1201%20ben%20hur_karen%20harberg-550?v=1

From the Ground Up

Houston's best home builders, realtors, and designers weigh in on the home-building process.

Swaha Chakrabarti, Owner, Curtains by Design Houston 

What are some things clients often overlook regarding interiors?

The most common mistake clients make is choosing trendy over timeless styles. I like to guide my clients toward classic styles that will not look dated in a few years. They go to model houses and fall in love with trendy looks without considering how they will look with their existing pieces, resulting in a hodgepodge look. There is nothing wrong with following trends, but it's best not to go overboard.

Are you present during every project? 

I am always on site during the installation process; the installation date is exciting, and to see all the planning coming to fruition and the vision coming to life is so special.

How do you help clients choose materials that work with their lifestyle?

Picking furniture and decor items is a process; it takes time, and custom pieces can take longer. I like to start having the conversation as early as possible. Clients usually contact me when the building process starts, and they have to make decisions regarding the selections, tiles, floors, cabinets, lighting, faucets, etc. I have many clients who contact me after they have built the house and moved in, and they don't know how to dress up their home; at that point, they are eager and ready to go. It depends on the project, but I like to be flexible with my clients; they need to be comfortable, which is very important to me. curtainsbydesignhouston.com

LevelTX™

What sets you and your company apart from other custom home builders?

LevelTx™ distinguishes itself with a unique commitment to making luxury a standard feature in every home. We specialize in niche demographics and blend innovative design with a focus on functionality. LevelTx™ prioritizes unparalleled quality, using premium materials and maintaining a client-centric approach. Beyond crafting exceptional residences, our commitment extends to post-purchase support, ensuring a seamless and satisfying homeownership experience. We don't just build homes; we build relationships.

What keeps LevelTx™ going after being in the business for several years?

LevelTx™ remains inspired and innovative in the home building industry through a dedication to continual improvement, a passion for creating timeless residences, and a deep appreciation for the evolving needs of our niche clientele. Our commitment to staying ahead of design trends, integrating cutting-edge technologies, and adapting to changing lifestyles fuels our inspiration. The satisfaction of our clients and the desire to exceed their expectations motivate us to maintain the highest standards of craftsmanship and design. LevelTx™ sees each project as a construction endeavor and an opportunity to craft unique, luxurious lifestyles that stand the test of time. 

How does LevelTx™ consistently achieve client satisfaction? 

We use a strategic combination of unparalleled quality, personalized service, and a deep understanding of our clientele. Our strategy includes tailored luxury, exceptional quality, customized services, innovative design, transparent communication, and post-purchase support. leveltx.com

"LevelTx™ prioritizes client satisfaction and engagement throughout the entire home-building process by implementing a comprehensive approach that focuses on communication, transparency, and personalized service," – Jonathan Manzala, Marketing Manager, LevelTx™.

Maria Frank, Owner, Cabinets and Designs

What are some common things clients overlook regarding cabinets in a custom-built home? 

Clients often need to be educated about how cabinetry is constructed and how the features that are integrated into cabinets help with ergonomics and convenience. We also take the time to educate our clients about colors and finishes. For example, we show them how different woods can significantly affect the colors and stains. There are also several types of finishes, including baked catalyzed varnish finishes in factory-made cabinets that will last a lifetime.  

How do you help your clients understand the spatial planning aspects of their new home to ensure it is functional for their needs? 

By producing floor plans, elevations, and 3D renderings, we can walk a client through the room so they can get a feel of what it will look like when it is fully furnished. With a simple tape measure, we can help clients understand how different heights, depths, and distances can customize their projects for their tasks, comfort, and lifestyle. We work with architects and interior designers to ensure our work is cohesive with aesthetics and functionality. cabinetsanddesigns.net

"We work with architects and interior designers to ensure our work is cohesive with aesthetics and functionality." – Maria Frank, Owner, Cabinets & Designs

Karen Harberg, Realtor, Evans Harberg Homes 

What are three tips you have for buyers when they are looking for a home builder?

First, do your homework. Look at homes in the areas you are considering building and identify homes you like and why. Review the websites of the builders for each and investigate their previous experiences. Ask for references from previous clients who have lived in their homes for several years and not just those whose homes are still under the builder's warranty. Second, manage your expectations. Even when building your dream home from the design phase to completion, the end product will likely be 95% of what you had hoped for, not 100%. Third, look for a builder who has skills that are complementary to your skills. 

What is the best way to set expectations and educate your clients about the new home buying and building process?

When my clients buy a new construction or build a custom home, I meet them face-to-face to educate them and discuss managing everyone's expectations. Inevitably, issues in all transactions and processes will arise, and I am nimble at surmounting all of these issues. I have 33 years of experience successfully working with builders and buyers at all stages of the process. Reviewing a realistic timeline for the actual building and selection processes will eliminate many situations that can cause stress. Keeping the lines of communication open is critical, and from the outset, managing everyone's expectations can alleviate much disappointment and frustration throughout the process. www.KarenHarberg.com

"I have 33 years of experience successfully working with Builders and Buyers at all stages of the process. Inevitably, issues in all transactions and processes will arise, and I am nimble at surmounting all of these issues." – Karen Harberg, Realtor, Evans Harberg Homes

Acero Bella, Inc. 

How do you help your clients pick the suitable materials for their new home or remodel construction process?

With the vast experience on staff, Acero Bella works with designers, builders, architects, and our mutual clients, the homeowners, to provide the visual jewelry that creates the feel the homeowners are trying to achieve with their new home.

How do you stay involved in the construction phase of your client's projects?

We love that the products we sell keep us involved from project conception to years after completion. We are involved with large-scale items influencing floor plans, such as appliances, tubs, and saunas, and we stay involved for years after the homeowners move in because of replacement filter cartridges and warranty support. Those same products' creative and technical requirements create great working relationships with the homeowners and design/build teams.

How do you help clients pick the right materials to ensure they work for their lifestyle?

Our years of experience at Acero Bella have taught us to ask lots of questions. We aspire to learn who the homeowners are and how best to advise them regarding their investment in our products. Are they looking for long-term products or disposable products? Do they want living finishes or lifetime finishes? Are they really into the current trend or want a timeless aesthetic? Getting to know our clients is the best avenue to guide us through their journey of building and remodeling. acerobella.com

“With the vast experience on staff, Acero Bella works with designers, builders, architects, and our mutual clients, the homeowners, to provide the visual jewelry that creates the feel the homeowners are trying to achieve with their new home.” – Kirk Daniels, Co-Owner, Acero Bella, Inc.  

Le Nguyen, Realtor, Century 21 Top Realty 

What is the best way to set expectations and educate your clients about the new home buying and building process?

As a real estate agent, I like to show them several homes that match their preferred style so they can walk through the space and get a feel for what they like. When touring similar homes, there are several things to remember, such as the floor plan and layout. Style and design are also essential factors to consider. Pricing is critical when purchasing new construction because buying an already-built new home can be more cost-effective than building from the ground up. Some buyers find that buying an existing home, negotiating the price, and doing minor renovations can be more cost-effective than building a custom home because the land cost is included when you purchase an already-built new home. Budget is also a crucial consideration, and having a budget in mind that considers both land and building costs is essential. Finally, it's important to design the home for your use and then with resale in mind. Design the home how you would use it for you and your family, and most likely, that's how the next family will use it, too. 

"If my clients are interested in buying a new build or constructing a custom home, I like to show them several homes that match their preferred style, so they can walk through the space and get a feel for what they like." – Le Nguyen, Realtor, Century 21 Top Realty 

Isabel Mendez, Owner, Mendez Interior Design 

How do you help your clients understand the spatial planning aspect of their new home to ensure it is functional for their needs? 

My design process centers around a deep understanding of the space and the needs of my clients and how these two aspects come together to result in a well-planned kitchen. This is achieved through a series of meetings with the client that help me understand their lifestyle daily, during holidays, entertaining, etc. From this process, we acquire the information necessary to recommend appliances, layouts, types of cabinets, and materials. We combine this knowledge with the conditions of the existing area and any relevant restrictions to develop an ideal layout. The final result should be a kitchen that works for the user, adapts, and has a timeless beauty.

Do you work one-on-one with the construction team if needed? 

Absolutely! I work on two types of projects: Design Only, in which the clients use their contractors, and I am involved as much or little as they need me to be. I also work with interior designers on client projects when my expertise is required to work exclusively on designing their kitchens and master bathrooms. Collaborating on projects is the most fun when a team of professionals works on what each member is best at. We also do design-build projects, where we control the construction process from start to finish. mendezinteriordesign.com

"To help determine if a material is a good fit for the purpose of a space, it is important to understand the lifestyle of the client and provide the necessary information about how a material performs regarding durability, look, and feel." – Isabel Mendez, Owner, Mendez Interior Design

Winfrey Design Build

How do you consistently achieve client satisfaction? 

We know our business and every aspect of our clients' homes before we start. Communication and the building processes we have in place are the foundation of a great project and the great friendships that last long after a client's home is complete.

The home-building process is lengthy; how do you keep your clients happy and engaged throughout the process? 

We pride ourselves on building luxury homes efficiently and quickly relative to our competition. Winfrey Design Build creates a true custom home where the world is our client's selection center, which can seem daunting, but our strategies make it the most exciting part of the process. We have 24 scheduled meetings or decision points along the way, and nothing is left to chance, which makes for an enjoyable, dynamic experience that does not get boring.

What are the challenges you face regularly in the custom home business? 

Cost is always at the forefront of a large project like a luxury custom home. The supply chain issues during COVID-19 and cost increases that seem to be constant from suppliers these days have caused us to be even more vigilant about keeping the quality of our homes at the highest level while seeking to work with the best people and companies that supply our industry. winfreydesignbuild.com

"I have built over 700 homes in my 36-year career across several different styles and price ranges, but most of my experience these last 25 years has been exclusively in the luxury market. My passion comes from building one-of-a-kind luxury custom homes for discerning clients who value a process that is designed to be fun and collaborative." – Bruce Winfrey

Sherry Campbell, Owner/Realtor, Energy Realty

Brand new doesn't mean problem-free – what are common problems with new construction? 

Most buyers assume that because a new home comes with a 1-2 year warranty and a 10-year structural warranty, they will not have to deal with any repairs, but there are often construction defects that were missed by the builder and can only be discovered in a thorough inspection. While new construction homes offer the appeal of modern designs and updated features, they are not immune to potential issues. These may include problems with the foundation, framing, roofing, or siding. Buyers must conduct thorough inspections and work with a qualified home inspector to identify and address defects early on. Once defects are discovered, it is easy to ask a builder to correct them before closing, but it is your problem after you close.

How do you leverage your homebuilder relationships to help your buyers through the process? 

Real Estate is about our relationships with builders, contractors, and other realtors. If I understand how a builder works, I can negotiate better terms for my clients or request some of the extras in a home. The relationship doesn't end with the sale. Real estate professionals can continue to support buyers by facilitating communication with the builder post-sale. This may involve addressing post-construction issues, ensuring that warranty items are addressed, and helping clients settle into their new homes seamlessly.

By leveraging these relationships, real estate professionals can add significant value to the home-buying experience, ensuring buyers feel supported, informed, and confident throughout purchasing and building their new home.

“Effective communication is key to a successful home-building experience. Choose a builder who maintains transparent and open communication throughout the entire process.” – Sherry Campbell, Owner/Realtor, Energy Realty

Related Businesses

Related Articles

See More