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Finding A Builder

Picture of a Home under construction There are basically three types of builders: production builders, semi-custom builders and custom builders. Choosing a builder in each category has its advantages and disadvantages.

Production builders are organized for higher volume construction. They have standardized model homes to tour and study the quality of the builderís work. Having a standardized list of choices for floor coverings, tiles, countertops, light fixtures, cabinets and exterior finishes means itís faster and easier to make selections. The cost of your selections is known quickly and can make it easier to finalize your decision. Through repetition, the production builder has worked any bugs out of floor plans and the time to build is usually shorter. Higher volume work, such as a subdivision, and the advantage in scheduling trade contractors can result in significant cost savings. A disadvantage to choosing a production builder is that any change to the floor plan that alters the structural elements, such as foundation walls, requires reengineering and resubmission of plans to the building department. These expensive and time-consuming steps disrupt the momentum of high-volume construction.

Semi-custom builders work with existing plans, but are flexible regarding changes. Some homebuyers feel more comfortable starting with a plan, rather than creating their own. The disadvantage to making changes to an existing floor plan is that the fine-tuning takes time and money. When floor plans are changed, the economies of large-volume work are lost, resulting in higher prices.

Custom builders specialize in starting with a blank sheet of paper and creating a unique home, this also affords consumers the opportunity to control layout, lot size, and accessibility. They have experience with a wide variety of finishes, unusual treatments and design details. Because each house is one-of-a-kind, homebuyers can expect significant initial investment in time and dollars for design development and the creation of working blueprints and specifications.

Carefully think through your options and shop creatively for just the right builder. Investigate local builders with a critical eye and be sure to look at examples of their previous work. Itís a good idea to attend open houses of older homes being re-sold. This is far more revealing than touring a model home. In this way you can see how well the home has held up. Look online and ask people in your community as well, to discover which builders seem to provoke complaints. Another idea is to ask local realtors, loan officers and other professionals in fields related to building which builders they recommend. Consider small builders and local builders as well as larger home building companies. I recommend meeting at least three to six homebuilders to determine which builders share your vision and goals for your new home. Narrow your choices and consider those who build shells as well as completed homes, if you want the privilege of hanging sheet rock, painting walls and installing your own cabinetry.

The Building of Your New House

Once the process has started, you need to stay on top of the construction. Be sure to visit your new home frequently, while it is under construction, to insure that everything is happening according to your instructions. Do not be afraid to ask questions. Tell your homebuilder as soon as possible if you have any objections or concerns to anything you see on the site. Most serious home building complaints could have been avoided, if home buyers had visited their construction sites during framing and voiced their objections or concerns. It is a good idea to photos of your home during the many phases of its construction.

Make informed decisions on each step of your home building project

Be aware of the procedure for framing your home, insulating your home, plumbing your home and wiring your home. You may not be qualified to do all the work, but at least understand the principles involved. Building your new home, will require a lot of work from many people, but you as the owner are the one who should be making all the decisions.