"We want to thank Tom for sticking with us throughout our project. Our entire process took four years from the time we found the property, closed the sale, articulated our design, got through permits, cleared the land, found the right lender, and then built our home. It was a long challenging process--we knew it would be but you can never really feel the pain until you've experienced it! Tom stuck with us with assurances that all would be well in the end.
Of course, it's all worth the effort as we love our new, 3,000 square foot, ranch style residence. We stayed BELOW our budget--thanks mostly to my wife who had a good handle on what's really important. We were able to agree on spending more on some things while sacrificing others.
Tom emphasizes this point again and again: You must always question your budget. It's VITALLY important to create an ACCURATE budget BEFORE you start designing and building based on what you can afford. We had three different, knowledgeable people review our budget, and we still came up short in some areas--we added 10% to the bottom line just for a contingency buffer. We didn't use our 10% contingency but it was important nevertheless.
Not to belabor this point, but when you give your final budget to your lender, the lender will not vary from your construction cost breakdown one iota. Too bad if you spent $2,000.00 more for floor coverings--the lender will only disburse what you've qualified for and itemized in your final budget. You have to find the $2,000.00 somewhere else...a VERY PAINFUL process. Tom kept this reality in the forefront of all conversations right from the get-go.
Acting as an Ownerbuilder took a lot of time! We shared many of the same trade contractors with other Ownerbuilders so this was very helpful. However, we need to emphasize that being our own contractor was time consuming. We especially liked using building components because the walls arrived at the job site prefabricated with siding and windows already installed, and it took only one day to set all the walls in place - BAM!
We surely thank Tom for coaching us through the design/build process!"