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The Tom Len Custom Home Process

The Foundation of Your Confidence and Our Exceptional Success

The complete process, from start to spectacular finish, is explained here by the very happy and grateful owner of Tom Len. We make no apologies in advance for the length of some explanations. Exceeding excellence is in the details. Enjoy.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Gallery - 2300 Ash Ln Northbrook IL

1. The Happiest Ending Begins with Listening

 

I start by listening to what you need and want. Do you want a brand new home or to create magnificence right where you are by adding on, or even tearing down and starting from the ground up?

Questions abound that I’m happy to answer.

  • Are you happy in your current general area or are you looking for new North Shore views? Where? What town or city?
  • What are your living space needs?  Now? What about 5, 10, 20 years?
  • What is your family lifestyle like on a daily, monthly, yearly basis? Are adults away from home a lot? Do you think that will change? How over time?
  • Where do you work? Average week?  Entertainment? Interests? Hobbies? Want a home theatre, lap pool, golf course in the basement? What about a driving range? Actually, we’ve constructed quite a few.
  • What’s the level of quality you desire for materials from the kind of wood, or brick or stone to exquisite. This will affect cost, of course.
  • What are your dreams for this home versus the current and projected financial realities? I realize this information is personal but “confidence” comes out of “confidentiality.” I never share information and will sign a non-disclosure agreement if you wish.
  • Project timeline. Yours and mine.

2. I Give You a Fairly Broad Price Range


Based upon our discussions and your needs and wishes, I’ll give you a workable idea of a price range. As long as we’re in an agreeable ballpark, we can take the field. This is not a confirmed agreement.

3. Tom Len (Me) Makes a Recommendation

 

I go away and come back within two weeks with a recommendation based on what I’ve learned, your wishes, needs and your best move literally in terms of cost, value and timing.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Gallery - 2300 Ash Ln Northbrook IL

4. We Get an Architect Involved (With No Fee Yet for Me)

 

Even if you agree with my recommendation, you’re still under no obligation to use my services. I will recommend an architect, however, who will draw up plans for you with my (free) consultation. I recommend an architect based upon the style of home you prefer. I know dozens of architects and those who are best suited to Nantucket style, versus Traditional Farmhouse versus Modern Farmhouse versus Tutor or Victorian and on and on. Look at the range of homes in the Tom Len Home Gallery to literally get a better picture of the kinds of styles and materials we can worth with. We are very versatile and adapt to visions easily.

My work with the architect is almost a necessity because architects can be visionary and slightly ambitious and sometimes naïve regarding how suggestions and drawings pan out.  at the same time in terms of what visions actually cost.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - 1455 Coral Pkwy, Northbrook, IL

5. A Real Estate Option in the Mix

 

One of the ways we bring your home dreams to life is the range of services we can offer you BEYOND construction. We are certified Realtors© so if you see a home or vacant property you’d like to purchase, we can start there and then begin our discussion of construction. 

Our Due Diligence is critical and exceptionally thorough. If you’re buying an existing home that you want me to redo, remodel, or reconstruct, you can relax. I will personally inspect property to make sure there’s no problem that needs handling and if there is, follow though contacting the professional perfectly suited to correct it. I’ll oversee that work, as well and do that all in good faith (for free), too. Don’t worry, there is a proposed contract coming. It occurs after we apply for your permits.

6. Finally, It’s Time for Detailed Agreement


We won’t be writing a thesis, but Tom Len contracts are detailed enough to make the proposal clear beyond any question, handle issues before they become issues and provide an understanding of what happens first, next and if XY and Z occurs. Our agreements are situational guidance tools that address all questions and contingencies. The form you’ll sign is easy to understand and non-sleep inducing. They typically cover:

 

  • Scope of work (including labor, materials, equipment required, etc.)
  • Price and payments
  • Timing (vitally important)
  • Permits and licenses
  • Insurance
  • Changes in work orders
  • Cancellation
  • Arbitration
  • And quite a bit more.

Tom Len Lends a Hand with Substantial Resources

 

We are there for you every step of the way with years of experience, vast resources and tricks of the construction trade that cut time, costs and inconvenience for you.  FYI, we build dreams on more than beams, including a foundation of exceptional expertise.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process -Pen

7. Financing

 

Once people sign on the line the almost simultaneous step is handling financing. You can self-finance, though that’s usually difficult. Another avenue to pursue is to let us help.

 

  • We work with different partners and banks. We can either offer a construction loan, which as you may know is a loan that pays out during the process. Then you refinance it at the end of construction.

 

  • We also have strategic partnerships with banks that do construction loans that turn into permanent loans. This can be a great way to go. During construction, you pay interest only. Then it turns into the balance of the 30-year loan. The beauty is you lock in the rate from the beginning. 
Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - Coins
  • If you wish to proceed independently using your own sources and resources, you are, of course, most welcome to do so.
Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - Calendar

8. Scheduling

 

Once the crew rolls in and we begin, you’ll receive a construction schedule detailing ideal timing across the process of the construction. We commit with our hearts to construction timelines, though we have not as yet found a way to control 2 weeks of solid rain, blizzards, power outage and other out of our control challenges like delivery of those special cabinets from Italy. We do keep you posted of our progress frequently as we proceed.

9. Exquisite Interior Design Too

 

At Tom Len, we are fortunate to have one of Chicagoland’s best interior designers on staff. You may have your own interior designer; that’s great, but our designer will work with yours as a liaison with us as contractors. Because she is familiar with the contracting business, our designer can keep us posted regarding materials needed–“Okay, we need the bathroom tiles now, or these kinds of cabinets, etc. If you choose to use her interior design services we promise surprise and delight and an interior that captures and expresses you and your home perfectly.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - Interior

10. Construction

 

Once the permits are granted, it’s time to get going and let the bulldozers and Tom Len craftsmen begin. As we proceed, I am available all the time to meet with you for onsite visits to witness progress first hand. By the same token, I’m also a builder and project manager that you don’t have to watch. You can trust me implicitly to run the job. You can relax and feel good at home or work knowing that your home is moving forward.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - Construction

We do most of the work using contractors we have in-house. We don’t use sub- contractors unless they are true specialists. We lay all the tile ourselves, hang the cabinets and do all the trim painting ourselves. It ensures greater quality, control and consistency. We’re not on top of each other, competing with each other to get work done. The sub-contractors we do use have been with us for 15 or 20 years. We like to use the same men, even though it may cost slightly more. We like to keep the same sub-contractors. They’re almost part of our construction family.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - Fireworks - Interior

11. Let’s Celebrate with a Ceremony!

 

When we tear down a house and are about to construct your dream home, we have a little ceremony. If you have kids, bring them. We give them  little shovels and welcome them to Well take selfies of the kids on one of our machine. As we dig in, you and the kids will dig it. 

This is our way of being a partner with you and hopefully, a welcome part of your lives not just while we’re building, but in the friendships we construct that last a long, long time.

12. On-site Inspections

 

Once we start building, we typically meet with clients weekly. There are times when a when a meeting is not necessary, like when they’re pouring the foundation. Toward the end of construction, when there are lots of little details to discuss and work out, we might meet more often, perhaps bi-weekly. We stay in touch quite frequently without being intrusive or pushy. Of course, you can always reach me from 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM six days a week and on Sunday if there’s an emergency.

13. The Keys Please –Welcome to Your Tom Len Custom Home

 

When we’re done and your home is ready for living, we turn the keys over with pride, knowing we’ve put our heart into it, obtaining and sustaining our promise of excellence beyond expectations. Go ahead, open the door. Enjoy the pristine condition and the home of your dreams that has at last become a wonderful reality. It’s an honor to help make that possible.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - The Keys to Your Tom Len Custom Home

14. Relax with Your Bumper to Bumper Home Warranty

 

Your house may not have four doors like your car, but you can get revved up for our bumper to bumper home warranty. Any repair your need for your home is covered 100% for 1 entire year. At Tom Len Custom Homes, we offer more smilage per client.

Tom Len Custom Homes - Our Process - Car