Can you picture your perfect home? Everyone’s looks a little different. For some, an open-plan beachside oasis with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Pacific Ocean is a dream come-true. For others, a cozy cottage in the woods is their idea of perfection. Others prefer a craftsman bungalow within walking distance to the best shops and restaurants Portland has to offer. 

Whatever your dream home looks like, building a new custom home is the perfect way to make sure where you live is your own slice of paradise. With a custom home, you don’t have to choose between location and interior features. You can choose your lot and design your home the way you want it. It’s important that you work with a builder you can really trust.

Here are a few questions to ask before you decide to work with a custom home builder:


How long have you been building homes?

When it comes to building the perfect home, experience is everything. Before you begin the journey of building your dream home, it’s important to make sure your builder has extensive experience and a reputation to back them up. 

Asking about your potential builder’s level of experience both with building homes in general and in regard to your specific needs and concerns, is one of the most important questions you’ll want to ask.

Of course, it’s also important to consider not only how long a builder has been operating, but also on the quality of work they have produced. It’s recommended that you ask to see portfolios and testimonials from past customers in order to decide if this is the builder for you.


What features are customizable?

Many “custom” home builders don’t truly build custom. Instead, they have a collection of pre-determined plans that you can choose from and build large developments filled with those homes. While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, if you’re looking for a truly custom home that’s designed to suit your specific preferences and lifestyle, you probably need a home builder that builds truly custom homes.

We at Westlake Development will work directly with you to understand exactly what you’re hoping to achieve and design your perfect custom home based on your specific goals.


Can you help me acquire land?

That age-old saying about real estate — “location, location, location” — is true. The neighborhood and type of lot you choose are two of the most important factors to consider whether you’re buying an existing house or building your dream home. It’s important to find a custom home builder who’s committed to helping you understand and navigate the process of acquiring land.

If you want a home with incredible views, many of the best lots in Oregon and Washington are situated on steep slopes. At Westlake Development, we go above and beyond to ensure we conduct a thorough soil and groundwork investigation and an extensive geotechnical evaluation to ensure the structural security and safety of your home.


What are my financing options?

Financing the construction of a custom home is different than financing a traditional mortgage. A typical mortgage involves purchasing an existing home along with the land it sits on; with a mortgage, there are various types of loans, but the process is relatively straightforward.

Building a custom home, on the other hand, generally involves three transactions: a land purchase, a construction loan, and a mortgage. In some instances, these loans are entirely separate, although some institutions offer loan packages. In simple terms, you’ll get a loan to fund the land purchase, a construction loan to fund the building process, and a mortgage to fund the home once you’ve moved in. A good custom home builder will be able to help you understand all your financing options.


How long does the building process take from start to finish?

Building a new home can seem daunting at first, and with busy lifestyles and planning for the future, it’s important to consider how the building process will fit into your timeline. The amount of time it will take to complete your home will depend on a number of factors.

While home building can be unpredictable at times, a good home builder should be able to give you an estimate of how long it will take after discussing your plan. When getting an estimate it’s also a good idea to clarify exactly what part of the process is included. Some home-builders may only include construction in their estimate, but this doesn’t take into account finding land, acquiring permits, design, and other non-construction aspects of home building.


How is the final home cost determined?

There are many benefits of looking into a custom home build. You’ll have more freedom to make your home the way you truly want it, be more involved in design decisions, and be able to build in the location of your dreams without having to account for the limitations of an existing floor plan or layout. However, choosing a custom build also means that there isn’t a flat-rate price. That’s why it’s important to get a sense for how cost will ultimately be determined so you aren’t blindsided by high costs down the road.

In most cases, cost will be determined by factors such as location, the size of the build, and the quality of design features and appliances you choose. Of course, every builder will have a different method for determining an estimate, so be sure to ask about their typical rates before jumping into the process.


Start building your dream home today!

One of the most difficult parts of building a custom home is taking that first step. Building a home can seem daunting, but with the right builder, you can be confident that you’ll achieve the home you’ve always wanted.

With over 30 years of custom building experience, Westlake Development is here to walk you through the entire process. From acquiring land, to creating a design you’ll love, to final construction, we have the experience, knowledge, and motivation to make your dreams a reality.

Contact us online today or call us at (503) 327-8351 to get started!