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How to Build Your Dream Home, Part 2

Choosing the Right Team for Building Your Home

Selecting the right architect, builder and financing package for a custom home project can be stressful. For Tiffany and James, those challenges brought them closer together. It even brought them closer to Tiffany’s parents, who live next door.

Factors to Consider when Selecting an Architect

When it was time to select an architect, Tiffany and James had an easy decision: James’ father is a highly-respected architect, so they chose him.

When asked about designing their home with him, Tiffany replied, “I took him the drawings I created on my iPad and asked him to make improvements and recommendations. We wanted to make sure it would pass all inspections.”

Throughout the process, her architect made suggestions, gave advice, and helped them realize their dreams, including suggesting they add a closet to the office. That way the house qualified as a three-bedroom home.

“He’s spent his career doing remodels so he has a deep knowledge of the kinds of things people change later. His advice was proactive and fantastic,” Tiffany said.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Your Builder

Next, they had to choose the right builder for their project. Tiffany and James decided to hire the same builder who worked on her parents’ home because they liked his work ethic and quality.

“My parents built a home last year, so I was familiar with the builder,” Tiffany stated. “I think people should find a builder with the right strengths for their needs. Don’t just focus on price. The builder should be affordable, but price doesn’t matter if they cannot communicate.”

ViJay Altergott, Construction Loan Advisor at Northwest Community Credit Union agrees, telling members to select seasoned, well-established, and reputable professionals.

Some additional tips ViJay has include viewing the builder’s projects and talking with their current and former customers. “Consider their communication style to make sure it’s a good fit, because communication is key,” she says.

If you need help selecting a builder, a good resource is the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.

The Importance of Early Communication

The foundation of any good custom home is solid communication. You want to find a builder that is open to changes, suggestions, and personal inspections along the way. “If the builder doesn’t know what you want, they can’t give you an accurate timetable or budget,” Tiffany said. “You can avoid issues with regular conversations and open communication. If you don’t talk about changes or timetables, things can get missed or forgotten.”

Your entire team will work together, so having the right members is very important. “Our architect sent the home plans over to the builder who then worked with the city to get the necessary permits,” said Tiffany. “Everybody has to communicate and work together to get the job done.”

The Construction Loan Process Leading Up to Breaking Ground

At the same time Tiffany and James were selecting their architect and builder, they sat down with their Northwest Community Credit Union construction loan advisor.

At this stage, we’ll help you get pre-qualified for credit and if we haven’t previously worked with your builder, we’ll get them pre-approved, too.

An image of the slub floor of Tiffany & James' home

This is also a time to organize your documents to avoid delays later. “We encourage members to have their financial records ready early in the process,” says ViJay. “This includes bank statements, tax records, and paystubs. It really helps move the application process along when financial information is organized and ready.” She adds that keeping a good paper trail of all your project information can be beneficial because it may be needed during the financing process.

If you’re short on time, ViJay and her team will do as much as possible on behalf of a member to assist with the financing and building process. “Building a home requires a significant amount of legwork. If we can help keep things going, we will. Often this means working in tandem with the member and builder throughout the process.”

Your Custom Home Loan is Waiting

At Northwest Community Credit Union, we enjoy helping uncommon members like Tiffany and James build the home they’ve always wanted. We’re excited to help you with the home of your dreams, too. Whether you’re buying land and building your own home, or simply choosing a 30-year conventional mortgage, you can put our years of expertise to work for you, every step of the way.


In our next blog, we’ll explore what Tiffany and James learned as construction began, learn budget-wise tips from our Construction Loan Advisor, and discuss what to expect as your custom home is being built.