All You Need to Know about Custom Home Building: An Interview with Casey Mengele of Live Oak Custom Homes

By Jonathan Swindle In Building Renovation, Buildings, Projects No comments
Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Live Oak Custom Homes is Corpus Christi’s largest custom home builder. We’re a family-owned business and have been building in the Coastal Bend Area for over 20 years. We are a full-service design-build firm.

Can you briefly explain in layman’s term the concept of “custom home building?”

The true concept of custom home building is to capture the customer’s personal vision and design a home that both reflects their personality and enhances their lifestyle.

What are the most common misconceptions people have about building a custom home?

The most common misconception that I have heard is that “Building a custom home is too stressful and time-consuming.” We pride ourselves on providing our clients with a full-service custom home design experience. This allows us to minimize the time and frustration involved in a traditional building experience.

We do this by combining the designer for your home, budget requirement specifications as well as the construction management all under one roof. Our goal throughout this process is to provide the customer with the most stress-free building experience while giving them peace of mind that their home will be designed, budgeted, and built with quality and integrity.

What are the basic steps involved in the home building process?

Start with a budget. Followed by lot selection. The lot is just as important than the actual home itself. Next would be the home design meeting. We come up with a conceptual design based on our design questionnaire, pictures, ideas you share with the designer, as well as what we have learned about the client’s personality and lifestyle. We utilize this conceptual design to give the customer a cost estimate that is usually +/- 5% of the final price. At this early stage, it’s too early to solicit actual bids from subcontractors.

Instead, we’ll target the budget cost based on our experience, and our conversations regarding your home’s amenities, finishes, & features. Once the customer has approved their conceptual layout and projected budget we will then get a TBD contract and develop a full set of detailed plans. These plans will then be given to the customer for a thorough review and approval. We will then provide a final cost and a construction meeting will be set. This meeting is utilized to reaffirm that the design and features meet the customer’s lifestyle and needs as well as go over any questions they might still have, and it takes place a few weeks before construction.

What are the basic factors homeowners must consider when planning to hire a design/build firm for this project?

The number one thing homeowners need to consider is budget. It is easy to over-design and gets carried away. Put a lot of thought into lot selection. This is sometimes overlooked. Many customers are surprised when I mention sun positions and prevailing winds. Make sure the builder is a good fit for you. You want someone who communicates well and is open, upfront, and honest. Make sure to do your research ask your builder for references.

What is your favorite advice to give homeowners to help make the home building process more enjoyable for them?

The best advice that I can give is to remember to have fun with it. Building a custom home is truly rewarding when it is all said and done. Look at the big picture. Construction is not perfect. Layout your expectations with the builder in the beginning and then step back. It’s a huge investment, and many people will only do 1 or 2 in their lifetime. Don’t forget to create memories during the construction that will last as long as the house itself.

What’s the best way for people to contact you and your company?

I am available to my clients before, during, and long after construction. By phone (361) 850-9153 or email or our website