Discussing Priorities

Planning Your Home is a brief questionnaire designed to help buyers begin to prioritize options for their home design. As mentioned in last month’s post, if a home buyer approaches the architectural process without a clear understanding of their priorities, the design can quickly outgrow their intended size and budget. We have heard ourselves proclaim with enthusiasm, “Yes, of course we want to add that space. Why wouldn’t we?” (I designed a lovely “tranquility” room for myself because I met with our architect while parenting two teen boys). We want our home buyers to know that they are investing in spaces that will enhance their current and future lives. Tranquility can be achieved in many ways; smart planning is high on that list.

Finding a Custom Home Already Underway


Designs and Approvals (1)“Spec” homes are a terrific option for buyers who want a custom home without the commitment of starting from scratch. These are houses builders design, build, and sell as inventory homes. When you buy a spec (speculative) house, you will likely be purchasing a home already under construction. While this limits your input on the finished product, this kind of purchase allows you a speedier delivery and more traditional purchase process. Depending on when you sign your contract, Langhorne Custom Homes will work with you to complete the home with the finishes you desire.

Let’s discuss the stages of construction and our approach to choosing options and finishes. Please understand these processes reflect our standard approach but additional changes can often be made if the buyer is willing to delay delivery and/or finance alterations.

Stage One is all about architectural design, site engineering, and obtaining permits and other necessary approvals. Completion will likely be a year or more down the road but this is a critical time for making major changes to the layout or orientation of the home. You might consider committing at this stage if you know you love the location but do not need to move for at least a year. During this period, you will likely be able to make major structural changes. You like the house but want to add an elevator? The master bedroom is great but you want to change the layout of the bathroom? These are changes that might add weeks to your delivery but will be easy to design.

Stage Two is the time during which the “guts” of the house are built. The foundation is poured and the walls are framed. Once the concrete is poured, it is very difficult to change the the general layout of the home but the interior walls are still somewhat adaptable. Unless they are structural walls responsible for bearing weight as designed and engineered, we can move framing about to accommodate better flow, size, or feel of interior spaces. These changes will have negligible impact on delivery time. It is during this stage exterior finishes should be finalized and presented for HOA approval (if necessary). If you do not love the color of stone or roof we selected, we can work with you to redesign these finishes.

Stage Three is when the exterior surfaces are applied and the interior drywall is hung. This is an exciting time when the house really begins to take shape and we can see what it will look and feel like. This is also when we get serious about making interior selections. Floors, cabinets, and tile are selected and ordered. When we build spec homes, we work with extremely talented designers to choose finishes that work well with the home and will be broadly appealing. However, we know everyone’s tastes vary. Depending on our suppliers’ ability to make changes, we will try to accommodate your desires.

Stage Four is when the house style truly develops. Our fantastic subcontractors work their craft as they install flooring, bathroom tile, custom stairs, cabinets, and wood trim. It is at this stage when we finalize remaining selections (plumbing and lighting fixtures, countertops, door hardware, and staircase newels, balusters, and railings).  Until these elements have been customized by our suppliers (counter tops cut, railings manufactured, etc.) , you can make changes.

Stage Five is the polishing stage. We install remaining fixtures, shower doors, mirrors, wall color, floor stain, carpet (if any), and exterior landscaping. At this stage, if we haven’t installed it, we can probably change it. If we have applied the paint or laid the carpet and you would prefer different colors, we can make changes but they will likely result in short delays and additional costs. We can also work with you to create a landscaping package you desire. At this point, we will also begin our “punch-out.” This is when Will’s OCD and my scrutinizing eyes are unleashed. We scour the house for any flaws needing attention. You will walk the house and see tabs of painter’s tape pointing out any drywall, paint, or trim issues.

After the house is complete, buyers will be looking at this house in its final stage. However, buying at this stage still presents benefits you will not find when buying a resale or an inventory home from a larger builder. We will be readily available to answer questions or assist with changes you want to make. Want to add a wine room or in ground pool? We and our contractors will understand the inner workings of the house and will make any improvements fit seamlessly in your home. We want you to love every nook and cranny of your new home and will work to make sure any home we deliver fits your needs and vision to the best of our ability.