Potential clients come to us in a variety of ways: after seeing a sign at one of our lots, with a recommendation from a friend or neighbor. Usually the first touchpoint is a phone call from the client. From there we schedule a meeting at our office. We really enjoy the opportunity to meet with our potential clients, where we can shake their hands, get to know them, tell them about ourselves and learn what they desire in their new home. They will leave our office with an understanding of our current lot positions and current Spec Home portfolio, as well as some general pricing. Often this informal meeting will end with a game plan to stay in touch as we begin the process of finding the best lot for their new home.
Although sometimes a client will come to the table with their own lot, most of the time they are without a lot, and the following process contemplates the latter. Once one of our lots is chosen, a Lot Hold deposit will be placed to reserve it, and this is often a client’s first cash-outlay in the process. Although the Lot Hold document is only a simple one-page agreement, it combined with the Sellers Services Agreement which engages Shaddock Caldwell to attend architect sketch meetings, is an important step which advances us to the next phase. The Sellers Services fee is the second cash-outlay for the client.
This next meeting will take place at the architect’s office, and is usually fun and spirited. It’s a very exciting part of the design development process, in which creative collaboration between the clients, architect and a Shaddock Caldwell team member will produce the initial design concept for a client’s new home. Potential clients will usually leave the first meeting with a to scale sketch that will give them a very good idea of how their dream home will lay out on this particular lot, along with the approximate square footage and often a sketch of the exterior elevation.
After two or three sketch meetings, the process moves toward preliminary pricing. At a following meeting we will review the standard Shaddock Caldwell specifications and begin to customize those specifications to match a client’s desired finish-out. Shaddock Caldwell will then “marry” the design sketch to the customized specifications in order to give preliminary pricing on the home. All this occurs within a few weeks of our first connecting point. We are able to produce very accurate preliminary pricing, and we often find this early pricing to be within a few thousand dollars of the final contract price down the road.
Once the preliminary pricing is presented, most often the client elects to move forward with having the architect transfer the design sketch into computer aided design (CAD). The cost to go to CAD drawings are the client’s third cash-outlay. After several review and refinement meetings to improve and finalize these CAD drawings, the Construction Documents (CD’s) are created. Shaddock Caldwell sends these CD’s out to bid with our vendors and suppliers in order to acquire pricing.
After all pricing is in, and the official contract price is established, potential clients will come in to the Shaddock Caldwell office for a pricing presentation meeting. During this meeting, clients will choose allowances for the interior and exterior finishes such as granite, tile and flooring, plumbing fixtures, lighting and landscaping.
Once the contract is approved by the client and signed, 10% of the contract price is required at that time. In addition to the 10%, any difference between the contract price and the third party construction appraisal amount is required. This is the fourth cash outlay and the first significant one for the client. (For example, if the contract price is $1m and the appraisal comes in at $900,000, a client would pay the 10% ($100,000) plus the difference ($100,000) for a total of $200,000.)
Following a signed contract, the clients will partner up with our Licensed Interior Designer to make the design selections. The design process is very exciting, however, because our unique process requires that the selections and the entire scope of work be defined prior to construction commencing, the hard work begins. This process usually starts with a meet and greet with the Interior Designer over coffee to discuss the design style of your home. Often the second meeting with the Designer will be a trip to the granite supply warehouse, and over the course of several more meetings you’ll go to the Dallas Design District to select tile, plumbing fixtures and lighting at the beautiful vendor showrooms.
Once all these Design Selections are complete and signed, you’ll be back at the Shaddock Caldwell office for several rounds of pre-construction (“redline”) meetings to tidy up all final decisions. For example, light fixture locations, fence locations, closet layouts and any final notes of clarification are placed on the plans at this time. Once all items on our checklist are complete and we are all comfortable that EVERY detail has been covered, the redline plans are signed. Following this event, we do not allow any further changes to the scope of work. Although it takes a high level of diligence, we have found this process is our secret to success in having happy clients and a smooth building process.
From the first time we have the privilege to meet with a client, to this point, is usually about four months. From this point on, the actual construction process takes approximately eight to ten more months.
Because of our unique process during the design phase, the client can now relax and enjoy watching their home being built once construction commences. Short of two additional site meetings during construction (pre-sheetrock and pre-paint walks), the process is in the builder’s hands and minimal effort is required by the client.
We truly work hard to gain understanding of our clients’ desires throughout this process to ensure they are more than satisfied with the finished product. Once the house is complete, a final walk through with the client is done. We strive for a zero item close, which is a result of great systems implemented every step of the way, and thoroughness in every aspect of the project.