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FAQs

Breven Homes
Frequently Asked Questions

To properly estimate the scope of a custom home takes builders 30-60 hours of work. There are costs involved with pre-construction, for example, engineering your foundation and calculating material takeoffs to get proper pricing on all the labor and materials. Breven Homes includes the following in our PBAs:

– Engineering
– Soil Tests (if needed)
– Surveys (topographic, tree, etc.)
– Renders
– Construction drawings
– Job schedule
– Allowances for selections
– Building approvals
– Development approval

Upon completion of the PBA, we will deliver a comprehensive fixed-price building contract proposal. You are not required to build with Breven Homes if you sign a preliminary building agreement but then choose not to sign a building contract with us. If you do decide to move forward and build with Breven Homes, then we will credit the cost of the PBA towards the building contract.

A preliminary building agreement is needed to provide a fixed-price contract, allowing you to not stress about costs throughout the entirety of the project. A fixed price contract also allows us to guarantee a handover date. Any builder that provides a fixed-price contract without doing the pre-construction work puts you and themselves at great risk of running into major issues later on in the project.

A concept agreement is where we work together with you and one of our preferred architects to bring your dream home from your head to paper. As three parties, we will help you develop the floor plan, and exterior renders. Breven Homes focuses on value engineering during this stage. Value engineering is the term we use to provide suggestions to help you get what you want in your home but also stay within your budget. We utilize our experience to work on reducing costs at this stage while balancing all of your needs and wants!

Our deliverables include a floor plan, exterior rendering, an interactive VR experience, and a cost estimate. A cost estimate is strictly an estimate. This is a ballpark figure that will be provided as a range. To get to a fixed-price, we would need to do all the work included in the next phase of building, the preliminary building agreement, or PBA.

We guarantee your design will meet your budget, or we’ll redesign it until it does!

Because we did all the preconstruction work during the PBA (preliminary building agreement), we’ve built out a detailed schedule for our subcontractors and suppliers that we expect them to follow and adhere to. We have built-in delays for unexpected events like weather and holidays. These delays happen in every single project.

It is not in Breven Homes’ best interest to delay completion on your home. Every day the project is delayed, it costs us a lot of money! We want to finish the home as fast as possible, on schedule without sacrificing quality.

We have utilized all of our past projects and the actual costs for those selections to give you a fair, but reasonable allowance for each of your selections. We’ve built homes as small as 2300 sq ft and as large as 4700 sq ft, so we have a wide range of sizes and allowances. Likewise, we have found that regardless of what amount of money we have set in an allowance for a particular selection, it is possible to go over that amount.

We are a family-run business who finds great passion in helping families, young and old, design and build their dream custom home. The experience is so important to us because we’ve heard and seen first-hand so many terrible experiences and that’s not how building a custom home should go. You are spending a lot of money on your home and if you put your trust in Breven Homes, we promise not to let you down!

Absolutely! The earlier you partner with us, the more efficient we can help make the entire process. More times than we can count, homeowners come to us with a plan set and/or land, and we have to go back and make changes on work that has already been completed.

Yes, we will provide a complete and detailed estimate with your existing plan set if both Breven Homes and you are ready to move forward with a preliminary building agreement.

We partner with an interior design team that helps manage all of your selections. On most custom homes, there are 200+ selections. It can seem overwhelming but our designers break it all down and keep everything very organized so you can feel comfortable about your selections.

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In residential real estate, we all love to talk in terms of price per square foot, right? It is a way to try and compare the prices of different sized houses. For homes that have already been built, this is a valuable number to understand and use to compare one home to another. For new custom home construction, during the planning and budgeting stage, the price per square foot can be a very misleading number, especially when comparing bids from multiple home builders. So why is this?

The price per square foot before any project has begun is just an estimate. Included in this estimate are $100,000s in allowances for selections like flooring, cabinets, electrical fixtures, etc. You need to make sure that the allowance amounts are reasonable and in-line with the final value of the finished home. For example, a $5,000 appliance allowance that only allows you to buy the cheapest appliances for a $2M+ house will probably leave you feeling upset and frustrated. You’re going to have to go way “over budget” from the original estimate to get the appliances you want that match the rest of your home, thus increasing the final cost/sq ft.

The cost per square foot is very important to understand, but it’s just as important to realize that comparing the price/sq ft from one builder to another is something you have to be very meticulous about.

Make sure you are asking a lot of questions and clearly understanding what is and isn’t included in your estimate. We at Breven Homes put very detailed estimates together and then walk you through the estimate line by line to make sure you feel comfortable with everything that is there. At the end of the day, picking a custom home builder is no easy decision, and you need to go with a company that you trust and have open communication with.

No matter how much money you have, most people still have a budget and an idea of how much they feel comfortable spending on their dream custom home. Of course, inflation is impacting every part of the economy, and home building is certainly not immune to these challenges. In a typical custom home project, Breven Homes has about 400-500 individual costs/transactions over the course of 12+ months. These transactions are either for service/labor or construction materials and supplies. We are constantly reviewing our subcontractors and suppliers to ensure we are getting the most value from them. In our experience, going with the cheapest subcontractor often creates other headaches like very poor craftsmanship or major issues with customer service. Breven Homes’ job is to “value engineer” your project. Value engineering is the exercise of focusing on the cost vs benefits/service/support to make sure we are balancing quality, time, and budget.

A detailed quote/bid should be very detailed in terms of what is and is not included within that final cost. Details that should be included are allowances and how much money is allocated to each allowance item. How payment is expected to be made if the homeowner decides to go over the allowance amount during selections. The expiration date of the bid. Costs are constantly changing, and choosing a home builder takes time. It needs to be clear when the quote/bid is no longer valid because costs need to be requoted.

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Professional homebuilders are builders that have experience with a wide variety of custom home projects, but also have their back-office and operations in order. Many builders love to build homes but aren’t great with their office and organization, ultimately impacting your experience with that builder. At Breven Homes, we have clear roles and responsibilities to ensure that in all aspects of our operations, everyone does their job to the best of their ability, on-time, every time.

As you embark on your journey of building a custom home you will certainly get into discussions with your builder regarding the stages and components of the home.

Here are some of the common terms used in residential construction to help you better understand the lingo:

Soffit: The roof by necessity, will oftentimes extend over the walls of your home. This overhang can go by a few names, such as the house eaves or the rafters of your roof. The underside of this overhang, when given a finished appearance, is known as the soffit, which means “something fixed underneath”.

Furr down: An enclosed area of drywall below the ceiling. Often used between the ceiling and the top of kitchen cabinets.

Fascia: A horizontal board positioned on edge and attached to the ends of the roof rafters or truss ends where gutters are typically supported. This is called an eave fascia. Fascia placed on the end of a gable roof end is called gable fascia.

R-rating: Insulation ratings are measured in R-values per inch of thickness. An R-value tells you how well a type of insulation can keep heat from leaving or entering your home. Insulation R-values vary based on the type, thickness and density of the insulation material. Typically, a higher insulation R rating means better climate control and better energy efficiency for your home. A higher insulation R-value usually means a higher price point as well.

For every type and material of insulation, check the R-value per inch of thickness that the manufacturer has listed. In general, the insulation’s method of installation can give you an idea of how it compares to other types of insulation.

Here are the installation methods from lowest to highest average R-value per inch:

● Blown-in (or loose-fill) insulation
● Insulation blankets (batts and rolls)
● Spray foam insulation
● Foam board insulation

Cornice: the exterior trim of the home
Grading: Slopes in the terrain around a structure that help support positive drainage

Beam: A framing member usually significantly larger than other framing members that carry roof or floor loads over a certain span.

Bearing Wall: Any wall that carries a structural load.

Casing: Pieces of wood trim surrounding a window or door.

Coffered Ceiling: A coffered ceiling generally follows the underside of the roof planes up to a specific height where the ceiling is then flattened.

Edge Flashing: The metal trim that is placed on the edge of the roof covering the seam between the roof plan on the eave and the fascia board. Sometimes referred to as drip edge.

Frieze: A trim member placed at the top of an exterior wall where the soffit of an eave and the wall surface meet.

Joist: A horizontal framing member usually spaced at a regular interval and used to support a floor or ceiling.

Rafter: An inclined roof framing member extending from the eave to the ridge of the home. The rafters support the exterior roof surface and snow loads.

Stud: A vertical framing member usually used to create walls.

Top Plate: A horizontal framing member placed at the top of the wall studs to carry the ceiling joists or rafters.

Transom Window: A window that is placed above a doorway.