Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

Custom Building in Rochester: Controlling Creeping Cost

Posted by John Graziose on Tue, Jul 31, 2018 @ 09:07 AM

Custom Building in Rochester: Controlling Creeping CostOne of the most prevalent “horror stories” about building a custom home or doing a home remodeling project has to do with homeowners going over budget. That tale of woe is followed closely by stories about projects that took much longer to complete than planned. Sometimes that happens when a homeowner doesn’t take enough time to think through what they really want and need. That may mean adding options later that weren’t in your original budget (here’s a post that deals with that in more detail).

There are some other things that can cause building and renovation projects to exceed their budgets and deadlines—and homeowners often get surprised by these things.

Home Size

It's no surprise that (generally) a bigger house costs more money. Your builder will use more materials and more labor. One housing trend that may be a bit of a surprise for you has to do with the size of homes. For many years new home sizes got gradually bigger and bigger. House sizes took a dip around 2008 but then began edging up again. Around 2013, however, that growth flattened out and actually started down. Instead of focusing so much on the size of their homes, owners were paying more attention to the comfort and quality of their homes. They wanted homes that fit their lifestyles. Here’s an article that talks about the emphasis on better over bigger.

Home Layouts

Size isn’t the only physical characteristic that can affect your building cost. The layout of your home can have an impact as well. Some plans are more expensive to build than others. Here’s a look at the cost difference between building a one-story home, a one-and-a-half- story home, and a two-story home.

Property

Sometimes new homeowners forget that the money they spend on their lot is actually a pretty significant portion of the overall cost of the home. Location and size obviously affect the price of the lot, but the condition of the lot (it's suitability for building) can also affect your cost.

Upgrades

When you’re looking at the finishes for your new house, it can be tempting to add more upgrades than you really need. It’s not that you shouldn’t do it (sometimes it’s the right thing to do), but lots of little upgrades can add up fast. Here’s a post that looks at the surprising impact of both property costs and upgrades.

Scope Creep: Small Changes That Aren’t So Small

This is a problem that hits a lot of homeowners. Part of what makes this issue so insidious is that it doesn’t happen all at once. It tends to creep up on homeowners without them being aware of it. Some builders call it “scope creep” and here’s how it can happen.

It begins when you add “small” features to the plan or contract you’ve already agreed upon with your contractor: “Let’s move that wall 5 inches to the right.” Five inches isn’t much, but sometimes it leads to having to move an outlet. In your kitchen, it could mean moving some plumbing. Or moving the wall may affect the light in the room, so you want to add a window to compensate. What seemed like a really small change can end up having a big impact.

Of course, not every change has major ramifications, but you get the picture. Changes happen in small increments that don’t seem like a big deal. But it can cost you considerably more money and add to the time it takes to complete your project.

How can you avoid scope creep?

Start by paying close attention to the plans you and your builder have created before construction starts so you both know what to expect.  If you feel strongly that something needs to change, talk to your builder about it. Tell him what you want (or don’t want) but don’t dictate the solution. Your builder may come up with an answer that doesn’t cost you more or extend your deadline. When you tell your builder what you want, he’ll probably respond in one of the following ways:

  • Sure, we can do that! Here’s the revised estimate, reflecting the increased cost.
  • No problem! That’s a change we can make, but it will take us an extra week.
  • Yes, that’s something we can do. It will cost you an additional $X and it’s going to take us an additional five days to complete the project.
  • Sorry! If you’re not willing to spend any more money and if you aren’t willing to extend the amount of time it will take to complete, we can’t make this change for you.

Talk to Your Builder and Focus on What You Can Control

Sometimes circumstances beyond anyone’s control (unforeseen increases in material costs) can increase your costs some. Unexpected material shortages or bad weather can cause delays. And sometimes things are just more difficult than expected. But you can avoid the horrors of “scope creep” by maintaining clear communication with your builder.

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Topics: Gerber Homes Rochester NY, Custom home building, Staying on budget

How Can You Plan for Your Rochester Dream Home?

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Nov 14, 2012 @ 08:11 AM

 Custom-home-building, Gerber-Homes-Rochester-NY, Dream-Home, Staying-on-budgetDream homes don’t just happen over night. They take a lot of planning and there are a ton of details to keep track of. Of course, choosing the right builder can make a lot of those details a lot easier to manage. But even after you’ve found a builder with whom you feel confident, he can’t build your dream home without a plan.

So how do you go about choosing the plan that’s right for you? Some builders will offer you plans that they feel comfortable building.  But is that the right plan for you and your lifestyle?

At Gerber Homes, we think floor plans are a great starting point—but they shouldn’t keep you from building the home that really reflects your personality and lifestyle. That’s why we offer an extensive selection of floor plans that give you lots of choices. Here are just a few:

  • Maybe a Cape home is what you have in mind—but you’re not sure exactly how you want to configure it. We’ll give you five different plans from which to choose.

And each floor plan we offer is customizable with numerous options. Nothing is set in stone until you say so! And if you still don’t find what you’re looking for, you can enjoy the outstanding quality and craftsmanship of a Gerber home.  Just bring in your plans and we can review them together to make your dream home a reality.

Created on 05/18/12 at 13:26:28

Topics: Gerber Homes Rochester NY, Custom home building, Staying on budget, Dream Home

Building Your New Rochester Home: Don’t Let Your Eyes Get Bigger Than Your Budget

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Oct 10, 2012 @ 08:10 AM

 Rochester NY, Under Budget, Custom home building, Gerber Homes Rochester NYEvery now and then as builders we run into a bit of an awkward situation when discussing a new home with a prospective homeowner: The homeowner’s eyes get bigger than his budget and he starts planning features for his new home that he really can’t afford. 

We love to give clients what they want in their homes, but we hate to see the stress it causes them when they get over-extended. How does it happen—and how can you avoid it when you plan your Rochester area home?

It’s really pretty easy to understand how it happens. It’s a little bit like going to a car dealer and planning to buy a nice $30,000 car. You see one you like on the floor, but it’s $34,000.  You test drive it anyway and love it. But of course the cars on the lot are always loaded with options. You get the $2,500 sports suspension package because it handles so well. Then you add $1,000 for the super stereo with satellite radio and MP3/DVD player. Of course the color you like is a custom metallic paint—but it looks so nice.

All of a sudden that $34,000 car is a $45,000 vehicle—and you don’t even remember that you were planning to spend $30,000 when you walked in!

The same thing happens to people planning to build a custom home. They’ve seen cool websites and beautiful magazine photos. They’ve watched TV shows where budgets are never mentioned. And they have lots of great ideas.

However, when they don’t rein in their expectations early in the process it’s easy for them to get into a financially stressful situation. Later they can get really upset over a simple “should do” upgrade that costs them a few hundred dollars.

That’s why it’s critical to have a firm grasp of what your realistic budget is before you get too far into the process. It doesn’t mean you cut corners or try to do things cheaply. But it’s important to communicate with your builder about what you want and to work with him to see if it fits within your budget.

Building a custom home should be a great experience. But knowing you’re in over your head can take the joy out of it. Talk to us about your dream first. We’ll help you build it so that you can enjoy it!

Created on 05/18/12 at 13:26:28

Topics: Saving Money, Rochester NY, Gerber Homes Rochester NY, Custom home building, Staying on budget, Under Budget

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