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DESIGN/BUILD: frequently asked questions

Frequently Asked Questions About Our Custom Home Building Process

Below are some of our most often-asked questions, and our answers. If you have questions that aren’t covered here, or you’d just like to start a conversation, reach out to our team at Bramante Homes using the contact form at the bottom of the page and we’ll be in touch!


Q: I don’t know where to begin designing a house from scratch, how can I build a custom home?

A: That’s ok; most people don’t unless they’ve done it before, but we do! We have a team of experts who will walk you through the design/build process, answer all of your questions, and build a fantastic home for you based on your budget and taste.


Q: Do I need an architect? Can I bring my own architect or plan?

A: You do not need an architect to work with Bramante. We are a full-service design/build firm, which means we work with you to develop plans & elevations in addition to the actual construction of the home.

You are welcome to bring your own architect if you prefer. We are happy to work with them, or from a set of plans that you have purchased or developed outside of our scope of work. Sometimes we will need to make small adjustments to plans or specs to adhere to our best practices and/or the building code of Virginia and the NAHB Residential Construction Performance Guidelines; but this would simply be a discussion between our team, you, and your architect or draftsman.


Q: I don’t have a lot or a piece of land, where should I start?

A: We’re happy to connect you with a realtor if you don’t already have one. They are a great resource for finding and acquiring the right piece of land for you and your future custom home. We are also happy to advise on any lots that you may have in mind with respect to the size and type of home you’d like to build.


Q: I don’t know what my design aesthetic is, how do I figure that out?

A: We are truly blessed in the age of the internet. Our favorite source of inspiration outside of driving by beautiful homes in real life and visiting stylish friends is Pinterest. Read all about finding inspiration in our article – “Identifying Your Personal Style and Finding Inspiration”


Q: I’m overwhelmed by all of the decisions I will have to make during the selections process. How can I handle this with as little stress as possible?

A: Our team will work with you from the first design meeting to the final finish decision you make on the home. It’s our pleasure to help you discover your personal style (if you don’t already know what it is), and assist you in making selections that will come together in a cohesive and comfortable custom home that is perfectly suited to your tastes. You don’t have to make every decision on your own. 

In addition to Bramante team members who are squarely in your court, we will meet with a dedicated cabinet designer, a lighting consultant, and an incredible tile expert (plus others!). This team of professionals are all working together to guide you, answer questions, and help you make decisions. The more inspiration you have on deck, the easier it is for us to help you make great choices along the way. We also help keep you on budget and let you know when a material or idea is likely to put you over. We’re experts at value engineering and can make virtually any style work within your budget. 


Q: Will I be able to talk to the person managing my home’s construction site and see progress?

A: Yes, absolutely! Once we have completed the plans for your home and you have entered into a construction agreement, we will introduce you to your dedicated project manager. He or she will be assigned to your home from start to finish. They will post updates and photos to our online project management system and keep you in the loop every step of the way. We also have several on-site walkthrough meetings with your PM, and are happy to meet with you on-site by request outside of these monumental walkthroughs (as long as it’s safe!). 


Q: How do I keep up with the project from day to day, communicate with the team, make decisions, and still lead a normal life?

A: We know it seems like a lot! Building a new home can feel like an enormous undertaking but we make it as straightforward as possible. Our online project management system, Co-Construct, keeps everyone in the loop every single day. There you can view progress, make decisions on selections, communicate with the Bramante team as well as our vendors, ask questions, and keep track of financials. This cuts down on the most common construction anxieties and keeps everyone on the same page throughout the project.


Q: How long does it take to build a custom home?

A: To actually build the home takes from 6 months to about a year depending on size, complexity, and access to the site. What can make the biggest difference is how long it takes to finalize a design and obtain permits for the home. If you, as a client, remain engaged and responsive, we can typically design a home from scratch in a month or two. If questions are left unanswered or you go on safari for 6 weeks during the design process, it can take longer. 🙂


Q: Why does Bramante only take on a set number of projects per year? Couldn’t you just build…more?

A: We like being small, local, nimble, and most of all, personal. We want to know every single one of our clients personally, learn their taste, and deliver a spectacular product each and every time. We limit the number of projects we take on so that our clients have our full attention throughout the project and so we can keep using the very best trades and vendor partnerships without having to compromise quality or level of service. We feel this approach works best for our clients as well as our team.