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Building a Custom Home

Everything You Need to Know about Custom Home Building

Building a Custom Home with all the amenities that you have always wanted can be an anxiety producing proposition or it can be organized in such a way that the “glitches” can be kept to a minimum. We work through the entire process with you from selecting the lot to handing over the keys to your finished new home. Here are the steps that we will go through:

The first order of business is to obtain financing. Once you have all the financing in place so that you know what size loan you qualify for, what your payments will be, and how the payments to the contractor(s) for work in progress are paid, you will be able to make educated decisions about costs. You will know why there are separate loans for land acquisition and for construction and what a ‘take-out’ loan is.

Now we start looking for a home site. Are you interested in acreage or a suburban sized lot in a gated community? Is foothill living with septic tanks and wells instead of sewers and city water something that you have considered? Once you have chosen the lifestyle and location of the community for your new home we will begin looking for the home site.

Each possible home site will need to be examined for easy access. Are roads already in or do you have to develop and maintain a private road?

Will heavy equipment have any problems getting to the site? What is the best orientation for a building with respect to the sun? Are there any CC&Rs or zoning requirements that restrict use of the lot? What easements are on the property that may restrict its use? Investigating these issues before we write an offer will save time, money, and agony. The general contractor that we have chosen will be a great resource in getting these questions answered for us.

Also in the contract with the general contractor, we will specify that the materials used will provide the most efficient energy use and we will spell out what the cost of change orders will be during construction. Will landscaping be included? Making all these decisions before the contract is drawn up with your general contractor will save time and money.

Designing the home is one of the most important aspects of the process. Who designs the home–can you use ‘stock plans’ or draw plans yourself, or do you need an architect? You will need to spend time doing your “homework”. You can visit production subdivisions to get ideas, read books, watch videos, talk to other people who have built custom homes, order and study magazines with home plans, and talk to architects. You will need to keep in mind the elements that will make the resale of the home possible also.

Fitting the finished product to your budget is also something to keep in mind. A general contractor can give you an idea of cost per square foot (depending on the quality of materials and extras that you want.)

After decisions have been made on the design, the next step is for the contractor to get permits. The cost of the permits will be included in the contract with the general contractor.

We will go over the timing of the project and what inspections will need take place.

We will make sure that your insurance carrier adds coverage for the workers on your job site along with the possibility of worker’s compensation, liability and builder’s risk insurance, if needed. There may be a need for natural disaster insurance during construction. You wouldn’t want to lose your investment because of a brush fire.

We will discuss what liens are, what they accomplish, and how do you protect yourself from them?

Keeping the process under control requires checklists. Using and customizing home-building checklists and scheduling tools to keep the sequence of events organized helps to maintain control of the construction decisions.

The best part happens now — your new home is complete and you move in. We will work together to make your dream home a reality with as few problems as possible.

Put us to work for you…

Building Your Dream Home 101

For those who are interested in becoming actively involved in the design and construction of a new home, we have put together the basic information that you need to know before starting to look for a lot or acreage for your new home. We will take the mystery out of the building process for you. We have the procedures and systems fine tuned.

We help you secure financing, find the perfect home site, introduce you to custom home builders and designers, and continue to advise and help you manage your new home throughout its construction. Below are just some of the most frequently asked questions that we hear from our clients when they are considering the possibility of building a custom home.

If you would like answers to these questions, please indicate your level of interest in the subjects below by choosing one of the buttons. ‘1’ indicates a very high level of interest and ‘4’ indicates no interest.

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4

Site Selection

  • What is the access to the lot?
  • What limitations on equipment and design does the topography entail?
  • What is the best orientation for a building with respect to the sun?
  • How do the CC&R’s restrict the use of the lot?
  • How about zoning requirements?
  • What easements are on the property that may restrict its use?

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4


  • What information do I need to get the necessary permits?
  • What is the cost of permits?
  • What inspections will be necessary and how do I prepare for them?
  • How do I prepare for proper compliance with the applicable building codes?

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4


  • Why are there separate loans for land acquisition and construction?
  • What is a ‘take-out’ loan?
  • How do I pay the contractors as work progresses?

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4


  • What are ‘stock plans’?
  • How are they different from custom plans?
  • Can I draw the plans myself?
  • How do I interact with an architect?
  • How can I make sure that the materials used will provide the most efficient energy use?
  • What is the cost of change orders during construction?
  • What are the principal things I should keep in mind to enhance the resale value of my home?

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4


  • What do I need to know to safely evaluate the various types of construction materials and how do I shop for the
  • best price?

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4

Bids from Contractors and Sub-Contractors

  • What type of contract do I need to have with the general contractor, sub-contractors and material suppliers?
  • How do I check references?
  • What kind of insurance for workers on my job site do I need ?
  • Is worker’s compensation, liability and builder’s risk insurance necessary and where do I find the providers for this
  • type of insurance?
  • What about natural disaster insurance during construction?

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4


  • What are liens, what do they accomplish, and how do I protect myself from them?

Level of Interest

1 2 3 4


Using and Customizing home-building Checklists.

  • How does this scheduling tool help to keep the sequence of events organized and to maintain control of construction decisions?

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Staging Your Home

Your home needs to be ‘Show Ready’.  If work needs to be done to make your home the top rated listing in your neighborhood, do it before it goes on the market.  If a prospective buyer sees that the kitchen floor needs to be replaced, that buyer is going to think that there are other areas that need fixing.  If that buyer is interested in your home, they will start by negotiating for a lower price.

Purchase contracts will also have contingencies in the contract that say that the buyer has the right to bring in a home inspector and/or pest inspector to tell them of any problems.  If their inspector(s) do find problems, they buyer may ask you to pay for all the repairs.

Fight Back

Home Staging

Home Staging is an important part of showcasing your home.  It’s more than just removing all your personal items such as family pictures etc. from the home and decluttering.  Our Agents can walk you through the steps necessary to get the biggest bang for the buck or introduce you to a professional home stager who can arrange furniture and accessories to improve the impression that is made when a buyer walks into your home.  Remember how it feels to walk into a model home where the size of furniture is complementary to the size of the rooms.  Your favorite recliner may fit you perfectly, but it may also be way too big for the room.  You can store the recliner until your new home is ready and in so doing, give the buyer an opportunity to picture his/her recliner in the room.  Let them emotionally ‘move in’.

Pre Listing Inspections

The more you know about your home, the stronger your negotiating position is.  When you have a home inspection and pest inspection before putting the home on the market, you will know (and have written proof of) the condition of your home.  You don’t want to find out after you have a purchase contract from a buyer and have agreed on a selling price, that their home inspector and pest inspector found $10,000 worth of repairs that need to be completed.  At that point, the buyer can walk away if they have a contingency to approve/disapprove any repairs found by inspections.

See What the Buyer Sees

Get in your car and drive around the block.  If you were a buyer driving around your neighborhood for the first time, what would your impression be?

Drive up to your home and park across the street.  What is your impression of your home’s curb appeal?  Look at it with the eyes of a buyer seeing it for the first time.  Is the landscaping neat and healthy?  Is the outside of your home clean and attractive?  Does it need a power wash?

Walk across the street and up to your front door.  Is the entry way inviting?  Remember to look at all this with the buyer’s eyes.  You are no longer looking at your home, but a product that you want to sell quickly and for the most money.

Many times we overlook small things that need to be repaired or freshened up.  We just don’t see them when we live in a home every day.  Chipped paint on the front door?  Would a new rug at the front door and a potted plant make the area more inviting?  How about the crowded closets – will they show as larger closets if you clean them out?  You have to remove all that anyway when you move, so do it now and the buyer will remember the nice neat closets.

The kitchen and bathroom(s) have to be sparkling clean, pet odors non-existent, and fresh flowers or cookies banking in the oven for open houses or showings make a difference.  Leave all the lights on when your Agent is bringing prospective buyers to see your well staged home.  Also, find someplace to go when the Agents are showing your home.  The buyers will not feel like staying around if you are in the house.  Let them see all of the amenities and picture themselves living there.

After maximizing the ‘Wow’ factor, your home is ready for photos.  A well decorated home will shine in professional photos.  Since most people start their search on the internet, photos have become more important than ever.  Great photos also make other marketing materials stand out.

Your home is now ready to ‘be presented’.  If you have been following our Marketrends Reports, you are aware that the market has changed dramatically.  The available homes for sale have dwindled creating a shortage of homes so we are seeing multiple offers throughout the Sacramento area.  This is a big change from the market just a year ago.  Even in a ‘sellers’ market, you still want to present the very best product (your home) so that you can get the highest price possible.

We work side-by-side with you to make sure that you have all the information and choices to maximize your sale.

Put us to work for you today.  Call (916) 965-3300 or email us HERE.

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"We are big enough to make a positive difference in each transaction, but small enough to never lose sight of the fact that everything is about you."



Fernando de la Rosa, President
11707 Fair Oaks Blvd., Suite 300
Fair Oaks, CA 95628

(916) 965-3300 Office

(800) 965-3301 Toll Free

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Area Information

  • Sacramento County
  • Placer County
  • El Dorado County
  • Yolo County
  • Stanislaus County
  • San Joaquin County