our Custom Process

The word “custom” is frequently used in “the building business” but we have discovered that it means different things to different people.  For us, “custom” means unique.  So, it is more than “here is the base or basic plan … now, you can select option A, option B, or option C”.  For us, “custom” means that in the design phase you are in the “driver’s seat” and we are riding alongside to assist and guide you through that process with all of our education and experience.  Then, when we actually start the building process, we change seats and become the driver while you are alongside as the assistant or partner in the whole process.  Okay… here’s the process (at least how we approach it)

1. How much?  The first thing both of us need to know is … how much money are you either qualified for or have determined you want to designate toward this custom home build?  If you need assistance getting connected with a professional to help determine that, we can help by referring you to qualified, local people.


2.  Where?  If you already own a lot or tract of land, then fast forward to step #3.  If not, what size and price range of property are you looking for?  Which community?  At this time we are sold out of current lot inventory but we will be glad to assist you in assessing any property you find elsewhere or we can refer you to a professional who can help facilitate this part of the process.


3. Plans?  If you already have a complete set of building plans, then fast forward to step #4.  If not, we can help. In fact, we love to get involved at this stage because we believe that our experience and expertise will help you produce a great set of plans.  So … where to start?


a. Most of our work is “one of a kind” custom homes but we do have several plans in our portfolio that may come “close” and can easily be modified to create your plan at minimal expense.  All we need to do is set an appointment and get started!


b. Another option is to use the Internet or plan design books to search for a plan that is "close" or to identify specific elements you really like.  The most common solution is to take from several ideas and use one of our designers or architects to complete the drawings.  If that doesn’t work, we will work with you and the designer or architect and start from scratch building a plan that is exactly what you want.


4. Finish Selections & Key Building Components – in order to begin the cost estimating process we will need to meet (perhaps several times) to grasp the style and type of finishes along with key components you want to include in your home.  At the same time, we will be working with our vendors and subcontractors to get specific cost estimates and allowance numbers.


5. The Bottom Line – once the initial cost estimate process is completed, we will prepare a document and review with you the major budget details and allowance items that get us to the “bottom line”.  This will allow you to take information to your lender or to go home and make a decision on when to start the project.  Obviously, this is also the time when we can make adjustments to move the bottom line up or down.


6. Documents – once you say ‘go” we will prepare a full set of contract documents that will include building specifications, time tables, conditions, and all kinds of detail about what it is we are preparing to contractually agree to.  90% of our custom contracts are done on what we refer to as a “cost plus” basis.  That means that the construction expenses will be exactly what they cost – more, less, or the same as our budget estimate.  Our fee to coordinate and build the house is over and above those expenses but is based on them.  Most of the time we “fix” the fee at the beginning of the contract so you know exactly how much you are going to pay us.  The other 10% of our contracts would be “fixed price” with allowances and typically built on our lots.  We will be happy to set down and discuss the appropriate options for your project.


7. Construction – with the documents completed and signed, a building permit (if required) in hand, it’s finally time to build!  We will help you understand everything that is going on and we will work with you as you begin the selection process of brick, stone, colors, energy efficiency options, flooring, appliances, plumbing & light fixtures, hardware, and anything else until we get it done!  Trust us … there is a system and after 35+ years, it may not be perfect but we have the experience and expertise to make sure you get what you want and what you pay for!  At the end, we will have walk-throughs to make everything is complete, do an orientation on systems and equipment, review the warranty book, and make sure you know how to contact any of the contractors in case of an emergency or if you need advice or service on anything.


Distinctive Custom Homes that are Designed for Living, Built for Life!

P.O. Box 44, Owasso, OK 74055    918.698.9654    richard@americanheartlandok.com

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