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Friday, September 13, 2019

Building A House - Part 1: Things We Didn't Know Before We Started

My husband and I are SO excited to finally start building our dream home! It’s something we have always talked about and can’t believe we are actually doing it!

There are sooooo many things that we didn’t know going into this and we are just getting into it, haha. I read countless articles and blog posts to make sure we were asking all the right questions, understanding the build process, and so much more. We were clueless but have learned so much the last 2 months! I wanted to create a few posts to share our progress along the way and things that we have learned during this process!

The last two months we met with multiple builders until we found one that we liked (well mostly their work). We wanted to build in the town that we live in now so we were always looking out for land/new builds! We worked with our builder to design our home and made tons of edits to blue prints until we finally signed off on what we all agreed with. We then signed the purchase & sale contract with our builder, put down a 5% deposit and now they are pulling permits to start building!! Here are some things that we have learned so far..





1. Not all land or new builds are listed up for sale- drive around!
When we first started looking for new builds in our town we were not having any luck, nothing was popping up on MLS for months. I started to drive around town on my lunch break findings lots of land and people working on them or signs that said "land for sale". I would get out of my car and ask the contractors who the builder was and if they could connect me with them or I would sometimes call the number listed on the signs. I was able to get in touch with a handful of builders that way that didn't have anything listed! Usually a builder is building multiple houses in the same or nearby area, it never hurts to ask.

2. A construction loan is different then a regular loan.
So if there is land for sale and you buy the land and then have a builder build it for you then you get a construction loan. It basically pays the builder in chunks. What we are doing is we found a builder who is building on land and we just happened to get in before he started building so we could customize. With him we have a regular loan and the land and build are combined into a price for a "package deal".

3. You have to talk to a lot of different builders!!
It is hard to find out who the builders are so we just started going to open houses for new builds in our town and surrounding towns and if we liked the craftsmanship we would ask who the builder was and then contact them to see if they were building anything else. That is how we got in touch with a lot of different ones. You will start to notice that different builders include different things standard. I didn't really know what this meant at first but for an example- builder A will include any choice of stain on the hardwood floors where as builder B will charge an extra $1,000 to stain the hardwood floors. We ended up going with our builder for a few reasons but one of them was that everything that we wanted came standard and all the other builders we spoke with we were going to have to pay a lot in upgrades. We met one builder that only painted the house in white paint and every other color was an extra cost, lol!

Some of the things that our builder includes standard that were major wins for us are:
  • Stain on hardwood floor- Other builders quoted us $1,000
  • Upgraded railing ends (haha, I know you are probs like what the heck BUT when we started touring houses I liked the "square railing ends" instead of the regular circle knobs). Other builders quoted us $1,100
  • Appliances are included (fridge, stove, microwave, dishwasher). This was a huge win. All of the other builders did not include any appliances and you know that they add up
  • Irrigation system (sprinklers built in the lawn)
  • French doors for home office. Other builders quoted us $1,600
Smaller things that I didn't realize most builder do not include but ours did (thanks to some articles I read):
  • Remote controls for the garage 
  • Mailbox 
  • Mantle over fireplace 
4. You can work with your builder to get what you want.
You don't have to stick with whats on the blue prints when you are designing, speak up! Most builders have plans that they have built before. When we toured one of our builders homes he just built we loved it. We told him we wanted to start designing ours with the same layout. From there we were able to tweak/ add what we wanted (for us it was at no additional cost!). We were able to add in extra closets, add more windows, add a farmers porch, make the back deck bigger, and more. When you are building you should speak up and ask for what you want. For us, everything we spoke up about ended up being included in the original price. Other builders that quoted us prices on certain upgrades allowed up to determine if what we wanted was really worth that price. 

5. Allowances can work out in your favor.
Most builders will give you a pricing allowance for things such as light fixtures, tile, and appliances. They will write you a check for your allowance and you can either stick to that budget, go over, or go under. If you go under you can keep the difference and put it towards something else. My plan for our lighting allowance is over the next year shop sales to get all of our lighting fixtures and stay under the allowance and then use the left over money to buy our washer and dryer!


We are so excited to watch the large area of dirt become slowly our home over the next 8-12 months! I can't wait to document the progress on here and share it!

xo 
Haley





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