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5 Ways We Save Time while Building a Custom Home in 2023

January 30th, 2023

By Francisca Alonso

8 min read

Are you considering building a new custom home, but are concerned about how much of your own time it will consume?

We get it.  Building a new home is a major commitment and a massive  project that can take a lot of time and energy.

So much so that many people who start down the journey of building a custom home  never finish once they realize just how much of their time and commitment that a project of this scale takes.

At AV Architects + Builders, we believe that building the home of your dreams shouldn’t suck up all of your time.

We’ve been creating custom homes for people in Northern Virginia for over 20 years, and when speaking with a new prospect about the process of designing and building a custom home, the personal time commitment is still one of the most common worries we hear about starting a custom build project.

Many of our clients are concerned that they will have to dedicate an exorbitant amount of time to managing the  project themselves. From answering questions they don’t know how to answer from dozens of different vendors and contractors, to having to make millions of decisions at each stage of the process , to figuring out how to select all  materials and finishes, it’s no wonder why so many people sadly end up not choosing to start a custom build

As an Architect-led Design-Build firm, we’ve helped dozens of clients design, build and complete their dream custom home build  through our uniquely tailored 5 step process that removes the hassle, headache and overwhelm out of building a custom home.

You’re about to build the home of your dreams and we want you to feel empowered about your  project instead of having to spend your time managing it.

So in this article, we’ll walk you through the 5 step process that we’ve developed to save you time when building your custom home so that you can get back to doing what you love.


1. Locating a Lot – Why does it feel like there is no land in Northern Virginia?

Many clients feel overwhelmed at the prospect of finding the right lot in this area and we often hear “there is no land” or “there are just no good lots left.”

We disagree! You just have to know where to look and what to look for.

There are many factors to take into consideration when searching for the right piece of land to build your dream home on.

We alleviate the stress of this search by helping our clients look for land from the start. As licensed realtors, we have access to a database of off-market lots and teardowns to consider.

Purchasing a Lot with an Existing Home vs. a Teardown vs. Empty Land

Many people aren’t aware of the difference between purchasing a lot with an existing home on it, a tear-down, and a piece of empty undeveloped land.

There are different sets of steps required and costs associated with preparing each respective site for construction.

There are benefits to purchasing a lot with a tear-down. When a lot already has an existing home on it there is already a cleared home site, utility connections are typically established or available, and minimal tree clearing and dirt removal are required.

This keeps site costs lower than when compared to the costs required to prepare an empty piece of land for a new home build.

2. Technology is Key: Using 3D Modeling and Virtual Reality

Once we find the lot, it can be difficult to visualize how your future home will fit on the property.

Many clients are hesitant to purchase a lot without knowing how their home will be situated on it and if it is the right site.

To combat this concern, we use a 3D modeling tool to drop a concept of the house on the land so we can see how the house is going to be sited on the property. Light and orientation are very important to our design philosophy.

The topography of the land is heavily taken into consideration when deciding where to place the home for optimal orientation. This process allows us to connect the dots between the land and the future house by avoiding buying the land “cold.”

3. Your Location does not Limit Your Options

Are you considering moving to a new state or country and want to build a new home there, but are unsure of how to do that when you haven’t made the move yet?

Do you move first and then rent somewhere to live while your new home is being built?

Do you purchase an existing home sight unseen and just hope for the best?

Taking advantage of technology and all the capabilities that come with remote meetings offer a solution.

Although we are located in Northern Virginia, we have catered to clients internationally.

How do we do that?

We create concept designs that can be reviewed in a virtual reality format remotely. You don’t have to be here in our office or even in the country to go through the design of your house. We have successfully done this for clients who live as far as South Africa! We can go through every phase of the design and build process with you remotely and you will still feel as involved in the process as if you were local.

Using technology to our advantage to connect the physically distant is key to building custom in 2023.

4. Unlimited Material Selections Made Easy

When working with a custom home architect and builder, it is important to consider the basic differences between custom, semi-custom, and production-level building.

Some clients don’t realize what true custom building entails and then get turned off by the overwhelming realization that no material selection is off-limits.

Semi-custom and production builders typically offer their clients choices from a pre-selected set list of materials that they use to build all their homes. So you can choose cabinets A, B, or C; countertops 1, 2, or 3; and floors X, Y, or Z.

Many people find this type of builder to be a better fit as they are not looking for that level of craftsmanship.

As true custom builders, there is no limit to the options for material selections that we offer in your home.

That being said, we know how overwhelming of a task it can seem to have to choose every material making up your new home.

That is why we have developed our material selections LookBook.

It is important to work with a custom builder that takes the time to get to know you and your style so they can provide ample material suggestions based on interests that you’ve expressed in previous meetings.

We share our advice and insight on the best materials for your home based on your lifestyle and maintenance preferences. Our clients can review the LookBook digitally at their convenience or in our office.

The best part is, we make all material selections for your home before even breaking ground!

5. Turn-Key Service

We guide our clients from start to finish, from finding the perfect lot to handing them the keys. We manage all permitting and engineering requirements, carefully crafting your plans from one stage to the next. Many factors come into play when determining the timeline of a new custom build project. The permitting stage often leaves the project at the mercy of the county as processing rates fluctuate. It is important to work with a builder that is knowledgeable of the local permitting requirements and has a strong process in place for managing the paperwork involved with getting a project approved by the county at each step.

We take initiative in this process by getting ahead of any potential roadblocks. As architect-led builders, we understand the importance of the relationship between the design phase and the construction phase. This knowledge allows us to seamlessly transition from design to build without any disconnect between your architect and your construction supervisor. We use an online project management tool that allows our clients to track the schedule of their project and watch progress be made from anywhere in the world!

Ready to start building?

You probably came to this article because you’re interested in building a custom home, but are unsure where to start or what to look for and worried about wasting your time and money.

Now that you’ve read more about what is important to consider when selecting a custom home builder, you can assess your needs and find the right architect and builder for your project goals.

To learn more about how AV Architects + Builders mitigate these common concerns to help save you time and money, contact us today!

Photography by: ©️ Maxwell MacKenzie


Published on January 30th, 2023