Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many years have you been in business?
E. Neil Tabor, Ashley’s president and CEO, founded the company over thirty years ago and still personally supervises the construction of every new home, addition and renovation project.  His wife, Deni, joined the company in 2006 and oversees sales, marketing and design services. 

2. How long does it normally take to build a custom home?
Typically 6 to 9 months depending on weather, size and complexity.  The number of client requested changes to the scope and specifications after commencement of construction will also impact the schedule, as will the speed at which clients make decisions regarding those potential changes.       

3. Where do you build?
We build in Baltimore City and County, Howard County, Harford County, Anne Arundel, Cecil, Carroll, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties.

4. Should I already have plans?
While some of our clients have their own architect and have had plans completed in advance, the majority of people we meet with come to us with sketches on napkins, websites for plans they have seen on the internet or simply a list of wants and needs in their head.  Our design-build team will be happy to work with you to create a custom home plan that reflects your needs, preferences, priorities and life style.  Your target budget is also a key factor.  Whether you are using an architect or Ashley’s design-build services, it is important that everyone works together and is on the ‘same page’ regarding budgetary goals so the final design and specifications for your future home will be one   specifying is one you will be able to comfortably afford to build and live in.

5. When you say you deliver “value” what exactly do you mean?
As many have learned the hard way, hiring the lowest bidder can often cost more in the end.  There is a strong correlation between those people who “hired the lowest bidder” and those people who described their building experience as a “nightmare”. The saying “You get what you pay for” applies to new home construction and renovations as much, if not more, than it applies to anything else.  

“Good work ain’t cheap and cheap work ain’t good.”  Maryland law makes it easy for almost anyone to become a builder or remodeler, and a lot of inexperienced builders and remodelers have set up shop in recent years.  They can offer lower pricing by working out of the back of their truck, using inferior products, hiring inexperienced subcontractors, using unlicensed plumbers and electricians and not completing the work to code or industry standards.  Or, in some cases, they simply fail to complete the work!       

At Ashley, you get value for your dollar.  We deliver honest, comprehensive estimates.  We know what you want your home to look like when we’re finished and we know what it takes to achieve that.  We competitively bid every project to our network of trusted subcontractors and suppliers from whom we demand the best pricing.  We won’t lure you in with unrealistically low estimates and then ‘surprise’ you later with additional charges.  The price you contract for is the price you pay. 

6. What is your price per square foot?
This is a question we are often asked and there really is no simple answer. The real answer is “It depends”.  If there are two homes that have the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms, are similar in style and have comparable interior and exterior finishes, the cost per square foot will be less on the larger home.  Other factors which impact the final cost per square foot are the complexity of the design, the type and cost of flooring, cabinets and other interior finishes, the type of finish selected for the exterior, the number of bathrooms, style of the foundation, type of roof, etc.        

To complicate matters further, there is no standard definition for “square footage.”  Some builders include the garage, porches, basement and storage and utility closets in the calculation which results in a deceptively low cost per square foot number.  Other builders include only conditioned space (ie “finished space”).  At Ashley, we base our calculations on “living space” which is defined as conditioned space that has a floor, which means that garages, basements, storage/utility areas and any two-story spaces are excluded when completing the calculation.  It’s like your seventh grade statistics teacher taught you … it’s easy to manipulate numbers to get the result you want. 

7. What size and style homes do you build?
As a custom as opposed to production builder, each home we build is designed and constructed based on the individual’s priorities, preferences, needs, target budget and building site.  There is no minimum or maximum size.  The homes we have completed in the past several years have ranged in size from 1,900 sq. ft. to 10,000 sq. ft.  Every home, regardless of size, receives the same attention to detail and quality craftsmanship. 

8. Does Ashley build green homes?
Every Ashley home incorporates a variety of ‘green’ products and construction modalities which meet or exceed established building codes and industry standards for energy efficiency and sustainability.  These include, but are not limited to, geo-thermal systems, tankless water heaters, solar panels, recycled wood floors, low VOC paint, etc.  However, since we are a custom as opposed to ‘production’ builder, we work with each client individually to help them select the green technologies and products which best match their specific goals and budget.  Click here for more information. 

9. Do I need to own a lot before meeting with you?
No. If you do not already own a lot and are not currently working with a realtor we can recommend a good realtor in your area.  Considerations include price, size, shape, amount of clearing and/or grading that will be needed, easements, setback restrictions, HOA and deed restrictions, flood elevation, comps, the cost of bringing in utilities and numerous other factors. If you see a lot that you like, we will be happy to look at it before you purchase it to assess the suitability of that lot for your future home as give you a rough estimate for necessary site work. There is no charge for this service.   

10. How does the cost of a custom home compare with the cost of a production home or resale?
The sales price for a production home may seem lower at first, but rarely does anyone pay the advertised price.  By the time you pay for all of the upgrades you may find that you’ve spent more to have a home like everyone else’s rather than owning a custom home which was built to higher standards and designed to match your family’s needs, priorities and the way you live.   

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