First question to ask the builder: What all is included? Have them spell everything out from flooring in each room, cabinet materials (is hardware included), countertops, backsplash, plumbing fixtures (toilet paper holders, towel bars), ceiling fans, can lighting, etc. Often builders will include an allowance for plumbing, electrical and appliances. Go shopping and price out what you would want in your home then see if those selections would be covered by the allowance. If not, you can ask the builder to increase the allowances or you can pay the difference out of pocket.
Determine what type of financing best suits your needs. There are several ways to finance your home build. You can purchase the lot separately, you can obtain your own construction financing and the builder will take draw as construction is completed (you will have to pay the interest charges as the build progresses), or the builder may take out the construction loan and you will ‘purchase’ the completed home with a mortgage like any other existing home purchase. To lock out your rate more than 30-45 days, some banks will charge extra.
Know what you need to choose and by what date. That way there will be no last minute ‘rush’ selections and you can take the time to choose what will suit your needs best. If you decide to build with Empire Homes, we will give you a print out of the various selections you will need to make.
Know when things are happening. It is easier to ‘fix’ or make changes to something while the construction process is still happening rather than when everything is complete.
Get someone on your side. Many builders represent themselves or have family members represent them. who do you think they will look out for if something were to go wrong?
Think about what you like and don’t like about your current home. This can help determine which floor plan suits your needs best.
Corner lots will typically cost less but the construction costs usually increase depending on the subdivision covenants – rock work often has to be included on the front of the home and on corner lots that coverage often needs to extend to the side of the home as well. Keep in mind you will also have two streets bordering your home and will need additional sidewalks.
If you are talking to more than one builder than make sure you are comparing similar products to get an accurate representation of the cost difference. Furnace efficiency, cabinet materials, wood planks vs. wood overlay, window brand/type, insulation, l-beam or engineered joists, appliance allowance, can lighting or overhead lighting, garage door openers, ceiling heights, what materials they use in egress windows, shower inserts…the list goes on!
Ask to meet with the builder directly. If they use a foreman, ask to meet with them as well. Find out if they are accommodating before you sign because after it will be too late!