The Owner’s Perspective: The High Point and Low Point of Designing and Building a Custom Home Outside of New York City

“Designing and building a house is one of those few things I don’t think someone can really relate to and get their arms around until they actually go through it.”

– Our clients reaction as he breaks ground on his dream home.

We recently interviewed one of our project owners and asked for the high point and the low point of the designing and building their custom dream home.  Just like our post about the surprises this owner had along the way, he ignored our question and he came back with three high points and only one low point.

Again, that alone says something about designing and building a home!

This owner just broke ground on a custom home that is over $1 million in construction costs.

Here are the high points:
  • Appraisal Approval
  • Loving The Design Process
  • Adding a Laundry Chute just for fun
The only truly low point: 
  • Planning Board rejection
Here are the owners full responses:
Appraisal approval – We are financing our build and you get pre approved by the bank for an up to amount and then a month or two goes by until you submit your final signed contract w gc and all design docs – one appraisal company does their review and they come up w a number.  The loan is generally 75% LTV – the stress of all of your hard work, time, effort, resources all relying on one person at a company is extreme – this one person could kill or at a min postpone your dream that is almost about to become a reality.  Not to mention the mortgage process is clunky at best.  Getting that email with the number you need/want was final green light and our major high point.
Another high – falling in love and visualizing oneself living in your paper home.  designing a home is a process – ups and downs, decisions, compromises.  It’s building blocks – external schematics and aesthetics coupled with internal elevations, design, flow.  It comes together slowly, is tweaked often and ha if that nirvana moment of loving it is awesome.
Another high – figuring out a way to get a laundry chute in.
Low – planning board rejection.  Neighbors we trusted and supported our plans turning on these plans.  The resulting decision to redesign, sell or fight the neighbors wasn’t enjoyable or easy.  Learned a ton through this though.
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