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3 Pillar Blog

Connect with Us Online!

Categories: About Us, Social Media and Marketing | Posted: April 27, 2016

Woohoo! You have came across the 3 Pillar Homes website and blog pages! Listed below are ways you can keep in touch with us through social media!

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Styling with Hardscapes

Categories: Design, Newsletter | Posted: April 20, 2016

It wasn’t long ago that the most you could expect from a new house was a white slab of concrete approaching your garage and your front door. With any luck, you might see another slab in the backyard that would function as a small patio. That was the only option offered by most new home builders.

Thankfully, those days are past. Now the best builders recognize that such “hardscape” areas are essential to the curb appeal of their new homes. What was formerly, at best a neutral feature, now delivers distinctive style and a boost to the overall value and beauty of a home.

Builders and homebuyers have several options available to bring a little zing to this element of a home’s style. Here are a few to consider:

Stamped concrete. Just as it sounds, the masonry or concrete contractor places textured panels of various sizes over an area of newly poured concrete and applies a slight bit of pressure to make an impression. Once the concrete sets, the panels are removed to reveal a permanent pattern.

Stamped concrete is an excellent and cost-effective way to add the three-dimensional look of a custom-etched or troweled concrete surface, hand-laid bricks or stone pavers. Several patterns, from uniform bricks to more abstract textures, enable builders and homebuyers to satisfy their personal tastes and to compliment the style of the new home. Stamped concrete can be used to highlight the walkway to the front door or create a consistent, dimensional look for all of the home’s hardscape areas.

Colored concrete. When colored concrete is desired, a pigment is added as the concrete is being mixed (called an “integral” coloring process). This means that the color is mixed through the depth of the hardscape area, not just painted on the surface. Colored concrete is often used to highlight a hardscape feature, such as a walkway. Used in conjunction with stamped concrete technique, the integral coloring process can enhance the authenticity of a pattern, such as red bricks or dark stone pavers.

Aggregate. Another option that adds dimension to a standard concrete surface is exposed aggregate. Small rounded stones are added to the concrete mix. Then the concrete surface is brushed before the concrete sets, exposing the texture and slight color variations of the authentic pebbles. Exposed aggregate can add interest to an otherwise featureless expanse for a relatively low cost.

Bricks and pavers. There’s no substitute for the “real thing” if it fits the budget. Laying individual bricks or stones—available in various sizes, shapes, and colors—is a labor-intensive (and thus more costly) endeavor. The preparation for a brick or stone path, patio, or driveway is much the same as that for a poured concrete hardscape. However, laying each brick (and sometimes cutting it to fit), maintaining a pattern and straight lines, and securing the pieces in place with either mortar or sand takes much more time and skill. Of course, the greatest advantage to hand-laid bricks and pavers is aesthetic. The natural materials show slight undulations and variations in color and texture that are unmistakable.

Thin (or veneer) bricks and stones can help lower the cost of the hand-laid approach, but these are most suitable as accents, such as lining a concrete driveway or walk. They are less suited to high-traffic areas that must carry greater weight.

Used in creative combinations, the options available for hardscapes offer builders and homeowners unlimited ways to achieve unique surfaces. Effective hardscapes will enhance a new home’s architectural style, increase its value and bring long-term satisfaction to the owner.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Home Price Reality Check

Categories: About Us, Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: April 13, 2016

Consulting with a builder before drawing the plans will save expense and headaches.

Most custom builders have had clients show up at their office with a set of finished plans that, in reality, will cost 25% to 30% more than the clients’ target budget. Fortunately, this problem is easily avoided. Working with the builder on a pre-budget can eliminate unpleasant surprises and help the clients get the home they want at a price they can manage.

Pre-budgeting is essential because a lot of people base their cost expectations on average square foot prices that they got from acquaintances, the Internet, or the advertised prices of homes in new developments. But this approach is misleading when planning a custom home.

That’s because those new development homes tend to be speculative, or “spec” houses. Spec houses are built from value-engineered stock plans that eliminate features that don’t increase the home’s appraised value. For example, additional square footage adds value but a high-end built-in refrigerator does not.

Even a top-quality spec house is built using a production business model. Think of a spec house development under construction as an outdoor factory: each house uses the same menu of materials and finishes, so the builder can get volume pricing from distributors and manufacturers. Also, because all floor plans are similar (if not exactly the same), crews can assemble them quickly and efficiently. Repetition works to keep prices down.

Custom homebuilders work in a far different world. Each home they build has a unique floor plan as well as lots of products and materials that are, well, custom. The homeowners get exactly what they want, but sometimes pay a premium compared to a spec home of similar size.

With a custom home, it’s best for customers to ask a professional builder to review their initial vision before they get the plans drawn. The builder can suggest ways to value-engineer the home and to save money on products and materials. Years of experience have taught the pro the most efficient approaches to new home construction, which means the builder’s staff can work with the architect to make sure the plan minimizes waste and can be built cost-effectively.

And while custom builders may not buy products in bulk, they are highly skilled purchasers who know how to get the best-available pricing. They can suggest brands and models that look and perform as well as the ones the customers have in mind, but that are kinder to the budget.

Once the design process gets underway, it’s a good idea to have the builder do spot checks at different stages. A design-build company will do this as a matter of course, and many architects will involve a contractor in the design. Be sure to ask. If the architect doesn’t offer this type of builder review, then insist on having it done. If the contractor hasn’t been chosen yet, paying one a consulting fee could be a wise investment.

If the client needs bank financing, a pre-budget is a vital reality check. Banks generally won’t lend more than 80% of the home’s appraised value, which is based on the price of “comparable” homes. But their comparisons don’t include every feature. Expensive kitchen appliances and nice landscaping packages add cost, but in the bank’s eyes they won’t increase the home’s value. That forces the homeowners to come up with unexpected cash. A professional builder will know what features do and don’t add value in the bank or appraiser’s estimation.

The bottom line is that involving a professional builder at the earliest stages of the design is an investment that may more than pay for itself.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Model Home Spotlight!

Categories: About Us, Neighborhood | Posted: April 6, 2016

This week we are featuring the Jerome Village model home in our blog!

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Our model home in Jerome Village is just stunning! We have a beautiful open floor plan layout focusing on the heart of the home: the great room, kitchen, and morning room. In this floor plan, we added a sunroom which also added to the open floor plan concept. It is also evident here in this home the use of windows! We have large banks of windows with some added transoms to bring in the maximum amount of light. Engineered hardwood flooring can be seen throughout the first floor including.

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The finished basement in this home continues to be a favorite by many! The open floor plan in the basement combined with a nine foot ceiling height allows this basement to feel open and comfortable. We included a theatre spot, wet bar, wine cellar, and a bedroom with a full bathroom to make this basement feel like a great living space.

One of the reasons 3 Pillar Homes is so invested in the Jerome Village community is because of the philosophy of the development to bring families together and to focus on nature and natural resources. The community at its completion will provide over 600 acres of parks, ponds, and green spaces all connected by split rail fences and pathways. Many of our homeowners enjoy easy strolls, serious runs and lots of bike riding. It’s a significant draw for the homeowners who choose this community. There is also the newly opened Jerome Village Community Center which offers a pool, fitness area and Pasquale’s Pizzeria. Jerome Village also offers Distinctive Architecture that focuses on quality designs that all include front porches for family and neighborly interaction.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Model Home Spotlight!

Categories: About Us, Neighborhood | Posted: March 23, 2016

This week we are shining the spotlight onto our model in the Meadows of Lewis Center community!

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This model shows a beautiful blend of both standard and upgraded features. 3 Pillar Homes provides a stunning standard trim package. It includes our Signature Arched Openings, oversized baseboards, double-stack crown molding on cabinetry, and all windows come jammed and cased. Hardwood flooring is also a standard throughout your kitchen, morning room, and foyer! Granite countertops throughout your kitchen and bathrooms are also a standard feature for 3 Pillar Homes! Come visit us at the model to learn more about what will come standard in your next 3 Pillar Home!

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Located in the heart of Lewis Center, OH and home of the BIA Parade of Homes 2012, The Meadows at Lewis Center offers a great option for custom home living within the Olentangy School District. Families looking to live in Lewis Center, OH will be impressed by the school system, which consistently ranks among the highest in the state. Quick and easy access to U.S. 23 and I-71 makes it easy to navigate in and out of the community.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

The Finishing Touches

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: March 16, 2016

We’ve compared a home’s framing to its skeleton, wiring to its network of nerves and insulation to its muscle. Now it’s time to talk about exterior finishes—a home’s “skin”.

We’re very fortunate to be designing and building homes in a time that offers a vast array of exterior finishes, including siding (or cladding), roofing, trim, and hardscapes. The choices available in each category enable us and our homebuyers to create unique combinations that both distinguish a home and add to its value.

With a wider selection of materials also comes a higher level of performance. Today’s exterior finishes and systems are tougher and more weather-resistant. These products combine good looks with durability. Because their improved quality is better able to retain paints and stains and to resist warping, cracking, and delamination, there is a reduction in both maintenance and repair costs.

Greater selection and durability has fostered a trend toward a varied mix of materials on a finished house. It’s increasingly common to see a home that tastefully combines stone, clapboard (or lap) siding, and stucco, for instance, to deliver visual interest and achieve a more comfortable scale.

Modern manufacturers, in fact, typically offer various colors, textures, and forms within the same general category of products. For example, a manufacturer of roofing may offer a harmonious array of asphalt or clay tile roofing so that roofs along the same street retain a sense of cohesiveness without being exactly the same. Manufacturers of different products, such as roofing and siding, may even partner to promote compatible combinations across product types.

From a practical point of view, the range of available choices allows our homebuyers to select exterior finish combinations that express their desired style while simultaneously complying with the codes, covenants, and regulations (CC&Rs) of the community. The result is a return to the varied streetscapes of older, historic neighborhoods that are held in such high regard. One color, one style neighborhoods are a thing of the past.

Of course, we are also mindful of retaining the regional materials and architectural styles of our homes. Proper proportion and scale are essential to ensure lasting value and timeless curb appeal. If a certain material does not suit the style of the home—picture stucco instead of shingle siding on a Cape Cod home—using it only detracts from the overall appeal and value of the house.

Being able to select from a palette of exterior finish materials is a great advantage to the new home owner. The exterior finish is a home’s first impression, its greeting to neighbors and visitors, and an indicator of the owner’s taste and style. Thankfully, we and our homebuyers have many choices that enable us to put a unique and beautiful “skin” on every home.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Who Are We?

Categories: About Us, Awards and Recognition, Build Process, Design | Posted: March 9, 2016

Who is 3 Pillar Homes? We have created this blog to explain to you a little bit more about who we are from what you have already read about us on the website!

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3 Pillar Homes is an award winning custom home builder and a family owned company lead by a second generation builder with 17 years of experience building custom homes in Central Ohio. We are one of the largest custom homebuilders in Central Ohio and we are proud to offer a client-centered design-build experience. We take pride in the trust our homeowners and community members place in us and you can see this in our most recent achievements which include seven years of being on The 50 Fastest Growing privately held companies in Central Ohio (ranked by Business First), Several years of being the 2nd largest Custom Homebuilder in Central Ohio and By Our participation in things like the BIA Parade of Homes where we were the Foundation Builder last year providing proceeds to Habitat for Humanity in Central Ohio.

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Design Process:

As a builder, 3 Pillar Homes really focuses on a careful design process that promotes both function and flair. We especially focus on the dynamic interaction of the kitchen, morning room and great room, the heart of the home and where the family lives and gathers together. We also focus on windows and natural light to maximize our open designs. In addition to great design, 3 Pillar Homes also offers a stunning trim package that builds on our Signature Arched Openings which are included in every 3 Pillar Home. As a design-build builder, Customization is a cornerstone of our philosophy. We also focus on flexibility to help our homeowners maximize options and resources available to them.

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Energy Efficiency:

We don’t just focus on great layouts and beautiful trim; we also care deeply about how your home is constructed and how well it will live for you and your family in the years to come. For example—Our Energy Star Rating includes a 95% efficient furnace, a meticulous air infiltration package, and a professional third-party test to measure to duct leakage and an air-door blower test ensure your home will be comfortable, while operating at the highest efficiencies with lower costs to run and maintain your home over time.

Our Process:

One of the most important things our homeowners share with us is how valuable they find our process and our communication. We are nimble in developing personalized designs that are focused on both your goals for the home and your goals for the budget. We have systematic way of guiding you through the process to cover everything from understanding what’s included, to how your home will be situated on your lot, to the specifics of detailed pricing and to understanding your options for financing your new home. 3 Pillar Homes utilizes a impressive software program that includes every aspect of your home—the construction documents, the plot plan, the details of your colors and selections, any change orders. We also utilize quality control forms with real time documentation on ipads during on-site walk-throughs in your home throughout construction. A hallmark feature of our 3 Pillar process is the unparalleled system of communication and support which includes a pre-color selection meeting, weekly updates and progress reports, formal walk-throughs during construction, as well as a 3 part warranty system that includes a 30 day and one-year workmanship warranty and an insurance backed structural warranty.

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Our Team:

To help you bring all your goals together, we include concierge designer service before and throughout your new home build experience. Our dedicated staff includes—the sales team, the office support including in-house estimating, a dedicated project manager, architect, designer and warranty manager. In true partnership with our homeowners, 3 Pillar Homes brings a process and systems along with award-winning designs and experience to each home we build.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Friday FAQ – Guarenteeing Work

Categories: Friday FAQ | Posted: March 4, 2016

Q: Do builders and remodelers guarantee their work?

A: The answer is that the pros do. The warranty should clearly define what is and what is not covered and how long the warranty is good for. And it should be in writing. A verbal promise to correct any problems that come up is as valuable as the paper it’s written on, which is to say it has no value at all. If it’s not in writing, it’s not real.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

The Problem with Competitive Bidding

Categories: Newsletter | Posted: March 2, 2016

Some big obstacles stand in the way of the three-bid advice.

Folk wisdom, online articles, and basic instincts advise homeowners to solicit bids from several qualified contractors. But three major obstacles get in the way of making those bids realistic and useful: the need for detailed plans and job specifications, the need for comparable bidders, and the need to structure the bids for easy comparisons. Getting all three right is rare.

The biggest hurdle concerns the plans and job specifications. For a bid to have meaning, it should spell out everything about the project, from the fixtures and appliances to the finishes. Detailed specifications take time and effort to write, and thus the details in a bid are often left vague. This can lead each bidder to make assumptions that yield widely divergent bids. And if the winning bidder’s assumptions differ from the homeowners’ assumptions (predictably), it plants the seeds for misunderstanding and disappointment.

Even finding three comparable bidders can be tricky. Owners may find it necessary to identify and interview four or five companies just to find two to compare. The emphasis is on comparable: for a million-dollar custom home, each bidder should have a stellar reputation as a builder of million-dollar custom homes. The architect (if the buyer has one) should be able to suggest builders with the needed experience.

Allowances are another area that creates confusion in the bidding process. An allowance is an assigned dollar amount for items that are not yet selected by the homeowner or architect. In both bids and contracts, allowances should be kept to an absolute minimum. When these selections are not made ahead of time and a dollar figure is substituted instead, the project’s schedule and budget can be compromised. Too many allowances also lead to too much guesswork in the bidding process.

Where allowances are unavoidable, each bidder needs to use the same number. For example, if the homeowners have decided to spend $30,000 on kitchen cabinets, that dollar amount needs to be on every bid.

The final element to get right is the structure of the bid. Each bidder should use the same bid sheet, with costs itemized the same way, to allow the homeowner to compare them easily. While a few architects distribute bid sheets to bidders, it is rare for contractors to use similar templates, making a real comparison very difficult and complex.

Each bid should also include a bottom-line price, an estimated completion date, and the builder’s change order policies and costs (including administrative charges). Such detailed bids take time to develop, so be reasonable when scheduling due dates for the bid. Three or four weeks is about right for a bid on a new, custom home.

Before making the final choice, the buyer and architect (if there is one) should meet with each bidder to review the bid, ask clarifying questions, and confirm numbers. This will help fix obvious discrepancies between bids and enable the homeowner to get to know the builder beyond the two-dimensional bid form.

The builders who are bidding should also have expectations. Creating a bid for a custom home can take 40 to 70 staff hours, plus additional hours from subcontractors and suppliers. Because of this, most bidders will want to know who they are bidding against: established pros don’t want to compete with outfits with reputations for lowballing bids and then charging for extras later on. And they may insist on there being no more than three bidders, so everyone has a fair chance.

Sometimes all the bids are beyond the expected budget limitations of the client—around 20 percent of the plans custom homebuilders see are over-designed for the customer’s budget. That risk, plus the multitude of obstacles that stand in the way of an accurate bid, is good reason to skip competitive bidding altogether. A lot of people who have built homes in the past have learned this the hard way and prefer to find a reputable professional builder they trust who can be involved in the home’s design from the beginning.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.

Punch List: Insuring Homeowner Satisfaction

Categories: Build Process, Newsletter | Posted: February 17, 2016

The idea of a “punch list” may not sound very appealing at first, but the “punch list” is an invaluable tool for making sure our homes meet the standards and expectations of our homebuyers. A punch list — industry slang for a short checklist of items that need to be completed, repaired, or replaced — is also an effective communication tool with our trade partners and our clients. It acts as a quick and easy reference to the status of the project and its state of readiness.

Most commonly, punch lists are used as the house nears completion. Increasingly, one is created and addressed internally (by our staff, without the homebuyer present), and a second one developed as a homeowner and one of our associates walk through a new house just before the homeowner moves in. In either case, the punch list typically contains minor items that can be addressed quickly and easily.

Conducting an internal inspection and addressing punch list items before the final client walk-through has proven to boost our homebuyers overall satisfaction.

Lesser known (but common among the most professional builders) are the punch lists that are produced at almost every phase of the building process. This enables us to communicate and collaborate with our product suppliers and trade partners regarding the quality and status of their work in progress. Like those created during a final walk-through with a homebuyer, punch lists during construction ensure that each stage of work is complete and ready for the next phase. We can then call for an inspection by the local building department or schedule the next wave of trade partners and material deliveries to start the next stage of work. This formal process is key to managing the thousands of details in building a new home, helping us stay on schedule and on budget.

Still, no matter how many times we conduct inspections and develop punch lists, no house is perfect. There are bound to be some things that homebuyers notice and identify to the builder during a final walk-through; in addition, there may be items a builder will point out as already on the punch list, and explain the policies and procedures in place for taking care of everything on the punch list in a timely manner.

Builders differ in their approach to satisfying the punch list. Most of them work to cross every item off the list prior to homeowner possession so that the closing process is hassle-free. Depending on the punch list, a builder may try to schedule the necessary labor to address every item on the same day, rather than over several days, out of respect for a new homeowner’s time and busy schedule.

With a reliable and consistent punch list system in place, we are able to deliver a completed house that regularly meets or exceeds the expectations of our homebuyers.

When we communicate effectively with our clients, trade partners, and materials suppliers throughout the process, punch lists are typically short and easy to complete, helping us deliver the most positive overall experience and best possible new homeowner experience possible.

3 Pillar Homes is a custom home builder in Columbus, Ohio. For more information about our new homes, please visit one of our model home locations in Jerome Village, located at 10602 Arrowwood Drive, Plain City, Oh 43064 or in Lewis Center, located at 2360 Koester Trace Drive, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035. You can always contact us by phone at 614-286-0659.