Selecting a Lot for Your Custom Home

Selecting a lot is an incredibly important step, and one of the first steps you’ll take in the process of building your custom home. Different lots are suitable for different designs and may come with rules and regulations that limit your options. Collaborating with an expert builder during this phase can help guide you through these hoops and explain the design possibilities so that you can easily choose the perfect lot for your dream home.

While searching for your lot, here are a some key features to consider and some helpful tips to help you along the way.

blueprints for custom home

1. Location – One of the most amazing parts about building a custom home is the ability to have your dream home in your dream location. It’s often the easiest decision to make since it stems from the lifestyle you want to live – do you prefer the country, suburbs or city? Choose a lot in the location that has the view you’ll enjoy most when you walk out your door and look out your window every day.

2. Commute – Once you know your ideal location, consider the ease and distance of your commute to places you visit frequently – work, the grocery store, shopping malls, school, church, healthcare, etc. If you are selecting a location you’re not familiar with, take a drive during the times you’d make your commutes to experience the traffic and time it takes to get to and from your destination.

3. Size, Shape, & Slope – The type of lot you choose within your desired area will have an impact on the overall design of your home. The lot size should be big enough for the home square footage you desire, in addition to yard space. Also think about the setback of the home, especially if it’s off of a busier street. It’s also important to consider the level of slope. Both flat and steep slope lots come with challenges. It’s beneficial to include your builder in the site selection process to understand what is possible.

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4. Cost – As always, it’s important to consider the cost of your ideal lot. In addition to the initial cost of the lot, you need to factor in the cost of building the house as well as long-term costs such as property tax.

5. Landscape & Position – A lush view is often a priority for people investing in a custom home and may be the deciding factor in choosing a lot. When visiting lots, take a good look around you and consider the topography: the arrangement of the natural elements of the space. Also think about the direction of your house in relation to the sun. A house facing south will get sun most of the day and therefore a lot of natural light, while a house facing north will be darker and stay cool.

6. Building Essentials – Wherever you decide to build your home, take the time to learn about the area. There are numerous permits and regulations that come with building your dream home, but working with experts makes the process seamless!

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Westlake Development Group has over 25 years of experience placing and constructing homes in the most structurally sound and cost-effective way, while also gaining all of the benefits the home site has to offer. By coming on board with clients as early as lot selection, Westlake can provide expert advice that can help in the decision-making process.

Westlake works closely with our architectural and engineering partners in the preparation and design of your dream home, from groundbreaking to completion.

Take a look at our available lots, including the a lot in Lake Oswego for the 2015 Street of Dreams!


Celebrate Made in America Products

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Owner of Westlake Development Group, LLC, Gerald Rowlett, has a passion for buying local and building local, which he promotes through his nonprofit organization,Building A Better America Council. He has adopted a strategy known as SEE, which stands for: Social, Economic and Environmental Impact.

In celebration of Made in America Month this July 2014, we invite you to make a commitment to support our community by buying local!

Below we explain why we choose American Made products for our homes and how it positively impacts the SEE values.

WHY USE AMERICAN MADE PRODUCTS

Quality – Building a Home to Last a Lifetime

When you commit to building a custom home, you want it to last a lifetime.  One way to ensure that, is to select high quality products for your home. According to the United States Department of Commerce, inputs from a foreign supply chain may lead to lower product quality and costly returns.

Westlake development has built strong relationships with local manufacturers who stand behind their products and consistently produce innovative products that are built to last.

Social Impact – Building a Better Community

Building relationships with manufacturers and vendors of local and American made products forms a greater sense of community and pride in our country. These relationships with local vendors also create better experiences for clients who can be trusted to provide reliable and superior customer service.

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Economic Impact – Building a Stronger Economy

Did you know that if all builders committed to using 5% more American made materials it would create 220,000 more construction jobs? As a member of the Building A Better America Council, Westlake Development Group LLC commits to using at least 90% American Made products in all of their homes, which supports our community and boosts our economy.

Environmental Impact – Building a Sustainable Future

Choosing local and American made products reduces the carbon footprint from shipping goods overseas, which improves the long-term condition of our environment. Shipping locally also reduces delivery costs and may help to prevent miscommunication and delays in the process. Together we can create a cleaner, more sustainable future by buying local!

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This year’s Street of Dreams home, the American Spirit,  built by Westlake Development and designed by Garrison Hullinger Interior Design, has created 6 new direct jobs and 9 new indirect jobs, just by choosing to use American made products. It also boasts one of the lowest carbon footprints in the country! Westlake Development’s buy local, build local mentality makes dreams come true for not only the homeowner, but for individuals in our community, too!


Tips For Choosing A Custom Home Builder

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Building your dream home can be one of the most important and rewarding things that you do in life. Finding the perfect place to live and constructing a home that fits you perfectly can be a dream come true.

But the builder you choose can make or break you custom home project. There are many different custom home builders out there and not all of them will be the right fit for you.

There are several things you can do to prepare yourself and help narrow your options. So that you can make the best decision possible and ensure that you have a wonderful custom home building process.

We will teach you what you need to do to find the best custom home builder for you. Giving you the tools you need to build the home of your dreams.

Commit To Your Project

Before you begin your search for the perfect builder, make sure that you are 100% committed to your project.

Set your investment amount, ideal start and finish date, and create a must-have list of your expectations for the finished home. It’s also important to know the level of involvement you want in the project – whether you want the builder to select materials and finishes, or you want to make those decisions.

Before you put in too much time and effort, you will want to be sure that you are ready to build your dream home from start to finish.

Tip: If you have a tight budget, put your money towards quality materials rather than more square footage. It will pay in the long run.

Requirements To Look For

Finding the custom builder that is right for you rests on a lot of different details.

There are many important things to consider about the builder who you will be working with, including the following:

  • Experience & Credentials
  • Licenses & Insurance
  • Working with Allowances
  • Warranties Offered
  • Flexibility with Floor Plans
  • Specialty & Expertise
  • Awards & Recognition
  • Management & Team Support
  • Communication with Clients

All of these vary from builder to builder and can have a large impact on your custom home building process.

builder with blueprint shaking partner hand

Take Notes & Ask Questions

Start by compiling a list of local builders in your area. You can find custom builders on the HBA website, newspaper, or from local real estate agents.

Now, start your research. Luckily, several resources are available for you to find the answers you need.

Online Reviews & Research - Reviews are powerful and are noted to have a strong  influence on people’s buying decisions. Keep an eye out for positive comments that refer to the reliability, communication, and long-term satisfaction that past clients experienced.

Check the company’s website and social media sites to see their portfolios and read more about the company’s values. When a builder has an up-to-date website and is moderately active on social media, it’s a sign that they care about their business and are upstanding members of the building community.

Online research can help narrow down your list of local builders. Identifying the top rated companies that you’ll want to find out more about.

References – Don’t be afraid to ask builders for a list of references, they’re probably the best resource out there! The HBA may be able to connect you to references, as well.

Before reaching out to these people, prepare a list of questions you want to ask, and don’t forget to take notes!

  • Did the builder finish on time and on budget?
  • Were they knowledgeable and helpful in making decisions?
  • Was the quality of work and materials a priority?
  • Was there a relationship of trust and open line of communication?
  • If problems occurred, did they respond quickly?
  • Was it apparent that they work with a strong team?
  • Were the organized and timely?
  • Did they respect and understand your needs?
  • Did the builder have a vision for your home?
  • Overall, would you recommend this builder?
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Inside View – After speaking with references, you might want to take it a step further and actually go to see their custom home, with their permission of course. Home Shows in your local area are also a good opportunity to see homes up close.

Making The Decision

You think you’ve found the builder that’s right for you, now what?

Contact the custom builder to get an estimate in writing that clearly outlines everything that will be achieved by the end of the project. Once you are given a contract, read it. It may be worth your time to go over it with a real estate lawyer so that you have a clear understanding of what can be expected.

Important things to look for include: dates, guarantees on estimates, performance goals, and warranties.

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Working With Westlake Development

If you are looking for custom home builders in Portland Oregon, you will find that Westlake Development stands out above the rest.

We have a passion for improving our economy by adding to our local workforce, buying local, and building local.

Buying locally also has a positive impact on the environment as less energy is necessary to ship our products. Also, using local products ensures that the products are superior and manufactured in strict environmental conditions.

Gerald Rowlett, owner of Westlake Development Group LLC, is an advocate for his clients. He values the friendships that are formed throughout the custom building process and he begins every project by listening to the client’s needs. Fully understanding a client’s lifestyle so that he can build a home that is just for them.

“The builder should have a vision for the client’s home and be able to bring something more to the table than just building a house. I tell clients all the time, anyone could have built this house off of a plan – it’s really about a good relationship. It’s important for the client to feel really comfortable with the builder and for the builder to grasp how they live –  that’s when you can truly build a custom home for someone.” – Gerald Rowlett Westlake Development Group LLC


Reasons To Build Your Dream Home

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Do you want a home that fits you perfectly? Would you like to gaze upon your favorite view every morning when you get out of bed? Do you want to invest in a home that will last a lifetime and more?

When you build a custom home that’s exactly what you’ll get.

Creating the perfect living space is one of the most rewarding and important things we do in life.

Read this post to learn 6 reasons why building a custom home allows you to create a house that satisfies all of your desires. Instead of compromising on a pre built house.

Location & Privacy:

Location can make, or break, a home.

Finding the perfect home in a location that provides the view, privacy, and conveniences that work for your lifestyle is nearly impossible. With a custom home you get the best of both worlds.

Your dream home – in a location that satisfies your needs.

Modern Day Conveniences:

You’re in the 21st Century now, your home should be too.

Houses are designed completely different these days to suit our modern lifestyles.

Elements like a larger kitchen provides a central gathering point in your home. Also, incorporating plenty of outlets in every room for your electronics and appliances make life easier.

When you build a custom home you get to create a floor plan that not only includes all of the details you desire, but keeps your home up-to-date with our 21st Century lifestyles.

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One of a Kind Home:

Why waste time and money constantly updating someone else’s home to accommodate your needs?

When you build a custom home your personality and ideas are incorporated into every room. Allowing you to feel more at home in the house you built.

A custom home reflects your personality and is move-in ready upon completion.

Quality Craftsmanship:

A home is an investment that should be built to last a lifetime and more.

With a custom home you control the quality of supplies that are used. You can incorporate American made materials that are guaranteed to last.

Providing jobs and boosting our economy.

You will rest assured that your top quality home is an investment you can count on.

Unforgettable Experience:

Why spend months, or years, struggling to find the perfect home for you?

Building a custom home is an unforgettable and rewarding experience.

Working directly with a builder guarantees that your home will be built to meet your needs.

Allowing you to establish a long-term relationship and trust with the people who are building the home of your dreams.

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Technology & Efficiency:

21st Century technology allows you to utilize convenience and efficiency throughout your entire home.

Automatic blinds, whole home automation, and a vanishing television are just a few of the cutting-edge technological features you get to integrate into your custom home.

Also, make a positive impact and save money by choosing energy efficient heating and cooling systems.

Your custom home will provide you with the ultimate convenience, luxury, and efficiency available.

Why Wait:

Now is the time to build the home of your dreams.

Turn to the experts at Westlake Development Group for all of you custom home building, fine remodeling, and steep slope construction needs.

We have been creating award-winning custom homes for nearly 30 years and take pride in our ability to provide a rewarding and successful design and build experience for home buyers just like you.

Contact us today at (503) 708-1056


Westlake Development Group Updates

Here’s a look back building the American Dream home in the 2013 Street of Dreams.

Westlake’s Made in America home, the first ever to be featured on a Street of Dreams, The American Dream, won 5 prestigious People’s Choice Awards including Best in Show, Best Outdoor Space, Best Landscaping, Best Master Suite, Best Interior Design!

The American Dream

The American Dream, Westlake Development’s 1st American made home to ever be showcased on a Street of Dreams is featured on KGW – Channel 8 News

Related Street of Dreams Articles

NW Natural Street of Dreams showcases all things local and all things made in America

By Jon Bell
HBA Home Builders News
August, 2013

Street of Dreams: Get ready to be wowed
By Barb Randall, The Lake Oswego Review
July 26, 2013

2013 NW Natural Street of Dreams, The American Dream – What the People are Saying
By Elena Morgan
Garrison Hullinger Blog
August 1, 2013

Street of Dreams Sneak Peeks Continue Coming Your Way: The American Dream
By Elena Morgan
Garrison Hullinger Blog
July 25, 2013

Street of Dreams set to open with few houses left on the market
By Justin Runquist, The Oregonian
July 23, 2013

Street of Dreams showcases barn doors, shaving rocks and water slides
By Wendy Culverwell, Real Estate Daily editor-
Portland Business Journal

July is Oregon’s Made in America Month

Because  Made In America Still MattersGovernor Kitzhaber signed a Proclamation designating July as Oregon’s official “Made in America Month”. Westlake Development Group joined contractors and vendors from around the state for the “Made in America Month” kick-off event sponsored by the BBAC and George Morlan Plumbing. Check out the video here!

Gerald Rowlett of Westlake Development Group is on the air again… this time with KGW Channel 8. Check out the “Sneak Peek” of the 2013 Street of Dreams American Dream home.

Portland Home & Garden Show – February 2013

Visitors swarm Westlake’s Made in America home model at the Portland Spring Home & Garden Show!

Garrison Hullinger of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design speaks with Janice Bangs about the Portland Home & Garden show’s first Made in America model home for a Channel 2 AM Northwest segment

Portland Home & Garden Show video featuring Alison of Garrison Hullinger Interior Design

Gerald Rowlett of Westlake with Holly Resnick for a Portland Home & Garden Show segment

In just 36 short hours, we took our Portland Home & Garden Show model home from this…

to this…

2012 – Updates – Click here to view our updates from 2012
2011 – Updates – Click here to view our updates from 2011


2012 Updates

December 16, 2012

Westlake Development Group featured in USA Today article
USA Today | Rebuilding the dream with all-American homes

August 13, 2012
Well our Made in America Homes project went Global today when the Official Central News Agency of Taiwan’s US correspondent Ling-Ju interviewed me for their Asian Affiliates. Within a couple hours over 22 thousand likes were reported on Chinese Yahoo. It has now been viewed across the globe from Europe to Asia. New Tang Dynasty Television, a major Chinese TV station headquarters in New York, picked up the story almost immediately.

View the article on their site. Hit translate at the top of the page, to translate the text to English.

August 7, 2012
Westlake Development is getting ready to break ground on our 2nd Made in America home! Check out this video to see the new site at Edge Cliff Estates in Carver, Oregon.

June 14, 2012

Westlake Development Group received a Silver Merit Award during the Portland HBA’s 2012 Excellence Awards ceremony.

May 25, 2012
On May 25, 2012, Westlake Development Group sponsored a roundtable on the first Made in America home built in the Northwest with special guest, Senator Jeff Merkley. In addition to homeowners, Larry Kitchen and Toniya Villalobos, attendees included various  business owners and associates directly involved with the success of the Made in America project.

May 14th, 2012
What a crazy few weeks it has been! After being highlighted on a few of our local channels — we have now hit national news! Being featured on Channel 2 ABC World News with Diane Sawyer! Check out the video below to see the segment, as well as an article we have been mentioned in.

‘This Can Be Done’: Builders Take Up American Made Home Pledge

May 10, 2012
Westlake Development Group received a letter from Governor Kitzhaber congratulating us on our first Made in America home build in the Northwest!
Read Letter from Governor Kitzhaber here.

April 28th, 2012

Westlake Development received over 1,000 visitors as the premier home in the Home Builder Association of Metro Portland’s Ultimate Open House event!

April 26th, 2012

Ribbon Cutting of our 1st Made in America House in Lake Oswego, Oregon

Here’s our Made in America ribbon cutting segment that was aired on KGW New Channel 8 by business reporter Joe Smith.

April 25, 2012
Westlake Development Group received a letter from Senator Ron Wyden congratulating us on our first Made in America home build in the Northwest!
Read Senator Wyden’s Letter here.

April 10th, 2012
Here’s a little update on the progress of the house and how it’s all coming together!

April 3rd, 2012
Headed down to KEX Radio 1190AM today to do another interview with Mark and Dave! Check out the article, and don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to listen to the full interview.
KEX 1190AM | Our House is 100% Made in America

March 30th, 2012
KATU Channel 2 News with Melanie Wingo aired our Made in America segment last night! If you missed it you can check out the video and article here-
KATU Channel 2 News | Made in America

March 28th, 2012
Headed into the KXL studio today to do a radio commercial for LP Building Products. While I was there, I stopped in to discuss our Made in America Home project with Lars Larson! Check out the clip below the picture for the interview-
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March 19th, 2012
We’re onsite with reporter Melanie Wingo and her cameraman Paul from KATU Channel 2 News, doing an interview for our Made in America project. Be sure to watch the Channel 2 News segment!

March 7th, 2012
Bob Strong from KXL Radio’s “Around the House with Handyman Bob” stopped by our site today as we are working to meet our deadline for The Ultimate Open House show in April. Listen to what he has to say!-

February 29th, 2012
Finally getting caught up on paper work after a successful week at Portland Home and Garden Show! What a great to way to get the word out about Westlake Development Group LLC and our Made in America Home. Now, on to getting ready for the Ultimate Open House that starts April 28th. Watch for advertising on TV and radio where you will get an opportunity to come see it, fully furnished with Made in America products as well.

February 22nd, 2012
We’re going to be in the Portland Home & Garden Show February 22nd to the 26th at the Portland Expo Center in Hall D. Make sure you stop by this weekend to check out our booth and learn more about our Made in America Home! We’re underneath the big American Flag, so you can’t miss us!

February 1st, 2012
It the first of the month! A beautiful day and everyone was still hard at work- preparing to side the home, framers finishing up the interior, installing windows and the electricians finishing up the wiring. We’re all excited and getting ready for the Portland Home and Garden show at the end of this month!

January 28th, 2012
Stopped in the studio today to sit down and talk with Handyman Bob from FM 101 KXL about our Made in America project. We are excited to continue getting the word out there! Tune in here-

January 12th, 2012
Today another article was released and featured in the Lake Oswego Review and the West Linn Tidings about our home! Check out the story here- Close to home.

January 10th, 2012
Our project received more attention today from Victoria Taft on 860AM this afternoon! Listen here for the full interview-

January 6th, 2012
After completing the mechanical and plumbing under the floor, we are currently decking the floor ready for the exterior walls on Monday. We’re very proud to have our project presented on a channel KOIN 6 News segment tonight. Also had an interview with Bob Miller on 860AM this morning about our project! If you missed it, tune in here to hear the full interview-

KOIN Channel 6 News

January 4th, 2012
Westlake Development Group is pleased to announce the design team for our Made in America Project!

Garrison Hullinger Interior Design Team
Nicole Copko, Alison Van Delden, Garrison Hullinger, Lisa Luchaco, Kristine Williams and Grant Scholbrock

January 1st, 2012
Happy New Year from all of us at Westlake Development Group!


2011 Updates

December 29th, 2011
Started framing on the Made in American home, what a great way to wrap up the year!

December 15th, 2011
Today an article was released in the Lake Oswego Review about our new project being built. Check out the story here- Fire crews tear up house in the name of training.

November 28th, 2011
Sent out a press release Portland Builder Begins Construction of Home Made Entirely of American-Made Products. stating Westlake Development Group is taking on the challenge of building the first true ‘Made in America’ home in the Northwest.

November 27th, 2011
This week we have begun the demolition of the Lake Grove house for the ‘Made in America’ project. The existing structure has been donated to the Lake Oswego Fire Department for valuable training exercises. Westlake Development Group is in the process of removing the remains of the old structure and plans to begin construction on the new home next week.