Noah Construction & Builders wants our customers to be well informed when it comes to the subject of residential home building. Therefore, we offer some questions and answers that might help improve your understanding of building your first home. As always, we are here to help so please don’t hesitate to contact us with any other questions you might have.
Buy existing or build new?
This simple question can often be the most difficult to answer because a buy versus build decision depends on each person. Some people want the convenience of buying an existing home so they can move in immediately, even if that house doesn’t fully meet their needs. Others want to choose their home style and details from the ground up and are willing to wait for their perfect home to be built. Noah Construction & Builders can help either way because we can build your new home or help renovate an existing home to suit you.
How do I start the process to build a home?
First, research the builders in your area as well as new construction already occurring in the area. Look at reviews, talk to owners who have built recently, and create an outline of what you want your house to be in terms of size and options. Then start interviewing builders you think will meet your needs.
Once I start this process, how long until my home is ready?
The home design and build process can take from six months to a year and can be delayed by weather, materials shortages, or other things not in the builders’ control. Other factors include where the site is located, how much site preparation is needed to build, and so forth.
What other costs occur during my build?
Each builder is different in terms of what costs are included or separated from your contract, but typical extra costs are building permits, water and sewer connections, electrical connections to the utility, wetlands mitigation or seawall construction depending on the area, and so forth. You should discuss this with the builder as your contract is being prepared.
Can I build on a lot I own?
The answer is probably, but you need to understand if there are building restrictions, where utilities are located, the site elevation and whether it tends to flood, any difficulties for delivery trucks to reach the site, and more. All of these issues can increase the cost of your construction.
Should I build for the present or the future?
Homeowners often fail to think about the future when building a new home. As they age, their needs will change such as being able to negotiate stairs, room for wheelchairs, or adding a “bonus” room that could be used differently in the future. Thinking about your future needs can also add resale value later because future buyers may have needs your home design allows for.
Should I compare builders on a cost per square foot basis?
Noah Construction & Builders does not recommend this. This is a number generated for buyers, and there is no consistency among builders about what their cost per square foot may include. Choose your builder by their reputation and quality, not because of a generated number that can’t be compared to other builders.
Should I build up, down, or out to get the space I need?
Building a second floor can result in lower costs since fewer materials are needed, but depending on where you are building it may not be feasible. In coastal areas, a two-story house can experience higher winds on the second-floor level because winds increase with altitude. Local building codes or association rules must also be taken into account. Basements can add a lot of useable space but can slow construction if local weather prevents getting the basement poured on schedule. Also, keep in mind that adding a stairway reduces the space on each floor and could make future use of the second floor or basement more difficult for someone who is disabled. A single-floor home may not fit the lot you have chosen or may have to be configured differently than you expected. These are all issues you should discuss with your builder before signing a contract.
What are the different types of foundations?
The three major types of foundations are slabs, basements, and crawl spaces. A slab foundation sits directly on the ground and is the easiest to prepare but won’t provide any protection from flooding. A basement foundation is the most expensive to prepare but offers a lot of space, storm protection, and easy access to plumbing and utilities. A crawl space creates an elevation above ground that can be useful if an area is subject to flooding but it takes about the same time to build as a basement and the crawl space isn’t useable living space.
How do I make sure not to be hit with extra costs?
When you prepare your building contract, be very specific about what you want. Every feature, option, accessory, and exterior items like porches or decks must be discussed because the builder will use a standard item or feature unless you clearly state what you want. If you find out during construction that you aren’t getting the deck you want but didn’t ask for, you could add a lot of cost to your build. Figure out in detail what you want your house to look like and what features you want before you talk to any builder.
Should I build custom or semi-custom?
A custom home is designed to your specific needs and desires, and you as the homeowner choose virtually every detail to suit you. A semi-custom home is designed by the builder to meet a specific floor plan or lot size, and you can choose options or extras to suit your tastes. Semi-custom homes can cost less because the builder has already incorporated the design into their base cost. It is a matter of personal taste and budget which way you choose.
What is a punch list?
Near the end of construction, you and your builder will walk through the home and look at everything in detail. A punch list is created to give the builder a list of items not yet completed per your contract or something that isn’t working correctly. Unfinished woodwork, painting that needs touchup, light switches that don’t work, or missing hardware on doors are all items that need to be detailed on the punch list. Go through the home very carefully and test everything to be sure it is working as it should or has been built as the contract stated.
What can you do now?
Choosing to build a home is a big decision, and it takes effort on your part before you meet with a builder. Determine where you want your home to be, what you want it to look like, what features you need today and may need in the future, and how much you can afford. You can get pre-approved for a mortgage which will tell you how much you have available to spend on your home. Then contact Noah Construction & Builders and discuss your dreams with us. We will work hard to create a home you can be proud of for years to come.