Making the decision to build a new home is a thrilling prospect. For many, it is the realization of a dream. But many potential new home owners don’t realize that some of the decisions made after signing a contract would be less expensive and better negotiated if they researched their needs before inking the deal. We spoke to one woman who, in the process of considering her building project, took extra steps to research what she wanted. She ultimately saved thousands of dollars in “up charges” – changes or additions made by the builder once a contract is signed. Here are the ten items she considered before signing, and what she learned in the process:
Pre-qualify for a mortgage. Get credit information in order. Check out several lenders. Review needs for a construction loan or a bridge loan. Understand mortgage products. Review your present home and situation. Are room sizes adequate? What special needs do you have, such as a blended family or the need for a workshop? What furniture will you keep?
Find a lot. Is it close to schools, church, shopping, health care, pizza delivery? What direction does the lot face? Do you want morning sun? A special view? Do you want a sloping lot for a walkout basement? Study covenant and community restrictions. What is the tax levy? Look around the neighborhood. What do you like? What bothers you?
Find a home plan by asking the following questions:
How do I want to entertain?
How much storage will I need? What kind?
Does the plan have flexibility for special rooms or situations (exercise room, craft area, etc.)?
How does the home help me de-stress? A quiet area for me? Built-in organization like drop zones? Whirpool bath? Sunroom? Porches?
Where do I want the master bedroom?
Is a healthy home important to me?
Select a builder. Is there a builder attached to the lot you want? If so, interview him/her extensively. If not, interview several builders. Try to find someone with whom you’ll have good chemistry. Check references of the builder’s former home buyers, subcontractors and vendors.
Consult with an interior designer for a couple of hours. Make sure everything flows; coordinate colors, flooring and countertops; and plan placement of outlets.
Meet with an electrician and electronic specialists to pre-wire the house properly. Consider Christmas lights, other outdoor lighting, accent lighting, security, stereo surround sound, telephones, ample outlets and their placements, Internet and media rooms.
Talk to people. Talk to as many people as you can who have been through the building process. Be sure to ask what they would do differently.
Customize your home plan. Make sure the working drawings are clear and exactly how you want them.
Pack Your Survival Kit.
Bring a sense of humor
A 12-pack of patience
Drawers of chocolate
Bottles of aspirin
A jump rope for de-stressing
After considering these items you should be ready to sign on the bottom line and get started!