By Annie P., Lombardo Homes Marketing Coordinator
At Lombardo Homes, my job is to be creative. I write blog content and Facebook posts; design flyers, postcards, and other marketing materials; and occasionally take photos of our homes.
I know how to write about homes and describe a floor plan, and I’ve reached the point where “spacious homesite” and “open floor plan” roll off my tongue as naturally as “how are you” or “one large coffee, please.”
When it comes to the construction process, however, I’m (admittedly) not an expert. I know what a home looks like when it’s first dug and when it’s fully complete, but anything in between is still a mystery to me. So when our marketing manager asked me to take photos of a home at the pre-drywall stage, my initial response was, “Uhh… and that looks like what, exactly?”
That exchange gave us an idea. When you work in an industry for a long time, the processes and procedures become second nature. It’s easy to forget how they appear to someone from the outside. Enter me: a 20-something living in an apartment who’s never bought a home, let alone built one, and has only been working in the industry for three years.
We decided that I’d go through the construction orientation walks our homebuyers experience – the pre-construction orientation, pre-drywall orientation, new home orientation, and new home verification walk – and write about the experience from my non-expert point of view.
Like our homebuyers, I began with the pre-construction meeting. I met with Dale P., one of our construction coordinators in the Macomb area, at our Deer Trail community in Chesterfield. We covered a lot of information – Dale skimmed through the meeting with me, since I don’t actually have a house for us to build, and it still took us an hour and a half. Here’s what I took away from the experience:
Come to the meeting with questions, and ask them right away.
We all have questions that come to mind at random times, whether it’s in the shower or as we’re driving into work. Write these questions down (or take a voice memo if you’re driving) and ask your construction coordinator at the beginning of the meeting. It’s likely your questions will be answered during the meeting itself, but you don’t want to forget anything if you wait to ask them at the end.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during the meeting, too.
When Dale pulled out the plot plan, it looked like gibberish. Lines and arrows littered the page, and while I could tell that they all meant something, I couldn’t make sense of it. Dale had highlighted each line based on what category it fell into – blue for lot lines and building envelope, pink for utility leads, yellow for setbacks, green for the house itself.
When he explained the plot plan to me, everything began to snap into place, but I still asked questions. When we went over the blueprint review, I asked questions. Dale was happy to answer them, and this wasn’t even my house!
During the building process, expect the unexpected.
More often than not, the sales manager and construction coordinator you have at the beginning of construction will see your home through closing, but it’s not completely uncommon to experience personnel changes during the process. Sales managers and construction coordinators can be moved between sites based on demand and activity – in fact, when I met with Dale, he was about to transition to a position with our custom homes division.
If this happens to you, don’t fret; the outgoing and incoming construction coordinators will meet to discuss your home file, which has all of your home information, so your new construction coordinator is quickly brought up to speed when taking over construction of your new home.
The meeting isn’t over after the blueprint review.
When we finished the blueprint review, I thought we were done. I thought Dale would roll up the prints, shake my hand, and send me back to the main office. I was so wrong. There are still two important topics to cover after the blueprint review: the warranty process and normal happenings during construction.
The blueprint review isn’t even the main event; the time spent covering normal construction expectations is.
This meeting was more detailed than I expected. I don’t have kids, but if I did, I would leave them with a sitter. Even other support – like my mom, my best friend, or a realtor – would be a distraction. By limiting my meeting to just Dale and myself (and my significant other, if I were actually building a home), I was able to fully give Dale my attention.
Given the level of detail we covered, my undivided attention was a necessity. Besides covering the blueprint in detail, Dale also spoke to me about the color selections and options purchased, general winter conditions, the importance of humidity control in the home, and general construction expectations throughout the building process.
In short, building a new home is very exciting. The pre-construction orientation is set up to explain the process, set homeowner expectations, and ensure the correct options and colors have been ordered for the home. This meeting educates the homeowner on what is happening and why, as their new home is constructed. Be sure to bring a pen and lots of paper for notes, and don’t forget your list of questions! As for me? Apartment living suits me for now, but I’m grateful for this small peek into homeownership. I know when my day comes to build new, I’ll have a much better understanding of the what, when, and why… and yes, I’ll have lots of questions!
This story is the first in a four-part series. Stay tuned for our blog posts covering the pre-drywall orientation, new home orientation walk, and new home verification walk.