1. We’re thinking about building a custom home, but have never built before. What are the things we should consider?
Some considerations are the same for building a home and buying an existing home, such as location, affordability and the suitability of the home for your lifestyle. Building a custom home opens up an incredible and exciting array of possibilities for people who have looked at these options and found they don’t meet their needs or they just don’t fulfill that vision or dream. When building a custom home, you need to be prepared to commit some time, especially in the planning stage. This is where your list of “must haves,” “like to haves,” and “if we could only” features begin to take shape. One of the key elements of custom home-building success is in the high degree of communication between the builder and homeowner. During construction, you will need to make a myriad of decisions on the details. And in every project of this size, there usually are some unexpected challenges, including weather. So be prepared to continue your commitment of time. Fortunately, it almost always is an exciting and rewarding challenge, with the resulting custom home being a reflection of you.
2.How is Russ Doucette Custom Home Builders different from other home builders?
We build only a handful of homes each year so that every project gets personalized attention. Russ Doucette, owner and founder, will work directly with you from start-to-finish, and then work hard to make sure you’re still satisfied after you’ve moved in. We build homes like they were our own. To us, each house isn’t a home until everyone is willing to put their signature on it.
3. What is a design-build, and why should I choose it?
Design-build companies handle both the design and construction of custom homes. The entire process, from initial planning to final finishings, is handled by a single company. This is less expensive than working with a separate designer and builder. Design-build also promotes better communication and prevents misunderstandings. The house you envision is the house you get.
We are here to guide you through the building process and create a hassle-free environment conducive to building the perfect custom home. It all starts with a complimentary consultation with Russ to discuss your ideas, concepts, etc. for your new custom home. The first meeting with your custom home builder is always an important one. We want you to feel excited and informed about building your new home. If you have already purchased a lot, Russ may want to walk the lot with you and assess the feasibility for building on that site. The first meeting is also the time to discuss floor plans, preliminary budget, financing, the building process, any unique needs and styles, and time tables for the project.
5. How long will it take and how much will it cost?
As you can imagine, this depends on the type and size of the project. Russ believes that time spent with customers to plan their dream home is key to ensuring there are no disappointing surprises. A large custom home might take a year to design and build. A small renovation could take a few weeks, while a large renovation might last six months or more. Keep in mind that this is custom work. Every detail is designed and built exactly to your specifications. That level of craftsmanship and attention to detail required to build a dream home takes time.
6. How do we know if the project we are envisioning is within our target budget?
This is at the very heart of the design-build process. We have been working with the same contractors, in some cases for 25 years or more. We have compiled vast amounts of data from previous projects, and have experience in all types of residential work. From this we can quickly estimate project costs and decide which direction to head.
7. What if we make a change in the middle of the project?
Besides regular planning and update calls and meetings during the project, Russ makes sure you can reach him, and that he can reach you. We understand the busy schedules of our customers, and will go out of our way to facilitate convenient times and ways to meet or talk to you. Although rigorous planning usually uncovers all elements of design and technical issues, sometimes ideas occur or a change in a product or feature is desired after construction is started. In these cases, Russ and his team will work with you to explore options and identify the best solution. The resulting change may or may not require additional costs, but in all cases you and Russ will agree on a documented plan of action so there are no miscommunications or surprises. Because of the high degree of collaboration, many of our customers have found that their changes are identified early enough to avoid major impacts to the schedule or budget.
8. What is your geographic range for design and construction projects?
Generally, we build within a 50 mile radius of Scarborough, Maine.
9. Will you work on any size project?
No project is too big or too small for us to tackle. Whether your budget is $200,000 or $2,000,000, we get as much house out of the budget as we can. We can usually schedule smaller renovations and remodels in between the larger projects. We work on older homes, newer homes, any style of home that can be imagined.
10. What is your policy regarding follow-up service? Do you have a warranty?
By law, we have to offer a one-year warranty on our work. Our warranty goes way beyond the one year. We stand behind our products and workmanship 100% and will respond to any questions you may have regarding either.
11. How long have you been in business?
Russ Doucette Custom Home Builders has been building and renovating homes since 1980.
12. How do you handle problems?
As with any complex building project, unexpected things can happen. Because of the close working relationship you will have with Russ Doucette, most issues never escalate into problems. Russ and his team have a keen sense of detail and a dedication to follow-through on action items and issues that even the most discriminating customers have come to trust. When a house is completed, you and Russ will conduct a detailed walk-through to identify any finishing touches. The items on this “punch list” are scheduled and completed to coordinate with your move-in and with your schedule in mind. You will find that Russ is “on call” long after you move in to help make sure you are satisfied with your home.
13. Do you have a particular building style?
No, we work with each customer to design their unique home. Some customers come to us with a very detailed list of features and know what style home they want. We work with each customer to find out how they intend to use the home and what features are most important to them (ex. Do they need big spaces for formal dining and entertaining, a chef-style kitchen, a cozy library, a spa-like master suite, etc.).We will advise you if we feel your home plan includes wasted space or based on our experience, elements that may make it unattractive to future homeowners.
14. Do you have references and past customers we can talk to?
We would be happy to provide you with a list of past customers at your request. We also have customers who will allow a walk-through of their home. We encourage you to talk to other customers and view other projects we have completed before making your decision.