Call Us: (858) 964-8026 

Our Process

How to Get Started & What to Expect

Regardless of the type of home remodeling project you’re about to begin, the process of working with ER Home Designs from the initial design consultation to finished product should remain fairly the same.

Phase 1: The Pre-Design Phase

Step 1: Every project begins with either a phone conversation or email exchange. During this initial exchange we can probably help to answer a lot of your questions before we even step foot in your home. A lot of homeowners have questions about zoning, setbacks, construction costs, and City and County requirements that they want answered before they get too far involved with the project.

Step 2: We setup your Free Design Consultation. During your design consultation it’s our primary goal to get a feel for what type of finished home you’re looking for, and what type of budget you’re hoping to work with. Example: you want to add a new master bedroom and bathroom suite, or you want a kitchen remodel. It’s not important at this point that you get overly specific, but if there are certain details that you know you want included in the design, it’s our goal to collect these details. Example: If you know you want white cabinets vs dark or medium wood grain.

Step 3: You receive your quote. Based on the information you give us at the design consultation, we will give you an estimated project cost. The cost will include proposed design work, including floor plans and renderings (interior and exterior if applicable), and then everything necessary for you to obtain a building permit for your project. This would include converting your designs into structural documents, completing the structural engineering, the energy calculations, truss calculations (all when necessary) and going through the process of obtaining your building permit. Excluded from the quote would be any plan check fees, building permit, any water or utility fees, school fees, soils reports, property surveys, any land development fees, etc.

Step 4: You approve the quote & sign a design agreement. Once you approve the quote and sign a design agreement we will require a 25% or $1000 non-refundable deposit (whichever is less) to get started. The next step will be to setup a follow-up appointment when we can come back to measure your home. Yes, the entire home. Even if it’s just a remodel, the City or County is still going to require that you obtain a building permit for your project. Which means they are going to want to see plans and designs.

Step 5: We measure your home. Assuming your project involves remodeling or adding onto an existing home, we will be measuring the entire home, inside and out. Houses that are less than 2000 sq. ft. will usually take 2 to 3 hours to measure. Houses larger than that can take even longer. We generally figure on spending a little bit of time doing some follow up discussion as well, just to recap what was discussed at the initial design consultation. In a rare case that we have difficulty establishing a property line and/or setback (typically odd shaped lots where additions will be built on or close to a setback) we may advise you to get a property survey before proceeding. For new houses, if not done so already, it will be required by the City or County anyway.

Read About Phase 2: The Design Phase

Phase 2: The Design Phase

Step 6: Sign-In to your personal Client Portal. If you look in the upper right corner of our website, you will see the Client Login button. Every client will receive their own unique client login information that they can use to access their own personal Client Portal. Think of your Client Portal as sort of your central hub, where you can access and store all of your information for your project. You will have the ability to upload and store images and documents that you can share with us or just to keep on hand for yourself. You will also have access to various other documents in your portal as well, such as: receipts, invoices, and scans of all of your signed paperwork. You can even choose to send us an email from your Client Portal, so you don’t have to use your own personal email to contact us if you don’t want to. And finally, your Client Portal is where you’ll access and download your designs once they become available.

Step 7: We work on your designs. Most designs can be completed in just a few days. However, depending on our current project schedule, it could take us a couple weeks before we begin your project. We do accept requests for Rush Projects if requested and when time permits. A 15% rush fee will be added for Rush Projects.

Step 8: You review your designs. Once your designs are complete, we will upload them to your Client Portal so that you can access and review them as soon as possible. However, if you would rather setup a meeting to review the designs in person along with printed copies of your designs, that option is available as well for local projects only.

Step 9: We complete the design changes. Your job pricing will include 1 round of minor changes at no additional charge. This would include: material changes and slight alterations to the floor plan. More significant changes that occur as a result of you (the client) changing your mind, could result in additional design time charges.

Step 10: You approve the designs. When you are satisfied with the designs and are ready to move on to the planning stage, you can sign-in to your Client Portal and sign the Design Approval Form that we will upload for you. You will also have access to the invoice for the second 25% stage payment that will be due upon Design Approval.

Read About Phase 3: Planning & Permitting

Phase 3: Planning & Permitting Phase

Step 11: We move onto preliminary planning stage. Once your designs are approved it usually only takes couple weeks before your designs are converted into preliminary plans. Think of the preliminary plans as the main Architectural pages of your building plans. This is basically the floor plans, the site plan that shows the house as it sits on the lot, the demo plan (if necessary), electrical plan, and the exterior elevations. These pages basically reflect what the design is going to look like. Once you approve this set of preliminary plans, the 3rd 25% stage payment will be due.

Step 12: We move onto structural planning stage. After the preliminary plans are approved, we will get to work on completing the structural portions of your building plans. During this stage, we will complete the structural engineering, the required energy calculations, truss calculations (all if necessary), and any other requirements that your City or County may need.

Step 13: We submit for building permit. Depending on the nature of your project, it could be days or months before we receive your permit. We will keep you posted throughout this process. Just FYI, it’s not uncommon that we will need to return to the project site to obtain more information from time to time. In the event that the building department will require a site survey or soils report, we can achieve these for you, but they will require a change order.

Step 14: Obtaining your building permit. Before pulling your building permit you should consider whose name you’d like the building permit to be in. Many homeowners will opt to put the permit in their contractor’s name. That way the contractor is responsible for that job and therefore, less likely to walk-off the job in the event of “complications arising.” Other homeowners may not be in such a hurry to get started and may want to take a few months at this point to shop their plan around. The choice is up to you. Once your building permit is ready to be issued, the final 25% stage payment will be due.

Read Additional Fine Print

Additional Fine Print

How changes are handled throughout the project. It’s not uncommon that there will be changes or alterations to the plan throughout the project. Depending on the nature of the project though, many changes can be made without an actual plan change with an inspector’s approval. However, in the event that you will need to have changes made or notes/details clarified for your project, most of these changes or alterations can be made with no additional charges. Changes or alterations to the designs and/or plans as a result of client changes will be billed at an hourly rate of $135 per hour and $100 per visit to City or County for plan changes. This does not include the cost of the plan change itself.

How cancellations are handled. The deposit is non-refundable. If for some reason, you wish to cancel your Design Agreement with us after we’ve begun the Design Phase, you will be billed at an hourly rate of $135 per hour of work performed on your project. If the billable rate is less than the deposit amount, then no fee will be charged. If you decide to cancel during the Planning Phase, you will be billed between 50% to 100% of the remaining Design Agreement balance, depending on how far along in the planning stage your project is when you decide to cancel.

Who owns the designs and plans? ER Home Designs, Inc. retains ownership of all design work and building plan work until the fulfillment of the Design Agreement. At which time, ownership of the designs and plans will switch over to the client. ER Home Designs, Inc. reserves the right to use any design work (including but not limited to, renderings, floor plans, building plans) for self-promotional purposes. Of course, we will omit the client’s personal information from these promotional items. In the event the client chooses to break the Design Agreement, ownership of all design work and any planning work will remain with ER Home Designs, Inc.



ER Home Designs, Inc.
24101 Del Amo Road
Ramona, CA 92065
Phone: (858) 964-8026


By way of definition, the renderings that we produce at ER Home Designs, Inc. are actually called, raytrace images. These are images that are generated from 3D models that are created in our software. These raytrace renderings are intended for visualization purposes and are only intended to assist homeowners in their home design decisions. Unless otherwise specified, renderings are not to scale. Please visit our Gallery Pages for examples of raytrace renderings.