Preparing For Your First Custom Home Design Meeting

You want your new custom home to be everything you’ve dreamed of, so it is important to be well prepared for your initial design meeting.  Having 32 years of home building experience, we would like to share some key items you should discuss during that meeting.



Communicate with your builder your likes and dislikes of your current home or previous homes. Share features of homes of family or friends that you have seen and would love to include in your new home. We like to visit our clients current homes to discuss those features in detail. Even if you are not sure of what your new floor plan may look like, have an idea of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need. Do you desire an open concept home or more distinct living areas? Is there a room that is a “must-have” such as a home office, or wine room? Have you grown tired of your towering two story great room and prefer a more intimate space? Bringing pictures to the meeting or creating an “Idea Book” on Houzz to show your builder can be very helpful. Choose only a few photos that show your true likes, since too many can be overwhelming.



Let your builder know exterior features that you gravitate towards such as, painted brick, wood pediment details, or custom, wood shutters.  If you know your preferred architectural style, share that as well, such as Craftsman or Modern Farmhouse. Are there outdoor living spaces such as a front porch or outdoor grill or living area that you would like to include? As your new home design evolves, discussions may become more detailed but giving your builder some specifics in the beginning will facilitate that process.



The goal of every client we ever have built for is to build the home they ultimately want while staying true to their budget. Engaging a reputable builder early on in the design process is the best way to accomplish this. As the homeowner, setting an honest budget and sharing it early on with your builder is key. A good custom homebuilder will be forthright about whether your budget is realistic for your desired features. It is imperative to dive into this early to make the necessary adjustments in your design plan before investing in a design you simply can’t afford to build.



Building a custom home requires that your builder is managing thousands of moving parts and pieces. Having a clear method of communication with your builder is critical for a successful project. We use an online software where the client can view and approve their selections and budgets. They can also see photos of the progress of their new home and the construction calendar. Inquire about how these items will be addressed while constructing your new home. Will you have a representative of the builder accompany and assist you in the selections? How do you approve selections? Find out who your primary contact person will be and how often you can expect to hear from them including their preferred method, such as phone, email, or text. Preliminary design and budget planning early on only helps to simplify and clarify expectations for you and your builder. Enjoy your new home!