Building a New Home

When you are thinking of building your next home, you need to start with Who, What, and Where....

Building a home is a nerve wracking and exhausting experience. Unfortunately, going through this process will add stress to your life.

Start by doing your homework by researching the market to see what other homes are currently for sale. A home that is already built may offer some advantages including: a more negotiable price, "added" features already included, a quicker closing time, and greater inventory from which to choose.

While buying a new house usually involves more time and effort, it does result in a brand new, personalized home.

If a new home is for you, you will want to assemble the best team of professionals that you can.  This often includes a mortgage lender, home inspector, your personal home buying agent and, of course, your builder.

What type of home will it be:

New home builders have several options in designing their home:

  • Builder as Designer - Make sure that your builder is a qualified designer if you elect to have him serve in that capacity.

  • Plan Books - These plans will provide an inexpensive way to get a home design but they will not necessarily be complete or feasible. Remember that most plans are designed for flat lots.

  • Designer/Drafting Services - Such companies usually offer limited services. Often they merely draw house plans. Some better designers may hire a licensed architect or structural engineer to review the plans and specifications and stamp them for a fee.

  • Architects - Benefits include sound designs and spaces, functional floor plans and unique appearance. You will get the most complete set of designs and working drawings for your home.

Who Should build it:

When you are hiring a builder, you are hiring a building team, not a single person. There are various sub-contractors, crews and suppliers. You need to know:

  • What warranties are provided?

  • Who will supervise construction?

  • Ask to see the specifications sheet and any corresponding samples.

  • What's the cost of upgrades?

  • Will the builder allow you on site to examine the construction?

  • How long has the builder been in business? Are there references?

  • Is the builder licensed & insured?

  • Is the builder working on any other homes? Can you visit them?

  • How much are change orders?

  • Who are the subcontractors?

  • What is "standard" with the home?

  • Are you allowed to supply any fixtures or "extras" during construction?

  • Can you choose your own subcontractors or even work yourself on the home?

  • What's the construction time line?

Where should it be built:

Nothing is more important to your home's value than it's location. There are a number of factors to consider:

  • Are there any impact fees?

  • What are the current property taxes on the lot and what will they be for the home?

  • Are there association dues?

  • What are the local schools?

  • Will the lot accommodate the home as designed? How much site work may be needed?

  • Is the lot insurable? Is the lot in a flood plain?

  • What is the zoning?

  • Are there any easements?

  • What is the access to the lot?

  • Are municipal water and sewer connections available?

  • What is the soil condition? Will the lot support a private septic system?

  • What are the other homes like in the neighborhood?

  • Are there restrictive covenants?

  • Who will own the lot during construction?

      

It is important for you and your agent to do due diligence in researching your builder.

  • Ask friends, relatives, neighbors about their home building experience and who they recommend.
  • Visit construction sites and finished homes of your choice builder.
  • Research the builder with:

            The Better Business Bureau

            The Builder's Association

            The Builder's Directory