The first phase, according to Hibbs, is the “Discovery’” phase. “That’s where we get to know the client and learn what they want to accomplish,” Hibbs explains. Hibbs provides them with a “Needs, Wants and Wishes” worksheet, gives them references, and walks them through homes they’ve built.
At this stage, Hibbs also helps the buyer find a lot, obtain loan approvals, and hire an architect. Kim’s wife, Jan, is a licensed real estate agent for Coldwell Banker Gundaker. However, fifty percent of clients that come to them already have a lot. Kim sets up and attends several client meetings with potential architects to find the best fit.
“This requires a lot of hand holding,” Hibbs admits, “but that’s what a custom home client is looking for. They want to make sure you’re with them in every phase. It’s extremely important that clients deal with the same people throughout the process, and that they don’t feel rushed.”
Phase 2 and 3: Design and Budgeting
These phases cover the pre-building process of design and budgeting. In this phase, the firm helps the buyer complete a site analysis, draft a construction schedule, develop a budget, and discuss options. “Architects have been known to over design,” notes Hibbs. “So, in this phase, we want to make sure the architect designs the home to the budget.”
In addition, at this time, clients are out making selections. There are probably 35 or 40 critical decisions that clients have to make, with selections, finishes, and colors, according to Hibbs. On a real complex home, he notes, it could be as many as 50. So, he adds, “it’s vital to know exactly where to set our allowances for client selections.”
Interior image of a custom home kitchen built by Hibbs Homes. Photo courtesy of Hibbs Homes
A major option presented by Hibbs to his custom buyers at this stage is to design their home to be a sustainable, energy-efficient “green home.” Hibbs Homes is an Energy STAR partner and a designated RESNET builder. The firm has completed Net Zero Homes and built the first Active House in North America. Hibbs, himself, is a Certified Green Professional through NAHB.
See accompanying article: “How to Build an Eco-Friendly Custom Home.”