Choosing a custom home contractor can be difficult. It’s important to find the right contractor to make your custom home exactly how you’ve always pictured it.
The city of Denver and the surrounding areas, including Parker and Littleton, have long showcased many gorgeous custom homes. These days, it might seem like new construction is constant, but that’s for a good reason. More and more people have decided to stop settling for someone else’s design or renovating their home piece-by-piece and are now interested in building a truly custom home that fits all their needs. But who can you trust with such an ambitious project?
Building a custom home can be a significant investment for you and your family. You want a dream contractor for your dream home. Read on for 5 tips to help you find the ideal custom home contractor for your one-of-a-kind oasis.
#1 History of Success
One of the most important criteria to keep in mind when hunting for a contractor is simple: can they deliver on what they’re promising you? You want a contractor who can prove they’ve done great work in the Denver area, somebody with a history of success. It’s important to read client reviews and testimonials and get a full picture of how a contractor operates. If the contractor you’re looking at doesn’t have any reviews, that can be just as concerning as bad reviews. Think of choosing a contractor the same way you’d hire a new employee. You want to check their references.
It’s also worth examining specific projects that your contractor has done. Look through the gallery on their website and see examples of their work, don’t just read about it in a review.
As you read reviews, there’s a specific word to have in mind: communication. Communication is key in any relationship and especially so when it’s a relationship you’re investing time and money into. You deserve a builder who is going to keep you in the loop with project updates, design decisions, and any unforeseen complications. As you interview builders, ask them how they’ll keep you updated through the construction process. And remember, it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it. You want a contractor with a personal touch, one who knows what’s most important to you and treats you as more than just another client. It’s important to have a contractor who values your dream home the same way they’d value their own.
We hate to repeat ourselves, but your custom home is a significant investment. A truly personalized home with one-of-a-kind craftsmanship demands a contractor who is up-front about cost, but also open and honest about complications. Quality is worth paying for, but it can be frustrating when you feel like your budget isn’t being respected. As you communicate with prospective contractors, get a feel for how they treat your money. Remember – always get it in writing!
At the same time, don’t let price be your sole guide to choosing a contractor. You’re building a dream home – a unique place that you can call your own. Do you really want to lowball the personal space you’ve always wanted? You deserve somebody who is going to spend your money wisely without cutting corners or delivering anything less than exactly what YOU want.
When we say you want a contractor who is going to build what you want, we mean it. The best contractor you can have is a contractor who knows and understands what you want in your ideal home, not a contractor who is going to build what they THINK you want. The best contractors keep you involved in all steps of the process, from design to completion. They don’t just understand your vision, they share it. You deserve a contractor who is able to help you achieve your vision, while working within your budget and on-time.
#5 Timber Ridge
If you’re looking for a custom home contractor who meets all of those criteria, look no further. Here at Timber Ridge, you’re more than just a client to us; you’re a part of our family. Our history of proven, high-quality work in the Denver area speaks for itself. But don’t let us stop you from learning more. Read the glowing testimonials from our clients and peruse the custom builds in our gallery. We don’t have anything to hide. Our track record of delivering dream homes is unmatched. We will work within your budget and on-time to deliver a hand-crafted experience that you can’t find anywhere else. Let us be the dream contractor for your dream home.
Construction estimating is the process of anticipating the expense of building a physical structure. Construction budgeting is the process of collecting bids to compile the exact costs of the project. While the estimating process is helpful in guiding a homeowner through the decision process, the budgeting step is essential, and one of the most crucial in the construction process.
Not all construction estimates are created equal
A construction estimate is a broad range number given early in the stages of pre-construction, which allows the homeowner to decide if the project is financially feasible. Many contractors will quote a lump-sum construction estimate shortly after looking at the project without validating its accuracy. If you get an “estimate” like this, run the other way. A better approach is for the contractor to spend some time, after the initial meeting, itemizing each job cost to explain how that lump sum is derived. While this approach is more time-consuming, it makes the homeowner feel more confident and comfortable with the integrity of the contractor. An itemized estimate can typically be put together in a week or two.
When information and plans may not be complete, the estimator must blend known data, such as a building’s size and scope, with other details based on unit costs, assumptions, historical data, and best judgment. As the design is refined, the final budget is based more on solid information.
A construction budget may take months to compile numbers and all design aspects are needed before a budget can be created (i.e., architectural plans, engineering, and specifications). A budget needs to be as accurate as possible because profit margins (the livelihood of the contractor) are impacted if any budgeted costs for the project are off by even the slightest amount. Every successful project starts with a precise and accurate cost budget.
It is our goal to share the information in this blog post to inform clients, potential clients, and those interested in the home building and remodeling industry of all the elements and work that goes into each estimate and budget your contractor provides.
Types of Construction Contracts
In an estimate-style proposal, every labor activity and material in the project is listed in painstaking detail but is not validated for accuracy. Rather than being billed off the estimate, the homeowner is billed for the actual materials used, actual hours worked, and work performed by subcontractors. The contractor’s fee is expressed in the form of a percentage of the project cost. This type of contract is also called a time-material or cost-plus contract.
These contracts are the most transparent since you will see very clearly how much profit the contractor is making, but these contracts can be very large and complicated, since they may list hundreds of different line items. Nothing will be left out—not even peripherals such as permits, roll-off dumpsters, and debris pickup.
The downside of the cost-plus contract is that construction starts based on approvals of estimates, rather than firm bids. This means the total price at the end of the project may be far different from what you initially expected to pay.
An alternative contract is fixed-price or stipulated-sum. Much like cost-plus, early-stage itemized estimation of the project cost is the first step in deciding if the project is financially feasible. Step two, under stipulated-sum contracts, is to design the entire project from plans and engineering to final finishing touches. This is done before construction begins and allows the contractor to create an accurate construction budget using real bids. Knowing the final price of the project before signing a contract allows the homeowner an opportunity to organize funding sources and plan actual expenditures in advance. Specifying all of the finishes upfront also allows for the project to run more smoothly.
Why is the Estimate Important?
Accurate estimates win new projects and business for companies. In the bid estimation phase, construction documents, take-offs, and other direct costs are used to allow the estimator to determine an approximation of job costs. Customers and builders are concerned about the price of a project because of the financial impact of expenditure overrun and the failure of project completion. It is in the interest of BOTH parties to spend time researching and estimating the expenses. No one wants to lose money, and construction estimating provides a useful tool in project management.
At Timber Ridge Properties our main priority is communication. From our initial construction estimate to finishing touches we want you to understand every element of your project and feel as though you are great hands. There are quite a few contractors out there that will try to reel you in with an incomplete estimate that makes the deal look pretty sweet but in the end, there are hidden costs and fees that make your project even more time-consuming and expensive than it originally should have been. We believe in full transparency.
If you’re ready to start a large-scale remodel, you may need to deal with the ongoing fallout from the coronavirus-related economic shutdown. While do-it-yourself (DIY) projects are enticing, working with a contractor will help to mitigate its impact.
The problem, as we all know, started in March and April of 2020. Some states and localities halted all construction, and homebuyers in other areas canceled or postponed their projects. The sudden drop in demand led to plant closings throughout the building supply chain, from lumber mills to window, door, and appliance manufacturers.
Housing starts bounced back quickly, thanks to a lifting of restrictions and 3.5% mortgage interest rates. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that August 2020 starts were up 22.6% from the previous month and up 23.4% from August 2019.
Unfortunately, the supply chain has been slower to rebound. Some manufacturers have two-month order backlogs, and others have been struggling to get parts. For example, most refrigerator compressors are made in Mexico, where factories also closed for a time and are still catching up.
Between April 2020 and April 2021, the National Association of Home Builders said the “price per thousand board feet” increased by nearly 250% — from $350 to $1,200. Prices then soared past $1,400 in early May and have continued increasing since. While material prices are slow to correct, there are ways to get your desired home enhancements without breaking the bank.
A Possible Solution to Your Supply Chain Woes
A contractor and designer can help discover creative solutions that may be overlooked by a DIY project. Making small adjustments that only minimally impact the way the home looks and feels—otherwise known as value engineering—can get you the remodel you desire with less of a financial impact.
The value engineering process looks for ways to economize without sacrificing amenities or quality. One obvious solution is to choose less expensive products, but you can also tweak designs. For example, simplifying the exterior facade on all or part of the home—reducing the number of corners and trim details—will save labor and materials without crimping interior living space.
A contractor can also help mitigate backlogs and material delays. Current supply shortages include commodities like treated lumber, which is needed for areas that require moisture or termite resistance, such as deck frames and sill plates (the boards that secure the home to the foundation). Meanwhile, there have been delays in getting some manufactured products and options. For instance, some appliance companies are only making stainless-steel finishes at this time. Contractors who are continually ordering materials in large quantities may experience less of a delayed impact than a DIY’er.
One final point here: material prices, order lead times, and available options can vary from market to market, so a news story or the experience of a friend in another state may not apply. The only way to determine how these issues will impact you and your project—and what the proper response should be—is to discuss them with your contractor.
What to Expect Moving Forward
These unpredictable delays in the supply chain are expected to continue over the next few months, at least. Another way to mitigate the impact this has on your project is to make decisions fast and early. If you need to move into the house by a certain date, it’s more important than ever to speed up those design and product selections.
While the market turns faster than the supply chain, there is some reprieve on the horizon. According to the Wall Street Journal, prices for two-by-fours surged in May 2021 to more than twice their previous record, set three years ago when there were about 15% fewer homes being built. Now wood prices have since plunged back to levels resembling those before lockdowns cut supplies short and boosted demand.
July futures ended late August 2021 at $521.40 per thousand board feet, down nearly 70% from the high of $1,711.20 hit in May 2021, when wood-product supply lines were still being unknotted after the lockdown and before Americans began to shift spending from home improvement projects to vacations and dining out. More actively traded futures for September 2021 delivery settled at $612, which is $27 below the pre-pandemic high. This decline will benefit contractors, their clients, and DIY’ers.
If you have been holding off on your custom home or custom remodel because you’ve been hearing about the volatility of the building industry supply chain – things are looking up! Contact Timber Ridge Properties to move forward on your project. Remember, working with a contractor or designer will make the process easier and more cost-effective.
No matter where you live, you’ll likely encounter a wide variety of architectural home styles just by driving through your neighborhood. From extravagant to quaint, homes across the U.S. hold their own unique beauty and characteristics just like the people who inhabit them.
So, what are the most popular home styles in the U.S.? From New York, NY to Portland, OR, you don’t have to be an architect to appreciate the range of stunning house styles available on the housing market. So whether you’re in the market for a new home or just love browsing homes on your favorite real estate app, check out the 13 most popular home styles in the United States right now.
What Are the Most Popular Home Styles?
1. Ranch-style homes
Dating back to 1932, the ranch-style home grew in popularity during the 1950s and 1960s and is still popular today. The iconic ranch architecture is known for its simple, single-story floor plan, low-to-the-ground look, often with an open layout and occasional basement. This style of house typically has a smaller yard, attached garage, and a low-pitched roof. The ranch-style home often features large windows and sliding glass doors, encouraging an indoor-outdoor living style. A ranch can also be called a ‘rambler,’ depending on which region in the country you live in and local terminology.
Looking locally, ranch-style homes currently have the highest sale-to-list ratio in a handful of cities, meaning this style of house is more likely to sell above the list price. These cities include Portland, OR, Phoenix, AZ, Chicago, IL, San Francisco, CA, and San Diego, CA. Each of these cities favor the rambler, with a current sale-to-list ratio of over 100%.
2. Craftsman-style homes
The beloved craftsman-style home became increasingly popular in the 1900s by architect and furniture designer Gustav Stickley and has remained popular throughout the 21st century. This staple for American Architecture adds charm to any neighborhood with its exterior features, including shingles, low-pitched roofs, and covered front porches. Craftsman homes also feature recognizable interior details such as thick trim, prominent ceiling beams, and built-in shelving and seating.
Contemporary architecture is often used interchangeably when describing modern style architecture. A wide range of recently built homes are built with Contemporary-style architecture. These homes have inventive designs and simple forms without elaborate ornamentation or detail. They usually have geometric lines, large windows and doors to bring in light, and open floor plans. They often incorporate sustainable and eco-friendly building materials, textures, and components, exposed roof beams, and flat or low-pitched roofs.
Emerging in the 1920s to embrace minimalism and reject the more ornate home styles, modern house styles typically include progressive elements such as asymmetrical exteriors, flat roofs, and integrated outdoor spaces. Many modern interiors also feature minimal molding and trim, neutral color palettes, and metal accents.
You’ll find the highest sale-to-list ratio in Denver, CO.
5. Cape Cod-style homes
With roots dating back to 1675, the quaint and charming Cape Cod-style homes are reminiscent of the classic American cottage style. This type of home design migrated from England to the United States, maintaining its symmetrical design and central chimney. Cape Cod-style homes feature a steep roof to keep snow from accumulating, dormer windows for added light, wood siding and shutters to keep the heat in, and hardwood floors for comfort and practicality.
This style of house is prevalent in the northeastern part of the United States, commonly found in the New England region.
6. Colonial-style homes
Dating back to 1876, East Coast architecture has maintained its allure in many parts of the United States. These classic homes are known for their old-world charm, decorative doorways, and symmetrical window placement. Many colonial-style homes will have two or three stories, fireplaces, and brick or wood exteriors.
Colonial-style homes are similar to the Cape Cod-style home because of their symmetry and side-gabled roofs, but Cape Cod-style homes are typically one story rather than two or three. Colonial-style homes can be found in the northeastern part of the United States.
7. Tudor-style homes
Originating in the 15th century during the reign of the House of Tudor, this style of house is fairly easy to identify with its unique features. Tudor-style homes typically have a combination of brick, stone, or stucco exterior and decorative half-timbering on the second story to create the well-known striped exterior. They also feature a steeply-pitched roof, cross gables, and tall, narrow windows. Today, Tudor-style homes are prominent in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States.
8. Cottage-style homes
Inspired by the medieval styles of the English countryside, American architects designed cozy cottage-style houses during the 1920s and 30s. This style of house typically has a steep, thatched roof, arched doorways, shuttered windows, and a warm storybook character bringing to life old-world charm.
9. Mediterranean-style homes
Mediterranean-style homes are suitable for warmer climates, which is why this style of house became prevalent in Southern California during the 1920s and 1930s. Influenced by the architecture of countries in the Mediterranean region, they often have low-pitched red tile roofs, vaulted ceilings, arched doors and windows, and a stucco or adobe exterior. The floor plan is typically U-shaped, creating a central courtyard for a garden or fountain. Today, this style of house remains popular in California and Florida.
10. Farmhouse-style homes
The farmhouse was designed back in the early 1700s, built as housing for farmers, and all about practicality. Modern farmhouses still exhibit many of the same features that the original design included, like large, wraparound front porches, clapboard siding, large fireplaces, wood floors, eat-in kitchens, and oversized kitchen sinks.
11. Mid-Century modern-style homes
Mid-century modern style is part of the modernism movement and dates back to post-World War II, and remained popular throughout the 1970s. A mid-century modern design is characterized by minimalism, clean lines, and floor-to-ceiling windows. You’ll often see open layouts, and a mix of natural and manufactured materials for the interior elements like wood, stone, steel, and plastic.
Victorian-style homes were first seen during the Victorian Era from around 1860 to 1900. This house style is best described as a colorful dollhouse with romantic and distinctive features. Victorian-style homes have elaborate detailing in just about every part of the home, from the intricate wood trim, ornate staircases, stained glass, and decorative woodwork. They have steep gabled roofs, a front-facing gable, patterned shingles, bay windows, a round tower, and a front porch.
Victorian-style homes remain popular in Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA, with a sale-to-list ratio of 98.5% and 101.1%, respectively.
Originating in Europe and eventually migrating to the United States, townhomes are most commonly found across cities in the United States. With the convenience of spacious layouts, townhomes offer more amenities than the condo styles and are lower maintenance than most residential homes. They’re typically two or three-story homes, usually sharing one or two walls with adjacent properties, and a rooftop deck to enjoy sprawling views.
Home styles with the highest sale-to-list ratio in the largest 12 US metros:
For over 30 years, Timber Ridge Properties has created an array of high-end residential custom homes with a personal and boutique approach. The firm has a very client-focused approach, understanding that the role of the firm is to be the vehicle by which a client gets exactly what is needed.
One of the top projects the firm has produced is a vintage traditional residence in Colorado. It’s a private house featuring materials such as travertine tile, hickory floors, and custom granite. The client for this project was for a family of five, with the firm providing classic finishes in many areas of the house. From its indoor to outdoor features, the team at Timber Ridge offered the client classic Timber Ridge features, including a custom stone fireplace in the kitchen, a finished basement with guest quarters, and an all-season outdoor fireplace seating area. The result is a classic residence offering a unique traditional design catered to the client’s requests.
We are so proud of the work we do and of the clients that put their trust in Timber Ridge Properties to bring their dream homes to life.
Interested in building or enhancing your dream home with Timber Ridge? Contact us today.