When building your first home, finding the right builder can help alleviate a myriad of worries and concerns.
If you’re reading this article then you likely fall into one of three categories: you’ve already built your first home, are in the process of doing so, or it’s on your agenda for the near future and you’re not really sure where to start. If you fall into any of these categories, especially the third, we’re going to help allay some of your fears and worries by describing how to find the right builder, decide on the right floor plan, secure the land to build on, and ultimately, what to expect. Plus, there are so many benefits to owning a home. We just hope you get to enjoy the building process. Think of these as guidelines that you can follow if you’d like.
Determine Your Budget
Your budget is going to be a large factor in the type of house you build and where you build it. Fortunately, if you have good credit, getting preapproved for a construction mortgage is pretty easy. A mortgage lender can help you determine your budget, which will in turn confirm your financial credibility when it comes time to choose a home builder.
Furthermore, an experienced home builder can help further shape your plan depending on your budget. Their years in business will have given them a firm knowledge of the banking industry and loan programs, as well as relationships with lenders they trust who will treat you right.
Last but not least, be aware of hidden costs. With a good builder, there won’t be many surprises in the home building process. But as you get farther into the process, consider things like new furniture, landscaping, property taxes, and homeowners insurance. Just don’t be caught off guard once the building process is completed by these inevitable expenses.
Select a Location
Where would you like to build? Not only is choosing the greater region important, but also the exact neighborhood. Consider where you work and where you want your kids to go to school. What do you like to do in your free time? Is it important to have restaurants and shopping nearby? Or would you rather never see your neighbors? Once you’ve chosen the general area, a good home builder should be able to provide you with the piece of property that fits with the answers to the previous questions.
Find the Right Builder
This may be the most important step though it’s necessary to come after determining a budget and selecting a location to build. Building your first home can seem daunting. But if you find the right builder, then you’re getting a partner, albeit an experienced one, to help guide you along the way. Wondering how to find this “right” builder? Here’s how.
Once you’ve determined your budget and selected a location, you can strategically begin to put together a list of potential builders. Even if you’re familiar with or have lived in the area where you’ve decided to build, research is paramount. There will be some aspects that allow you to quickly nix some companies from the list. For example, if you’re wanting to build custom, tract builders would not qualify.
Those that remain will require a vetting process. Be ready to gather testimonials, both online and word of mouth; check out portfolios, warranty programs, and take walk throughs. Eventually, do a sit-down interview with the builders themselves. You’ll know in the first 10 minutes whether it’s going to be a good working relationship.
Word of Mouth
No matter what product or service a company provides, they will never find a stronger marketing tool than word of mouth. Seek out current customers of home builders in your area and ask. Most of the time, local real estate agents will be able to assist you with this. If they’ve worked with a lot of builders, they’ll be able to give you some insight as well as provide a few references. Shoot, if a builder isn’t shy about giving you names of past clients, that speaks volumes! You’ll likely find that folks who’ve just built their own home are are happy to share their experience.
The Value of Experience
You can’t discount experience. Many reputable home building companies have probably been around for at least a decade. But, at the same time, don’t overlook the fact that an experienced builder may be behind a brand new company. Regardless, find seasoned veterans who have built the type of home you want many times over.
Check Out Portfolios
Those seasoned veterans will have a nice portfolio. If they build a couple hundred tract houses per year yet you’re looking for a fully custom home, you should probably drop them from the list. If you like stone and they only build with brick, move on. While most builders have a variety of designs and styles in their portfolios, focus on those whose work is most closely aligned with your desires.
A builder who involves you in nearly every step of the home building process clearly has nothing to hide. Seek out these builders who look to you as a partner and value your thoughts along the way. On the flip side, great builders appreciate loyalty and won’t take lightly your trust in them to deliver what they’ve promised.
There’s a stigma among construction companies that once your warranty runs out, usually after 30 days, you’ll never get in touch with the builder again. That’s why talking to previous customers is so important in case the language on the builder’s website is not totally clear. If you find a home builder that offers a one-year warranty, then you know they stand behind the value of their work. And there’s a lot of value in that.
Build a Home With Top Resale Value
There’s a pretty good chance you might one day outgrow your home and need to sell. Maybe a job forces you to move. That’s why it’s so important to know before you buy or build that the house is going to have a great resale value.
A lot of the resale value will depend on the area in which the house is in, but also be sure to look for builders whose houses hold and maintain their value. When you see a home that’s five, seven, even 10 years old, yet looks nearly new, then you’ve found a quality builder. Furthermore, if you see a real estate agent’s ad that calls out a builder by name, it’s likely due to the fact that the agent respects the builder’s work. Most real estate agents pride themselves on reputation and will only mention a builder by name if they are exceptional in what they do.
Pick a Floor Plan
While many new homes are built using “stock” plans, you can build something totally unique with a custom builder. Either way you choose to go can take some time. You may already have an idea in your head about what style you want. You could also ride around the neighborhood you’ve chosen to build in or look through the builder’s catalog or browse their website to see what styles are available. A good builder will have floorplans accessible.
Remember, building a home should be fun. We know it’s easier said than done, but try not to let the pressures weigh on your outlook of the final product. You’ve gone through the steps, chosen the right builder, and now it’s time to put your trust in them and yourself to know your first home will be built right.
A good home building company will go out of their way to make sure all your needs and wants are met. Together, they will work with you to find the perfect location and create a floor plan that suits you. Many companies, especially custom home builders, can take your thoughts and ideas and turn them into a blueprint. If you find someone like this when it comes time to building your first home, then you’ll be in good hands.