Are you an American homeowner, planning a home remodel or new build, and not sure how to get it right?
What if you could actually know, BEFORE you invest time, money and energy in your project … that you’ll actually get what you’re paying for, and reach the home you’re dreaming of?
If you’re a US resident, and planning a remodel or a new home, you might be worried about …
- Being taken advantage of because you don’t really know what you’re doing, or what you might be missing along the way
- Wasting money and time on design ideas, products and choices you’re not sure will work, or that you’ll regret
- Unknowingly choosing a terrible contractor who, in the end, leaves you with a defective house and thousands of dollars out of pocket
What if instead, remodeling or building your family home meant …
- Finding a reliable, great quality team of professionals who will support and guide you through the whole process and a contractor you trust, who will keep your project on budget and time
- Being armed with the tools you need to spot red flags before they turn into massive cost and time overruns, or cause big headaches
- Moving into a beautiful quality home that feels great, and you feel great in – that truly works for you and your family!
In this episode, I’m going to share how this is possible, and so if you’re a USA resident, then this podcast episode is for you. So, let’s dive in.
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE:
I receive lots of questions from homeowners asking which is the best fit for them and where they’re at in their project, and so I thought it would be perfect to have a chat about it on the podcast so you can understand more and decide if one is a good fit for you and your project.
The Welcome Home Course is an online course, created for USA residents who are planning to remodel or build their family home.
We launched this course earlier this month November of 2018. If you’ve been checking it out, the introductory offer we have to enrol ends Nov 30, a few days from now if you’re listening to this live. I’m going to share how and why the course was created, how it will help you, and what you get when you enrol.
So let’s do that!
A few months after I started Undercover Architect in 2014, I spent a couple of days at a conference in Melbourne.
A woman I met, on hearing I was an architect, said she was planning on renovating their home, had no idea where to start, and could I suggest what her best first steps were because it all seemed overwhelming. She dived into telling me what style she wanted, what she was envisaging the outdoor area would look like, the kinds of colours she liked. And I said … hang on … there’s a few things you need to resolve first!
Over the rest of that afternoon, I wrote out a list of steps for her.
And for me, it was like a neon light had gone off in my brain. Because, in doing that, I realised in the 20 plus years I’ve been working with clients, with developers, with builders, and on our own projects … over 250 new and remodeled homes … I actually had a step-by-step process and system I followed. Things were always done in a certain order so they could work, be efficient, the project go smoothly with as little stress as possible, and end up creating a fantastic home at the end.
That list of steps became the first Undercover Architect online course.
I started teaching it to homeowners a month later, over email, video and audio, and they loved it. They told me how much simpler things seemed, how much more confident they felt with the information, and how it gave them the knowledge and tools to be actively involved in their projects – rather than feeling like their projects were happening to them, and they were at the whim of their designer and builder.
Many of those first course members are now living in their finished homes, and it’s so exciting to see what they were able to create – and how much not only the home, but the whole process – was improved because they had the know-how and information they needed, when they needed it.
So, that was November 2014 … so 4 years ago!! …
Roll forward a few years, hundreds of Australian homeowners and a few New Zealanders have been learning this step-by-step system. By now, it existed in 2 formats … a 6 week fast-digest course called “How to Get it Right” (which I’ll be talking about in a few episodes), and a more intensive 12 month VIP members club called “Your Reno Roadmap” …
Then last year, Americans start getting in touch with me, asking if the course would be suitable for them. Americans started joining the Australian course as well, and they were loving it too, and so I started learning more about how building and remodeling happens in the USA.
I found the step-by-step system was still applicable … however, there were terminology differences, differences with consultants and certain legislation about who you had to use and didn’t, and of course there’s the whole feet and inches thing!
Alongside all of this happening, around 18 months ago, I made contact with an American architect named Eric Reinholdt. Based in Maine, he has a business called 30X40 Design Workshop. He also has a great YouTube channel which I’d watched for a little while, and so I emailed him to introduce myself and congratulate him on the awesome work he was doing.
We connected further over email, decided we’d collaborate on something, I booked to attend the American Institute Architect’s National Conference in New York in mid 2018 … and by the time I was heading to the USA, Eric and I had done a fair bit of Skyping and emailing, and I’d done a huge amount of research and interrogation to ‘translate’ my existing experience and knowledge into an American understanding.
I spent 3 weeks in the USA in total, met loads of architects, learnt a huge amount about local building and remodeling … what I loved was that I felt I had the experience and knowledge to ask all the questions a homeowner SHOULD be asking to get this right, but simply wouldn’t know because they’d never done this before. So I could totally dive into the nitty gritty and uncover all the pitfalls and potential of the process.
During my time in the USA, Eric and I spent time in his studio to create The Welcome Home Course together, and then I came home to put it altogether. And so after what’s been over 12 months of researching, planning and creating, on November 2nd, The Welcome Home Course was brought into the online world!
It’s been fantastic to see Americans … and a few Canadians … making the most of the launch introductory offer and enrolling. And given that ends in a couple of days, I wanted to share some information with you about The Welcome Home Course … so you can see if it’s a good fit for you and your project, and whether it will help you save time, money and stress, and get it right in your future family home!
Who is The Welcome Home Course NOT for?
Let’s go through these quickly, because if this is you, then you know the course is not a good fit, and you can stop listening to the episode right now!
If you’ve completely fixed your design for your new home or remodel, have no desire to change it, then The Welcome Home Course is not for you.
If you’ve already chosen your contractor and signed a contract with them, The Welcome Home Course is not for you – you’re already locked in, and it’s very difficult to reverse that situation.
If you’re remodeling or building to flip, move on, flip, etc, you’ll definitely learn some great knowledge. I find however, there’s an entirely different mindset when you’re doing a project to flip, vs having it as your long term family home … the stakes emotionally feel a lot higher when it’s your long-term family home, and it’s difficult to be objective about decisions and detach yourself from the process. I want to support homeowners in that journey, and so flipping is not the focus of The Welcome Home Course.
If you believe that your remodel or new build project is going to be a disaster anyway, regardless of how informed and educated you become, or how much you try to be involved, then The Welcome Home Course for you.
If you just want to get your project finished, you’re so fed up with the whole process and feel it’s too late to do anything about it, you just want to be in your finished home regardless of whether it’s right or now … then The Welcome Home Course is not for you.
If it feels better and easier to be sitting on Pinterest and Google and flipping through glossy magazines … and you’re waiting to have the time become available to really focus on your project and get ready properly (and you’ve been waiting for a while now), then my experience is The Welcome Home Course will not be for you, because you don’t really want to take action.
And if you think the whole idea of remodeling or building has become too hard, seems like it’s just too overwhelming and stressful regardless of what action you take, you feel anything you do is ineffectual, then The Welcome Home Course is not for you.
That may sound harsh … but I do want to say … I totally get this. I have been working with homeowners who are remodeling and building their long term family homes for over 20 years now. I’ve done 3 of my own projects with my husband. The last was a 1000 sq foot home we turned into one over 4,000 square feet. And I will be the first to say that remodeling and building is not easy. Anyone who is promising it is … well …
If this is the first time you’re doing it, it will be hard – like anything is the first time you’re doing it. And what happens is, when it’s your long term family home, you’re most likely investing long-term savings, or taking out finance … you’re making decisions and choices that will have long-term impact on your lifestyle, your finances … and this is the place where you’ll be living and sharing with your family, it’s really significant … emotionally, mentally, financially. It’s a huge amount of pressure, and people feel the strain of stress far more in this situation.
Some people get stuck there. They can’t move past the fear of what the experience will be like, and so they plan for a really long time … never actually hitting the ‘go’ button on making things happen.
And so, whilst I say remodeling or building your future family home won’t be easy, I can definitely say it can be simplified, demystified, and you can become informed in a way that will help you – even if it’s your first time – feel far more confident, knowledgeable and in control of the process.
And, I definitely can promise this … when you get it right, the whole experience is so worthwhile in the finished home you create, and the lifestyle it helps you lead both in, and beyond the homes. And The Welcome Home Course is a tested and proven framework to simplify the process for you, help you get it right, and enjoy the experience.
So who is The Welcome Home Course for?
Well, firstly, The Welcome Home Course is designed for American homeowners. I’ll be talking in the next few episodes about the courses for Australian homeowners, but TWHC has been specifically created for building and remodeling in the USA.
But one of the main reasons I created this step-by-step system in the first place, was because I found, as an architect … by the time homeowners came to me to help them with their design, it was sometimes too late already. And what I mean by that, is that they had often been researching or planning for months and months, even years, to get going on their project. And often a lot of the information they’d received was not necessarily correct, or in their best interests, and so there’d be a process of re-education about things. For example, they’d been giving price indications that were not relevant to the type of construction they were looking at, or a real estate agent had given them incorrect information about the planning rules when they bought.
What often would happen too, is that because they’d been thinking about it for so long, when they came to me to kick off the design process, they wanted it all done asap. I’d be outlining the process of preparation work, design, drawings, permitting, securing a contractor, construction … what all of those things would take time-wise … and it would be a rude shock because they wanted it done asap and that just wasn’t going to be possible.
So, ideally you would enrol in the The Welcome Home Course when you’re thinking about remodeling or building in the next 12 to 24 months.
And by that, I mean, when you’re actually going to start the process of design, talking to your local authority etc … not the construction part itself. So when you’re moving from ‘thinking about it’ to ‘let’s do this soon, or sometime in the next year or two’.
The Welcome Home Course will be perfect for giving you an overall framework for how to navigate your journey efficiently, strategically, logically and methodically. So you don’t waste time speaking to the wrong people, spending money on the wrong things, and disappearing down rabbit holes. Many homeowners who have learnt this system when they’ve been ready to really kick off their project … they’ve found they can do it sooner than they initially thought, because they have the steps, it’s not as overwhelming as they initially felt it would be, and they know what they need to do.
If you’ve already started … say, you’re in the process of finding things out from your local authority, or getting your ideas and wishlist together, even already speaking to designers or contractors, then it’s a great time to enrol in The Welcome Home Course.
The tools, checklists and how-to’s you’ll receive in there, will really demystify a lot of the conversations you’re having, help you weed out the sharks and cowboys from the trustworthy collaborators, and get you moving towards your future home much more simply. They’ll also help you sift and filter really quickly … all the decisions you’re having to make can start to catch up, and the course is designed to really help you have clarity in that process, because of how we teach you to think about this project and your lifestyle and future overall.
If you’re currently designing your future home – be it a new home or remodel – either yourself, with a designer, or with a contractor, it’s also a good time to enrol in The Welcome Home Course.
I’ve had members really hesitant about joining at this point, because you can feel like you’re too far down the path. However, when your home is only lines on the page, it’s really the last opportunity you have to be sure you’ve got it right, before you make all those lines the permanent rooms, spaces and walls you’ll be living in (and spending loads of money on). And so, The Welcome Home Course will help you check you’ve done your pre-work correctly so there’s no on-site headaches during construction, and it will enable you to make sure you’re on the right track with your design … as well as setting you up for a great construction process before you dive in.
Lastly, I’ve had many industry professionals learn this step-by-step system as well.
Architects or designers who are early in their career and want to fast-track their ability to support their clients and learn from someone who’s had a lot of experience in this area … and especially contractors and subcontractors who are wanting to learn more about the overall process, particularly the design component, and to support their clients who they generally only see during construction. I’ve also had architects who were doing a lot of commercial and public work in their career, but wanted to transition more into residential, they’ve also learnt this system.
So The Welcome Home Course is perfect for that … and with the combined experience of Eric and me being over 45 years in residential projects, there’s a lot of knowledge to share and to learn from!
NOW, let’s talk about what’s inside The Welcome Home Course:
When I first created my step-by-step system, and I showed the woman I’d been speaking to … she looked at it and said … I had no idea there was so much to do before we started actually building this project.
As an architect, I’d had no clue at the time … but what I’ve seen and learnt in the years since, and in the thousands of conversations I have with homeowners every year inside Undercover Architect … is that when you think about building and remodeling, so much focus goes into the ‘how we will get this built’ part of the process. The contractor you’ll choose, the finishes and fixtures you’ll have, how long that construction process will take, where you’ll live in the meantime, and how you’ll pay for it as well.
And yet, as an architect, I know that the construction process is actually a small part of the overall process. Yes, a super important part – because it’s where the dreams get turned into reality, into the finished home you’ll be living in … but it’s not what the success of the home actually hinges on. Because a home can be incredibly, beautifully, speedily well built … you can have THE MOST amazing construction process … but if you’re building the wrong home for you, well, it just won’t work.
What I realised with my system, is that there’s actually 4 stages to any building or remodeling project … regardless of location, budget, size of the project, the client, their aims, their timeline … there are still these 4 stages.
Before You Begin
Getting your Design Right
Before You Build
Getting your project built
And one of the first things homeowners get wrong is that they focus the bulk of their attention, energy, investment and time into the “Getting your Project Built” part. Into how their remodel or new build will get constructed, who will help them, what materials, fixtures and finishes they’ll choose, and how their finished home will look.
This can be a huge oversight, and leave behind the key parts of your project planning … the key steps that will actually mean your project goes smoothly, you save time, money and stress, and the home you create is successful, great and meets your expectations as your finished family home.
And what I also have witnessed is what happens when homeowners kick off their remodeling and building plans. When they go from the point of ‘we’re thinking about it’ to ‘ok, let’s do this’. It seems in stark contrast to what I see happen in other parts of our lives. For most situations in our life that have big impact on our finances, lifestyle, health and well-being … we get prepared, seek good quality advice from several reliable and trustworthy sources, and skill ourselves up in what we need to know.
Yet when it comes to remodeling or building our family home, this isn’t always the case. Often homeowners will race at it, even though they may have been ‘thinking about it’ for years.
AND THIS URGENCY, AND HASTE, IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER.
So, The Welcome Home Course is laid out to take you through all 4 stages of your remodel or new build project.
In each Module, we share the key steps, mistakes to avoid and strategies to use. You’ll hear real-life case studies, recommendations for finding great people, things we wish we’d done differently, and what is really involved in creating a home that’s functional and feels great … and a project journey that’s enjoyable.
Module 1 is Before you Begin.
Remember I said homeowners would turn up to me as an architect and get immediately frustrated with how long things were going to take? One of those reasons was because there’s a whole series of steps to move through before you put pencil to paper and start designing any future home. And what you do in these steps can fundamentally impact how your project progresses, how long it will take overall, how hard it will be to get approved by your local authority, and how much it will cost you as well.
And inside Undercover Architect, one of the most common questions I receive is “where do I start?” quickly followed by “who do I talk to first? The builder, the designer … ?” There’s huge confusion about how to actually move from ‘thinking about it’ to ‘let’s get going’.
As with most journeys, those first key steps and decisions can fundamentally impact how well you reach your destination! Think of getting in the car without a map to travel somewhere you’ve never been before? Fun when you’re in your early 20s, have nowhere to be and an open road. Not so fun with a limited bank account, hungry kids in the back, a time limit to get to your destination and a job you have to turn back up to.
So, in Module 1, Eric and I take you through those first critical steps to take in any remodeling or building journey. The best bit about these steps is that you can do them at any time … whether you’re planning on kicking off your project in 3 years time, or in 3 days. And what you find out in going through those steps and taking action, well, I’ve seen homeowners realise they were about to embark on a project that wouldn’t really suit their needs. Or realise that things were going to be simpler than they initially thought. Or at the very least, get a great understanding of some things they can do so that when they start their conversations with professionals, they can ask the right questions to find a great team, and not feel out of their depth.
Then in Module 2 we look at how to Get your Design Right.
Whenever i talk to homeowners about what their fears are with remodeling and building, I hear the usual ones about cost overruns, things taking too much time … but when you dig deeper, the biggest fear is just messing it up. Spending all this time, money and effort and ending up with a home you don’t love, where you live day-in, day-out with the mistakes and regrets.
I firmly believe that your lifestyle is created in the design of your future home. Decisions around materials, colours, fixtures etc certainly have an impact, but it’s the actual spaces, the rooms, the sizes, the volume, the way natural light and breezes, and the flow through your home and its functionality … that’s what creates and supports the type of lifestyle you’ll live in your home. And that all happens in the design.
So in Module 2, Eric and I step you through how to get this right. This is a fantastic insight into how we, as architects with several hundred homes and 45 years experience between us, go about designing homes. What do we do first, how do we look at your land, your existing home, your needs, room sizes, the home’s layout. What works, and what doesn’t. What key things should your home include to be really great, in feeling and function. What mistakes to skip. It’s all in Module 2.
And the best bit, is we focus on the decisions that don’t cost anymore … but when you make them upfront can be the difference between a home you love, and a home you can’t wait to leave everyday because it just feels awful to be in it. That sounds extreme, but I’ve seen it happen to poor homeowners when they’ve messed up their design. This module will help you avoid that happening to you.
Module 3 is all about Before You Build.
What I see for homeowners is that once they get going on their project, they pop themselves on this timeline, and there’s this desire to get to the finished home as soon as possible. There’ll be deadlines like ‘by Christmas next year’ or by the due date of a new baby that’s on the way. And sometimes all the decision-making just gets too much, and so homeowners put it off until construction gets underway.
However, these self-imposed deadlines, or the procrastination of decision-making can be a cause of HUGE headaches during construction, including big cost overruns and big time delays too. Or really poor decisions that mean regrets later on. You rarely make great decisions when under a lot of pressure … and by delaying things until construction is happening, you can back yourself into a corner.
So, this module steps you through those nitty gritty decisions and last steps to make before anyone turns up to commence construction. These steps are so critical to you having a headache-free construction process, and actually starting construction knowing that your contract price is right, you won’t have big changes in your costs, or be constantly chasing your tail as the contractor calls you for decisions and choices on things last minute. Plus you’ll know how to make decisions to suit your home and family.
Now, Module 4 is Getting it built
This is all about what most homeowners find the most exciting, but also the most stressful part of their project … watching all of those dreams come to reality in your home as it gets built or remodeled on site!
It also, however, can feel like a pressure cooker.
How you want it to feel is planned … and that as the rooms and spaces of your home get built, they exceed your expectations, and the design and all your decisions just feel amazing as it comes to life. How many homeowners feel at this point is stressed, under pressure, and that the whole thing is harrowing as every decision feels so significant, and extra costs keep flying around. Your contractor is waiting on you … or worse still, is not checking in with you at all. And the whole thing seems to just run away from you, whilst draining your bank account.
In this module, Eric and I teach you the steps to avoid that happening. Of course, all the pre-work you’ll have done in The Welcome Home Course up to this point will also make the biggest difference. One of the key things we teach is how to find the right contractor, and how to be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for, so there’s no nasty surprises.
Ok, so that dives into the main part of The Welcome Home Course.
There’s also a section called Your Location.
The United States is a big place, with a huge range of variety in climate and local conditions from State to State. This section of The Welcome Home Course will teach you critical information needed to understand how to design for your locality, weather and conditions.
When you know this information, you can design a home that protects and shelters you, and lowers its heating and cooling costs as well. These decisions can be made early, often at no extra cost, and can make a significant difference in the performance, functionality and feel of your home.
And so I’ve collated together some key information to help you understand this more for your specific location.
In addition, ‘The Welcome Home Course’ includes a series of downloadable PDF bonus resources I’ve created and tailored for you.
Hundreds of homeowners have used these resources, and loved the guided support as they plan and execute their project. There’s more information about what each of the modules include in videos and bonus resources on www.undercoverarchitect.com/welcomehome
Lastly, let me share with you the words of 2 American homeowners who’ve learnt this step-by-step system.
Trina was at the very beginning of her process, and planning a new home. She said, “I wanted to learn about creating a great floor plan that works for our family. I needed a push to get started because it feels overwhelming doing it on our own. Also, I hoped to learn what questions to ask to the architect and how to communicate well with the people who are building our house.”
“This course gives you confidence as you go into your project. It helps you to be better prepared to ask questions to the right professionals and will hopefully save you time, money (and disappointment) in the long run – be that picking the right people, getting the floor plan that works for you, asking the right questions, and being prepared as to the whole process.” … Trina
Trina, since learning this system, is now nearing the end of her design process, and working with contractors to finalise her price and start construction. What’s been amazing has been seeing how she’s known how to mitigate risk in her project … and how she’s really taken charge of the process, ensuring she’s making decisions in an informed way.
Jea had specific reasons for joining. And these may sound familiar to you … She said, “I am a planner and I take a long time to make decisions. I want to have all of my ducks in a row before I hire an architect so I am not blind-sided by lots of new information and options. I need time to mull things over before I make decisions, and I don’t want to hold up the project once it has begun. I also don’t want to make quick decisions that I then regret. I like to know all of my options, think about them all, visualize, keep thinking, visualize some more, then decide.”
“Thank you for sharing your experience; your talents; and your kind, compassionate, patient, and authentic personality. You are making a positive contribution not only to your field but to the online world in general. It’s been a great experience.” … Jea
When I last heard from Jea she was diving into finding a suitable architect to get her project moving.
Any investment, when it comes to your future home, has to be worthwhile
Ok, so I’ve been talking for a while now, but I wanted to really share some detailed information about The Welcome Home Course because I know that any investment, when it comes to your future home, is super important and has to be worthwhile.
My aim with this online course is to save you far more money than its cost, but more importantly to really help you be a confident and empowered collaborator in your project. So you actually know how to ask for what you want, be sure you’re getting what you’re paying for, and end up with the perfect home for you and your family.
Previous members have told me that they’ve been asked by design professionals and contractors what part of the industry they’re from, because they’re so well-informed.
This shift … in going from thinking you’ll be a target, and have to avoid being taken advantage of … to having the professionals believe you to be a colleague in the industry – what would that do for your confidence? Your experience? And the home you create? That’s what The Welcome Home Course is all about.
If you’re listening to / reading this at the time of release, make the most of the limited time introductory offer as it ends in the next couple of days.
If not, The Welcome Home Course is still super affordable given how much it will help you save in time, money and stress. When you join, you’ll get access to Module 1 straight away, and weekly for the next 3 weeks after that, another Module will get released to you. Your access to the course doesn’t expire as I want you to be able to learn this whilst getting ready, and then have it to refer back to you as you execute your project. You’ll also get access to future updates as well.
So, head to https://undercoverarchitect.com/the-welcome-home-course/ to learn more about The Welcome Home Course and to enrol now. And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to email me on [email protected]
Next time, I’ll be telling you about another Undercover Architect course, Manage Your Build. Until then, bye.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS PODCAST:
Introductory Offer for The Welcome Home Course ends Nov 30. Join here >>>https://undercoverarchitect.com/the-welcome-home-course/