Our Building Process - Q & A
What can we expect when building a Carstensen Home?
At Carstensen Homes, our philosophy is to build a relationship with you as we build your home. Customer service always comes first and you'll appreciate the extra time and effort we put in to help you realize your vision of a perfect home. We listen to what you want and what you need, then provide suggestions that solve your challenges. Communication is a key element to an enjoyable building process. When building with Carstensen Homes you will be involved every step of the way … from the lot walk we do with you through the design process … to the construction of your home, move-in and beyond!
Carstensen Homes is known for building homes that last a lifetime and our way of doing business has earned us customers that come back time and again. Our business is based largely on referrals, which means we have earned the respect and trust of customers and trade partners who tell their family and friends about Carstensen Homes.
Is there a difference in building from models or from custom plans?
It is important to know that whether we are building a home of 2,000 square feet or one that will be much larger, we use the same building practices and techniques. We refuse to cut corners on the construction of any home we build. We know the right way to build a home and that is the ONLY way we build. Green building processes and energy efficiency are very important and are priorities for us regardless of the size or the cost of the home.
What factors drive the cost of a home?
Size and amenities drive a good deal of the cost of the home. If you start with one of our model plans, the price and standard amenities have already been determined. If you choose to build a custom home the price will be determined by the size, design and the selection of amenities you choose.
Whether you build from our model plans or build custom – we will always provide a complete list of our building specifications and a detailed breakout of costs. From the start, you will know exactly what is included and be assured that your home will be built using the best materials and building practices available to date.
Who will we deal with when building with Carstensen Homes?
When you build a Carstensen Home, you can expect the support and direction from qualified staff throughout the building process. At Carstensen Homes, education is important and our construction and office staff keep current with continuing education in their field of expertise.
Since good communication is an important aspect in building your home, we want you to know everyone that will be working together with you throughout the construction of your home. Your experienced sales consultant will be your first and main contact and will introduce you to the rest of the team assigned to your home construction project - including an estimator, construction manager, and project accountant.
Your sales consultant works closely with the estimator to prepare your preliminary proposal and design. After your contract is signed and construction begins, you'll work with your construction manager who will be with you every step of the way as your home is built. Throughout the process, your sales consultant will also be in contact with you to help you through the selection process and answer any questions. Also along the way, you will also meet your project accountant who works with your sales consultant to track costs, invoices and loan draws, and prepare your final closing.
Our team strives to make sure your home building process is an enjoyable one from start to finish.
Does building a home have to be stressful?
Building a home can be stressful. It is our goal to guide you through each phase of construction without stress. We have designed some tools to help organize and make building a home a good experience.
We have a customer manual, customized for your home, to use as your guide as we move from design through construction and completion. The manual outlines the selections you will make and dates they are due. The manual also serves as a handy way to keep your papers organized in a systematic way. And, if you prefer we can communicate much of this information electronically.
Are there specific procedures we must follow when visiting the building site?
When construction on your home begins, you will want to be on site often. We welcome your visits and your construction manager will be able to meet with you on site and explain what work is being performed and answer your questions.
What help will Carstensen Homes provide as we prepare for move-in?
The conclusion of the job can be the most stressful time for homeowners. As we are wrapping up the final details in your home and you are preparing for a move – keeping things in order is very important!
- One of the most useful tools we provide you is a "Homeowner Closing Binder" containing all product manuals and warranty information specific to you and your home. The binder also contains a summary of all of your selections including paint and stain colors. You'll have one source to check on warranty information for mechanicals or any of the appliances in your home.
- We understand the need to provide you with clear and concise information about your home. While we do not anticipate future issues, we have created an Emergency Tag System to help should the unexpected happen. All mechanical items such as water main shut off valves, gas valves, furnaces and air conditioners is be "tagged" with clearly visible 24/7 emergency contact information.
What other services does Carstensen Homes provide to customers?
- Lot evaluation – We will evaluate your lot at no cost to you. This is critical as a first step before we begin the design of your home.
- Review of Covenants and Bylaws - We will review subdivision or association covenants or bylaws in order to assure the design elements and materials used comply.
- Permits and special requirements –We will acquire all permits required by your local municipality.
Is the building process different if we are building from a Carstensen Model or building a custom home?
You might ask how the building process differs when starting with a Carstensen Model or when building a Carstensen Custom. The process outlined above IS THE SAME! We build each home the same way - We only know how to build a home the RIGHT WAY!
What are the benefits to building from a Carstensen Model?
When starting with a Carstensen Model the time and cost of design are minimal. The cost of the home is established. The total time of design and construction is predetermined. The standard amenities are included in the price and therefore the selection process is shortened. This is the preferred way to build for many customers. If you wish to make changes to the design of the home, we will let you know what the design fee will be as well as how the changes will impact the cost of the home.
What are the most important phases of the building process?
- Customer information
We start with good communication. We'll meet with you to gather important information in order to know what is on your "wish list"; get an idea of your lifestyle, your target budget and your timeline for building. We take the time to get to know you – so we build your new home to fit your lifestyle and interests
- Standard amenities and allowances
At Carstensen Homes, there's no guess work or surprises - you'll know from the start exactly what is included in our standard pricing and generous allowances.
- Preliminary cost
We'll provide a preliminary cost based on your "wish list".
- Final cost
Once we have a final design for your home, we'll give you the best possible price by using competitive pricing with our qualified subcontractors and suppliers.
We use the standard Milwaukee Builder's Association (MBA) contract. The contract is easy to understand and thorough, and we'll take time to go over every aspect of the project and review the contract with you.
- Construction and Changes
You won't have to be reluctant to ask about or make changes during the construction period. We do not have change order fees. If you decide to make changes during construction, we'll let you know ahead of time of any additional costs.
- Periodic site inspections and walk through during construction
You'll have several scheduled walk-throughs with your construction manager. The first one is scheduled the electrical work is complete. The second is scheduled when rough carpentry is complete and the final at the end of construction. Of course, you are always welcome … and we encourage you visit the site more often to see the progress of your new home.
Our relationship won't end when your home is finished. Approximately 60 days after occupancy, we will follow up with a call to see how much you love your new home and handle any warranty work.
- 1 Year walk through
Approximately eleven months after you have been in your home, we'll check in to see how things are going and will handle any warranty work.
What can we expect if we choose to build a custom Carstensen home?
For customers that wish to "create a one of a kind custom home" the design process is longer and the cost will be determined by the custom amenities and the complexity of the design. Time to design and build a custom home will be dependent upon the size, style and amenities the customer selects.
At Carstensen Homes each home becomes unique because each customer is unique. We love building homes and we get the same satisfaction from starting with a model plan as we do constructing a custom home. Our satisfaction is in matching your lifestyle and your budget to your dream.
For more information contact us and come visit our team and our design center.