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How to Prepare for Building a New Custom Home: An Interview with Terry Southwick of Southwick Construction, Inc.

By Terry Southwick

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

We are primarily a design-build firm. While we are happy to build and work with your architect or designer, we specialize in developing plans together with you for your project. This also extends to renovation services as well; many clients have us complete projects in their home in stages too, i.e., a kitchen reno one year, bath the next. Our plan design and interior selection services are complementary to our clients when they choose to build with us--all under one roof.

What's one of the biggest mistakes you've seen people make during the design process for a custom-built home?

Overbuild or overdesign--trying to incorporate too many elements. The process can be daunting with so many choices, but usually the first and most thoughtful approach is the one that works. This is what we are here for: to help sort out your ideas, incorporate some of ours using our experience over 25 years.

What do you do to help homeowners avoid this mistake?

We try to show as many examples of related work--pictures, site visits to other projects to get the best visualization possible.

What are the basic steps involved in building a custom house? Which one is the most involved and why?

A basic plan theme: even drawn on scratch paper can be inspiring to get the process going and a get a design started. Then lot selection/house orientation is most important. The greatest house plan in the world may not look great on the wrong site. Again, lot selection is something we provide as part of our service to our clients.

What are the most helpful things that people can do when the construction starts?

Trust the process. If you have made the choice to build, work with your professional and allow them to do the best job they can. Not to say you can't be involved every step of the way, but no different than any other professional like a dentist, lawyer, etc., they are the experts so trust them and they will ask you the right questions and work with you to get the result you want. Secondly, communicate. If you are not happy or unsure about something, speak up and be honest. Hopefully you will have a great working relationship with your builder that lasts after the project is finished.

What advice would you give a homeowner who wants to make the most of their budget for their custom home?

Use quality materials from the start--the infrastructure of the house--lumber, windows, insulation, systems. All the pretty things can be upgraded as you go along or at a later date. Don't skimp on quality-- you can't add it back later.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

Our website is with all of our contact info as well as a link to the great design site, Houzz for inspiration.

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About The Author

Southwick Construction, Inc. started in 1989 building traditional, custom homes with...

Phone: 603-964-1904

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