider an attached dressing room or a large walk-in closet that provides plenty of storage, space to get dressed, and lighting that makes it easy to pick out just the right outfit for your day.

 

What About Cost?

Contemporary Farmhouse Bathroom in Custom Home in Rochester NY
 
Naturally, you’ll want to have an idea about what your custom master bath is going to cost you before you jump into planning. Because there are so many variables involved (size, complexity, materials used) it’s virtually impossible to provide a “one-size-fits-all” cost. But to give you at least a general idea, here’s a look at remodeling costs for a variety of bathroom remodeling projects in Rochester. An advantage you’ll have when building your custom home is that you won’t have to be concerned with tear out and limiting spaces. Still, this article can provide you with comparative costs for varying levels of luxury bathrooms.

Schedule a Consultation to Build a Custom Home in the Greater Rochester area

Topics: Custom homes, Bathroom Design, Building a New Home, Custom Home Features

Choosing the Kitchen Cabinets for Your Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Oct 18, 2019 @ 09:10 AM

When you (or your guests) step into your kitchen, the cabinets may be the most dominant feature in the room. Your cabinets set the tone for your whole kitchen and—with today's open style architecture—your whole home. That's why you'll want to take your time when choosing the kitchen cabinets for your custom home. Your choice of cabinets is a major factor in designing the kitchen for your Rochester custom home.

 

What’s Your Kitchen Style?

You’ll want to choose a style that fits your personal taste—and creates the right atmosphere for how you entertain in your home. When it comes to kitchen style, there are two basic elements you’ll want to consider: Cabinet style and color.

Transitional Kitchen Renovation with Shaker Cabinets in Rochester NY
 

Cabinet Style

The current style trend in kitchen cabinets is leaning more toward Shaker cabinets—especially those that feature doors with recessed panels (although flat panel and raised panel doors are also quite popular in Shaker cabinets). These clean and simple cabinets are often found in farmhouse style kitchen—but that’s not an exclusive trend. Here’s a look at a farmhouse style kitchen we recently built. And it’s worth noting that a gourmet kitchen with an over-sized island is considered a “must-have” for many people building a custom home.

Farmhouse Kitchen with Glass Front Cabinets in Rochester NY

 

Cabinet Color

You may see design posts proclaiming the death of white kitchen cabinets. And yet, according to RealSimple.com 43 percent of homeowners still prefer white cabinets. Let's face it, you can do a lot of accent colors with white cabinets. Natural wood cabinets (such as oak kitchen cabinets or maple kitchen cabinets) also remain popular. There is something warm and inviting about natural wood in the kitchen. Gray kitchen cabinets are also increasing in popularity. As a neutral color, they also lend themselves to a variety of complementary accent colors.Navy Cabinets in Kitchen in Rochester NY

One trend that has changed over the last few years, however, is that designers and homeowners are embracing two-tone kitchen cabinets. They'll paint their upper cabinets one color and their lower cabinets another color. Often this combination will include one set (upper or lower) in white, with the other cabinets being blue or gray. It's a very stunning look.

Transitional Kitchen with green island in Rochester NY

It’s interesting to note that—according to the same RealSample post—approximately 40 percent of homeowners upgrading their kitchen are opting for custom cabinets and 34 percent are choosing semi-custom cabinets. It’s an area where homeowners weigh the cost versus the value of building/design decisions they make. Many homeowners are convinced that the quality and functionality that custom and semi-custom cabinets offer is worth the money they spend.

 

How Much Do Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

Before making your decision about what kind of cabinets to install, it’s a good idea to have a basic grasp of the cost differences. Homeadvisor.com offers some helpful information about the relative cost of stock cabinets as compared to semi-custom or custom cabinets. You'll notice a range of prices for each kind. Your exact needs or desires will impact your final costs, but these figures can be a good starting point for comparison. 

 

Style of Kitchen Cabinet

Price per Linear Foot

Stock

$100 to $300

Semi-Custom

$150 to $650

Custom

$500 to $1,200

 

Can You Have a Custom Kitchen in Your Existing Home?

What if you already have a home you love, but would love to have a great new kitchen with custom or semi-custom cabinets? We specialize in kitchen remodeling for Rochester area homes. Click here for some ideas and images of the kind of kitchen you can have in your existing Rochester home.

Farmhouse Kitchen with White Cabinets in Rochester NY

Or, if you just want to talk to us about what you have in mind, please contact us and let us know what kind of information you’re interested in. We can help! We know you have lots of questions and our knowledgeable team is here to guide you through the whole process.

 

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Topics: Custom homes, kitchen design, Building a New Home, Custom Home Features, Home Building Tips

Choosing the Countertops for Your Rochester Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Oct 4, 2019 @ 09:10 AM

When you’re designing the kitchen in your custom home, think about what part of the kitchen gets the most use—and the most views. It’s probably the combination of your cabinets and your countertops. And when it comes to daily use, your countertops probably bear the burden of the most wear and tear. So, what’s the key to choosing the countertops for your Rochester custom home?

Keep in mind that your kitchen is a multi-faceted, multi-functional room. Chances are good that you use it both for food preparation and for entertaining in your home. That means your kitchen needs to look great and stand up to daily use.

Here are some things that you’ll want to consider:

 

Style

Your personal sense of style can be reflected in the countertop material you choose. If you're after a sleek, modern look for your kitchen, you have several choices. Granite countertops have been the “go-to” choice for upscale kitchens for a long time. They remain extremely popular because of their beauty, elegance, and unique natural patterns.  Quartz countertops, however, are hard on the heels of granite and have even surpassed granite in popularity in some areas.

Kitchen Countertops for Your Rochester Custom Home
 
Concrete countertops are another option. Many of the concrete countertops you’ll find today look like natural stone—and you can essentially choose your color. And, if you’re a fan of industrial chic, you might want to consider a “plain” concrete top for your counter. If you’re after a warmer look, you may want to look at a butcher block countertop. You can create beautiful countertop—and you can cut right on the countertop.

 

Durability

Quartz Kitchen Countertops for Your Rochester Custom Home

All of the countertop materials mentioned here are quite durable. Granite can be somewhat susceptible to staining (from things such as red wine), but you can treat your granite counters yearly to protect them. Concrete is extremely hard and resists chipping and scratching. They’re also very heat resistant, and easy to maintain. You can expect your counters to last for decades with a minimum amount of basic maintenance. Butcher block counters will require more maintenance—and are not as heat resistant as natural stone and concrete.

 

Price

Granite Kitchen Countertops for Your Rochester Custom Home

There is a fairly wide range of costs for various kitchen countertops. A recent (2019) homeadvisor.com post offers a quick guide to pricing. Your specific price will vary, but this provides a kind of baseline for costs.

  • Granite will run you between $15-$140 per square foot
  • Engineered Stone Quartz can cost between $15-$70 per square foot
  • Wood/Butcher Block generally runs around $10-$38 per square foot
  • Concrete costs around $50-$100 per square foot

 

Think About the Sink

Marble Kitchen Countertops for Your Rochester Custom Home

Of course, you'll want to match your kitchen countertops with the right sink. So, keep that in mind as you choose your materials. Do you want an under-counter mounted sink (similar to the one in the picture above)? Do you prefer a single large basin or a double sink? Think about what kind of fixtures go best with the material you choose. Sleek modern faucets look great with quartz, granite, concrete, or even laminate countertops. You might want something more rustic or casual with a butcher block or other wooden countertop.

 

If you’re looking for more ideas and inspiration for the rest of your kitchen, we invite you to download our free Creating the Ideal Kitchen eBook. It’s packed with information about kitchen style, functionality, and how to plan for your new kitchen.

Schedule a Consultation to Build a Custom Home in the Greater Rochester area

Topics: Custom homes, kitchen design, Building a New Home, Custom Home Features, Home Building Tips

Best Rochester Neighborhoods to Build a Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Aug 16, 2019 @ 12:08 PM

Webster

You’ve got to love a place where the official town motto is, “Where life is worth living.” Many homeowners are attracted to the natural beauty of the place—including great views of Lake Ontario. The town itself is committed to protecting that natural beauty and not long ago purchase more than 1,000 acres that are dedicated to outdoor activities such as hiking trails. That open space is also complemented by multiple parks within the city.

Webster NY in Rochester

Great education is also important for parents of school-aged children. Webster has a lot to offer in that regard as well and the Webster Central School District is an outstanding public school district located in Webster, NY with more than 8,000 students in grades PK, K-12 and a student-teacher ratio of 14 to 1.

And while Webster is a quiet and comfortable town, it’s only a 15-25 minute drive down State Route 104 to downtown Rochester, and to the Greater Rochester International Airport.

Briarwood Estates is an exciting new community in Webster, located on the left side of Salt Road, just south of Lake Road.  Bordered on two sides by Webster Green Space, the community is a mix of rolling hills, mature trees, and sunny open spaces. Click here for additional information about Briarwood Estates, including images of one of our model homes and lot availability.

 

Canandaigua

Canandaigua NY in Rochester

If the idea of small-town living in the Finger Lakes Region appeals to you, you may want to check out Canandaigua. You can enjoy small-town living and lots of activities at the same time. Here’s a post that highlights some of what Canandaigua has to offer. Residents of our Fox Ridge and Old Brookside communities in Canandaigua enjoy a tranquil location that includes a mix of rolling hills, mature trees, and breathtaking views of Lake Canandaigua. Click here for available homesites in Fox Ridge or check out the last remaining homesite in Old Brookside!

 

Ontario

Residents of Ontario the abundant parks, above-average public schools, and access to outstanding healthcare. They are also close to numerous wineries and vineyards. And yet, downtown Rochester is only 25 minutes away.

Ontario NY in Rochester

Our Summer Lake community offers tranquil views of Lake Ontario from many of the home sites (the lots are roughly 1/2 acres in size.  sites. The community has the feel of a nature preserve with an incredible location just minutes to some of Ontario's best shopping and dining. Click here to see available lots and to view images of one of our models. There are also a number of lake-view properties available in our Centennial Village, Holly Meadows community.

 

Perinton

Perinton NY in Rochester

Twice, the Town of Perinton has been named one of the Best Places to Live in America. That probably has to do with this family-oriented community’s pristine environment that includes access to numerous great parks, great public schools, exceptional healthcare, and superior employment opportunities. The area also has weekly farmer's markets, seasonal festivals, and a wide variety of shopping and dining options. That’s part of the reason that there are relatively few available lots remaining in our Magnolia Manor and Copper Beech Run communities. Click here to see availability and for images of the community.

 

Victor

Victor NY in Rochester

Nestled in the foothills of the Finger Lakes is the town of Victor. it offers residents, businesses, and visitors a peaceful, small-town setting within minutes of the Cities of Rochester and Canandaigua. If you’re looking for a larger lot with plenty of shade, there are still two 1-acre wooded lots available in our Scout Reserve community in Victor.

 

Sodus

Sodus NY in Rochester

If golf course living is something you’ve always dreamed about, you may want to check out our Fairways community in Sodus. There are home sites available along the prestigious Sodus Bay Heights Golf Course. Plus, it’s an excellent location that’s close to all of the fun at Lake Ontario.

 

The Town of Sodus is actually divided into two villages: The Village of Sodus and the Village of Sodus Point. Sodus offers a family-friendly atmosphere with ample public parks, excellent schools, and year-round recreational activities. Residents enjoy all of the local marinas, waterfront restaurants, as well as the breathtaking beaches of Sodus Bay. Click here for images of the community and to check out available home sites.

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Topics: Canandaigua NY, Ontario NY, Victor NY, Webster NY, Building a New Home, Sodus NY, Perinton NY, Selecting a Home Site

Designing a Kid-Friendly Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Aug 9, 2019 @ 12:08 PM

If you’re considering building a custom home in the Rochester area and you have kids, you’ll want to include them in your plans for the house to ensure that they feel like it’s their home, too! Let’s look at some of the areas you may want to think about when designing a kid-friendly custom home.

 

Bedrooms

Bunk beds in custom home in Rochester NY

Your home may be your castle, but your kids’ rooms are their domain. You can customize these rooms to your children’s personalities, tastes, and interests. One nice thing about building a custom home is that you don’t have to be restricted to conventional rooms. The bedroom you see here is an example of how you can take the bunk bed concept to a whole different level. You can decorate it thematically or colorfully—whatever suits your child’s preference.

 

Bathrooms

Kid-friendly bathroom in custom home in Rochester NY

Providing separate bathrooms for your children allows you to have your bathroom all to yourself (Here is a look at some of the most important features for your master bathroom.). Another advantage is that you can customize the rooms to meet the needs of your kids. If you have smaller children, you can build in step stools that make it easier for them to reach the sink for washing and brushing teeth. You might think twice, however, about installing lower cabinets and counters. That’s something you’d likely have to replace as your kids get older.

 

Playrooms

Kids playroom in custom home in Rochester NY

Setting aside a special room devoted entirely to play is a great way to ensure your kids will love their new home. If you build a home with a basement, you will probably have space for a large play space that could accommodate a lot of different activities—and even sports such as soccer or basketball (on a smaller scale). Some families build in small climbing walls. If your kids are creative, you could dedicate a room to art projects or crafts.

 

Homework Spaces

Childrens homework space in custom home in Rochester NY

Most parents pay close attention to the schools in the area before building a new home. But homework is a big part of education. And while your kids may not be thrilled about having a special space to do homework, it’s something you’ll probably want to think about. You can build a dedicated space into their bedroom, or you might consider allowing space for that in the kitchen in case your children need some help (or supervision).

 

Music Room

Music room in custom home in Rochester NY

If you have a child that is musically inclined, you might give some thought to having a music room or practice room. Not only will it provide the necessary privacy (away from distraction), but you can also insulate the room so that the rest of the family doesn’t have to participate in practice.

 

Think Outside the House

Childrens treehouse in Rochester NY

Not all activities have to happen inside the home. If you think outside the house, you might want to build a tree house, or a clubhouse in the back yard. It’s a fun way for kids to be one their own—and still at home. Other things to think about are creating areas for sports—such as a small basketball court or an area where kids can practice soccer.

 

Kid & Adult Friendly Features

Dedicated laundry room in custom home in Rochester NY

Having kids can be a dirty experience. That’s never going to change. It’s part of having kids! It is, however, one reason that features such as having a dedicated main-level laundry room and a mudroom are often considered “must-have” features for custom homeowners.

 

Kids remember their homes all their lives. Use your creativity to create spaces that will bring back fond memories for your kids long after they leave home.

 

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Topics: Custom homes, Building a New Home, Custom Home Features

Designing Your Custom Home for Entertaining

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Aug 2, 2019 @ 12:08 PM

Our homes are much more than roofs over our heads. They are places we interact with family and friends. And one big advantage of building a custom home is that you can create a space that allows you to entertain in a way that fits your specific personality and tastes. Of course, that takes some planning up front, so let’s take a look at a few things to consider when designing your custom home for entertaining.

 

Start with the Kitchen

Farmhouse Kitchen in Rochester NY

For many homeowners today the kitchen is the focal point when it comes to entertaining. Today’s open design floor plans make the kitchen an integral part of hosting guests. It’s still a hard-working room, so you’ll want to make sure you design your kitchen to make food preparation convenient and comfortable. But, more often than not, guests today tend to congregate in the kitchen—even while the hosts are preparing meals or snacks.

 

That's one reason that over-sized kitchen islands are so popular. They provide you with plenty of work space for preparing and presenting meals and appetizers. You'll be able to visit with guests while you prepare—and they'll have room to set their drinks, and/or appetizer dishes. Nobody needs to be stuck alone in the kitchen anymore. As you think about your island, however, consider installing a separate sink in the island. It makes preparation easier—and it's a big help when it's time to clean up. You can also make your kitchen island do double duty. Include space for your family to sit at the island for breakfasts and snacks even when you’re not entertaining.

 

Build in a Home Bar

Home bar in custom home in Rochester NY

Another consideration is to build in a separate bar area as another gathering spot. That can take some of the traffic out of the kitchen. You may even want to include an espresso machine or other coffee/tea making station and keep a sparkling water maker (such as a SodaStream© or other brand) on hand.

 

Create Your Own Theater Experience

Home theater in custom home in Rochester NY

Of course, there’s more to entertaining than just eating and drinking. If you enjoy watching movies with your family and friends, you’ll want to think about adding a dedicated home theater that’s separate from your family room. Once again, planning ahead can make sure you end up with a theater/media room that you’ll really enjoy. Sure, you’ll want to pay attention to the television and sound system you install, but there’s more to the story than just the equipment. Think about the ideal location for your home theater. And take sound-insulation into account so that you can enjoy your movies or sporting events at full volume—without disrupting the rest of the household. Think about lighting as well. You’ll want area lighting and ambient lighting to set the right mood. Plus, you’ll want to make sure you can adequately cover windows to prevent glare while you’re watching.

 

More Fun and Games

Play room in Custom Home in Rochester NY

Another fun option is to create a video arcade with “old school” style elements such as pinball machines or other arcade devices. Check out the Game Room Guys for a collection of classic arcade games that include everything from Pac-Man® to air hockey machines. Or, you may choose to create a space for younger children to play while the grownups are upstairs talking.

 

Customize Your Entertaining Ability

Outdoor Kitchen at custom home in Rochester NY

The beauty of building a custom home is that you have the ability to create spaces that fit your specific needs and desires. It’s what really sets a custom home apart. But it all comes down to figuring out what you want and taking the time to plan and design your home ahead of time. Our Custom Home Guide eBook offers a lot of help in thinking through the things you’ll need to know.

 

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Topics: Custom homes, Building a New Home, Custom Home Features

Creating a Realistic Budget for Your Rochester-area Custom Home (and Watching Out for the Surprising Places That Can Break Your Budget)

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Jul 19, 2019 @ 08:07 AM

Most people who consider building a custom home already understand that a custom home generally costs more to build than a conventional “standard” home. That doesn’t mean, however, that cost doesn’t matter. So how do you go about creating a budget for your Rochester-area home—while watching out for the surprising places that can break your budget? What does a realistic budget look like, and what are the things that are most likely to cause you to overspend your budget?

Custom Home in Rochester New York

What’s Realistic?

Imagine walking into a car dealership that sells everything from a Toyota Yaris sedan to a Porsche Carrara and asking the salesperson what a car is going to cost you. Your question would be met with additional questions. What brand of car would you like to buy? What specific model are you interested in? What particular features or upgrades do you want? Then there is the question of what you can realistically afford. If your budget is in the range of $35,000 to $40,000 you can expect to get more than the Yaris. But it’s also pointless to consider the Carrara.

Of course, buying a custom home is different from buying a car, but you still have to consider exactly what features you want—and what you can realistically afford. The goal here is not necessarily to get the lowest price but to get the most value for the dollars you budget. What will help you arrive at a realistic budget? Let’s look at two common errors homeowners make that can result in a budget that doesn’t match reality.

Custom Home in Rochester New York

Unrealistically High Expectations

Planning a custom home can be a pretty exhilarating experience. There are all kinds of magazines, online sites, blogs, and TV programs that highlight the magnificent features you can build into your home. It’s pretty cool stuff! What the TV shows and online sites often fail to mention is what these cool features actually cost. Figure out what’s most important to you. These are your true “must-have” items. Then figure out what your “nice-to-have” features are (if they fit your budget). Then make a list of “splurges” that you can add if there’s still money in the budget. Check out what things really cost. Don’t expect to get a $750,000 home if your realistic budget is $450,000.

Custom Home in Rochester New York

Unrealistically Low Budgets

The flip side of this problem is that some homeowners can actually afford a higher budget, but they set an unrealistically low budget for their home. They have high expectations, but they set a budget that’s too low to achieve what they want. The problem here is that after the home has been built, they’re dissatisfied. They’ve settled for less when they really could have afforded more. The real kicker is that if they decide to add in the features they really wanted afterward—it costs them more than it would have originally.

Having unrealistically high expectations or setting unrealistically low budgets will lead to dissatisfaction. Take an honest look at what you can really afford and what the features of your proposed home really cost. That’s why it’s a good idea to get your financial house in order and talk to a lender to see what kind of load you qualify before making building plans. Then, work with a builder who will deliver the maximum bang for your building buck.

Custom Home in Rochester New York

Avoiding Unwanted Budget Surprises

Even with a realistic budget, some homeowners get blindsided during the building process. Here are a few areas that can take homeowners by surprise after they start the process.

Custom Home in Rochester New York

Changes to the Plans

It’s not unusual to make some changes to your original design as your house progresses. Some changes aren’t a big deal. In fact, they are smart changes that will help you enjoy your finished home more. Other changes, however, can really hit you hard in the wallet. To be honest, it’s often when you make the changes that matter most. You may think that moving a wall a mere six inches isn't that significant, but it depends on what else may have to be moved. One thing is for sure: if you ask the builder to move it in the design/planning stage, it's a lot cheaper than having him tear out a wall he's already built. It's the same kind of situation if you want a door or a window moved. It can usually be done—but when you want to move it (and where) matters a lot. One of the problems is that these changes can kind of creep up on you before you’re even aware. Here’s a helpful article about keeping those changes under control. 

Custom Home Upgrades in Rochester New York

Upgrades

It’s easy to get caught up in upgrading your finishes. Let’s say you budgeted for one kind of wood flooring, but then came across another flooring material that you absolutely love. The good news is that it’s only $4 per square foot more. At first glance, $4 doesn’t seem like much. But if you’re going to cover 750 square feet with that new material, all of a sudden, you’re looking at an additional $3,000 in cost. That’s not a nice surprise. The same thing can happen with cabinets, countertops, and appliances. What seems like small changes can add up quickly. That's not to say you shouldn't upgrade—but it's an area that often catches homeowners off guard.

Custom Home Lot in Rochester New York

Property

Some homeowners like to buy their own lot and then have a builder construct the home on the lot they’ve purchased. Occasionally, a homeowner will get what seems to be a “great deal” on what appears to be a great lot—only to find that it requires a lot of extra preparation (grading, etc.) before the foundation can even be put in. All of a sudden, that “bargain” lot turns into an expensive lot.

You can avoid that by contacting your builder about the lot before you purchase a home site. At Gerber Homes, we’re happy to help you evaluate a piece of property. You don’t need to hire an outside consultant. We know the area and have years of experience in locating and evaluating land, and we can help you find the perfect location for your new home, surrounded by the amenities you desire.  There is no charge for this service, which includes locating the land, evaluating the site, and checking septic or well requirements. Here’s a quick video that highlights how we can help you with that.

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Topics: Custom homes, Building a New Home, Home Building Costs

Why It’s Important to Understand the Custom Home Process When Building Your Rochester-area Custom Home

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 @ 08:07 AM

Building a custom home is an exciting adventure. At the same time, it’s an undertaking that’s different than anything you’ve done before. Even if you’ve purchased a home before, building a custom house is different. While it’s easy to dive right into the fun stuff (color schemes, finishes, décor, landscaping, etc.) you’ll want to make sure you understand how everything comes together so that you achieve the results you want. That’s why it’s important to understand the custom home building process when building your Rochester-area custom home.

Custom Home in Rochester New York

Before You Start Building

There are a number of things that you need to pay close attention to before your contractor starts excavating or building. Here are some of the key parts of the process.

 

Think About Where You Want to Live

Where you choose to build your home is as important as the design and the floor plan. Your choice of location may be influenced by the schools in the area, the amount of privacy you want, the size of the lot you think is appropriate, the length of your commute—or a host of other factors. Here’s a post that takes a closer look at things you’ll want to think about when considering where to build.

 

Make Sure Your Home Fits Your Lifestyle

As you check out neighborhoods in the Rochester area, you may notice certain homes that are visually appealing to you. You’re likely to come across Colonial-style homes, 1st Floor Master bedroom homes, Cape-style homes, Raised Ranch-style homes, and more. Curb appeal is important, but just because you like the way a home looks from the outside doesn’t mean that home will fit the way you live.

Think beyond the external appeal of the house. What kind of home fits your lifestyle? Do you prefer multi-level living with bedrooms on one level and common rooms on another?  Do you plan to entertain frequently? If so, what style of home lends itself best to the kind of entertaining you enjoy? Are you in a “kid-centric” phase of life, or are you looking for a more “mature, empty-nester” style? The beauty of building a custom home is that it’s definitely not a “one-size-fits-all” proposition. You get to choose what fits your needs best. Here’s a post that explores how to select the kind of home that fits your family’s lifestyle.

Custom Home in Rochester NY

How Much Do You Want to Customize?

A basic floor plan can help you visualize how the space in your home will be laid out and how things will flow from room to room. But you can take a basic floor plan and make modifications so that it better suits your specific tastes and needs. You’ll have to decide exactly how much you want to customize. Will you want things like built-in shelving? What about higher ceilings on the lower level? Do you want specialty materials for flooring or counters? Will you install standard design cabinets, semi-custom, or totally unique cabinets? Keep in mind that the more you customize, the more you’ll spend. It can also increase the timeline for completion.

Custom Home in Rochester NY

Understanding the Steps in the Process

After addressing the issues above, you’ll be ready for the next steps. It’s also helpful for you if you understand the steps in the process. Things happen in a deliberate order. And while some things may happen concurrently, nothing happens overnight. You'll feel more comfortable with the progress is you understand the process. Here's a look at how we work through the custom home building process at Gerber Homes.

  • Meet with Your Sales/Design Consultant: During this one-to-three-hour meeting (at our office or at one of our model homes) we’ll work together to fill out a form that covers all of your selections for the colors and materials for your home. We’ll ask you lots of questions about your expectations, to make sure we’re all on the same page. We’ll actually show you samples of the materials we plan to use so that there are no surprises. You’ll be able to see examples of things such as roofing and siding materials, interior doors, and trim materials.

  • Meet with Suppliers: This is where you’ll have a chance to look at items such as kitchen cabinets, flooring options, plumbing fixtures, and more. We invite you to visit as many of the suppliers as you like—or simply focus on the ones that are most important to you. We always have design consultants on hand to answer your questions and help you make the selections that are right for you.

  • Blueprint Review Meeting: During this meeting, you’ll be able to make sure that the blueprints we've drawn up for your home accurately represent your wishes. I'll meet with you personally in our office to go over these plans. This usually takes about two hours to review the plans and the selections you've made. We'll actually go through a checklist (based on things our clients have told us they'd wished someone had asked them before construction started) to ensure we cover everything that's important to you, including:

    • Where will my basement windows be located?

    • Where will my furnace be located?

    • Which way will the doors in the house open?

    • How wide will the doorways be?

    • What about the positioning of outdoor spigots?

    • Which way will my garage door face?

 

By the way, if you’re more of a visual or auditory learner, click here to see most of this same information in video form.

Custom Home in Rochester New York

Educate Yourself About the Process

The more you know about how things work, the more comfortable you’ll be with the process. We've learned over the years that the better informed our clients are about the custom home building process, the happier they are with the results—and the more they enjoy the experience. That's why we offer some help for figuring out what those next steps. If you'd like to learn more please download our free page custom home guide.

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Topics: Custom homes, Building a New Home, Home Design, Custom Home Features

Where Will I Live While My Custom Home is Under Construction?

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, Jul 9, 2019 @ 13:07 PM

Where Will I Live While My Custom Home is Being Built in Rochester NYBuilding a new home in the Rochester area can be a fun, exciting, and challenging task. What can you do to make sure you’re a happy camper throughout the process? You’ll have a lot of details to think about. That will include evaluating floor plans to come up with a design that best suits your needs (here’s some information that can help with that). You’ll make choices about building materials, finishes, and appliances. You’ll want to think through your lighting and decorating choices. There will be budgets and finances to work through, too. But there’s one question that often sneaks up on a lot of homeowners: “Where will I live while my custom home is being built?”

It’s not exactly a small detail, because the rest of life doesn’t stop when you sign a contract to build a new custom home. You still have a life to live and you have responsibilities beyond your new home. And as rustic and romantic as it may sound, “camping out” really isn’t a great option.

In a perfect world, you’d be able to sell your existing home and continue to live in it until your new home is ready to move in. Then you’d simply pack up your stuff and make your move. It sounds simple, right? Most of us, however, don’t live in that perfect world. That means when you sell your existing home, you may have to move out before the new one is completed.

Community in Rochester NY

Great Community Choices

The good news is that Gerber builds homes in a wide variety of communities (and individual home sites) in the Rochester area. Check out the many options available for building in the area, including Canandaigua, Marion, Huron Macedon, Webster, Ontario, and others. Knowing you’ll end up in a community you love is a big help, but it doesn’t take care of your housing needs before your move-in date.

Apartments in Rochester NY

What About Your Short-term Housing Needs?

Finding a short-term lease can really be a challenge—particularly if you want to move into a place where you’ll be comfortable and feel secure. Too often, if you can find a place, you’ll have to be prepared to pay a premium.

At Gerber, we think there’s a better way to solve that dilemma than to put an extra burden on families who want to build a new home. One of the ways we make it easier for homeowners to build with us is to provide them with another short-term housing option. Because we own a number of quality rental properties, we’re able to offer month-to-month living opportunities to our clients. As a matter of fact, while your new Gerber custom home is being built, you can live in one of these comfortable units RENT FREE. Click here for details about our free rental and storage options that you can take advantage of while we build your home! You’ll find options in Ontario, Palmyra, and Marion.

You’ll have plenty of details to deal with when building your new home. Worrying about where you’ll live while your home is being built doesn’t have to be one of them. That should make you a happy camper—without having to actually camp out!

Get Free Rent while we build your Rochester New York Custom Home

Topics: Custom homes, Building a New Home