5 Important Home Building Tips

5 Home Building TipsWhile the nation is largely still recovering its real estate market, here in Texas we are experiencing a different kind of real estate problem. With so many businesses and families moving to our region – the north-of-Houston towns of Spring, The Woodlands, and the Conroe/Lake Conroe areas – our real estate woes are about a scarcity of homes available to buy. For my clients who are not finding a good selection of homes available, many are considering the obvious choice of building.  Since there is a wonderful selection of neighborhoods with available property to build, a family willing to build has a lot more freedom with where they want to have their house. It is a great opportunity to design your dream house... in an ideal location. Prefer a home built by Lake Conroe? Interested in living on acreage that allows for a couple of horses? These options are very available to a family if building is a consideration.

Finding a reliable builder suddenly becomes the issue. But this, too, is an issue that dissolves away if certain smart steps are taken.

1.  Find Your Lot or Acreage.

With your real estate agent, look at available home sites. One of the advantages to building is that you have so much more freedom in choosing your general location. With a real estate agent you can easily whittle down to a list of home sites that fit your needs: work commute distance, area amenities, neighborhood features, deed restrictions.

2.  Start Off With an Approved List of Reputable Builders

You can certainly investigate the best home builders through researching the attorney General’s website for lawsuits filed, check the BBB and Angie’s List for reviews, and so forth. But there is a quick way to detour that headache. When you build or buy a house, it is a mortgage bank that actually owns the house until it is paid off… so you can be sure that they can give you a great list of trustworthy home builders. Talk to a loan officer who specializes in new construction loans, for they can tell you which home builders are worthy of your time. Stick to that list. Try to get five builders to interview.

3.  Interview

Take the time to fairly interview your list of builders. Each builder will offer his/her own approach to the building process. Remember, you will be interfacing with these people constantly throughout the time it takes to build your home. Find the builder with whom you have a good rapport, with whom you feel comfortable asking the tough questions, and with whom you feel you can easily communicate thoughts and ideas, and that each accurately, and consistently, understands the other. Also be sure to assess the following:

  • Will this builder’s approach to the home building process be a process you think will help your stay on time and on budget?
  • Is this home builder’s base of operation an acceptable distance to your home site?   The closer, the better.
  • Tour other homes built by this builder.

Once you have found your favorite two or three from the list, take the time to re-interview to make sure that you settle on the best fit for you.

4.  Have a Real Estate Agent Review the Contract

A great and under-utilized function of a real estate agent is to review home building contracts before signing. A real estate agent can often discover oversights, find further opportunities for saving money… and can be a final and sure defense to make sure that the home you are about to build is entirely the home you have in mind.

5.  Get Your Own Inspector

It is an extra investment of about $300,  but it is worth every penny to have your own independent inspector go through your house at the final stages of the building process. At worst, you have spent a few hundred on just another set of eyes to make certain that everything is as it should be. At best, your independent inspector might uncover a major issue that needs to be addressed to make your home defect-free.

There have been some great Hollywood movies that have humorously depicted the personal hell that can be the home building process, and shows like “Holmes on Homes” are a cautionary tale that the home building industry is riddled with disreputable builders. Yet with a little planning and following these home building tips, by being armed with a real estate agent, the guidance of a mortgage loan officer, and the help of an independent inspector, you can find that building a home is no nightmare at all, but a dream-come-true.