Before the Build

  • What is a custom home?—A custom home is the home of your dreams! You design and build the home you want without compromise and without having to settle for someone else’s idea of the perfect home. At Orren Pickell Building Group, we strive to make your dream home a reality.
  • We’re building a custom home. What questions should we ask potential home builders? A quality custom home builder should be able to show you examples of relevant work and provide references to clients with whom they’ve recently worked. Ask to see their book of work to get a sense of their design and construction diversity. If you’re interested in a particular style home — like a Cape Cod — ask to see multiple examples of similar homes they’ve completed. Also, ask the potential custom home builder if they have a set timeline for their design/build process. At Orren Pickell, we’ve found that the more time we spend in the design and pre-construction process, the smoother the project will go. The more details we can determine ahead of time, the more accurate pricing will be, and the better we can avoid potential slowdowns.
  • Can we afford to build a custom home? Certainly. As most of our clients realize, a luxury custom home is an investment for a lifetime. Our affiliated financial experts at various lending institutions are up-to-date on the marketplace and can provide valuable insights into available packages and what is most appropriate for you. We are always happy to introduce potential clients to these financial professionals — if you’re interested, please let us know.
  • Does it make sense financially to build a custom home? A custom home should be considered an investment for a lifetime, and at Orren Pickell Building Group, we have built our reputation on offering exceptional quality at an affordable price. We take great pride in the lasting value that Pickell homes retain over the years — and in the competitive real estate market, the Orren Pickell name is considered a valuable and enticing asset. When you choose Orren Pickell, you engage a leading home designer and builder with over 40 years of expertise to design, build, and expertly maintain your home, preserving its beauty and quality for years to come.
  • When should we put our current home on the market? The timing of when to sell your current home is entirely your decision. That said, we find that many of our clients often build a custom home when they have six months or more to sell their current home.
  • How can we be sure the builder we’re considering is financially secure? It’s vital to protect your largest investment by working with a financially secure builder. Talk to your own financial institution about obtaining information and credit history from the prospective builder’s bank. Check with the builder’s past clients. Talk to a reputable title company. Ask individuals in the real estate community.
  • How long does it take to put the financing together? Over the years, we have compiled a list of lending institutions that share our values, offering excellent customer service coupled with the best products for the client’s specific situation. These include vacant land loans, construction loans, bridge loans, and end-loan mortgages with fixed to variable interest rates.
  • With two full-time careers, can we really find the time for custom building? Yes — if you choose the right builder. If you have busy, hectic lives, you simply cannot build with a company that requires you to take control of your project personally.  At Orren Pickell Building Group, we take the lead in your homebuilding experience, leading you through the process. In fact, we’ve successfully designed and built custom homes for clients who were away in other parts of the world during the entire process! We are just as invested as you in making your custom homebuilding experience enjoyable.
  • How does the builder make this detailed, important, and sometimes overwhelming process easier? It’s essential that you choose a custom home builder that emphasizes communication and transparency. At Orren Pickell, we know the custom home-building process can seem overwhelming. Rest assured that our award-winning team is here to make your project an enjoyable experience. Not only do we track each home in progress, but we will give you your own password-protected website to utilize throughout the duration of your home-building project. The site will show you architectural plans, photos of your home as it is being built (your superintendent will take new digital photos periodically), give you a live, up-to-date timeline, and remind you of what essential selections need to be made.

The Building Process

  • How much supervision will my house have during construction? Plenty. Your main point of contact is an experienced construction superintendent who will visit the site each day. Additionally, one of our project managers will be in communication with you throughout the process, confirming selections and updating you on project timing. Your design team also stays involved during construction, visiting the site to ensure the vision that was designed is coming to full realization. And, of course, your Sales Consultant will be with you through every step of the process.
  • How does the selections process work? We allow our clients to be just as involved as they would like in the selections process. You can select everything — or Orren Pickell’s design team assists in selecting fixtures and finishes that best complement your style and home. For your convenience, we also provide locations and information about our valued vendor partners to be able to see the wide range of options that are available. Many of our New Construction and Remodel clients choose to involve the expertise of an interior designer as well. This is a wonderful idea when considering the additional perspective on the overall look and feel of the home. If needed, a list of Interior Designers can be provided by your Sales Associate.
  • How does the weather affect the building process? At Orren Pickell, we build 12 months a year. With today’s technology, building can begin during any season. Even in January and February, when the weather drops to freezing temperatures, there are several windows of opportunity when foundations can be poured without difficulty. Concrete walkways and driveways and masonry work cannot be done during extreme cold, but these can easily be deferred without any effect on the overall schedule. Our team is here to work around your schedule and ensure that we implement your desired timeline to the best of our ability.
  • How important is landscaping to my project? Our firm believes that landscape design is as critical as the home’s architectural style. That said, your landscape architect is an integral part of the design team. They will provide insight into the positioning of a home on a specific site while helping to create a view from every window. A successful custom home isn’t just the building alone, it’s the entire property.
  • How does the builder guide us toward the best values? Our estimating department is constantly on top of checking prices and quality levels. Their job is to get you the best possible specific value, line item by line item, without sacrificing the quality of the project. Orren Pickell Building Group also offers the value of our buying power. Because we build numerous luxury custom homes per year, our subcontractors, who are the best in the industry, are able to base their bids on volume – giving you a more competitive cost in return.
  • Does it cost more when requesting specific architectural detailing? Logically, the more complex and challenging the detailing and finishing, the more costly a project will be. Some styles take more time to build than others. However, our firm has developed cost-effective techniques to save on labor and material while creating faithful architectural detailing. Our team will consider all of your desired detailing while also ensuring we stay within budgetary outlines.
  • Will we spend more by the time our home is completed? Any budget increases are the direct result of change orders or upgraded selections requested by the homeowner. At Orren Pickell, we make it our business to see that few change orders are necessary, owing to the exacting detail that goes into the initial planning stage.

Working with Orren Pickell

  • What makes Orren Pickell Building Group different as a builder? Simply put, Orren Pickell Building Group takes the risk and worry out of architectural design and custom home building. Our award-winning team ensures your custom home or remodel will be finished to your specifications on time and within budget. Our longevity, time-proven process, demanding standards, and ability to expertly manage every aspect of the building process — from design to home maintenance — set us apart from other builders.
  • What does Orren Pickell need from us as clients in terms of time and commitment? There’s no denying that any construction project requires a decent amount of time — there are many decisions to make. We can make those decisions on your behalf, but ultimately it’s your home, and we want you to be proud and delighted with it. We’re committed to working with you through the process, guiding you through each step. Your project manager will help keep you updated every step of the way, and Orren Pickell’s secure web portal will allow you to review selections, make changes, and more.
  • How does Orren Pickell ensure our project goes smoothly? At Orren Pickell, we believe communication and transparency are critical to ensuring your home-building project is hassle-free. Our MyHomePortal website allows you to see, at-a-glance, the current status of your home building project and what decisions are still needed. Additionally, we employ a cross-functional team to help identify potential issues before they become problems. For example, our construction team will review design plans, and our design team will visit projects on site. This allows team members to point out concerns or propose changes without an unnecessarily burdensome impact on project cost or timing.
  • Does Orren Pickell design/build true custom homes? Yes – designing and building custom homes is our passion. We have built hundreds of homes throughout the North Shore, Chicago, Lake Geneva and beyond, and no two are alike. From Adobe style to Country French, from Ultra Contemporary to Arts and Craft, each home has been custom designed by a team of the finest experts in their field and according to the uniqueness of each client’s vision.
  • What professionals do you employ? Orren Pickell Building Group’s professional team includes architects, estimators, service technicians, cabinet designers, interior millwork carpenters, and home building professionals. Additionally, we selectively partner with the industry’s most experienced landscape architects, interior designers, and engineers. A skilled building and construction superintendent will oversee your job from the moment the construction process begins. Our carpentry department employs the best craftsmen in the business. And our estimators track the details and costs. We also have legal and financial experts who will work with you. At Orren Pickell Building Group, we have the total team, allowing us to effectively and efficiently orchestrate the building process from the beginning to the grand finale. These experts cost you no more, provide you with the highest level of service, make the experience much easier and more fun, and most importantly, ensure excellent results.
  • How can we be certain of the “inner quality” we expect and are willing to pay for? How do you know you can count on Orren Pickell? In a single word, reputation. We also welcome you to hire an inspector or have a very knowledgeable friend inspect just before the drywall is applied.
  • What is your on-time record? We have a 95% on-time record at Orren Pickell Building Group. We pride ourselves on consistently bringing our jobs in on time. This directly translates into money savings – TIME IS MONEY, less aggravation, and a more satisfying experience for you.
  • How would you characterize Orren Pickell’s design style? At Orren Pickell, we don’t have a specific style; our style is driven more by what people want to see in the market. That said, we always enjoy stepping outside perceived norms to do something people haven’t seen us do before. From ultra-contemporary to ultra-traditional, we pull influences from historical and modern architecture and blend them beautifully. The only style we avoid altogether is boring; we like all of our custom homes to have a fun flair that causes people to walk in and say, “Wow!”
  • How many people work for your firm? Our staff numbers 30+, excluding subcontractors, our maintenance team, and our CabinetWerks division.
  • What assurances can you give us that our custom home project will be a high priority? At Orren Pickell, every project we accept is a priority. There is no situation where taking more time benefits our clients or us, so we place a premium on design and construction efficiency. Understanding that the more we figure out up front, the smoother things go in the field, we follow the proven Orren Pickell design/build process to ensure we don’t miss anything in preconstruction or construction. And finally, we limit the number of projects we take on at any time; we are discerning about which projects we take at which time and won’t accept a project we can’t make a priority.
  • Will you build our plan on our site using our architect? Yes. In working directly with your architect, we often offer suggestions for plan adjustments, including siting of the house, grading and drainage of the property, etc., as part of your proposal. This helps better manage construction time and the overall cost of the project.
  • What if we already have a site to build on? Wonderful! In order to provide you with the information needed to feel confident about moving forward, our architects will coordinate any relevant due diligence issues pertaining to the site. Examples of this include soil testing, environmental testing, topographical surveys, zoning regulations, and architectural review board guidelines, to name a few. Learn more about building on your own land.

Maintaining Your Home

  • Does Orren Pickell offer home maintenance services? Yes! Once offered only to Orren Pickell building or remodeling clients, we now offer scheduled and emergency home maintenance services to any luxury homeowner in the area, regardless of your original builder. Whether you want proactive monthly, quarterly, or annual maintenance to help keep your home and its systems in tip-top shape, or have a problem arise that needs immediate attention, one call to the Orren Pickell Home Maintenance Department is all it takes.
  • When is Orren Pickell’s maintenance service available? Our maintenance team is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Whether it’s a burst pipe at two in the morning or a freezing cold house on Christmas Day, we’re ready to jump into action to get your problem resolved.
  • Does Orren Pickell offer any maintenance contracts? Yes. We understand that you’re busy and want to feel confident that you’re handing off your maintenance tasks to a team of professionals who will treat your home like their own. Our maintenance contracts can be customized to your needs and can include monthly, quarterly, and annual maintenance tasks. Proactive maintenance helps keep your home looking good and running smoothly, and helps prevent small issues from blossoming into big problems.