3 Questions to Ask When Choosing the Right Builder

Archival Designs | Luxury Floor Plans | Ranch Floor Plans

Though builders might generally use similar tools and materials when building custom home plans, not all are alike when it comes to things like technique, training and customer service. Finding the right builder whose business approach aligns well with your personal preferences is essential to a pleasant home-building experience.

Keowee Lake Cottage | Rustic House Plans | Luxury Floor Plans
Keowee Lake Cottage | Under Construction

The builder will be asking you plenty of questions during your initial meeting to discuss the home you envision. But the questions you ask the builder are equally important to determine if it’s going to be a positive partnership. Consider asking the builder about the following:

  1. Work Experience – You will want to find a builder with extensive experience building small or large luxury homes from plans similar to the one you want. Ask to see examples of floor plans and designs they’ve done before to ensure their company can deliver what you need. You should also ask if they have or are working toward any professional designations, which show that the builder has advanced training in a particular area. A few examples of such designations include a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), a Graduate Master Builder (CMB), and a Certified Green Professional (CGP).
  2. References – Any high-quality builder should be ready to provide you with several names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. If they can’t, consider that a red flag and walk away. When reaching out to those former clients, ask about how well the builder followed through on the initial plans, and if the builder met their expectations regarding budget and timing. Don’t forget the most telling question of them all: If they could do it all over, would they hire that builder again?
  3. Communication Style – Many builders will do their best to accommodate your communication preferences. But it’s always best to establish expectations as early as possible. The frequency (weekly, monthly, as-needed, etc.) and method (phone, text, email) of how you communicate early on with each other is something that will set the tone throughout the whole building process.

For more information about how to find the right builder to create your dream home contact the National Association of Home Builders.

Age-in-Place: Building your ‘forever’ home

Building a new home is an investment, and like any other investment its one we want to enjoy for years.  According to the NAHB, over the past five years there has been an increased desire to incorporate design elements that will serve owner’s lifestyles now and many years down the road.  Incorporate these simple features into your new ‘forever’ home:

Curb-less Showers

There are many advantages to incorporating a curb-less shower into your new home plan — the main being functionality for everyone from grandchildren to grandparents.   Removing the curb it allows for easy wheelchair access and reduces the risk of tripping for someone with mobility limitations.   Another great benefit is the added ease of cleaning.  Eliminating the curb makes it easier to clean in comparison to the elbow-brushing that would be required in small corners or alcoves.

Tres Le Fleur House Plan | Ranch Floor Plans | Craftsman Floor Plans
Curb-less Shower | Tres Le Fleur

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Amenities vs. Square Footage: What do buyers prefer?

As first-time Millennials prepare to invest in their first home we see the average size of new homes decreased in 2016  and a willingness to choose amenities over square footage.  According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the typical square footage of new home in 2016 was 2,634 square feet.

Granite Peak House Plan Archival Designs
Granite Peak House Plan | Archival Designs | 2,640 sq. ft.

So what amenities are important to the new wave of home buyers?  Recent studies show that features like a separate laundry room, patios, and a full bathroom on the main level are at the tops of the wish list.

Sunset Lodge House | Archival Designs | 2,605 sq. ft.
Sunset Lodge House | Archival Designs | 2,605 sq. ft.

What are some features you want to incorporate into your new Archival Designs’ home?

Top Customer Pick: Open Floor Plans

Home owners looking to build a new house continue to be drawn to the feelings of spaciousness, easy flow and welcoming togetherness evoked by an open floor plan.

Presente House | Open Floor Plan | Archival Designs
At-a-glance: 2,344 SF | 3 Beds | 2.5 Baths

Pioneered in the early 20th century, open floor plans remain popular today, according to a recent survey from the National Association of Home Builders. The survey found that 70 percent of buyers want a kitchen-family room area that is either completely or partially open, with 32 percent wanting it completely open.

And owners of existing homes are choosing to open things up, too. Remodelers reported that 40 percent of their projects involve opening existing homes’ main floors by removing interior walls entirely or by using countertops, cut-throughs or archways, rather than full walls, to define separate areas in a more open way.

Rockin Horse Farm | Open Floor Plans | Archival Designs
At-a-glance: 2,414 SF | 3 Beds | 3 Baths

Main floors with few or no interior walls between areas for cooking, eating, relaxing and entertaining allow cooks to chat with family members or guests, provide easy flow for entertaining and enable parents to keep an eye on children from different areas.

Open floor plans not only maximize space and flow, they optimize natural light. Windows serve more than their immediate area, illuminating the entire space.  Architectural styles that are the most popular are Ranch open floor plans and Craftsman floor plans. These styles are usually smaller and appeal to empty-nesters and millennials.

Merveille Vivante | Open Floor Plans | Archival Designs
At-a-glance: 1,421 SF | 3 Beds | 2 Baths

With the increasing focus on accessible design, open floor plans meet another of today’s needs— with fewer doorways, they are easier to navigate in a wheelchair or with a stroller.

To find a builder in your area visit nahb.org.

Multigenerational House Plans: A Growing Need

After increasing dramatically during the Great Recession, the formation of multigenerational households shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, a record 60.6 million people lived in multigenerational homes in 2014, according to Pew Institute analysis of census data. The Pew research center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about issues and attitudes trends shaping American and the world.

Pepperwood Place | Multigenerational House | In-law Suite
Pepperwood Place | Multigenerational House | In-law Suite | Archival Designs

This means that nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in households consisting of two or more adult generations. There are many reasons for this trend, reflecting both economic realities and cultural preferences.

The recession caused many adult children to return home after college, either because they weren’t able to get jobs that would cover rent, or they wanted to save up to buy homes of their own. Significantly, living with parents was the most popular housing option for adults ages 18 to 34 in 2014, according to the Pew Institute.  In-law Suite home plans offers separate living spaces for adults.  Archival Designs offers stock home plans, for example, the Pepperwood Place and the Tilly which accommodate adult privacy.

Tilly | In-Law Suite | Multigenerational House Plan
Tilly | In-Law Suite | Multigenerational House Plan | Archival Designs

For many ethnic and immigrant groups, multiple generations of a family living together is a common cultural custom. The country’s growing Asian and Hispanic populations helps contribute to the formation of multigenerational households, too.  However, Pew research shows that multigenerational households are increasing in popularity with nearly all racial groups, as well as all age groups and with both men and women.

Multigenerational households also form so that grandparents can help take care of their grandchildren, and as they age, their children can care for them. This type of arrangement can ease financial burdens as well, with several generations contributing to the mortgage payment and not having to incur the expenses of childcare, retirement housing or professional care-giving environments. The house plan designer at Archival Designs has implemented the need for American families by offering  an entire portfolio of multi-generational home plans.

Adeline House Plan | Multigenerational House | In-law Suite
Adeline House Plan | Multigenerational House | In-law Suite | Archival Designs

Home builders and remodelers are building and renovating homes to meet the needs of multigenerational households. These designs allow many generations of the same family to live together under one roof yet have private areas as well as combined living space.

Features of multigenerational home plans can include in-law suites within the main home with separate areas for independent living. These often have kitchenettes and en suite bathrooms, and sometimes private entrances from the street. They frequently include “universal design” features and products, which focus on maximum usability by people of all ages and abilities. Examples include wider hallways, walk-in showers, smooth flooring transitions, and cabinets with pull-out drawers.

To learn more about multigenerational home plans call our home plan specialists at 770-831-6363.