Category Archives: New Home Construction

Buyer Beware

Tips For Hiring a Contractor

You might be thinking about doing some home improvements. Maybe a driveway, or something as big as a custom addition to your house. Before you hire someone, do your homework. Look beyond the mail ads or the fancy logo you see on a truck, billboard, or TV ad. And don’t stop your research after you’ve seen a contractor’s prominently displayed license number — it’s not a guarantee of a job well done. Continue reading

Dreaming of a Summer Move? Start Planning Now!

Thinking about making a move this summer to a new address? Although the weather makes sunny, warm days seem far off, now really is the time to start putting your plan into place. Here are a few tips to get your new home plan started.

Financial Research

Talk to your bank and get a pre-approval for a mortgage loan. This not only gives you a budget to work with, but will be needed in most cases to accompany a purchase offer. There is usually no cost to do this, and you won’t be obligated to use this lender.

Study the Schools

Decide your school district preference and area where you’d like to you’d like to live. A good school district, whether you have school age children or not, should be considered if you are planning to move again, as an appealing school district will help keep your home value strong and attractive. People who relocate often decide on a property based on the school district.

Keep Calm

Don’t let the chatter of rising interest rates scare you; they remain historically low and a home is a great investment. The interest you pay on your mortgage or a home equity loan remains a great tax benefit.

Whether custom home building or purchase of an existing home is on your radar this summer, don’t wait. Now is the time to start planning.

Custom Home Details With Big Impact

Make a Wish List of New Home Features

It’s exciting to think about custom designing and building your dream home. Once you start to think about your perfect home, you should keep a running list of items that you want to include. There are always new products coming out, and it’s normal to have that “Monday morning quarterback” moment when you say to yourself, “Why didn’t we do that?” Continue reading

Where do I begin when building on my own lot?

I have my own lot, now what?You Own a Lot. Now What?

It might be easy to look at a piece of land and envision your dream house sitting there. But where, exactly, do you begin to make that dream come true?

Shop for a Builder

Finding the right home builder will set the tone for the entire experience. And given the amount of money and time you are about to invest in the project, you definitely need to have confidence in your builder. Start by asking family and friends for recommendations. As with most businesses, a word-of-mouth referral from someone you trust usually leads to a better customer experience in the end. If you are stuck doing your own research from scratch, there are some important questions to ask a prospective builder:

  • Can you build on my lot or do you only build in established developments?
  • Are you willing to look at the land that we are considering buying and offer your expertise regarding clearing, conditions of lot, etc?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • What makes your homes distinctive?
  • What do you include as standard features in a custom home build?
  • Are you familiar with any energy saving/green building techniques?
  • Do you subcontract all facets of your home or will I work with the same representatives from beginning to end?
  • Can we search for any floor plan of our choice, or do we have to choose from a list that you provide?

Meeting with different home builders, seeing their work and talking to their past clients can help you to find the right person for your personality. If you need a lot of guidance and are unsure of what type of finishes and amenities you want, for example, look for a builder who will take the time to lead you through the process. On the other hand, a builder who wants things done his or her way, or who insists on selecting your interior finishes, will drive you crazy if you have your heart set a specific floor plan or look for your house.

Architect or No Architect?

Some builders work with their own architect – this insures that you stay within the budget that you set forth for your complete package. If you go to your own architect and have your home designed without the input of your builder, it could become unaffordable. Some builders will take your plans and have them amended to meet your goals, but it really depends on how much freedom each builder offers as far as home designs — some will have you pick a floor plan from an existing list and then let you have input on tweaking the design. A custom home builder will work with you from the beginning to translate your ideas of your dream home to the desk of his architect.

Assess Your Lot

Builders should be willing to take a look at your lot before you decide to hire them for the job. Not every builder is comfortable working on lots with hills or in remote locations. Once you have settled on a builder, the prep work begins to figure out how best to use the land, as well as the land’s history. If you haven’t already gotten disclosure information from a realtor regarding any fill used on the lot or whether it has been mined, your builder should be able to tell you how you can find out. If the stability of the ground is in question for any reason, your builder needs to know. If you don’t have a realtor representing you, your builder may work with or have on staff a realtor to insure make sure you get all of the information you need about the lot.

Excavate the Land

Breaking ground is when you can really start to get excited about your new home project. The dirt is moving and you can see the first footprint of where your house will be. Some builders farm out the excavation to another company. No matter who does the digging and laying of the foundation, it’s important that everyone has done their homework as far as required permits and utility requirements. Again, if you haven’t already obtained this kind of information when you closed on the lot, you builder can help you find it or may handle it for you.

From the Bottom Up

The next steps in the home building process — framing, plumbing and electrical, and then walls, roof and insulation — can move along rapidly depending on weather and availability of supplies. A healthy builder-client relationship really pays off at this stage, and even more once interior work begins and you are really able to see where you and your family will be living. Being in the space might have you wishing a door was in a different place or thinking the floor material you initially picked is the wrong color. Depending on your builder and how well you communicate, you might have some flexibility along the way.

As soon as you have a lot to build on, or even before that, it can’t hurt to research and organize as many specific photos, drawings and other information showing all of the distinct design elements and features you want in your new custom home. Then focus on finding a builder who you feel comfortable with, and who has the experience to make it happen.