How Important Is Your Lender When Building a Custom Home?

By Ryan Siebert


As a custom home builder and remodeler I know how important your lender can be for you to have a successful transaction. My business has made multiple shifts over the 12 years of existence and without a banker who understands me, I would have had a much more difficult time.  The same can be said for your construction loan on your custom home. Today I want to discuss the importance of having a great lender for your project.


As a young builder I recognized that to be successful I had to work with people who had light years more experience that I do.  The same can be said about your lender for your construction loan.  You want to work with someone who has experience in lending, specifically with construction loans.  Not all lenders have construction lending experience.  Most loans are underwritten, approved, and funded.  Construction lending has an entirely different set of rules.  The money is paid out as your project progresses.  If you do not have a lender that understands the progress of a project you may end up paying out too much money for unfinished work. Work with someone that understands how to get you the money, and who knows about construction too.

A special shout out to Signature Bank for continuing to help out with my business needs, and for having me be a part of their radio commercial which can be heard here:

Rate Watcher

Your lender needs to understand rates.  Today’s market is less volatile for interest rates, but there will be a day when that changes.  Your lender on your custom build home needs to understand what rate programs and changes are available to assure you have the correct financing options in place.


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Program Versatility

For your custom built home I believe it is important to have the correct loan in hand.  Let’s face it, you do not do this every day.  Your lender needs to understand your financial needs and put you in the program that makes sense for you.  I am not only talking about fixed versus ARM programs.  Construction lending offers different options for down payment, construction payment terms, size, and overall numbers of loans to take out.

I always find value in doing research and understanding options for all areas of custom home building and remodeling, including lending.  When it comes to lending the best value is finding someone that understands the process and understands your financial situation so you can put you and your family into the best lending program for you. If you want to discuss further please call me on my cell 847-602-7641.

How to Select Interior Trim Packages for Your Custom Home

When he comes to selecting interior trim for your home this simple little task can become very complicated. My custom building and renovation clients in Naperville know all too well what I am talking about. Today I want to give you a few tips on how you can take the bull by the horn and get your trim package selections taken care of and avoid a lot of stress.

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What Type of Kitchen Countertop Should You Choose?

What Type of Kitchen Countertop Should You Choose?

How are you supposed to remodel your kitchen without knowing the kitchen countertops?  With nearly all of my Naperville kitchen renovations the clients hit a bottleneck in the process when it comes time to select the kitchen countertops. So to help today I put together a list of kitchen countertop choices.


Granite Countertops

Granite countertops, once a mainstay of homes for only the rich and famous, are common in many homes today.  Granite kitchen countertops are a natural stone that is forms under the ground from volcanic pressurization. You can view a great article on the process of how granite is formed today and how the production technology dramatically dropped the price by following this link via


When dealing with clients the ones that love granite are looking for a very customized piece, something that no one else will have.  With the natural stone selection the odds of having the exact slab are slim to none. Where clients will get frustrated when choosing granite for their kitchen countertops is blending the natural veins together for their kitchen.  Most countertop fabricators will be able to match up the lines the way you want them, but the odds are you will need to be willing to make some sacrificing, especially if you want fancy edging done to your countertops.

Custom Renovation

Quartzite and Quartz Countertops

They are one in the same right? WRONG Quartzite kitchen countertops are also a natural stone.  This is a sandstone that also forms over time from the heat pressure in the ground. Quartz on the other hand is a man made stone.  The funny thing about quartz is that manufacturers are getting better about making their man made product look more natural. Recently the quartz and quartzite countertops have taken over in popularity.  The natural thought is that they are more expensive, but it is not always the case. Quartzite, like granite will have inconsistencies in the veining and overall appearance from stone to stone. Quartz is known for being more uniform with veining and designs, which allows you to make easier choices when selecting a stone that you like. MSI, one of the leading stone suppliers has a great article on the difference between the two here.


What you will find with stone selections, granite, quartzite and quartz is the selection process can be frustrating.  There are only a few places to pick out the physical slabs of stone, yet there are hundreds of fabricators out there. I recommend finding a knowledgeable representative that can walk you through the process and help make your selection enjoyable.  

Epoxy Countertops

One other style of countertops that I am seeing a lot of attention for lately is epoxy kitchen countertops. Much like finished basements and garage flooring epoxy countertops are becoming a very popular and economical choice. There are not as many professionals available who offer this service, but it is something that looks fantastic when completed.  Also, this is something for you DIYers out there that you can try on your own. I recommend looking at Countertop Epoxy and their methods so you can learn the steps and tips they offer.  They provide incredible knowledge for FREE on how to use epoxy for your project.  

As always, if you are looking for more information and ways that you can custom renovate or custom build you own home please feel free to reach out to us and we would love to partner with you.


What Will The Future Ceiling Look Like?

The Best Ceiling for Your Custom Renovation

For a lot of my Naperville renovation work clients are telling me they want open concept homes. That’s great but with open concept you have to be able to designate areas using the ceiling. This can be done with light fixtures for the different textures for the ceiling material. Below is a list of different request that we get from our renovation and custom home building project.

Coffered Ceiling‘s
Coffered ceilings are very trendy and also take a classic look in appeal to them. We typically get clients are requesting the coffered ceilings to help define that open space. The dining room is a great place to use coffered ceilings.  The extra millwork and combined with wainscoting can give a very detailed look. The ceilings can come in different sizes shapes but the most popular comes and symmetrical squares. The cost for adding coffered ceilings vary in range. The reason for the range often times comes in the preparation and planning. If you are able to make the selection for coffered ceilings while you’re home is still being framed then your builder can design and prep the area well ahead of time. This allows the builder to properly add electric and reinforce the area before installation. Where we see a lot of clients get frustrated is when they want to add the conference feelings after we’ve already installed the drywall. Hey, we are your contractor, but please do not kill the messenger.  This means we are now affecting electrical we are affected potentially plumbing and HVAC work but it’s hidden behind the drywall. Most importantly we have to be able to reinforce those beams and secure them. Adding the coffered wood material over top of the drywall is not always the most efficient way to do it.

Tray Ceilings

Tray ceilings give you more room added depth, or ceiling height. It’s what we like to call a way of cheating to add height in your room. You often see this in bedrooms on the second level. Your ceiling height maybe only 8 feet but by adding a tray ceiling in the bedroom you were now raising the height to a 9 foot plus level. Added height gives the perception of a larger room and for you canopy bed lovers allows you to put that big bed up without having to worry about hitting the ceiling. The cost for adding a tray ceiling is very minimal. There are a little bit more particular ways to install the drywall, but overall the cost is very effective to your budget. You can add multiple layers to your tray ceilings like we did in one of our custom home building projects in Naperville in the picture below. I particularly love this as it shows the skills of our framers are electrician and our painters and carpenters all in one shot.


Vaulted Ceilings

There are very few custom home building conversations I have with a client doesn’t ask for a vaulted ceiling somewhere on their main level. It does make sense most of the grandiose houses that we grow up seeing on movies and television have an open huge ceiling space. The challenge I have with vaulted ceilings comes down to your budget. Using common sense and math, having a vaulted ceiling on your main level means you likely are not going to be on able to build any square footage above that space on the second level. As I often find myself telling my clients it’s much easier on your budget for me to build up rather than to build wide.

Unfinished Ceilings

For some of my Chicago suburb clients they hate the thought of a main level unfinished ceiling. Often times we have a discussion with our Naperville finished basement clients about leaving the ceilings unfinished. This allows us to go after that industrial looking ceiling. Think of being in a restaurant or bar with the ceiling unfinished allowing you to see the duct work, electric, and any structural beams. The possibilities are endless with how you can design the ceiling to give yourself something very unique. I am a big fan of the rustic look and on top of the fact that it will save you money. By not paying for the ceiling to be finished and choosing to paint those beams and you can save between $2,000.00- $5,000.00 in your basement.

Who knows what the trend of ceilings will be in the future.  Maybe the main level will go away from the traditional white ceilings like you see in specialty rooms such a powder room or dining room. I don’t think think we will see popcorn ceilings come back anytime soon or drop ceilings in the basement. At least I hope not.

More information about how to custom build a custom remodel space of your own. Please email me Thanks so much and have a great day.

Naperville Remodeling

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Carrie McCormick returns for part two.  In this episode Pat and Carrie discuss the ways that the stock market rise and confidence in the economy could lead to a booming year in real estate in 2018.  Carrie also discusses how development in neighborhoods not only increase the value of homes, but it also helps create better schools in the area by raising the bar of student and parent involvement.  More development in your neighborhood gives the consumer the opportunity for custom renovations and rehab work to be completed.  From a developer perspective, it is important to know the areas and neighborhoods where there are value plays on the way, and when to hit the stop button as neighborhoods hit their peak in value.  Pat also reveals that Carrie will be joining the Board for the Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago.


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