Custom Home Process: The Design Phase

Custom Home Process: The Design Phase

In this issue we dive into Step 3 of our building process mini-series; The Design Phase. The idea of this mini-series was to help prospective home builders find relief to the often stressful process. In the first issue we gave useful tips and tricks for selecting the perfect building site. In the following issue we outlined what we term the creation process, and how to organize your thoughts to ensure the endeavor flows smoothly. With today’s topic, the design phase, we feel we hit the core of why people get stressed out, especially during during the preliminary process, when building a home.

When we talk about the design phase, think floor plans. During this critical step we take all of the ideas and components that you have come up with in the creation process and start sketching and designing your home. We start with rough designs and continue to iron out the details one step at a time until we arrive at a plan that you feel is flawless. When talking about it, the process seems simple enough. However, it is during this time that people often become overwhelmed feeling like they have to get the process right the first time.

So what is the source of all of the anxiety?

The Problem


When individuals build a custom home, they want to make sure the final product is perfect. Who wouldn’t?  After all, the family will be living in that home for the next foreseeable future. Unfortunately,  when a customer gets to the design phase, most custom home builders require customers to pay for a set of plans to be drafted. To compound the problem, there are often fees when the builder has to go back to the architect with any redrafting or changes. With that industry norm in mind, individuals feel pressured to get the house plan right the first time in order to avoid fees and unwanted costs.

Hence the anxiety and pressure.

Our Solution


One of the things we pride ourselves on here at Dennis Miller Homes is breaking industry norms. Custom home builders often charge customers to draft floor plans and make changes because… well… they too are getting charged. It’s not that they’re malicious and are trying to nickel and dime people, it’s simply business.

Lucky for us, we have arguably the best draftsman/architect in the area as part of our team. Because we draft all of our plans in-house, we don’t have to worry about being charged when customers need to make changes. Therefore, our customers are free to make tweaks and adjustments until their house plan is deemed perfect.

Recently, we had a customer tell us that they were charged more than $15,000 for drafting house plans! He couldn’t believe that we were doing all of it for free before he had even signed a contract. He felt so relieved that he could bounce ideas off of us and make adjustments ensuring his floor plan would be just right.

Why is our change in the process such a big deal?

The biggest advantage of this type of process is the stress-free environment customers now have when going through the design phase. There is no need to get they’re house plan perfect the first go around. Instead they can approach the design phase knowing that whatever they start with can be adjusted. This process also becomes an advantage when obtaining a bid.

(Spoiler alert! We’ll talk about the bidding phase next issue)

Tips for the Design Phase


Now that you understand our process a little better and the pressure of getting the design perfect is gone, what is the best way to approach this step of the process? The first step is to bring all of the ideas from the creation phase to us. When we hear you talk about your dreams and desires, in our minds we will be piecing together a design and developing a rough sketch.

From there, we recommend taking a look at other floor plans and seeing different layouts. Like we mentioned in our last post, looking at other floor plans will help get your wheels turning. However, some people have a hard time visualizing how their house will be simply by looking at a floor plan. If you fall into this category, no problem. Come look at some of our previous projects and get real-life visuals. We love when clients walk through the homes we’re working on.


Once we start with a rough sketch, we’ll continue to tweak designs and make needed adjustments. Once you’re satisfied, it’s on to the bidding phase! At Dennis Miller Homes, we want to not only give you an outstanding product, but, like many of our past clients, we also want you to enjoy the journey. We feel that the flexibility of our design phase will leave you more than satisfied.


What are You Waiting For? Design Your Custom Home Today!
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