• Erin

How do you know if you're ready to call a builder?

One of the most common phone calls to the Sockness Builders office is someone calling to say “I’m not really sure what to do here, but I’m thinking about building a new house.” If you’ve never done it before, this is so true. Where do you start anyway? Well, a couple of questions come into play. When you know you’re ready to build, you need: 1. A lot to build on. 2. A builder. and 3. A plan of what you want to build. You don’t always have to get these three things in that exact order, but in most cases of our clients that we work with, this is how it goes.


At Sockness Builders, we build custom homes specifically for our clients. Meaning that everyone we build for pays for a custom house plan that was completed specific to them. We don’t sell pre-built homes (a spec house) and we don’t have set house plans that clients pick can pick from. We work with an architectural designer who we’d meet with together to go over your ideas. Typically, these meetings begin with initial ideas for a plan (sometimes these first concepts or ideas come from sites on the internet) and then we work through what you need in your home to make it fit your lifestyle. While creating your house plan it’s great to have a lot or a building site in mind when you begin the process. The size and topography of your lot can make a difference in what you’re able to do with your home. Can you have an exposed basement? Can you design a sprawling ranch home? Is your lot wide enough? We help you answer all of these questions after seeing your building site too.


Speaking of architectural designers, we partner with Frank Tower of Janesville. He’s been drawing homes for people sine 1975 so he really knows his stuff. He says that the two main things to figure out first are the elevations of your lot and then the approximate square footage that you want to build. From there a meeting with him would evolve into the overall “look” you’re going for, the purpose and size of all of the rooms, etc. With your information and ideas, along with our recommendations and suggestions, a preliminary layout is created for your approval. This part is kind of fun because you can see your potential new house on paper and you can start visualizing walking through the rooms. It’s most common that clients go back and forth with the preliminary plan, making changes and adding ideas as they come up. Once the floorplan is approved by you, our designer makes the plan 70% complete, which means that he includes all relevant information for the bidding process. Once you get to here, take a deep breath, because it’s a huge first step to have done!


So, circling back to that original question… when is the right time to call your builder? Probably once you’ve found a lot and you’re ready to create your house plan. Sometimes we tell people that it’s never too early to give us a call. Since we’re a design-build company, having us involved in the planning stages can be super helpful. I’ve witnessed many times where Jon (my dad) was able to offer ideas or suggestions that clients didn’t even know were possible, and they ended up being things that made their home everything that they ever wanted.


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