Building Your Custom Home Series: Simplifying the Selections Process

When you are building your home, the selection process is perhaps one of the most eagerly awaited events for our clients. This is when you finally get to pick out all of the “stuff” that goes into your homes. From faucets, lighting and exterior colors to flooring choices, bathtubs and tile, nothing is quite as exciting as seeing the details of your home come together.

Here’s the thing about the selections process – it’s a lot to take in. While you don’t have to make all of the decisions at once, it is important to understand the value in planning ahead because once construction begins, it goes quickly, and decisions need to be made.

Adding to this pressure is the current construction climate: longer lead times (meaning materials take longer to arrive) and the labor shortage. This all equates to having your materials ordered ahead of schedule so that when a subcontractor is scheduled to install, the materials are in. The last thing you want is your project delayed because you are still narrowing down your options (and we don’t want that either).

Combatting the Overwhelm

Because there are dozens of decisions that need to be made – all compounding on the previous one – the selection process can be an overwhelming and tiring one. Having said that, the first thing to remember is you do not have to go through this process alone. Our team (or your interior designer) will work with you to pick out all of the exterior and interior details of your home.

Also, keep in mind that some of these decisions have already been made. For instance, through the design process, we’ve already identified which rooms are hardwood, tile and carpet. You’ve also chosen a rough look of colors, cabinetry and countertops. Sure, you now need to make specific selections, but the rough idea (and hard part) is already done.

To further simplify the selection process, we’ve broken the decisions you need to make into three phases, as illustrated below.

Selections: Phase 1

The first items that need to be selected are the exterior selections, as they are needed early in construction to close up the house and keep it protected from the weather. The materials you’ll need to choose include siding, exterior trim, stone, brick and roofing materials. Thoughtfully planning these items will go a long way in creating great curb appeal, too. 

In this first phase, you’ll also need to select windows, exterior doors, and the bathtub (a surprise to many). Why the bathtub? Two reasons: 1) to ensure delivery in time for installation and 2) it is more efficient to maneuver this heavy piece in through an opening meant for windows (often using a telescopic forklift or skid-steer loader) before the windows are installed instead of carrying it into a home.

You’ll also need to choose your kitchen appliances — because the appliances you select will affect mechanical rough-ins, kitchen cabinet and countertop configurations.

Selections: Phase 2

Shortly after you’ve selected the first set of items, you’ll need to shift your focus to this next set of materials, as many of these items have longer delivery times. Certainly, your cabinetry and countertop will need to be ordered early in order to be ready for installation. If you want a natural stone countertop, such as granite or marble, you’ll need to visit the stone yard to set it aside. That way, it will be available when it is time to template your countertop and install it.

Other items to select during this phase include the interior doors and trim and the specific flooring and tile you want for each room. This is also when you’ll select the decorative tile for the kitchen backsplash and walk-in shower.

Selections: Phase 3

Once the bigger items are carefully chosen, you can now focus on the smaller details, such as interior paint and stain, hardware and plumbing, and lighting fixtures. Most builders, including Prime 1 Builders, will have plumbing and lighting allowances for homeowners.

Another detail that will need your attention is the faucet configuration. Will your kitchen faucet be a mini-spread (4” apart) or will it be a wide-spread (8” apart)? This will have a major impact on the rough-in for the countertop.

While the many details of the selection process can be mind-boggling, it’s also a thrilling time — you are creating your custom-built home!

PRO TIP: To keep this process manageable, we recommend you begin collecting ideas long before you get to this step. Use tools such as Pinterest, Houzz or Google Docs to keep your ideas organized. That way, when you get to the point that choices need to be made, you have already narrowed them down.

Let Prime 1 Builders be part of your custom-building team. We can help you identify potential expenses and other “issues” that may be involved so you can make an informed decision before purchasing your lot. Contact us.

Read about our custom home building process.

NOTE: This is the fourth article in the Building Your Custom Home Series — a series of articles to help you build your custom home the right way.

1: Selecting the Perfect Lot

2: The Design Process

3: The Financial Piece