Building a dream home means building a house with of the amenities you and your family desire and offers a place for your family to live comfortably and grow. Everyone has a fantastic dream home in his or her mind, but when the time comes to build your perfect home, the process can be less than magical. Thankfully, Omaha offers aspiring homeowners the resources needed for constructing a quality home from scratch.
The current market for homebuilding makes now a great time to consider building your dream home. President of ADC Custom Homes, Inc. Steven Taft explained, ”There really isn’t a better time to build a new home than now as interest rates on new construction are incredibly low, along with costs of materials staying at a manageable level for the last several months. There are programs available for utilizing energy-efficient methods of construction (i.e. geothermal heating & cooling) that offer assistance in the cost of the upgrade.”
A design-build company will walk you through the process of turning your dream of a home into a reality. Steven said, “As a custom home design/build company, our main role is assisting clients in making the right choices for their dream home. This includes budget, location, style of home and general sizing of the home. We try to educate clients on energy efficient aspects of construction, as well as new and exciting technology that enhances daily living. Basically, we act as guides in the process of building a new home.” Steve described this building process and said, “The process begins with a meeting to discuss ideas, needs, location and overall budget concerns. We may walk the clients through a previously constructed custom home to give them a general idea of how their budget and requirements compare to a completed ADC home. We utilize this information to help design the plans for the new home project. Plan design includes utilizing the latest CAD technology with virtual 3D rendering to help the buyer visualize their home from the start. This helps alleviate any unknowns right up front.
“Throughout the construction process, the buyer works directly with one of our interior designers as well as the construction professionals at the various phases of construction to make sure the project retains the buyer’s initial vision of his or her home. Communication, customization and costs are tracked using web-based customer access. The home buyers can track their projects anywhere they have web access, including access using their smart phone.”
The design/build company you choose will have a large impact on the process of building a new home and the ultimate result. Steve advised, “The home buyer should really investigate who their potential builder may be. References are strongly recommended. Potential candidates that the owner can tap for information are past customers, bankers and suppliers in the industry. The proper format in which to approach building a custom home is to pick your builder first. There is a huge benefit in using the builder’s years of experience and expertise to direct you in the building process to make the right decisions for the best investment. The builder can assist in proper lot selection, plans, and direct you to the right lenders if financing is required.
“A home is the biggest investment that anyone is likely to make, so home buyers really need to do their homework, so to speak. There are a lot of factors to look at other than just square footage and price. All builders are similar in that every builder has to meet minimum requirements that are inspected and approved by the local governing entities, but that is where the similarities end. Every home builder has their own philosophy, methods of construction and reputation.”
ADC Custom Homes, Inc. is a great choice for your new home. Steve explained, “At ADC, we pride ourselves on excellent design and customer service during and after construction. With degrees in engineering and architecture, our design staff has the qualifications and insight to offer the client a great design that is engineered to be cost-effective. Our CAD software has the capability to create life-like 3D views of the home, helping our clients to visualize the style and look of their future residence. ADC will stress the importance of energy efficiency in the design and cost analysis of each project. A home built today is likely to be substantially more efficient than a home built in the past 10-15 years. This difference, along with the new technology and materials available in today’s world, make building new a better choice than purchasing an existing home from the existing market.
“With a small staff, we are very ‘hands-on’ in our approach to the construction process. Communication is key in any business, so we utilize a web-based program to track daily progress and client selections. Our support system during construction will be there after the completion of the home for any warranty issues that may arise. Many of our subcontractors and suppliers have been with ADC since the beginning, helping to ensure the quality control we expect in every one of our homes.”
When you picture your dream home, you most likely imagine the house nestled in a beautiful green landscape. Landscaping can add value to your dream home and planning for your landscape is essential in the home-building process. Matt Keiser of KM Landscaping described a landscaper’s involvement in the building process. He said, “We help with the planning of the outdoor space, how you can use it and how it can help you. We give direction in planting the right materials to create shade, screening and beauty to your home. During the construction process we help the homeowner make informed decisions about drainage, type of turf to use and general layout of the yard. If we are able to do this at an early enough stage, we can really save the homeowner some initial and long-term expenses while creating a design that lasts for generations.”
Matt suggested, “A landscape design firm should be brought into the process as soon as possible. This way, suggestions can be made early that can be planned on before that step of the process continues. For example, maybe a patio is a more viable option than a deck. You of course want to know this beforehand so that you can make a decision.”
Trends in landscaping can offer ideas as you plan for your new home. One trend is an increase in outdoor living spaces. Matt has noticed more outdoor patios, fire features, grilling features and pond-less water features. He said, “I think what has driven this is the fact that a lot of people have made the decision to spend more time at home and have made the decision to invest in their enjoyment of that space. The space, if done correctly, can add a significant amount of value to your home.” Understanding this trend can help you to enjoy your home and make it more marketable once you are ready to sell your home. Matt said, “I have had people tell me, ‘Matt your patio has sold my house,’ which I completely believe. Prospective buyers envision themselves doing the same thing that you do on the patio like spending time with their families.”
A successful landscape that you can enjoy and that will add value to your dream home requires choosing the right landscaper. Matt explained that a lot of landscaping companies come and go, and anyone with a shovel and pickup can call themselves a landscaper. Matt advised, “I would look for a company that is passionate about the work they do, innovative and that comes with references. You want someone who is organized, detailed and who will listen. You also want a company that has a well-trained staff that is qualified to do the work.” Professionals who have a background with formal education in landscape design or architecture most likely have a great deal of knowledge and hands-on experience under their belt. You can simply ask a landscaper about their experiences, background and references. Matt added, “The biggest mistake you can make is to go with the lowest bidder. You get what you pay for, and landscaping should be thought of as an investment not an expense.”
JD Heilman of Heilman Irrigation, LLC explains, “Many landscaping and sprinkler system aspects can be coordinated with the construction process, resulting in cost savings, more efficient use of resources and time, and a better overall product. We can coordinate details from drainage and grading, to wiring and plumbing to support the sprinkler system, landscape lighting, and water features. If we are brought on early enough in the project, we can have our wiring and plumbing roughed in, making for a cleaner appearance and faster installation.” Heilman Irrigation, LLC is unique in that they offer lawn and landscape irrigation systems, landscaping design and installation, retaining wall and paver patio installation, lawn installation, and landscape/architectural lighting. They offer the ability to work with one contractor for all of your irrigation and landscaping needs. After installation, Heilman Irrigation is able to provide ongoing maintenance of sprinkler and lighting systems, landscaping and lawn care, and snow removal.
From design to installation to many enjoyable years living in your dream home, Heilman Irrigation can work with you every step along the way.
When planning for a dream home build or remodel, it is important to budget for sprinklers and landscaping. A properly designed sprinkler system and attractive landscaping can add significant value to your property – both in terms of personal enjoyment and resale. Whether you are building a dream home or remodeling, Heilman Irrigation, LLC employs equipment and techniques that provide minimal disruption to your property and lawn/landscaping. We seek to install quality projects with attention to detail and reliability. When overall cost of ownership is taken into account (initial installation cost, ongoing maintenance and repairs, energy and water efficiency), a sprinkler system designed and installed by Heilman Irrigation, LLC offers tremendous value. We design and install our systems to last and focus on quality at every detail. We stand behind our work and seek to develop long lasting relationships with our customers.
Lastly, when beginning the process of designing and building your dream home, it is very important to ensure that the contractors you choose to partner with are licensed, insured, and carry worker’s compensation insurance. Checking references, examples of past work, and reviewing a contractor’s rating with the Better Business Bureau are important steps to ensure your dream home project doesn’t turn into a nightmare. Always obtain detailed proposals and pricing in writing and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification on any items. Professional contractors welcome this scrutiny, as we have made substantial investments in our reputation, licenses, and insurance. Most importantly, select a contractor that you are comfortable working with. Any large project will involve the contractor and customer spending large amounts of time together, and you need to have a good relationship. After all, you are welcoming them onto your property and into your home!
Stacy Hughes of Terry Hughes Tree Service explained how his company contributes to the home building process. He said, “Our company offers everything from large land clearing, consultation regarding construction damage and planning for future green spaces.” Terry Hughes Tree Service has served the Omaha area for more than 50 years. Stacy added, “As Nebraska’s first nationally accredited tree care company, you can rest assured that with Terry Hughes Tree Service you have a knowledgeable and qualified contractor.” Stacy also suggested that people beginning the process of their dream homes should think long time because you will be spending at least 10 years in our home. He said, “Do it right the first time. Hindsight is always 20/20.”
A popular movement for new homes is developing homes that utilize “green” energy services. Dale Leuck of Team Green Grounds explained, “Many homeowners who want to save money and have their homes become more ‘green’ are installing geothermal energy systems. This is a process where homeowners are able to use their property’s soil as a source of home heating and cooling, which saves on monthly utility bills and helps the environment at the same time. We are also seeing a large increase in new homes using geothermal heating and cooling in radiant floor heat and ice melt. By using a geothermal unit, you can keep your sidewalks or driveway free of ice and snow during the cold winter months.”
Dale added, “We’ve heard about solar-powered homes for years, and now they are starting to become seen more often. Passive solar heating and passive cooling—approaches known as natural conditioning—provide comfort throughout the year by reducing or eliminating the need for fossil fuel. These solar-powered homes are among the most efficient new homes available on the market today. In addition, the included solar power systems could also help qualify homeowners for a federal tax credit.”
Team Green assists new home developers with these green approaches and should be contacted at the conception of the home plan so you may learn about the options available and incorporate the green energy services right for your home. Team Green has served the Omaha area for about 20 years and its combined staff brings 45 years of experience with geothermal, wind and solar technology. Dale added, “We are a one-stop shop. We also have Team Green property maintenance. We do everything from mowing to concrete, parking lot sweeping to all renewable energy installations.”
Making sure you have everything built correctly in the first place could save some major repairs later. Thought your builder will probably consult with the proper professionals, you might also want to bring in another expert just to make sure all of your bases are covered. “You must have all the pieces of the puzzle fitted together properly to assure that water will not enter your home and cause foundation or drywall damage, including mold,” says Chad Carpender with CARP’S Complete Exteriors. “Using a specialist company that can analyze the efficient of your home’s drainage issues will save you the headache of some potentially major repairs later on.”
Careful consideration of window coverings during the planning process can support the overall look and feel of a home. The first step of choosing window coverings is preparing a budget. Vice President of Lifestyle Drapery, Walt Grantski, explained, “In building a dream home, a budget would have to be considered for the purchase and installation of any and all window treatments. This step is often missed by builders and, sometimes, even by interior decorators. Normally if a client is working with an architect, certified interior designer and/or professional window coverings dealer, the budgeting process will not be missed. This is critical, as technology has caught up with today’s window coverings.
“If you are building a smart house, you need to select an electrician who can provide you with the type of Lighting AVI interface that will allow you to add electronically-controlled devices to your touchpad or whole-house controller. Your electrician should be well versed in running the proper low voltage control wires for shades, drapery tracks, etc., and the design build should allow for shade motor control wiring at the window heads. Both these items can add anywhere from $25,000 to $100,000 to a dream home budget. Failure to include these items in the initial budgeting could place the homeowner in the position of expensive retrofits or all manual-control window-covering systems.
“After the budget is established, then product selection may begin. Energy efficiency, functionality and ease of operation may then help determine the style and type of window covering. Climate can play a big factor in product selection. Southern and western states do not have to concern themselves with the cold, as do more northern states.
“When working with curtains, it is extremely important to utilize a professional fabrication service, as custom soft treatments are an art form and require many years of experience, combined with the proper equipment to fabricate a great looking piece.
“Lifestyle Drapery has 25 years of experience in the window coverings business. We will not let our customers make the wrong choice based on functionality or ease of operation. We have our own fabrication center to control the proper construction of any selected fabric style treatments. For those clients looking to source their own fabrics, Lifestyle maintains its own library of pattern books.
Lifestyle specializes in window treatments only, which allows us to constantly monitor the market for new technology and changing styles.”
Heating and Cooling
“It is safe to assume that dream home conjures up visions of beautiful kitchens with immaculate counter tops and extra cabinets space with roll out shelves and a butler’s pantry,” said Jeff Ockinga with Complete Comfort Heating & Cooling. “Master baths with sparkling clean finishes and whirlpool tubs with bubbles also come to mind, as well as big theater rooms and huge garages for the guys.
That’s great, but don’t forget that you still need to heat and cool this thing. Thoughts like ‘oh my gosh, how much will the utility bill be and what if the basement is cold and the upstairs is hot’ are things you should be considering. That’s where a little preplanning with your heating and cooling contractor can make all the difference.”
“Did you know that heating and cooling is the single largest part of your utility bill in most cases?” asks Angie Timm. “However, homes that utilize geothermal heating and cooling usually spend more on everyday utility expenses such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry then they do on keeping a house cozy. Sometimes builders are afraid to introduce something that increases the total cost of the home without adding to the bling factor. However, the savings from one of these systems will cash flow from the day you move in and minimize the impact of ever-increasing energy costs.
“You might be asking yourself, ‘Doesn’t every system heat and cool?’ Yes, but not always consistently on the various levels, and what about that cold basement and the rooms over the garage that always seem to be a few degrees different? Talk to your heating and cooling contractor about the possibility of having separate zones for the various levels and even the possibility of heating the basement floor. A good heating and cooling contractor can give you operating cost comparisons and would like nothing more than to explain your options to make the home more comfortable and minimize your long term utility costs and environmental impact.”
Envisioning your dream home is incredibly exciting. However, once you start making the actual plans, it can be very stressful, time-consuming and even frightening. If you do the proper planning and work with the right professionals, though, the process of planning your dream home and making it a reality can be a smooth and relatively stress-free process.