Current events have affected people very differently across the nation, but they have fomented an unprecedented construction boom in the Carolinas. Questions we receive on a daily basis lately are:
- How much does it cost to build/ what is your cost per square foot?
- Is landscaping and site work included?
- Do you include permitting and design fees in your cost estimates?
- Is unconditioned square footage included in your cost per square foot?
The short answer is, Yes! everything is included. As custom home builders, it really boils down to what you, the client, are looking for and we’ll go from there together.*
So why are people flooding to the area for primary or vacation homes? Maybe it’s the cost of living, the healthy lifestyle emphasis, the greenspace and lot sizes, or a desire to be less exposed to the regulation or disruption in bigger cities – you can draw your own conclusions.
But we anticipate a real labor and material shortage on the horizon as record numbers of new buyers submit inquiries for custom home construction. We’re predicting the crunch to hit in the spring of 2021. Each new request to estimate a set of plans merely adds to the backlog of subcontractor availability, many of whom are sole proprietors that perform work during the day and tend to paperwork at night. Estimating large custom home projects can be tedious and time-consuming. It’s one thing to pour over a plan set during slow times; it’s a different story when they’re covered up with opportunities to bring in cash for their labor.
At Fairview, Chris Hamblen leads our Construction Estimating and Project Management teams for maximum effectiveness. He utilizes several tools to keep the bids coming on schedule:
- Chris does his own takeoffs – it pays to have a Clemson CSM grad at the helm scouring plans for flashing details, material cut/fill sheets, or missing technical information. Chris also consults with Fairview’s Senior Project Manager and Site Superintendent on each job before finalizing an estimate.
- We don’t solicit bids without a contract – now is not the time to ask subs for favors. If you ask for a bid, it better be for a job that is under contract, otherwise, why spend any meaningful time on it?
- Treat subcontractors with respect – we hear all the time that our subs love our management style and team. They want to be respected for their skills and abilities, just like anyone with that much experience would want. We offer that, and they prioritize our needs.
- We pay quickly – Fairview’s standard is Net 21, which is a quicker pay turnaround than many builders offer. We’ll pay even faster if it will help a job finish quicker and a particular subcontractor impresses us with their performance.
- We keep an efficient list of subcontractors – to keep prices in check, we competitively bid every scope of work to 3-4 subcontractors. Any more and we’d risk lower buy-in from our subs because the subcontract award rate would be low for each, and they’d stop taking our requests as seriously. We’re always adding new providers to our bid lists who have shown good quality work and may help keep prices in check as our more experienced tradesmen begin to price themselves out of the market.
So, how can new clients beat the present rush? Here are some suggestions:
- Decide on a plan footprint early – this should be done with consideration to the buyer’s preferred lots. All lots are different and most fit better with particular dimensions, so decide on what type of lot to look for to accommodate the desired house plan. Drew Hamblen leads Fairview’s lot analysis team and can advise you on how to pair your home plan with the lots you’re considering.
- Sign a building contract early – for all the reasons above, you can’t expect a reliable estimate for a custom home if there’s no commitment from you to the builder. Take the time needed to vet your contractor, then empower them to be your advocate with the trade base. Fairview offers two methods of achieving this: a) a full design-build agreement (best when the home plan hasn’t been designed yet) and b) a pre-construction agreement (excellent for getting things moving on the estimate without requiring a large down payment or commitment. This is possible when the client has decided on a home plan that can be estimated immediately)
- Give timely feedback to aid finalizing the plans, specs, and budget. The more clarity we can achieve early, the more interest the subs will have in giving us priority scheduling to help us beat the rush!
It’s a great time to build in the Carolinas, and we’re standing by to help. Don’t drag your feet too long though; the secret is out!
If you are looking for an experienced, custom home builder in the Greenville area, Contact us today!
Few words better describe this new home than transparency. This term applies not only to the expansive glass adorning the home’s envelope, but also to the process whereby unique customers, skilled designers, and experienced project managers exchanged ideas that culminated in a bespoke lakeside residence to remember.
Designs of this caliber are the provenance of our region’s top architects, and for this mountain-transitional style, we could think of none more apt than Scott Crichton of Architecture 224. Working as a design-build team, we performed cost and feasibility assessments as the design progressed and frequently discussed fine-detail execution during the building phase to ensure that each material contact point was thought out fully in advance of installation.
One critical design element is the transmission of light and the lack of view obstruction throughout the home. To this aim, an eight-foot square pivoting glass front door greets visitors who can easily see through to the wall of glass on the home’s rear exterior- all overlooking an infinity-edge pool that appears to blend with lake waters below. A beautiful mono-stringer stair system resides in a glass “tower” that commands the home’s right side. The master shower and tub are flanked by glass on both exterior walls. Light simply spills throughout the home and bids one to look at the beautiful Lake Keowee beyond.
Another key design element is the prevailing use of straight lines, and this was probably the most challenging aspect of the project to oversee. In order to achieve the “knife-edge” appearance with the pool, for example, the tile was sloped into the pool, rather than away, requiring it to have a maximum tolerance of 1/32”. Further, the pool deck is clad in 18” x 36” pieces of limestone, which each required field cutting to ensure consistency in dimension. This theme was repeated inside where single panels of tile up to 9’ long required water-jet cutting precision.
Other outdoor elements include a large but fitting custom chimney shroud, a cantilevered balcony, a zinc roof imported from Germany (a first in our region), and long rain-chains that hang from extended gutters and funnel water to landscaped areas featuring plants from a variety of climate zones. The siding, 1/8” nickel-gapped and pre-finished vertical grain Douglas Fir clads not only the home’s vertical exterior and soffits but also the garage doors as well.
Interior finish details include timbers with hand-forged brackets in the Great Room, a large barn door built of 16” white oak planks which had to be assembled inside the home, multiple linear fireplaces, panelized lighting to eliminate switch banks, handmade tile, custom wood, and stainless steel HVAC floor vents and wall grills, and a vibrant interior design palette by ID Studio Interiors.
The professional satisfaction of bringing all of these design elements and materials together cannot be overstated, and though homes of this complexity are difficult to complete, there’s always reward in knowing how many people came together to pull off a truly unique vision for happy customers.
If you’re looking for a custom home builder in Greenville, contact us or give us a call at 864-836-1133
You may have noticed the Fairview Custom Homes team hard at work in downtown this past year building the newest fixtures of Greenville’s historic Alta Vista neighborhood. Located along Southland Avenue and Woodland Way sat a small enclave of 22 virgin lots – a rare find in such a desirable location. Now, there are three finished homes and seven under construction including two Fairview homes that are for sale. To better introduce the neighborhood, we asked listing agent Tom Marchant of the Marchant company to provide an overview of the project:
In broad strokes, how would you describe the history and vibe of the Augusta Road neighborhood that borders Cleveland Park?
“The general Alta Vista neighborhood was one of the earliest neighborhoods of its stature “outside” of Downtown Greenville. Meaning “high view”, it sits on a hillside overlooking the city center. With the growth and development of Greenville in the past 100 years or so, Alta Vista has consistently been the most sought-after location for residences near Downtown Greenville. In the past 15 or so years, especially the past five years, Alta Vista has seen enormous growth and demand in the way of renovations, teardowns, new construction and such. With the allure and attraction of our incredible Downtown, more and more people want to be in this highly attractive, lush, sidewalk/street-lined neighborhood. The access to Cleveland Park is always a plus with the natural green space it offers and, of course, the more recent addition of the Swamp Rabbit Trail and easy access from multiple areas around the park.”
Why is the Woodland Park location so appealing for new home buyers?
“For all intents and purposes, there has really been no significant developable land in the Alta Vista area. If someone wanted new construction, they would need to find a scarce vacant lot, tear down an existing structure or do a massive renovation. Woodland Park offers buyers the opportunity to purchase a recently platted lot in a planned neighborhood with underground utilities, ready to build in a prime location.”
How much of the neighborhood is still available?
“There are currently eight out of 22 lots still available in Woodland Park with three spec homes under construction.”
Why are there so few new homes in the downtown Greenville for-sale inventory?
“There is simply little to no developable property in the Alta Vista area. You will see projects from time to time in the Downtown area, but due to land costs and zoning, these parcels are better-suited for multi-family (condos or apartments). When you do see a new home, it’s typically because someone has torn down and existing structure and rebuilt. However, buying an existing home to tear down can be pricey.”
What features or components are most desired by new home buyers in Greenville?
“Buyers almost always want a master on the main with as many other important rooms on the main level as well. They also want some level of openness, possibly an elevator, some degree of outdoor living space, high ceilings, high-end kitchen/appliances, good storage, well-insulated and quality construction.”
What percentage of high end homebuyers are looking for move-in ready homes versus a preference to design and build a custom home?
“I would say that in the Downtown area, around 75% of high-end home buyers would prefer a move-in ready home. The other 25% are okay with the idea of building. I do believe that more and more buyers are willing to consider this option to get almost exactly what they want. Buyers outside of the Downtown area are probably less likely to be willing to build. In the Downtown market, high-end buyers who understand the market, know that they need to keep this option open. Our builders are great at making the process as smooth as possible from lot selection to design to picking out finishes.”
What’s your outlook on the downtown Greenville residential home market?
“I am very optimistic about the Downtown residential home market. We live in an amazing region, state, city, and location. People are flocking to Greenville for work and retirement. We make just about every top 5 or 10 lists of growing and attractive cities. Downtown has become a major draw for anyone looking to make a lifestyle change. Woodland Park’s location could not be better to stand the test of time with all of these factors.”
If you’re interested in a lot or new home in Woodland Park at Cleveland Forest, contact us or give us a call for the latest information! 864-836-1133
According to Realtor.com and as reported by senior real estate contributor Brenda Richardson of Forbes, three South Carolina cities rank in the top 10 out-of-state home buying search destinations in 2019 Q2. Richardson points to lower overall tax burdens, strong job opportunities, improved quality of life, and milder weather as key drivers of the trend.
Millennials and the Market
HBA of Greenville Executive Vice President and CEO Michael Dey predicts over 200,000 people will move to Greenville County in the next 20 years resulting in demand for at least 100,000 new homes. It’s not just baby boomers seeking homeownership either, as discussed at the HBA of South Carolina Annual Convention: Millennials are now the largest buyer segment in the market! They’re mostly buying re-sale homes but are increasingly pushing the market for new homes as well. Millenials have definite location preferences related to living in the city.
Millennials tend to value the community as an important amenity more than previous generations that might value in-home features more highly by comparison. If the neighborhood features common green space and walking areas, for example, this could be preferable to a private back yard and all the associated upkeep. Greenville has some of the best downtown outdoor vibes due to its multidimensional terrain, walkability, and the spectacle provided by the prominent Reedy River and Falls Park. These features are augmented through access provided by the Swamp Rabbit Trail, nearby parks, and several other top Greenville attractions.
Who is Moving to Greenville?
At Fairview Custom Homes, we see most of our clients coming from Florida, Illinois (Chicago), New York, Texas, and California and to a lesser extent, North and Mid-western states, Charlotte and Atlanta. What does that mean? Our experience directly mirrors the data, and we’re hearing a lot of the same things from our clients that are being reported nationally. About three-quarters of our customers are building primary residences with the others seeking a second home. Greenville now has three major metro areas among the top 10 moving destinations in the U.S.
If you’re thinking about moving to Upstate SC or Western NC, contact us and let our custom home builder experts help you to design and build the home that is right for you.
At Fairview Custom Homes, we’ve seen a shifting trend toward contemporary design preferences with our customers, so I decided to have a discussion with a top local architect to figure out what this trend is all about! Scott Crichton of Architecture 224 is a leading designer of custom homes in Upstate SC and contemporary design is his specialty. Here are some recent photos of his work at one of our job sites:
What are the key components/features of Contemporary design style?
For my work, I tend to push openness and simplicity as key design values. Openness both with respect to interior spatial qualities as well as transparency between interior and exterior spaces. Architecture 224 houses tend to have an unusual amount of glass! Simplicity dovetails nicely with the openness in that the houses tend to be less ornamental, less busy. Large expanses of glass allow the site to become the artwork for the home, and the house becomes a vessel to enjoy the natural setting, rather than one intended to dominate or replace it.
What are the challenges or benefits/cost savings of Contemporary?
Typically, the biggest challenge is taking a project through a review board process. The majority of houses by Architecture 224 are in gated communities with stringent design guidelines, and typically, these guidelines are geared toward traditional design. The result is often a back and forth exchange with review boards convincing them of the appropriateness of a given design. It can be a difficult process, but the review boards are there for a good reason—to protect the community’s aesthetic consistency.
How long have you been working with Contemporary?
I have been working with Contemporary since the day I laid pencil to trace paper in architecture school. Growing up in a small mining town in Nova Scotia taught me the values of thrift, simplicity, and community, and these are values that I took up in school. My first school project was a fishing shed. It was good, not great. But the values that steered the design of that shed are largely the same that guide my work today.
What appeals to you most about Contemporary?
I think mostly it’s the intersection of aesthetic and cultural values. I prefer houses that reflect the era of their construction, rather than those intended to look old the day they are completed. I admire a well-crafted building that relies on proportion, scale, and organization over ornament and decoration. Houses that harmoniously engage the site, that light up in different ways as the sun passes over them and are perfect vessels for their inhabitants—for me, that’s what makes for great architecture.
Where does Greenville and upstate SC fit in the trend toward Contemporary?
Well, that is a tough question. Certainly, Greenville is not an area known to be pushing the boundaries of contemporary design. For the most part, the market has been oriented toward traditional design. But things are on the upswing! That is the hope for Architecture 224—as demand for contemporary houses grows, the firm will become a leader in the Upstate providing thoughtful solutions that feature openness and simplicity. And I look forward to teaming with Fairview Custom Homes on many more houses of that character!
Where is Contemporary most popular?
No question that modern architecture is most prevalent in the centers of fashion—big cities like New York, Los Angeles, or closer to home, Atlanta. But I enjoy practicing architecture outside of these centers of fashion—big cities are too big for me. I like Greenville.
Where can people see Contemporary in upstate SC?
There are lots of places to see it, some easy to find downtown, some in more remote parts of the Upstate. Contemporary design has a century-long lineage with many examples in the Upstate. City Hall, the Peace Center Addition, the Liberty Bridge, the architecture school at Clemson are just a few institutional examples. Examples of contemporary houses are a bit trickier to find, though they are out there. Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broad margin is a good place to start. There are a number of mid-century modern houses in the city and surrounding areas as well. Hopefully, there will be more contemporary houses to come!
We appreciated Scott taking the time to speak with us about contemporary design. If you are looking for a custom home builder or interested in a home renovation services, we invite you to contact us to start a conversation about your dream home ideas.
When Chris and Drew Hamblen set out to form their identity as a second-generation family business, designing a sharp logo that told the right story immediately followed the decision of the name itself: Fairview Custom Homes. The brothers wanted a clean and classy symbol that would evoke all necessary elements of a high-end custom homebuilder: excellence, stability, focus, precision, trust. To achieve this effect, the mark needed to include: proper symmetry, effective proportionality, unique detail, attractive font, and complimentary colors.
For help with the graphic design, Chris contacted a former Clemson classmate, Jordan Fretz, to begin exploring design concepts. The iterative process started with discussing the elements noted above and comparing a multitude of slightly different variations. The final version is packed with symbolism. Did you catch it all?
The blue and gold form a powerful combination that speaks to the deliberate process, worth, and freshness you would expect from an award-winning custom home builder and its products. It’s also a tie to the colors Drew wore during an 11-year active duty service as a Naval Aviator. The font includes a unique alteration of one letter which harkens to the builder’s discrete and intentional focus on one of a kind features in homebuilding. For the icon, you’ll notice the Blue Ridge Mountains where Fairview’s projects are found in North and South Carolina- or maybe you saw a framer’s square or the prominent letter in the company name? These are intentional, and they’re arranged in a non-linear but well-balanced grouping. This level of thought and attention is what Fairview is all about- from the logo to the finished product.
Home Builders, Remodelers Achieve High Honors at State Awards
Columbia, SC – Home building industry professionals were awarded the Home Builders Association of South Carolina’s most prestigious awards on Hilton Head Island, S.C. The 15th annual Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, sponsored by Norbord and Builders First Source, was held to honor the recipients of the Pinnacle Awards. The Pinnacle Awards recognize the craftsmanship of the best home builders and remodelers in the Palmetto State. The Pinnacle Award winners will be highlighted in the upcoming S.C. Builder Journal and presented on the S.C. Department of Commerce and the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism websites to emphasize the craftsmanship and quality of S.C. residential builders.
2019 HBASC Pinnacle Awards Winner
Best Logo Builder/Developer
Fairview Custom Homes
(Member of the HBA of Greenville)
About the Pinnacle Awards
The Pinnacle Awards were created to honor those in the home building industry who have achieved the highest standard of quality craftsmanship, innovative problem solving and customer satisfaction. This competition is a privilege of membership, as well as a means of challenging our members to greater levels of achievement.