Am I ready to build a house? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

Dreaming of having a custom-built house perfectly suited to your family’s needs? Or a house built to your taste with everything totally brand new? 

Building your own home comes with both pros and cons. Here are six questions you should consider before diving in without a plan.

1. Can I decide on a house quickly?

The competition to buy an existing house is incredibly high, with many homes selling in just a few days. The pressure to make such an expensive and important decision, while racing against other buyers, can be overwhelming. If you are someone who takes a while to think things over, and you want to make sure you get exactly what you want from a home, building might be the better option for you.

2. What is the biggest advantage to building a home?

The biggest advantage to building a home is getting a custom-build that perfectly meets the needs of you and your family. Everything in the house will be brand new, and you won’t have to worry about any costly repair jobs or issues that can surprise you in a pre-existing home. Just make sure you find yourself a high-quality, professional contractor who can properly understand your needs and bring your vision to life. We recently wrote a blog on how to find a professional remodeler, and much of the same advice holds true when building a new construction.

3. What is my Budget and how is my Credit?

Your first step is to make sure you fully understand your budget. Meet with a mortgage lender and discuss your options, so you have a firm number whether building or buying. 

The loan process for new builds is a little more complicated than obtaining a mortgage for a pre-existing home. When building a home, typically you begin with a construction loan, and then refinance into a traditional mortgage after construction is complete. In order to do this, you will need good credit and little to no debt. Once you figure out your budget, it is also important to factor in some wiggle room in there for any unforeseen expenses.

4. Do I need this home ASAP?

A new build typically takes up to a year to complete. If you are in a rush to move into a new home, buying a pre-existing home may be the better option for you.

5. Am I ready to put down roots here?

Building a new home is costly and time-consuming. As such, it is not the best option for someone who expects to move around. If you aren’t ready to settle down just yet, then renting or buying an existing property probably makes more sense for you.

6. What are my future needs?

When building a home, it is important to plan for your future and not just your current needs. Do you plan on having children some day? Will your parents move in with you at a certain age? Factor that into your building plan to avoid a costly home addition or stressful move later down the road.

Conclusion:

Taking the big step to build your own home is an important decision that you shouldn’t rush into. Consider the six questions we have listed here, and be sure to do some additional research before you dive into an expensive construction project.

What to Look for in a Professional Remodeler

May is NAHB’s National Home Remodelers Month, and the past year has been a busy one when it comes to remodeling! 

With so much time spent at home these days, chances are, you are thinking of making changes to your home. Perhaps you’re thinking of pulling out your toolkit and DIYing it. 

However, large remodeling projects usually call for an expert. Here’s how you can find the right contractor for your home project!

Why You Should Hire a Professional

  • Property Value

Remember that your house is a valuable asset. All upgrades need to be of professional quality to increase the value of your property.

  • Safety

A professional contractor knows how to bring your remodeling dreams to life in a way that is safely constructed and up to code. As a trained expert, a remodeler has a firm grasp of the requirements to meet city ordinances, regulations, and permits. 

  • Expertise

You are not just hiring a professional remodeler for their labor; you are hiring them for their expertise. Through years in the industry, they know where to get the best prices on labor and materials, and how to design the best solutions for your needs and your budget. 

How to Find a Professional Remodeler

  • Search for Remodelers in Your Area

The National Association of Home Builders has a Directory of Professional Remodelers that you can search to find professional remodelers in your area. Search the internet or social media for remodelers in your area and pay attention to reviews from previous customers. You can also reach out to friends in your community to see who they recommend. 

  • Reach Out for Quotes

Contact a few of your top picks to discuss your project and your budget. A professional remodeler can provide you with work samples to prove their expertise, and a detailed proposal on how they will achieve your vision within your budget. Do not immediately go for the lowest price offered. A price that seems too good to be true can mean poor quality work or a lack of professionalism.

  • Check Their Credentials

Do some background research on your potential remodelers to make sure they are running a legitimate business. They should have the proper licenses to conduct their work, and general liability insurance in case of accidents on the jobsite. It is also great if they are part of a trade association. A remodeler who meets all these criteria should be reliable and knowledgeable about all the newest industry trends and legal requirements.

Are you interested in learning more about the remodeling process?

National Home Remodelers Month

April was New Homes Month, but now that we have entered May, remodelers are in the spotlight. 

May is NAHB’s National Home Remodelers Month, and with a resurgence of remodeling activity in 2021, now is a great time to highlight what is happening in the remodeling industry. 

Full Recovery

After a slow down in remodeling projects last year, remodelers’ businesses have picked back up to full speed. 

“The remodeling market took a hit last year at the start of the pandemic, but it’s completely turned around now,” said NAHB Remodelers Chair Steve Cunningham, a remodeler from Williamsburg, Va. “Now, remodelers are facing intense backlog on projects due to supply chain delays, continued labor shortages and an abundance of project leads.”

NAHB’s Remodeling Survey

A recent survey conducted by NAHB revealed what type of projects homeowners are requesting from remodelers. Here is what the survey found:

Most Common Consumer Motivation for Remodeling:

  1. Better amenities
  2. Need to repair or replace older components
  3. Desire or need for more space

Most Common Remodeling Projects:

  1. Bathrooms – 74% of remodeling projects involved bathrooms.
  2. Kitchens – 67% of remodeling projects involved kitchens. 

Bathroom and kitchen remodeling projects have been in high demand for several years, but this year, even more homeowners are reaching out for remodeling projects. 

“As home prices and interest rates rise, many would-be home buyers are instead opting to stay put and make improvements to their current homes.”

NAHB

Are you planning on making any renovations to your home this year? Let us know!

Guide to Building a New Home

With low inventory in real estate markets across the country, many people are considering new construction. Although the process can seem overwhelming from start to finish, working with the right people and knowing what to expect can make the entire process less daunting. 

Keep reading for what you need to know about the home building process before getting started. 

Secure Your Financing First

Most homebuyers use financing when purchasing a home, and the same goes for new construction. If you were previously searching for an existing home and are approved for a mortgage, that won’t carry over to new construction. 

Speak with your lender about obtaining a new construction loan. Like mortgage loans, new construction loans are easier to get if you have a strong credit history. This loan will enable you to pay your contractor as the work is being finished. Once the home is completed, the loan is converted to a mortgage. 

Who You Work with Matters

Once you know you have appropriate financing for new construction, look for a builder who meets your needs. Research and meet with prospective builders to learn more about their style, quality of work, and rates. 

Take the time to learn about the builder’s developments, warranties, reputation, and communication style. You will also want to learn how the builder handles permits and hiring for specific jobs. A builder who understands your vision and communicates throughout every step of the process will ease stress and give you confidence in completing your new home. 

Plan, Plan, Plan

After getting approved for a loan and selecting a contractor, the planning begins! With your builder, you can start to focus on planning your dream home. You’ll discuss the larger picture, including:

  • Style of the home
  • Number of bedrooms
  • Number of bathrooms
  • Floorplan
  • Storage needs
  • Outdoor space

As you review the type of home you want, your contractor will share a projected timeline and completion date. In addition to planning what your new home will look like, be sure to plan where you will live during construction, as well as a backup plan in case the completion date needs an extension.

Purchase Your Lot

Some new construction takes place in a new development, where the builder owns several lots.  In this case, during your planning phase you will select an available lot where your new home will be constructed. If you are not building in an established development, you will need to start looking for land for sale in your desired location. Once you have acquired land, your contractor will clear the lot before construction begins. 

You Get to Choose

The final stages of construction are often the most fun. As you oversee the building process, you’ll discuss what you want to see in the design’s finishing touches. This includes selecting: 

  • Cabinetry
  • Countertops
  • Paint color
  • Light fixtures
  • Appliances
  • Flooring
  • Custom options

Throughout the entire process, stay in communication with your builder to stay updated on the timeline, build, and budget. 

When do you need a Building Permit?

We know many people are taking on home improvements this year, and with good reason! Updating your home to improve function and design makes it more comfortable and can increase the property value. 

Before you get started on your projects, it’s essential to follow protocol and safety regulations. Depending on the project, this may include obtaining a building permit. 

What is a Building Permit?

A building permit records any changes you make to your property with your town. When you apply for a building permit, it also ensures that the remodeling project will be reviewed by an inspector and deemed safe for current and future residents. 

In addition to keeping your home improvements up to current safety standards, building permits are also proof that you complied with all building codes. Should you decide to sell your home in the future, it’s essential to have this documentation. 

When is a Permit Needed?

Home improvement projects that include structural, electrical, plumbing, or mechanical work generally require a building permit. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Structural Work: Changes to the structure of your property, including changes to load-bearing walls, foundation, roofing, decks, and balconies, require a permit. Your contractor will typically obtain the permit prior to construction.
  • Electrical Work: Simple jobs like installing a new light fixture does not require a permit, but changes to outlets, wiring, or overhead lighting does. 
  • Plumbing: Whether you install new plumbing or replace existing plumbing, a permit will most likely be required.
  • Heating and Mechanical: Any changes made to heating or ventilation requires a permit. This includes work on fireplaces and ducts. 
  • Window Installations: Any time you have to cut holes for window installations, whether installing a new window or replacing an old window with a larger version, you will need a permit. 
  • Additions and Remodels: Any new construction, including an addition or remodel, requires a permit. This includes detached garages and sheds. 

If you are unsure whether or not you need a permit, make sure you talk with a professional. Generally, your builder or contractor will obtain any permits required, so you don’t have to worry about completing the paperwork. 

Design-Build vs. Design-Bid-Build

You decided to build.

Do you know what type of build process you want to commit to?

Beyond choosing the right builder, you need to understand how the builder will complete the scope of work. Two methods are design-build and design-bid-build. We go over the differences between these two processes below. 

Design-Build

With design-build, the owner signs just one contract with the builder (or project manager).

Often, design-build companies have their own team to handle all aspects of the project, including design, construction, and all trades. With this type of construction process, the owner has one point of contact, making it easier to communicate. 

The contractor can also hire subcontractors for trades as needed, though they resume all responsibility for the finished project, cost, and schedule. 

Design-Bid-Build

Design-bid-build is the more traditional model in construction. Design and construction are handled by two different companies, with two separate contracts. 

Where does the bidding come in?

First, the design team works to complete a set of construction documents for the project. From there, various contractors can submit bids for the project. Usually, the work goes to the lowest bidder. This can help to ensure the cost of construction will stay low. When communication between all parties is strong, this process is effective. 

When completing new construction, it is most important to feel comfortable with who you are working with. From there, you can discuss the type of building process that best fits your needs. 

 

10 Questions to Ask if Buying New Construction

Brand new everything. No surprise issues behind the walls. Custom designed for your wants and needs. 

New construction is an opportunity for you to build your dream home. While the thought of moving into a never-lived-in-before house is blissful, there can be stressful moments throughout the process. A new build runs much smoother with patience and communication. This means you need to ask your questions upfront and stay in communication throughout the build. 

Below are ten questions to ask your builder or contractor when constructing a new home:

Who is my point of contact during the build?

There will be a lot of people on the construction site, and they may not always be the people you need to speak with. Find out who your point of contact is from the start, and stay consistent in communicating with that person. This will help to eliminate the run-around when you need an answer to a specific question. 

Is the lot included?

Before signing on, the budget will be one of the first things you discuss with your builder. Give your total budget upfront so the builder can keep that in mind as the project moves through each stage. Some builders will have the cost of the lot included in the sale price of the home, while others keep this as a separate transaction for the buyers. Find out whether you need to close on the lot before construction begins. 

What are standard fixtures and what is extra?

Generally speaking, builders have a model that comes with standard features. A builder specifications sheet will go through all standard features in the home. If you want extras and your budget allows for you, determine what is of most importance to you and let your builder know as early on in the build as possible. 

How much input can I have on design?

If starting from the beginning of the build, there can be a lot of flexibility in how much input you have in the design. As the home nears completion, there is less of a chance for you to build-to-suit

If you have a vision that is different than the standard features of extras the builder provides, speak with them to determine if what you want can be incorporated while sticking to your budget. 

When is the scheduled completion?

Once you have determined your budget and design plans, the builder can give you a scheduled completion date. This allows you to plan for how much time you need alternate housing. 

Is a builder’s warranty included?

Find out if the builder’s warranty comes with the completion of the house. Knowing the builder will fix issues that may arise after the sale of the home can eliminate a lot of stress. 

Is landscaping included?

An empty lot means there is a significant amount of work to do with landscaping. If landscaping is not included with the build, you will want to put some of your budget aside so that you can attend to your property. 

Are there homeowner rules?

Is the new home in a development or condominium complex? Find out what the homeowner association rules and regulations, along with the monthly fees, are. It’s best to know this first so that your dream home is also in your dream community. 

Do I need a home inspection?

You may think that because the construction is brand new that you don’t need a home inspection. But it’s important to know that everything has been built up to code. Inspectors know what to look for in newly constructed homes. 

Are there energy-saving features in the home?

Energy-saving features help you live sustainably and can also help save you money on monthly payments. Every year, there are new and advanced technologies to make your home more sustainable and more comfortable. Find out what the builder is doing to keep the build eco-friendly. 

Do you have more questions about new construction process? Contact us.

Benefits of Glass Walls in Offices

Open office spaces were highly sought after a few years ago. Now, many offices want to blend the open office feel with some space for privacy or sound barriers. While nobody wants to go back to working in a cubicle, many people felt distracted in a completely open office.  

What is the compromise? Companies want their employees to be able to work efficiently and effectively – with time for collaboration and space to focus. To meet all of these needs, many offices are incorporating glass walls or partitions.

Glass walls can create private meeting areas, conference rooms, or a partition while still appearing open and inviting. This allows for collaboration while still allowing for private conference or phone call areas.

We have incorporated glass in many of our client’s offices at 350 Goose Lane Office Park. A doctor’s office has the traditional sliding glass to separate the waiting area from the receptionist office. Another space has a podcast room with a glass wall and door so others can see in while shows are being recorded. We have also built small offices and conference rooms with glass walls.

The benefits of using glass walls or partitions in office spaces include:

  • Communication. The glass allows for an open feel in an office space. People can see when you are available to collaborate and are more apt to ask a question or share a thought when others are visible.
  • Privacy. The flip side of collaboration is privacy – most offices have workers who need both. Glass offices or conference rooms allow for some privacy. By adding in curtains or blinds, these spaces feel even more private when needed. Another option is frosting the glass, so it is not as easy to see into a room.

  • Light. By replacing traditional walls with glass walls, light is able to stream through the entire office. Natural light is beneficial in improving mood and focus.

Many people wonder about how sound travels when using glass to separate spaces. There are types of glass that are more soundproof than others. You will also want to consider the ceiling. An open, industrial style ceiling will enable sound to travel and echo more, while a drop-down ceiling with soundproof ceiling tiles will help to keep sound in.

When deciding what type of layout you want in your office, speak with your contractor about what can be done, so your office is functional for your needs.

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