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Nov 21 2016

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4 Things to Consider when Buying a Lot for Your New Home

Lot for SaleIf you are planning to build a new house, it is important that you carefully consider your lot. While you might already know what kind of home you want to build, choosing the proper homebuilding site should not be taken lightly. Take some time to consider the following information before making a final decision about your lot.

 

Lifestyle and needs: Each person/family has their own lifestyle and needs and both will greatly influence the lot or building site you choose for your new home. Consider how close you want to live to all the places you go to on a regular basis such as work, church, school, restaurants, and shopping centers. How far do you want to live from these places? Do you need to live within walking distance? A ten-minute drive? Or is farther away going to be okay with you? Next pay attention the improved ground around the subdivision or lot you are considering? Are sidewalks and streetlights already available? Is it important to you to have these things? If they are not already available, it is important to know that purchasing a lot in the subdivision might require you to contribute a portion of the fees to install these things in the neighborhood. Finally, think about what you envision for you new home in terms of neighbors and space. While some people want to live in a neighborhood with lots of kids so their own children will have friends to play with, others prefer a more secluded lifestyle with plenty of space between them and their neighbors.

 

Affordability: When it comes to building a new home, the cost of the lot is a factor in the overall building budget. It is necessary to be sure the cost of the lot will fit your budget. Can you afford the lot and still build your dream home? While the cost of the actual property might fit your budget, you should consider all the costs associated with getting your lot ready to build. Clearing trees, blasting rock, grading the land for proper drainage and building retaining walls if necessary are just a few of the things that will dramatically increase the cost of the lot before you are even ready to begin the actual construction of your home. Before you purchase your lot, it is a good idea to have your builder visit the property with you. Builders can often see things about the lot that might cause potential problems or require extra work in preparing the lot before construction begins that will drive up your costs and could potentially blow your budget. Finally, if you choose a lot where utility services are not already available at the lot, you will be responsible for the costs associated with running water, sewer, gas, electric and other utility services to your lot. However, if you choose a lot in a subdivision or neighborhood where these utilities are already available, additional costs, if any, are substantially lower.

 

The Home You Have in Mind: Before choosing a lot, take some time to consider the home you have in mind. Is the lot compatible with the home you envision? Familiarize yourself with all aspects of the potential lot. Physical, environmental and aesthetic factors can have a profound effect on the design of your home or the floor plan you choose. You wouldn’t build a 6,000 square foot home on a half-acre lot, so the size of the lot will matter. Likewise, if you aren’t one for using the yard, maybe a smaller lot with less grass to mow is better for you. Take some time to check with your local planning and zoning board to learn more about your potential lot and the surrounding property. You wouldn’t want to build a beautiful home with plenty of decks and widows to enjoy the view only to find out a year from now that the common ground behind your home has been zoned commercial and a new skyscraper is going to block your view. Finally, think about how the home you envision will sit on the lot. Is it a sloping lot that will require a walkout basement or a drive-under garage? Sometimes the features of the lot will influence features of your home, so take some time to make sure they will complement each other.

 

The Yard: When choosing a lot, consider how you plan to use your yard. Check with your local government to determine the zoning and setbacks of the lot. This will give you a clear picture of what you can build on the lot, how close you can build to the property lines, and what will be leftover for your yard. The size and shape, topography, drainage and slope of the lot will certainly influence how you use your yard. Do you want outdoor living space such a covered patio or outdoor kitchen? Do you need a clear and open space that requires full sun such as a pool or garden? It is important to think about how you plan to use your yard or what outdoor spaces you’ll need so that you choose a lot that will accommodate your dream home and give you the outdoor space you need to enjoy life to the fullest.

 

Building a home is exciting, but choosing the wrong lot can make for a bad experience so carefully consider the information provided above to help you make a good decision when choosing your lot.

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Jan 30 2013

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3 Ways to Control Home Building Costs

Home under ConstructionWhen building a new house, one of the most important things you can do is control your building budget. Without careful planning, it is easy to go far over budget when building a home. Beginning without a building budget, making changes during construction, and poor craftsmanship are just a few of the things that can blow your home building budget or cause extra expenses.

 

1. Most homeowners who embark on a home building project rely on obtaining a loan from a financial institution. This requires careful planning of the building budget up front. Begin by getting a feel for what things are going to cost. For example, visit several local lumberyards and find out what materials are available and their costs. Talk to the lumberyards about buying materials in bulk. Often, lumberyards will offer a better discount when all of the materials for the home are bought at the same time. This will slash your material costs. Also, compare the costs of luxury items verses budget items such as light fixtures. If a budget fixture is just as visually appealing, comes with a good warranty and serves the same purpose as the luxury item, choose the budget item. This tactic will cut wasteful spending tremendously. Using methods like these will help you save money and establish a building budget that works with your loan.

 

2. Next, go over your house plans carefully and discuss everything about the design, the floor plan, special elements, etc., with your builder before construction begins. It is important to have all the details worked out with your builder ahead of time. Once construction begins, making changes to the exterior of the home or the floor plan can become very costly in a hurry. When changes are made during construction, it often requires the builder to tear down or redo some portion of the home that was already complete or near completion causing a waste of time, money, materials, and labor.  

 

3. Finally, you might not be able to control the local labor costs, but you can control who you choose to do the work on your new home. Interview potential builders, ask to see their credentials, visit other jobsites where the builder has worked, and ask the builder for references from past clients. Researching the builder you hire (and the subcontractors) will help you choose the most qualified and skilled builder you can afford. Your new home is a major investment. You don’t want to ruin the experience of building a new home with poor craftsmanship. If you end up hiring an inexperienced builder or subcontractors, it is likely you’ll run it to problems quickly. Poor craftsmanship means you’ll be spending more later to repair things that were not properly built, constructed or installed during the construction of your home.

 

If you’re planning to build a new home, follow these tips to control your building costs.

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Jul 24 2012

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6 Things to do Before You Build Your New Home

BlueprintsWhen it comes to building a new home, the building process begins long before you break ground and pour the foundation. Discover six things you should do to prepare for your new home before construction begins.

 

  1. Decide on the type of home. People build homes for all types of reasons – family home, stepping up from a starter home, downsizing to an empty-nester, vacation home, rental property, weekend retreat, etc. Determine what type of home you plan to build.
  2. Determine your budget. Think about how much you can afford to spend on your new home and how much your new home will cost. Start checking with lenders to find out what size construction loan and mortgage you’re qualified to obtain. Knowing how much money you’ll be able to borrow and the likely cost of your new home will help you plan your building budget. Once you know what you can spend, you’ll have to determine how much of your budget can be spent on the lot and how much of your budget can be spent on construction, materials, etc.
  3. Hire a team of professionals. Assemble a team of professionals with expertise in the construction business. Your team will include the following professionals as well as others: your builder/general contractor, excavator, building inspector, carpenter(s), electrician, plumber, surveyor and maybe even a residential designer or engineer should you need to make adjustments to your house plans. If you begin by hiring the builder/general contractor, this expert will be able to provide advice about hiring other pros or may even have a crew of pros that he/she works with on a regular basis. Tip: Do not settle for the first builder you meet. It is important to interview more than one general contractor/builder, ask for references, proof of insurance, etc. Additionally, get a good feel for the kind of person each builder is and if this professional is someone you can work with and talk to on a daily basis for the next 6 to 9 months (or maybe even longer.) Finally, ask yourself, “Is this a person you can trust with handling and coordinating all of the details for your future dream home?”
  4. Select a lot. Regardless if you plan to build in a neighborhood, on mountainside or along a country road, it is often best to choose your lot before you select a house plan. You’ll have to consider the parameters of the lot such as the maximum width and depth, the grade of the lot, physical features on the lot, etc. when choosing your floor plan. Knowing the “lay of the land” will help you select a floor plan that best suits your needs and fits the lot. Additionally, you and your team of pros will need to study factors about the lot such as zoning, drainage, soil conditions and building codes specified for the community as well as geographic and climactic requirements.
  5. Choose a house plan. Make a list of needs and wants for your future home such as total finished square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, special rooms such as an office, convenient features like a kitchen island/snack bar, the width and depth of your lot, preferred architectural style and the type of foundation you’ll need. Now search pre-drawn house plan collections like those found at www.TheHousePlanShop.com to narrow your selection. Most websites have a search tool to make it easy to eliminate floor plans that do not offer your specified criteria. Keep in mind pre-draw/stock home plans can often be modified with the help of a modification team, local residential designer or even your builder. If you find a floor plan you like, but it isn’t quite what you need, discuss your minor modifications with your builder or contact the supplier of the house plan to see if they can make modifications for you. At The HousePlanShop, LLC, we offer a modification service by which you can obtain a free quote for your changes before you purchase plans giving you an opportunity to learn how much things will cost before you make your final decision on a floor plan.
  6. Draw up a contract. After you’ve determined your budget, selected a team of professionals, chosen a lot and purchased a house plan, you’ll need to draw up a construction contract. The contract should be written and signed and dated by you and your general contractor/builder. The construction contract will describe the construction of the home in detail and list all parts of the home to be included. If you or your builder make any changes to the project scope, it is necessary that you amend the contract. Keeping a written record of the scope of the construction project will help you as the home owner know what things have been completed, what still needs to be done and if any problems need to be resolved.

 

Following this list steps to complete before you break ground for your new home will help ensure your home building project gets off to a good start.

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