Custom Home Building Process Part 3

What is the custom home building process in Cleveland Ohio? This is the 3rd part of a three video series where Tony Kucia with Cleveland Custom Builders explains the custom home building process in detail.

Custom Home Building Process with Cleveland Custom Builders Tony Kucia Part 3

We worked through those many different items that have come up with the heating and zoning, do I do a boiler, do I do, the in-wall system through the heat pump with, an in-wall zoned unit that can be controlled with zone dampers. There are so many different things out there. We work together to figure that out because it’s all based on your wants and needs we uncover during the custom home building process with your budget.

Plan To Spend More Of Your Time During The Finishing Stage

So we get into the drywall, we get into finishes, right. Finishes are where a lot of time is spent with your custom home build.

Once we get into the finish stage, we meet a lot more, and frankly, we need to meet a lot more. Cleveland Custom Builders tries to take some time to meet at the drywall stage or the pre-drywall orientation. We talk about at pre-drywall is the finished stage. It’s the wrap up of construction. So what does that mean to you as a custom home building client?

It means a lot because it’s a challenging stage in the custom home building process. It’s tough because it’s where all the details come together.

I’m going to tell you right now. It’s OK. You’re going to see things as a custom home client, before I will, your custom home builder.

We Want You To Be Able To View The Home After Hours

At nights, some builders lock their doors to the custom homes they are building. They will not let you in until you have closed and get the keys.

I don’t do that. I’m involved. I want you to come through when the builder’s trades have gone home. I want you to see certain things if they are not correct. Of course, things are going to come up. Of course, you and I both understand that not everything in the custom home building process will be correct.

Don’t Expect The Home Building Process To Be Perfect

I’m going to say to you that’s OK. The custom home building process is not perfect because frankly if you think this is a perfect process or the house will be perfect, don’t build, don’t build.

I waited to say this at this point in time because nothing is perfect when it comes to homebuilding. It’s going to be close to perfect. Of course, we can get close, but nothing’s perfect. Homebuilding materials swell; they shrink. Things move, things twist, shit happens. It is what it is. It ain’t what it ain’t, it’s OK.

The custom home building process is not science. It is not a computer. Certain chemicals go together, and they develop X. No matter what, every single time they develop X.

I have no idea where your 2x4s are coming from, your 2x10s, whatever. Things come here to Cleveland, Ohio, I’m talking about the general area and acclimate, and the house acclimates. That’s why Cleveland Custom Builders has a warranty.

If you go through getting a new heart, what’s your warranty on a new heart? I don’t know. Hopefully, I never have to have a new heart or get a new heart replaced. The point is that’s a different environment with different rules and procedures that happen within their own realm, with their own qualifications, with their own rules.

New Home Builds Are Never Perfect. Run From Any Builder Who Says It Is.

I’m here to tell you that the custom home building process is not perfect. It’s never going to be perfect.

I built four times for my family, and I’ve never built myself a perfect home.

Have I tried to build a perfect custom home?

Yes, and I’ll continue to try. Yes. Cleveland Custom Builders will always try. We’ll try to make your home the most important home and try to be as perfect as possible, of course, but the custom home building process is never perfect. As a custom home building client, you can’t expect perfection. That’s why we have a builder’s 1-year warranty.

I don’t know if you get a warranty on a heart. I wouldn’t want a heart replacement. I would like it to work and be what it is, but we have to have a warranty for a new construction home because it’s a different animal.

Homebuilding has different rules, different regulations. There are different processes when building a custom home. A lot of things are coming from the numerous environments we just can’t control. They’re coming from specific locations you can’t control. And so you need to understand home building materials and how they interact with each other upfront.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance

I’ll bring it up again; proper planning prevents poor performance. Cleveland Custom Builders is setting the right expectations for you or anyone planning to build a custom home in Northeast Ohio. That’s what it is.

The trades are going to stand behind the 1 year home warranty. The suppliers are going to stand behind it. I’m going to stand behind it because it’s the right thing to do. And by the way, I’m contractually obligated because I include a one-year warranty with all my custom home builds. So I’m going to include the home warranty, which is limited. Of course, it’s limited, but I tell you that it’s bumper to bumper covers a lot of stuff.

Expect A 1-Year Bumper to Bumper Home Warranty

Cleveland Custom Builders includes a home warranty on every contract because it’s essential for my custom home building clients to understand that you have a warranty. Yes, there some builders out there that don’t include a warranty in this day and age.

Lots of builders still don’t include a warranty. I think it’s foolish. I wouldn’t buy from them. Why would you buy from a builder that doesn’t offer a warranty? That’s just hog poop nonsense.

I mentioned all this stuff at the beginning of the finished stage because more things come together here. Like I said before, you’re going to see potential issues and concerns before me. That’s OK. Don’t try to contact me at 10 o’clock at night because I’m not going to answer your text. I may, but I’m home with my family, respect my family. Like I will be respecting yours.

I will call you first thing the next morning or by midday at the latest. I do return my calls, emails, or texts within 24 hours. It’s important. If I don’t call back promptly, you can expect something went wrong, but I try to respond. I try to do the right thing. I really do.

OK. Nothing is the end of the world in the home building business. Nothing is the end of the world.

What do I mean by that?

Boy, have I lived a lot of things. Oh, I remember one of the first subdivisions I built, no kidding. What one of the homeowners flushed, you know what, down the toilet by accident. And I had a manhole cover literally hovering, hovering above the ground with sewage popping out of it. It was pushing the metal cover-up. There was such a backup between two manholes. I had the manhole here in a manhole here with one in the middle. I know the clog was in between the two, and literally, it was pushing a metal manhole cover up because it had so much pressure built up. I have seen a lot of stuff. I dug a hole 40 foot deep, filled it with premium stone. Anything could be figured out during the custom home building process. It’s OK; we’ll get through the construction of your home.

My point is there are emergencies. There are not emergencies. There are emergencies and there are not emergencies.

A piece of trim being off, an outlet, not working because the GFI popped, a paint drip on the new wood floor, squeak in your floor, a gap in your flooring is not an emergency. We’ll figure out a remedy. We’ll work through the custom home building process together.

Sometimes things acclimate, sometimes things move while other things twist. We’re in Cleveland, Ohio, building custom homes. We have four seasons of change. Through those seasons, various weather conditions that change things shrink things, expand things shrink.

Materials will get narrower, things expand during different weather conditions. So we work together, you and Cleveland Custom Builders.

I tried to talk about working together through the entire process custom home building process, so we’re on the same page.

By the finish stage, of course, you’ve probably had all your selections in because you follow the rules, and everything’s going as quickly as possible. And boy, we’re crushing the schedule.

Where are we at on change orders?

Do we, do we know where we’re at a change orders?

Buildertrend Simplifies Your Custom Home Build

Yes, we do. I use a program called Buildertrend, and I’ll use it forever because it’s a great program. All our documents, all our interactions go in builder trend—even your contract. We put everything in Buildertrend. It’s our specifications, pictures, certain things you supplied and certain things I include. It’s your dashboard for your custom home build. It’s Cleveland Custom Builders dashboard for our custom builds. Do you understand the difference? I’m working off a building process platform. My trades and suppliers are working off the same dashboard for our custom home build for you. It’s your dashboard for your home build because this is what I need you to pay attention to. You need to understand what I need during a specific time during the custom home building process. I’ll send individual emails, updates to you through Buildertrend. It’s where we track our changes.

How’re the new builds and remodels doing with the COVID delay?

We forget that things were shut down for two months. You need to know that things were shut down for two months. The bank needs to know that things were shut down too. Why? I’m here to protect you; I’m here to protect us. That’s why Buildertrend is our dashboard and your dashboard because it tracks the home building progress.

Why should the bank add interest to your construction loan payments knowing things were shut down? We haven’t been able to do anything for two months. You’re in the middle of drywall, and we couldn’t do anything for two months because no one was allowed to go out and work. Trades were not allowed to work because they didn’t have the proper procedures in place. We didn’t know what those procedures were or if cabinets were being made. And all of a sudden, our state was shut down. No one showed up to work when they could because, unfortunately, many trades were getting paid more to sit at home on unemployment than to come to work.

Why should you be penalized for that? Why should a custom home builder be punished for that? We shouldn’t be.

The custom home building process is about trust and being fair.

So my point is no matter what, I’m going to try to, and I don’t always do it. I’m not perfect. Like I said before, but I will try to communicate as much as we possibly can. Notes, changes, and costs. Obviously, whenever we add a cost, it always adds time.

If we move forward with a contract to build your custom home, I’ve got all my vendors and trades looking at Buildertrend, and they’re pre-ordering things. Suddenly, you want to change your trim from a three and a half-inch trim to a five-inch trim casing.

Well, Cleveland Custom Builders has to undo what was already done months ago in the pre-planning when the custom home building process started. It’s fine. We can do it, but that’s why it costs money to do it. And of course, it costs time.

So, Buildertrend shows the weather and forecasts. It offers many, many different things. I do post the schedule sometimes. Ultimately schedules kind of move the sketches, a tool, just like a hammer. I utilize a schedule at certain points in time. We’ll post it at specific points in time, especially when you’re involved, because I do allow the clients to be involved.

What do I mean by that?

For example, cousin Jimmy can supply the floors and save you some money. You know what, let’s get Jimmy involved to provide the flooring. I’d like to post that to Buildertrend because sometimes cousin Jimmy doesn’t work off a schedule. It could be whatever name, the point is.

We all need to follow the custom home building schedule.

I understand the schedule, the trades, but excuse me, what Jimmy does is a little lean. Jimmy doesn’t know the other trades. We’re all relying on Jimmy, and you’re relying on me to run a schedule to get your custom house built on time without extra costs. We’re introducing cousin Jimmy to save the money. Jimmy needs to understand he also needs to be on time because it’s all about time and money, right. So we have to work together to understand schedules and avoiding delays that are not necessary.

So as we finish up the process and get ready for your homeowners’ orientation. You and Cleveland Custom Builders are obviously meeting a lot during the finish stage.

Just try to really understand that again. I’m going to hit on things not being perfect with your new custom home. You’re going to see things that may need to be corrected before me. The custom home building process is not going to be perfect. We’re going to get pretty darn close, but we’re going to work through anything that comes up during the home build together.

So we get into the final stages, and we’re getting ready to transfer keys.

All change orders have to be paid in full before we can hand over keys and ownership. So that way, monies are whole, and everyone who has been working on your custom home is getting paid properly.

At the end of your custom home building process, we work on the final orientation. It’s what we call our list of discrepancies.

What Is A Discrepancy?

There’s a light switch that needs to be switched out and become a dimmer switch because a special dimmer we ordered is on backorder, and it’s coming in after close. There’s a chandelier that we ordered, and it’s been on backorder because it’s made in a particular location. A cabinet door had a ding in it, and we are waiting for the new one to arrive. Those are different examples that would go a list of discrepancies.

As I mentioned, being in Cleveland, Ohio, we have four seasons of weather happening. There are certain times of the year where your house is going to come to a conclusion.

What Is A Weather Letter?

We’re going to move you sometimes in the winter. You may not have a driveway, a final grade on your yard, or exterior painting because of the cold weather. For example your doors not being painted, your porch posts not being painted or your, nice wood ceiling in your covered porch is not painted. Cleveland Custom Builders will put those on a weather letter. The weather letter, just like the orientation, allows us to close your home and move forward a hundred percent with the monies being transferred to the builder from the bank. These items may not be 100% complete on the exterior, but they will get done when weather permits and you live in the home. The weather letter is typical during a winter close, but they are not aware this takes place in our area for many new home building clients.

So you can close 100% knowing that legally again, being fair and, and honest about the transfer of ownership from the bank.

Because again, it’s a construction loan to your ownership. You can move into the home, but the builder is obligated through the bank and holding these items, whether discrepancies or a weather letter, to get completed once the weather is favorable.

Cleveland Custom Builders will set timelines with each client to get the incompleted items recorded completed, knowing the schedule may move.

What if we have a horrible winter or wet spring?

I remember the 2018 spring. We had our first full week of no rain on the second full week of July. Cleveland went from snow to rain. One week in may of decent weather, we had one week, but it was still too damp to touch a yard with equipment.

I couldn’t have put a grade on a home from prior closings until the first week of July. That meant everyone had to wait to seed or put the landscape in until September. Fall is probably the best time to install and get the best life expectations and expectancy out of their yard and landscaping.

So again, we worked through that lousy weather climate and numerous delays, and our home building clients understood. I try to pay attention and bring all these different things up to set expectations with your custom home building process. Cause I’ve been there, and I understand. I know what it takes. Just trust that I know what it takes because I know things, and I’m working through it. We will work through your custom home building process.

After we close your new custom built home, things will come up.

That’s OK. Shrinking and expanding materials in your custom home is OK. Things are gonna come up new homes will not be perfect in the 1st year.

You’re now living in your newly built home 24, seven, 365 days. I’m leaving at the end of the day. At the end of the workday, four, six sometimes depend on trades, the same thing living there you hear a squeak. You hear a noise at three o’clock in the morning. You wake up at six, you hear something, you notice certain things. That’s OK.

I’m going to help you properly record anything taking place in your home that doesn’t seem right in the 1st year. I’m going to ask you which cabinet is your most used cabinet for daily use.

Whether it’s a dish cabinet, it could be your vitamins or necessary prescriptions. We’re going to put a blank sheet of paper inside the cabinet door along with your homeowner’s maintenance schedule.

Did you just say the homeowner’s maintenance schedule?


I said homeowner maintenance because I built you a new custom house. That’s great. And it’s going to be great. Trust me. It’s going to be great, but you’re still obligated to maintain your newly built home. You still have to change your furnace filters. You still have to check and oil your hinges and your garage door wheels. Things need to be maintained. It’s brand new, just like a car. You have to maintain your new home just like you maintain other things your care for.

Maybe some of you are building for the first time. Perhaps some of you know what I’m talking about with regards to home maintenance. The key is I try to be the builder that sets the right expectations and is proactive.

So I’m going to put the maintenance list on the inside of the most used cabinet door. It’s going to remind you month by month of those different items you need to do to maintain your home.

What’s the blank sheet of paper for?

I’ll tell you what their blank sheet of paper is for; you note certain things that need attention at the one-year follow-up with Cleveland Custom Builders.

We have post-its, we have texts. We can do a lot of that stuff might get lost before I’m coming back in a year. I’m coming back in one year to complete the warranty list. So in twelve months time, a lot of things are going to transpire. So it’s one location for you to go to write those certain items on a sheet of paper.

This one location organizes those items, your thoughts, and because the kids are screaming for breakfast and they want to get…, Oh wait, that’s my house. Haha.

They want to eat and get to school or practice. I try to make these lists accessible for you to go, make notes, and pay attention to items you need to monitor. It could be the dry erase board that you write on real quick and then transfer those notes to that sheet of paper. But ultimately, if they’re a year, I’m going to grab that sheet of paper from you.

We’re going to walk through that list. We’re going to make a punch list. We’re going to take care of those drywall touch-ups, nail pops, that squeaky door, that loose hinges, that loose handle, whatever may come up, we’ll take care of it. Cause that’s what we do. That’s part of your warranty. That’s what you purchase from Cleveland Custom Builders. The warranty is as important if not more important than the custom home build itself. You’re going to be satisfied and happy that Cleveland Custom Builders will stand behind the home they built a year earlier.

Now there are other warranties beyond a 1-year bumper to bumper warranty.

You can purchase a two 10 warranty. You can buy a professional builder warranty, and those are great. We can talk about those as well, but ultimately I purchased the HBA one-year warranty for all Cleveland Custom Builder clients.

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