Have you been looking at resale home after resale home for months and not finding your dream home? Do you know exactly what you are looking for in a home, but your just not seeing it on the market? Do you love home decor and design? Would you consider yourself a little on the picky side? Are you not ready for a fixer upper? If you answered yes to any of these questions then that may be a signal that building your dream home is going to be easier then finding your dream home.
The following article is the first in a series that will provide details about the homebuilding process as well as the good, the bad and the reality of building your dream home. There are many things that you will want to consider before taking this leap.
Much of the information provided is from my background as an engineer and my first-hand experience working with local Kansas City home builders during the construction of my own homes as well as homes of my clients. I will also provide many links to various reliable resources across the web in reference to financial aspects of the homebuilding process as well as definitions of topics and terms that relate to homebuilding.
Before you get started on the homebuilding process you should reach out to your Realtor and let them know that you are considering new home construction. If you don't already have a Realtor then you should look for one with experience in the area of New Home Construction as the process is different from buying a resale property. Either way ensure that you partner with a Realtor who will act solely on your behalf as your buyer's agent. Keep in mind that utilizing the builder's real estate agent is not advisable as they first and foremost represent the builder. You want someone who has your best interest in mind and will be negotiating specifically on your behalf.
1. Determine How Much You Can Afford to Spend on Your New Home and Get Pre-Approved.
Determining early on what is truly important to have in a home at this stage in your life will save you a lot of time and possible setbacks once you get into the construction process. It will do wonders in helping you determine the right floor-plan, but also the right location to build your new home.
Consider things such as whether or not you need a home office, do you want a chef’s kitchen or can you get by with the basics? Are you a growing family where you need a full finished basement or loft for kid’s to hang-out? What is the maximum distance you want to travel to get to work, shopping, entertainment, parks, etc.? Do you want a big yard or is maintenance free more your style?
As you consider these questions think realistically about what your home needs will be over the next 5-7 years at a minimum as this is the length of time that the average home buyer lives in a home.
Drive around to new subdivisions that are currently still under construction. Stop by the model home's office to learn about the neighborhood homebuilders and review their floor-plans.
5. Confirm Which Builder is Best For You.
Online research is key to review the builder’s experience history, floor-plans, price range, photos and current neighborhoods they do construction in. Below are also a few other ways to help you narrow down the possibilities.
Consider going to the neighborhoods where a specific builder has already built homes. Knock on the door of a few people already living in a home your specific builder has constructed. Ask if they can spend a few minutes telling you about their experience with the builder.
Were they happy with the building process?
How was the customer service?
Did they have any major construction issues?
Were these issues resolved to their satisfaction?
Does the builder use high-quality materials?
What was the communication process during construction?
How long did construction take?
How likely would they be to use this homebuilder again in the future?
Sit down with your Realtor and make them aware of your final decision and ensure that they are in agreement. They live in the world of Real Estate and will most likely be able to confirm whether the homebuilder you want to utilize has a good reputation in the area and will be a good fit to meet your needs. It’s entirely possible that your Realtor has worked directly with them on past homebuilding projects.
Check back next week where I will discuss Steps 6-10!