Do you own a home site in Jefferson County? Your first call should be to a builder, not an architect, says Bob Shearer

Date Monday, 22 February 2016 12:00 AM

Do you own a home site in Jefferson County? Your first call should be to a builder, not an architect, says Bob Shearer

By Mark Samuelson

G.J. Gardner s Bob Shearer and wife Charlene at a home site above Golden Gate Canyon west of Golden.

If you've bought a home site for your dream home in Jefferson County, custom builder Bob Shearer with G.J. Gardner Homes has a way to save you a boatload of money as well as a whole lot of grief. "Call a builder about that before you call an architect," says Shearer.

Shearer works with top-ranked architects on many of his projects - but knows from experience that a builder's insights are needed early on in a custom home project, particularly on sites in the foothills. 

On one recent meeting he met with buyers that had just paid $10,000 for a set of plans for a mountain palazzo, but who weren't even close to budgeting how the plan would cost-out on a finished home. "I wish you'd come to me before," Shearer told them. "You can't take an $800,000 plan and get it down to $500,000. You might as well start with a clean sheet of paper."

When Shearer meets early-on with buyers, he gets a picture of their budget; then either recommends an architect, or in some cases, will show them a 'concept plan' that he has used successfully in similar situations. Either way, the savings from working with a builder first, he says, add up to more than architectural fees. 

Even when an architect is involved, buyers get overwhelmed by regulatory requirements of foothills projects - everything from the slope of an entry drive, to well-and-septic, to engineering, to fire control. "Twenty years ago, regs required that you take care to preserve trees on your property," he adds. "Now it's exactly the opposite."

"I'll meet some customers who are so daunted by the tasks involved on foothills sites that they're ready to give up on their dream home," Shearer says. "These are all things that a builder should manage for you. Buyers don't want to deal with all of that stuff."

As G.J. Gardner's builder for Jeffco, Shearer has projects underway in Golden, Arvada, Wheat Ridge, and areas of Littleton - but finds that sites in Lookout Mountain, Golden Gate Canyon, Coal Creek, Genesee, and Evergreen are particularly ones that capture buyers' imaginations. G.J. Gardner's office is at U.S. 40 and Sixth Avenue in Golden - but he typically meets buyers for the first time on their lot, so he can analyze the specifics and see the views. That meeting is at no charge.

Meanwhile, Shearer's affiliation with G.J. Gardner ('biggest builder nobody has heard of') gives him added advantages in purchasing materials and getting trade specialties - helping cut the budget. At a time when some production builders are citing wait-times of well over a year, Shearer could move your delivery up considerably, as well.

Bob Shearer in Jefferson County is at 303-271-1020. G.J. Gardner has nine design centers across the Front Range and Western Slope. To talk with a builder specializing in Denver/Highlands, call 303-327-6211; Adams County, 303-658-0146; Cheyenne, 307-638-2030; Douglas/ Elbert/Lone Tree, 303-840-9346; Falcon, 719-495-7664; Fort Collins, 970-663-4428; Loveland, 970-669-0822; or Grand Junction, 970-245-7542.

WHERE: Bob Shearer, G.J. Gardner Homes in Jefferson County, flexibility for building on your site in Lakewood, Wheat Ridge, Golden, Arvada, Genesee, Evergreen and other neighborhoods; offers a free meeting on your home site to evaluate its possibilities. Call for appointment. Design Center 17301 W. Colfax, Suite 411, Golden; west on Colfax past Sixth Ave/U.S. 6, 2 blocks on right 

PRICE: From high $400s on your lot

WHEN: Call for appointment

PHONE: 303-271-1020 

Mark Samuelson writes on real estate and business; you can email him You can see all of Mark Samuelson's columns online at Mark Samuelson on Twitter: @marksamuelson

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