Homeowner Guidelines

These are some general guidelines to make the often-confusing process of making selections for your home a little easier.  What decisions come first?  Which things can wait until later?  Although you have ample time to make selections, it’s very helpful to get out there and shop, and look
around online, as much and as often as possible.  Make notes of what you like, take photos for future reference, and tear out ideas from catalogs or magazines.  You will find that once you get a few key decisions made, the rest will fall into place more easily.  We will give you a heads-up a week or more before we ask for decisions.

Here is how we make the process easy for you: you have a firm contract price to build your home, and you have “allowances” in your Specifications for items that you select.  We meet with you and determine just how you want your house finished, item by item, and we factor in reasonable allowances for each selection.  If you go over those allowance amounts, you will be billed for them at the end of the building process.  If you are under the allowance amounts, we will credit those dollars back to you.

You tell us what you want in your home, and we will build it to your specifications and to our stand of quality.  There will be no hidden costs to you on your allowances.  You will pay what we pay! We do not up-charge on materials or subcontractors.

Although Tom has an amazing memory, he will not remember some of what you tell him verbally! We have found that the best way to record your selections is through e-mails.  If you desire, you will be sent Excel spreadsheets with space to record prices, item numbers, model numbers, colors, comments, etc.  When you send these to we will record them on spreadsheets and print them so that we will have a concise record from which to place orders, and for future reference.

The first decisions you will make are for the exterior of your home.  These are for the foundation, siding, and roof.  Once the foundation is in place, the first thing to be finished is the covering of the block, whether it is brick or stone or stucco.  However, we recommend that you choose the primary color on your home, which is the siding (whether it be brick, wood, Hardie Board, or vinyl), first.  Then you can coordinate your foundation and roof color with your siding sample.  We have samples of all of these things except brick, which can be chosen from Lowe’s sample walls or Blue Ridge Concrete in Cana.  (276) 755-2000.  Ask to see Richard.

Tom will order your windows, which are already detailed in your Specifications.  You will need to select your exterior doors, so that the house can be “dried in”, or protected from the weather. Ellen can give you door catalogs, or you can browse for them online or at Lowe’s.  We find that
ThermaTru exterior doors are an excellent value.  At this time we’ll also need your choice in finish for the door hinges, which will be used not only on the exterior doors, but the interior doors as well.

The next things you will need to choose are your tubs, or tub/shower units, and the faucets that go with them.  These faucets are needed for the plumbing rough-in.  (Sink faucets will come later.)  The tub units are large and must be put in place before the walls are finished.  If you have
a separate shower, we will also need the shower valve (faucet) information.  If  you can’t find faucets you like at Lowe’s or online, we can put you in touch with a professional plumbing specialist, such as those at Ferguson Enterprises in Christiansburg.

Once the interior walls are framed, you will meet with our electrician at your new home and show him exactly where you want your light fixtures, electrical outlets, and TV and phone outlets placed.  It’s much easier to decide these things once you can actually walk through the rooms. Although lights and outlets are indicated on your plans, you may want to move some or add some.  You do not need to give us the item numbers for the actual light fixtures at this time, just the locations.

Building codes require outlets every twelve feet on the walls, but you may know where you want a particular lamp or TV or computer.  When you meet with the electrician, be sure to tell him the color for your switches, switch plates, and outlets (white or beige).

It’s a good idea to get your appliances selected around this time, before your cabinets are ordered.  We’ll need dimensions for the appliances, so that the cabinets can be built around them, and installation instructions so that wiring and water lines are in the right places.

You have an allowance for your cabinets.  You will meet with Shawn Beachy, our most excellent cabinet-maker, at Dutch Maid Cabinets.  Call him at (276) 728-5700 to set up an appointment. He will create a computer drawing of your cabinets, and you can confirm with him how they are
configured.  He has samples of the wood choices and finishes available.  Be thinking about cabinet hardware, as well.  Your cabinet estimate includes counter tops.  Be sure to take your budgeted allowance numbers with you when you shop for granite, laminate, solid surface, or cultured marble kitchen and bath tops.

Things will start moving along quickly once the rough electrical and rough plumbing are in place! Insulation and then drywall hanging and finishing will be the next step.  It will be time to order floor coverings next.  We will let Willis Rotenizer (at Rotenizer Drapery and Carpet in Galax) know that you’re coming in , and we’ll give him your allowances.  Please make an appointment with him so that he’ll be sure to be there, and not be busy assisting another customer.  (276) 236-8051.

Next we’ll need the item numbers, model numbers, brand and description of your light fixtures. We will order them for you if you so desire.  (If you’re out shopping and you find a light fixture somewhere, for example a real bargain or a one of a kind item, go ahead and buy it and we’ll
adjust your fixture allowance accordingly.)  Once again, should you desire professional advice on lighting, Ferguson Enterprises will be happy to assist you.  One caution about Ferguson – they do not have prices displayed on their fixtures, and their many catalogs do not have prices listed, so
it can be somewhat overwhelming.  You can shop online, too, but shipping costs are high, except for Overstock.com, and should be considered in your budget.  Don’t forget to include light bulbs and sales tax when you add up your lighting allowance.  New building codes require that at least
50% of your bulbs be energy efficient.  The building official will count them.

During the building process, exterior doors will be secured with construction locks.  We’ll need your selection of permanent locks, and typically we install all of those except one, which will not be changed until your home is complete and workers no longer need to enter.  This way no one else ever has the permanent key to your home.

Any selections you can make ahead of “need” will be helpful!  We’ll need item numbers and finishes for sink faucets, interior door knobs, pant colors (ceiling, wall and trim), stain colors, and all of the other items needed to complete your home.

As your home progresses, you will have many questions; for example, you may need to know where you are in your budget, or how much an upgrade would cost.  Please be patient as we gather information to forward on to you!  Tom is busy at the job site 10 or even 12 hours a day,
physically building your home, so his desk and computer time are limited.  Often he will request prices from vendors and then have to wait to hear back from them.  Be assured that we will expedite your requests to the best of our ability.

We look forward to working with you and making your home the very best it can be!  Please do not hesitate to write or call with any and all questions and concerns you may have.

Thank you for allowing us the privilege to build your home.

Tom Richardson