Where do you build?
- In addition to the Portland area we build:
- East down the Columbia Gorge to The Dalles
- West to the coast - Tillamook to Astoria
- North to Longview (limited areas)
- South-to Salem/Molalla/Silverton/Dallas
Do you have a model home I can view?
- In order to keep our prices and overhead low, we do not have a model home or a brick and mortar office. Our office is mobile and we come to you at a place of your choosing. Eliminating these 2 high-cost overhead items allows us to charge 7-12% less than most custom home builders.
- All of the homes we build are one-of-a-kind custom homes. Since we do not build “stock” plans, a physical model home is not as helpful as our ability to provide a “virtual” model home based on your unique plan.
- We do offer drive-by addresses nearest your area on request.
Are your homes earthquake ready?
Every plan goes through three separate engineering processes to provide us with building specifications and procedures that ensure your home is constructed to resist earthquakes and high-wind conditions.
How do upgrades work?
- The quick and simple answer is they work however you want them to. Every plan price has to start with baseline features. Our base features make a very nice home (some of our base features are considered upgrades with other builders). But these features are just a starting point. We have a network of vendors, suppliers, and installers that allow us to offer anything on the market. There are no limitations (except budget of course!).
- Upgrades are typically high-markup items (30%+) and a substantial profit source for builders. Our Direct Contracting program is designed to help you avoid builder markups by allowing you to establish allowances/budgets and contract directly with subs and suppliers of non-structural items (floors, countertops, cabinets, paint, etc.). This allows you to save our builder markup (typically 18%) on upgrades. More information on Direct Contracting here.
Can you build my plan?
- Yes! Any plan design can be reviewed by a structural engineer and made build-able. If you have an idea – even a sketch on a napkin – we can collaborate on the best path to a unique custom home. We specialize in building architect-drawn custom plans as well as creating one-of-a kind custom plans based on your own design vision.
What about Energy Efficiency?
- Our construction specifications are based on the best and most cost-effective practices from the Energy Trust of Oregon. Our standard Energy Efficiency features are:
- Improved insulation: Insulation is given an “R-Value” rating that reflects its resistance to heat flow. The greater the number, the better the insulating quality. EquityQuest Homes have an R-value of R-49 for non-vaulted ceilings, R-24 for walls and R-38 for floors.
- Efficient windows: The rate of heat loss in windows is indicated by the U-Value. The lower the U-Value, the greater a window's resistance to heat flow. EquityQuest Homes have windows designed with LowE coating and argon gas fill to give a value of at least U-0.30.
- Tighter Construction: Tight construction focuses on preventing air from entering and leaving the home in an uncontrolled manner. EquityQuest Homes uses “blow-in” wall insulation which leaves no voids or gaps at studs and around electrical boxes. We also apply sealant/caulking at all exterior penetrations, top and bottom plates, between doubled up studs and any place insulation can’t be applied. For added protection, we apply a foam sill sealer at top of all walls exposed to unconditioned areas (attic, etc).
- Properly sealed ducts: Properly sealed ductwork reduces the potential for heat loss from ducts leaking into unconditioned areas such as attics and crawlspaces. It also keeps the air in the home cleaner, helping to reduce allergens and potential moisture problems. Our standard ducting procedures meet Oregon and Washington high efficiency requirements.
- Efficient appliances and lighting: EquityQuest Homes provides our customers with allowances to purchase appliances and light fixtures. We encourage our customers to choose Energy Star certified models.
- Heating and Cooling: Heating and cooling equipment is the largest energy user in the home. Energy-efficient furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners and other equipment can lower energy bills, enhance comfort and improve indoor air quality. Our standard gas furnace is a high efficiency (90%+) unit sized appropriately for your home. Heat Pump and AC unit add-ons are available in high-efficiency models.
How much does it cost to build a custom home?
- Our custom home prices are component driven. We count everything – shelves, cabinets, doors, windows, gutters etc. We have 117 different item counts that we takeoff from all plans to determine pricing. Each estimates comes with a summary of components and line-item detail of the construction specifications. This is provided to show how each decision/selection will affect your over-all project budget.
- It’s a challenge to explain the costs of custom home construction, and we want to gently communicate to potential homeowners that construction costs on a truly custom home are higher than other types of projects. We cannot compete with builders who build a large number of homes using similar plans and materials purchased in bulk. A truly custom home is a one-of-a-kind expression of your personality and your requirements and the process just costs more!
- There are two other cost categories that make up your total project budget:
- Land/Lot Costs
- Site Development Costs: These costs vary depending on the location (city/county) and individual characteristics of the land. Once you have the land chosen we can help you determine site development budgets. For early (pre-land) budgeting purposes, clients should include $30,000 minimum for site development. Here are some examples of site development costs.
- City or County site development fees. ($3,000 counties-$15,000+ cities depending on location).
- Lot slope: steeper building sites have additional costs (foundation, excavation, testing, etc.)
- Excavation/Utilities. On a typical city lot this runs about $6,000. Budgets are increased based on site characteristics, road length, utility paths, etc.
- Private well- prices vary from $4,000-$15,000 based on depth and difficulty.
- Private septic- based on soil type, septic systems can vary from $6,000-$25,000.
How long does it take to build a custom home?
- Typically we allocate 6 months from the time permit is issued. A turn-key home is typically completed in 4.5 months given decent weather while homes with sweat equity involvement tend to take a bit longer.
What are the steps to building a custom home?
- We separate the building process into 3 sections:
- Because we offer our planning and design consultation services free of charge, we like to know that our clients are pre-approved or have adequate resources to take on a project. It is also no fun to plan and dream about a new custom home only to find out you are not able to qualify!
- We recommend you talk to a lender early in the process to determine your maximum project cost based on financial qualifications and your comfort with estimated final monthly payments.
- Once you are “pre-qualified” and know your budget, we will work diligently with you to plan a project that is within that budget.
- Land and Site Development
- Land/Lot: If you have already purchased land or are ready to make an offer, schedule a time to meet EquityQuest at the building site. At that meeting we will discuss any “build-ability” issues and start working on a site development budget.
- If you are looking for land, we can help you establish a land budget based on your loan pre-qualification. We have done literally hundreds of these projects so do not hesitate to ask us for help.
- Site Development budgets vary greatly based on the location (city/county) and individual characteristics of the land. For early (pre-land) budgeting purposes, clients should include $30,000 minimum for site development.
- Home Plans
- Once you have a total project budget we can start collaborating on your custom home plan. This is where the fun is! Bring us a plan you have found or bring us several plans you want to combine the best features of – even bring us a sketch on a napkin! We can turn your ideas and vision into reality.
Is there a limit to the amount of sweat equity I can do?
- Every project is different. We work with our customers to determine the right amount of sweat equity based on their time, knowledge, and resources. EquityQuest always does structural items like foundation and framing and other processes are open for consideration.
What exactly is direct contracting and how does it benefit me?
- Direct contracting is a process we offer that allows you to work directly with vendors (this is limited to non-structural processes). This gives three distinct advantages:
- Many of our clients have friends and family in the construction business. Direct contracting allows you to use them in building your new home.
- You do not pay builder mark-up on these items saving 18%.
- You communicate directly with vendors eliminating any communication breakdowns that happen when a third party is involved.
- See more about Direct Contracting here.
What are your standard building features?
Click here to see a full list of our standard building features.
What kinds of permits do I need? And who does the inspections?
- All of our plan pricing includes the permits required to build your home: building, mechanical, plumbing and electrical. EQ and its trade contractors apply for all of the permits needed and schedule the required county/city inspections.
- Other site-specific permits may be required and EquityQuest homes will research these once you have your land or lot under contract.