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Building A Barden Home

My step by step experience with Barden Homes

Barden Homes IS NOT A House Builder

clock September 28, 2008 04:43 by author Donny Kemick

With all of the floor plans, supplier links, and details of the panelization process found on their web site, it is easy to get confused about what roll Barden Homes really plays in your new home.  It is important to understand that Barden Homes Is NOT Your House Builder.

OK, So What Do They Do?

Think of Barden as your engineer, consultant, and supplier.  They provide you with floor plans to choose from as a starting point (and potentially ending point, if you are happy with their stock plan), and provide the drafting and engineering to modify the plan to suit your needs.  They also consult on laws and rules for your area, such as how high a chimney must be, whether you are required to have a railing in certain areas, etc…

Their Main Role = Supplier of Building Materials

Out of those three roles, their biggest is being the chief supplier of materials for your home.  You pick a floor plan, and customize it.  They sell you the core materials needed to build the home.  Throughout the customization process, they recalculate the material cost for you.  When I say core materials, I don’t mean everything you need to get the job done.  There is quite a bit that you have to take care of outside of Barden.

drywall Some of the materials they DO NOT include:

  • Drywall
  • Flooring
  • Wiring
  • Plumbing
  • Heating/Cooling
  • Lighting
  • Concrete
  • Insulation
  • Paint
  • Tile
  • Fixtures

While I can certainly understand that providing fixtures, flooring, etc… would be very difficult, since everyone has different taste, why not provide drywall?  I would think that they could buy in such large quantities that they could make money off of reselling it, and even pass some savings on to the buyer.  Oh well!   I guess drywall could be considered a personal taste item as well, since some people prefer paneling or tile.

trusses Some of the materials they DO include:

  • Windows
  • Doors
  • Trusses
  • Walls (studs and plywood or MDF)
  • Trim
  • Roofing (shingles)
  • Siding
  • Decking (though I’ve heard it’s over priced)
  • Decorative Columns
  • Stairs and Railings
  • Vanities and Cabinets for kitchens and baths
  • Countertops for Kitchen and Baths
  • Chase for your fireplace
  • Garage Doors
  • Bilco Doors to basement
  • Structural materials (Floor joists, etc…)

OK, So Who the Heck Builds Our Home Then?

So, you’re probably wondering if you need to invest in some building equipment to erect your house on you own.  Absolutely not!  In our case, our Barden Homes salesman is also a general contractor.  This means he already had quite a bit of experience in working with Barden’s materials and building Barden Homes. 

I would like to mention that our salesman made it very clear that we were welcome to do as much or as little of the work ourselves as we wanted to.  So, for example, if you are an electrician and would like to wire your own home, or want to do the tiling, you’re allowed to do that.  In our case, I think I’ll leave it to the professionals, though I may network the house and paint a bit.

If your salesperson is not a general contractor, he or she can direct you to one with Barden Homes experience.  Our salesman informed us that building a Barden Home is identical to building a stick-built home, only the deliveries of materials come in the correct order, and the time-consuming sections are pre-built.  This means, that any builder could work the Barden Homes product.

Our Salesman Couldn’t Be Our General Contractor

Our timeframe, and our salesman’s timeframe for starting our home didn’t line up, from a scheduling perspective.  He was scheduled to be working on a different building project when we wanted to get started.  This obviously concerned us quite a bit, as we had gotten comfortable working with him, and established trust.

Luckily, our salesman was willing to contact his boss (a Barden Regional Rep), to see if he was willing to be our general contractor.  The stars must have been in-line, because he agreed and is now going to be our general contractor.  This may not seem like that big of a deal, but the new general contractor has built around 300 Barden Homes!  Our salesman had built 11!  Not only is the new general contractor very experienced, he’s built the same floor plan we decided on multiple times in the past!  We are very blessed that it turned out this way.

  

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Contacting Barden Homes to Get Started

clock September 26, 2008 18:26 by author Donny Kemick

When we had narrowed our floor plans down to a few and had found a lot to place the house on, we decided we had better contact Barden Homes to see what the next step would be.  When we contacted them, they sent us an information packet, and had our location’s salesperson contact us. 

Our First Face to Face Meeting

We scheduled a meeting with him to get started.  He accommodated us and traveled to our home (only about 30 minutes from his office) to gather some information from us and to introduce the Barden product.

At this meeting, he explained the process a bit and made note of the 3 finalists we had narrowed down to for floor plans.  He brought us large printouts of the floor plans at the next meeting to help us decide on the one we wanted to move forward with.

One of my largest concerns when looking at the floor plans was that I had no idea of what each would cost.  Not even a ballpark!  The salesman was very helpful in clearing things up, and told us that one of our finalists would be much more expensive than the other 2, helping us to narrow down to two designs.

Some Salesman Are General Contractors as Well

This being the first home we will have built (and hopefully the last), I really had no idea of what the process would be with our salesman, including who builds the house, how we get quotes, etc…

The salesman informed us that he would help us to locate a General Contractor, who gathers quotes for us, and can also use their own crew to provide quotes.  In our case, the salesman was also a General Contractor that has built 11 Barden Homes in the past.  This was obviously a big plus in my mind.  This way, I would only have to deal with one person for sales and general contracting.

Not all salesman are G.C.’s though.  It is my understanding that the Salesman are supposed to know of Barden-Experienced G.C.’s that can do your project. 

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Looking at Barden Homes Floor Plans

clock September 26, 2008 17:57 by author Donny Kemick

Sullivans-Run One of the first things my wife and I did when we started to consider Barden Homes, was check out the floor plans available in different house sizes.  On the Barden Homes website you can pick between two house styles, Ranch and Two Story.  It is SO IMPORTANT to remember that the floor plans should be used as a general guide, not a set-in-stone selection.  You can customize the floor plan, and design all you want.

The Ranch homes are separated into two categories:

The Two Story homes are divided into five categories:

As you can see, if you want a larger home, you will likely need to research a Two Story home, unless you can find a Ranch that you would like to customize. 

It’s important to note that the floor plans can be found on resellers’ sites as well.  Here are a few:

Our Design and Floor Plan

Sullivans-Run-Built To give you context throughout our journey, I thought I should mention that we chose the Sullivan’s Run design.  The official Barden PDF is here: http://www.bardenhomes.com/Data/Documents/BigRender/Sullivans%20Run.pdf 

The Sullivan’s Run design includes 4 bedrooms and 3.5 Baths.  It also includes a deck off the breakfast nook and a 3 car garage.  We customized this design to our own needs including:

  • Removal of one of the bathrooms upstairs, making the home a 2.5 bath
  • Used the space made available by removing the bathroom and gave all bedrooms a walk-in closet
  • Removal of the deck off the breakfast nook, allowing us to extend the family room an extra 7’ 10”. 
  • Extended the family room out an additional 5’, making the house 5 feet longer.
  • Converted the single car stall of the garage into an office for my business.
  • Created an access to the basement from the garage
  • Added a large concrete patio off the back of the home

As you can see from our modifications, a panelized home gives you the same flexibility of a traditional stick-built home.

At the time of this writing, the following page provided an extensive breakdown of the Sullivan’s Run home with virtual tours: http://www.salesassociatesofwny.com/North_South.html 

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