I love helping families make their dream home a reality and sometime that means building a new home is the best option! As with any big project, knowing what questions to ask and doing your homework upfront is important. Working with clients in selecting a builder and navigating the new construction process is a significant portion of my real estate business. Sometime just getting started is the hardest part of the process, so I have compiled a few of the most common questions I am asked.
We want to build a new home. How do we get started?
First step is to determine: 1. Your budget. 2. Where you want to build your home. 3. What style of home you desire (ranch, 2 story, 1 ½ story). Once you’ve got these items figured out you’ll want to interview builders, look for a lot and shop floor plans. You can choose between building a completely custom home, a build-to-order floor plan (stock plan owned by the builder) or a “spec” home that has already been started by a builder. Lots of moving parts here – I can help you coordinate these first few steps of the process.
Which comes first – finding a lot or selecting the home plan?
Looking for a lot and interviewing builders may happen simultaneously. Another way to approach this is to determine which is most important to you – finding the perfect lot that you are willing to design a home to fit on or building a specific floor plan. If your floor plan and size of your home is #1 to you I recommend getting that nailed down with an architect or builder first, then finding a lot that will accommodate the size of the home.
How can we control the cost of building so that we’re not surprised at the end?
The unknown costs of building a home is what I see as the biggest factor that deters people from building. There should never be surprises at the end and you should be able to determine the cost of building your home before you finalize a contract with a builder. If you are building a custom home the builder will have a significant amount of time invested in pricing out the home. In this case there may be a non-refundable fee paid to the builder to price out your home. Then once the builder has presented the pricing to you, you can decide whether to move forward, make changes or not build the home. A critical step in the home building process is the Plans & Specs meeting with your builder. Throughout the construction process your builder should provide change orders that outline costs of any upgrades or changes you make and you should know to the penny where you stand on your home price.
There are a million and one other items you should be aware of before building a home and there’s just not enough room on this page to address them all. From my experience in working with clients and the new construction process the key to a great home building experience begins with 3 important factors:
- A solid purchase agreement that protects you as the buyer. Make sure you understand the terms of the purchase agreement.
- Do your due diligence – interview builders, know what questions to ask.
- Having an organized and informative Plans & Specs meeting with your builder (there may even be more than one of these meetings depending on the level of home you want to build).
If you have ANY questions about building a home, finding a lot, even how to finance a new home don’t hesitate to give me a call. I’d love to help!
Important questions to ask a home builder:
- What are the building standards for a given floor plan? The builder should be able to give you a document that lists specifications related to the structural, mechanical and finish selections. You will also want to ask them for their allowances on items like flooring, appliances, lighting, etc.
- What is your plans & specs process?
- How many walk thrus will we have during the construction of the home?
- Do we have the option to carry the construction loan or do you (the builder) carry it?
- How will you communicate with us throughout the construction process?
- Do you have a designer who will work with us to select finishes?