National Building Publications
Now is a great time to work with builders, as the market is dictating
some great deals. Building your own home has many advantages: you pick the
lot you want to build on, the style of house you want to build, and you
decide much of the decor including carpeting, tile, and countertops. Plus,
with everything built new, you have many years of use ahead of you before
needing to do the usual homeowner repairs.
Many people don't realize that a good realtor can represent them
during the building process. There is no addition cost to the buyer
because the realtor's commission is paid by the builder) and the realtor will
look out for your interests. Here are ten tips for
working with builders:
Colorado Springs' Trusted
Semi-Custom and Custom Home Builder.
As our customer you deserve:
1. The highest level of customer
2. Superior quality and craftsmanship.
3. Freedom to dream.
4. Assurance that home builder will back
their product for years to
You will find all of this with Symphony Homes.
Have they built many
houses in the area you want to live? Do they provide references or can you
speak with homeowners who have built with the company you are considering?
Don't just look at the marketing brochures - ask around and get a feel for
the builder's track record.
2. Look at a wide range of plans from
There are an amazing
number of floor plans out there, so shop around to find one that fits your
style. Even floor plans for houses that don't meet your immediate needs
can provide a source for new ideas. As you narrow things down, look at
similar plans with different builders to compare "apples-to-apples."
3. Visit models similar to the plan you are
renderings look great on paper - but how do they stack up in real life? When
you find the plan you're interested in, visit a model with your realtor
to get a feel for the house. Walk around, take your time. Don't be afraid
to return another time to confirm your feelings.
4. Think about reasonable customizations
hiring your own architect, you'll generally be working with a pre-designed
floor plan. But pre-designed does not mean pre-drawn: every house must
have plans drawn before construction that are specific to that house. Most
builders will allow you to make reasonable customizations before the plans
are drawn: need an extra window in a bedroom? Want to add an access door
to the garage? Just ask. Windows are easy and inexpensive way to add light
5. Ask about mundane - but important -
Work with your
realtor and builder representative to discuss things like placement of
electrical outlets, gas or electrical connections, and the use of concrete
or asphalt for the driveway. Ceiling fans require supports that are easy
to build while the house is under construction. Consider adding outlets
for future use - for example, an outlet in a kitchen cabinet above the oven
alcove that can be used later to add an over-the-range microwave. In
short, think ahead and don't presume anything.
6. Before you sign, understand the full
Building a new
house has many advantages, not least of which are the significant
financial sweeteners available to encourage new house building and the
jobs it provides. It is important, however, to understand the full picture
to avoid future trouble - many needless foreclosures occur due to overly
optimistic projections. Work with your realtor and mortgage loan officer
to build a sensible package tailored to your situation. You'll sleep
better at night and your home will grow into the long-term investment it
was meant to be.
7. Negotiate the extras
With most large
builders, there is not much room to negotiate building contracts, which
have been carefully pre-packaged by their legal teams. That doesn't mean,
however, that you can't negotiate: as well as things like selling price
and mortgage rate locks, you may be able to negotiate extras inside like a
fireplace, cabinet upgrade, carpet upgrade, and appliances, or extras
outside like sod instead of grass seed. Your realtor can suggest options
8. Ask what happens if something goes wrong
hard to build houses well and on time - builders who don't satisfy their
customers won't stay in business long. Nevertheless, building a house is a
complex project involving hundreds of people and thousands of components
and periodically things do go wrong, so it's wise to ask ahead of time the
process for resolving these things. Find out who your project manager is
and make sure you, your realtor, and the builder are coordinated in what
to expect from each party.
9. Check your homesite regularly
As your new
home is being constructed, make trips out to the site to monitor progress.
Some realtors offer to visit the home site each month to take photos and
create an album. It's typical for construction to move in spurts, with a
lot of activity followed by a lull. Work such as plumbing or wiring is
literally done "behind the scenes" so don't worry if you don't see visible
changes every week. The construction of your home will be checked by
building inspectors but keep an eye on your castle and enjoy the
satisfaction of a well-built home.
10. Communicate - and enjoy
building a home can seem like a task - but it doesn't have to be. Building a
home should be a happy, engaging, and enjoyable experience. If things go
differently that you expect, talk with your realtor and the builder to
iron everything out as soon as possible. A good builder, like a good
realtor, will always make client service and satisfaction their number
one priority. Goodwill, clear expectations, and teamwork are the best way
to make building your home a rewarding experience. Your home, your
personality, your style - enjoy!
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