Have You Turned Your Dream Into A Reality Yet?

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If you’re like most people, chances are you made some goals in January, and if you followed our suggestion, some of those are for home improvement projects.  Whether it was to take steps toward building or updating your dream home, or updating your kitchen or master bath.

Now, halfway through 2017, we’re asking, “How’s that going?” Is the idea you have for a garage makeover still just an idea or have you given us a call to discuss making it a reality? How about the room you’ve always wanted to add on, or the back deck you’ve dreamed of?

If the dream is still a dream, there’s still time to turn it into a reality this year.  Best of all, when you work with Schneider Custom Builders, we do all the work – it may be the easiest goal you ever accomplish! And, you and your family will love having the home and amenities you’ve always wanted.

Whether your project is big or small, we give every effort the same attention to detail. We’re here to decrease the stress involved with large and small home projects from start to finish. Take a look at our project gallery, and give us a call today (757) 819-4466 to discuss how we can do the same for you. It’s not too late!

Small Projects That Can Make A Big Difference

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Spring has always been a great time to update your home. Take a look at these home design updates that will instantly brighten your home and make it more attractive to potential buyers or simply more enjoyable for you.

The front door is your home’s first impression. Installing a new and stylish front door will be a warm welcome to your home. Adding French doors leading to your outdoor space can bring much needed light into your home and make a room feel big and airy. French doors can also turn an unused formal living room into a functional office. How about installing a barn door to add a fresh feel to your kitchen pantry or add one to your bedroom to give it a cozy and comfortable look.

Now is the perfect time to think outside of the home when looking for ways to enhance both the beauty and quality of life for you and your family. A deck addition or replacement is the perfect choice for grilling and entertainment. Decks can be built off of the lower floor of your home or they can also be added to an upper level room in a rooftop setting.

Enhanced curb appeal is important to most homeowners and the most dramatic transformation that will instantly get attention is the addition or an enhancement of the front porch. An impressive entry way can be showcased with a beautifully designed and built porch that is also useful for relaxation with neighbors and family!

Your kitchen is a great place to start when it comes to upgrades. A new back splash is a high impact improvement that makes a world of difference. Adding an island is a great way to increase storage and seating to a small kitchen. An eat-in kitchen offers a big advantage when you are ready to sell your home. Consider adding a built in bench with a banquet table for a unique touch.

Adding new light fixtures is an easy way to update your home. Painting your home in bright, neutral colors will always go a long way to making your home feel clean and new. If you are painting, you might as well go the extra mile and upgrade your switch plates and replace your doorknobs as well. Taking the time to make these little changes can make a big difference.

Sprucing up your home will give you a well-deserved sense of relaxation when you walk through the door. Decide on the upgrade that your home needs the most and contact the Schneider Custom Builders team to make your small project dreams a reality. You will be glad you did!

Aging In Place. The Smart Choice.

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Did you know that according to a recent poll taken by the American Association of Retired People (AARP), nearly 80 percent of Americans hope to stay in their current home as long, and as comfortably, as possible. This hope can become reality with a little bit of extra-planning and a home builder or a home remodeler that specializes in this design specialty.

This building trend is often referred to as “Aging In Place”. This approach is to provide a carefully planned design that will allow the homeowner, regardless of age or ability level, to live in the home safely, independently and comfortably.

Here are some examples of design features that support this objective:

– One-story living. No-step entry into home and interior rooms.
– Wide doorways and hallways.
– Countertops at varying heights to accommodate use while standing or sitting.
– Extra floor space.
– Floors and bathtubs with non-slip surfaces.
– Shower and tub walls built ready for installation of handrails.
– Thresholds designed flush with the floor.
– Electrical outlets that are accessible without bending down.
– Windows that can be opened with little effort.
– Easy to operate levers on doors and rocker light switches.

In addition to functionality, these elements offer beauty and comfort that support a healthy living experience for people of all ages and abilities. They also ensure a safe living space if you or a family member experiences a temporary or long-term disability. A home that is safer and easier to live in provides both short and long-term benefits to your family. Now that’s a smart choice!

We Won a Houzz Award!

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We are pleased to announce that Schneider Custom Builders has won “Best of Customer Service” on Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. We were chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community of active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016.

At Schneider Custom Builders our team has embraced the philosophy of “Striving for Excellence.”  We believe in our practices and standards and feel that they exceed what is considered normal criteria for success. Like a cornerstone joins two walls together, Schneider Custom Builders, your cornerstone of excellence, will join your dreams and architectural designs to make them a reality.

“We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Schneider Custom Builders,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

Click here to follow us on Houzz!

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Why Are Changes During Construction So Costly?

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Ever wonder why small changes made after buildling begins can have surprisingly large effects on the budget? We’re here to help make sense of it for you.

Cost overruns are an unfortunate fact of life in construction. Common causes of this are unclear or incomplete plans and specifications, job-site surprises and a big one: owner changes during the process of the build.

What may seem like a small change can have much larger cost impacts – oftentimes beyond the builder’s control, as there are typically several parties effected by changes requested by customer.

We’re not talking here about dishonest contractors who write vague specifications up front to create low bids and then nickel-and-dime clients with change orders to increase profits. We mean ethical, fair builders who write detailed specs and manage their jobs in a professional manner. It’s not unusual for customers of these builders to decide, after the project kicks off, that they want something different in a part of the house.

The kickoff usually happens at the pre-construction meeting, where the builder and clients review the final product and design choices, and the clients sign off on those choices. After this meeting, purchase orders are generated and sent to all subcontractors and suppliers, setting firm prices for every part of the job. Any change that happens after that point will likely add cost.

How much cost? That depends not only on what is being changed, but also when. A common example is the clients who, after seeing the space over the kitchen sink, decide they actually prefer a bigger window. That decision will cost a lot less if it is made early, during the framing walkthrough. If they wait until the window is in the wall opening and the insulation, drywall, and sink cabinet are installed, the change is more costly.

Less obvious are seemingly minor changes that have a ripple effect. These can multiply the cost of an item to several times what it would have been as part of the original specs.

For example, suppose the homeowners decide they want a pedestal sink in the guest bathroom, rather than the small vanity they had initially selected. Seems like a simple enough switch, right? The builder’s staff has to now cancel the order for the vanity and possibly for a granite top. If those items have already been fabricated and shipped, the supplier will likely charge in full for a custom order or a restocking fee for others. The pedestal must be ordered from the plumbing supplier, taking additional time. If the hot and cold water pipes are already in place, the plumber has to move them, and the plumbing inspector has to inspect the change. If the wall has already been finished, the drywaller must be called back. This minor change may throw everyone’s schedule off by a week or more!

Every change also requires time from the builder’s staff: time to complete and track orders, to reschedule workers and subcontractors, and to update the budget. The more hours of labor on the job naturally increases the total project cost as well.

Don’t let this explanation discourage you. Clients are entitled and encouraged to speak up during the process to ensure their dream home is exactly what they want and in fact, most clients decide to make at least a few changes during construction. Sometimes it is simply too difficult to envision what a space will look like until you begin to see it come to life in front of you. But we encourage clients to make changes with a clear understanding of the costs these decisions may bring if they are made after specs have been written and the contract signed. This is a reminder that making as many firm selections as possible up front is always in the customer’s best interest – for their timeline and their wallet!

Schneider Custom Builders has over 30 more years of experience in the building and remodeling industry and we are your best asset for minimizing costly change fees to your project! By following our proven preconstruction planning process, we work through and identify the details needed to avoid the unnecessary costs associated with incomplete specifications. As a result, you’ll find we’ll either save you money or afford you more to invest in the true tweaks that custom building is all about.

Experience the Schneider difference with your next home build or renovation! We look forward to working with you.

NAHB Builder20 Fall 2016

Fall 2016 NAHB Builder20 Meeting in Montana

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We are just getting settled back in Norfolk, with another successful Builder20 meeting in the books!

For this Fall 2016 Builder20 Meeting, we gathered at The Lodge at Whitefish Lake in beautiful Whitefish, Montana. Our host was Denman Construction, and Craig Denman and his team did not disappoint with some truly magnificent homes to share with the group. With stunning views of lakes and mountain ranges as backdrops, Denman Construction crafts homes that are nestled into their natural landscape and it was great to have the opportunity to tour some of his recent projects.

Denham Construction Whitefish MontantaDenham Construction Whitefish MontantaJim Schneider has been proud to hold the role of Chair of the Craftsmen for the past two years, and it is now time to pass the baton to someone new. Josh Rosenthal from Cabin John Builders in Maryland will be the new Chair, with Keith Ellis from Ellis Custom Homes in Texas will serve as Vice Chair.

The highlight of the Builder20 experience for us is having the opportunity to communicate at such an intimate level with builder counterparts from around the world (we now have a member from Australia!). We realize that we all face very similar challenges. What that does is make us recognize that we operate very complicated businesses, and we leave these Builder20 meet-ups grateful for the opportunity to collaborate and brainstorm solutions to make us all better.

As always, our member updates generated many productive roundtable discussions including: Sales and Marketing, Project Procedures, Estimating, Strategy and Managing Staff. Through these discussions, we are able to corroborate regarding best practices, lessons learned and trends in the industry to better serve our clients.

We’re looking forward to the next time this talented group of builders gets together in the Spring!

What Does Green Building Really Mean?

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There is a lot of buzz out there about what it means to build a “green home” and a common concern is how to do so without breaking the bank.

Green homes, also called sustainable homes, are more affordable than ever. A recent study of builders and remodelers found that going green adds an average of just 7% to a project’s total cost, compared to 11% six years previously.

It turns out that you don’t need an organic concrete foundation or a $40,000 solar electric roof system. The most important qualities of a green home are actually fairly simple: low maintenance and maximum efficiency.

Achieving this is a matter of good, basic design and construction, which encompasses the following factors of sustainable building:

  • Thoughtful Design: You don’t need a tiny house to go green. Even a large home can be sustainable if it uses the floor plan in an efficient way. Utilize the space so that it is most efficient to heat and cool. For example: South-facing glass helps reduce heating and lighting bills by bringing ample daylight and solar energy into the home.
  • Wise Material Choices: Virtually every manufacturer wants to label its products as green, but look for third party verification from a reputable organization – GreenGuard, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), or ENERGY STAR, for example.
  • Long-Term Durability: A home that doesn’t need rebuilding or repairing will use fewer resources over time. When it comes to durability, our top priority is weatherproofing the structure. That’s why we exclusively use the ZIP System Roof and Wall Sheathing and AdvanTech flooring to protect our clients’ homes for the years ahead.
  • Energy Efficiency. The most talked-about benefit of green construction seems to be the promise of energy savings throughout the home. The key to getting high performance is hiring a builder who pays attention to detail. A green design will only deliver its benefits if properly installed.

Schneider Custom Builders is proud of our certification as Master Certified Green Professional (Master CGP). This designation signifies our long-standing commitment to and experience with sustainable building and remodeling throughout Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. Whether you’re looking to renovate all or part of your home to be more sustainable, or are considering a new build with green building techniques in mind, we’d love to talk with you.

master certified green professional NAHB graduate master builder

“Quality Workmanship and Timely Completion” – Cape Charles Custom Home Testimonial

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“We moved into our new Jim Schneider home in Cape Charles July 2015.  We were very impressed with their attention to detail and building expertise.  The subcontractors chosen were all first rate, and the team of Jeff & Jeff kept an eye on quality workmanship and timely work completion.  We did this house from our home in Florida and appreciated the weekly website and photo updates. Any question or change was immediately answered by email or phone.
We had several unique requests, like an outdoor enclosed shower, custom wet bar cabinetry, paddleboard racks in garage, and they cheerfully came up with solutions.  And in this year we have had several minor problems which were immediately addressed and corrected.
Our house was built with ICF construction to be more hurricane resistant, one of the first in this area.  We appreciate Jim’s experience and local building knowledge in suggesting improvements like that and the extra insulation & soundproofing.  His designer took us and helped choose marble, light fixtures, flooring, appliances, cabinetry,  plumbing fixtures, and hardware, to places that were good quality and trustworthy.  Couldn’t have done it on our own.
We would highly recommend Jim Schneider for custom homes for trustworthy and quality work as well as being easy to work with.”
– Nan & Bob F. (Cape Charles, VA)
The Builder 20 Group Spring 2016 Schneider Custom Builders

NAHB Spring Builder 20 Club Meeting

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It’s that time of year again!

Jim Schneider left Norfolk for a few days to head north for his Spring Builder 20 Club meeting in Bethesda, MD. The group stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Chevy Chase, where they engaged in discussions and speaker presentations on everything from managing the design and selections of design-build construction, to discussing company financial analysis and sharing member updates from all 20 builders.

The Builder 20 Club is a unique organization that was created by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). The Club meets twice a year and discusses all matters of business within the industry. They critique, analyze, and share ideas and experiences. The Builder 20 Clubs are made up of some of the finest builders from non-competing markets around the world. Participation in this Builder 20 Club has made Schneider Custom Builders a better builder, as well as a better business.

In construction, design, land acquisition, finance, accounting, human resources, marketing, and more, the ability to see how your peers are doing things is one of the most notable benefits of the Builder 20 club, according to members. Beyond that, this group has become close friends and comrades, with many members staying in touch regularly between the multi-day meetings

But just because our team is experienced and knowledgeable, doesn’t mean that training and education should ever be over. Builders certainly get better through their own experiences, but learning from the wisdom of building colleagues can be a lot more helpful for preparing against the unknown.

The best way for a tool to remain sharp is by continuing to sharpen it, and the same can be said for the mind.

We think of ourselves as lifelong learners here at Schneider Custom Builders, and we are grateful for the opportunity that Builder 20 provides for us to constantly fine-tune our craft to build the best custom homes in the Hampton Roads and Eastern Shore.
The Builder 20 Group Spring 2016 Schneider Custom Builders

Builder 20 Club Meeting conference

lunch at builder 20 meeting




Two Distinct Homes Added to Our Interactive Gallery

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We have added four new images to our Interactive Gallery from our recent projects in the Bay Creek community of Cape Charles, Virginia. These images are brought to our page courtesy of, and they allow you to hover over images to see what elements make up these two custom homes.

The first featured home is nestled amidst a wooded environment near the golf course of Bay Creek for a feel of serenity and elegance. The homeowners come from a background in design, and were very involved in selecting beautiful pieces to highlight their own style throughout the house – for example this bronze oven hood and classic chandelier in the kitchen.

The exterior features a welcoming brick paver walkway, with a combination of dark shingles and copper roofing. The brick privacy wall offers a separation from the front of the house to the garage area, and the second-story balcony opens up the indoor living space to the outdoors.

In our second featured home located in Bay Creek, stained maple cabinets and off-white Vicostone quartz countertops are the staples of this modern marina-style kitchen. We focused on creating functional work space for a kitchen design that the homeowners will enjoy using for years to come.

This highly customized bathroom features many elements supplied by the client. Inspired by nature, the bird design on the sink cabinet and the bamboo frame mirror offer truly unique pieces that bring the outdoors in!

Feeling inspired to incorporate some of these design elements as you plan your renovation or future dream home? Click through our Interactive Gallery to see some of our other projects and gather ideas from the wide array of styles we have created, and give us a call at 757.819.4466 when you’re ready to talk with us about turning those ideas into a reality.