Is New Home Construction Right For You?  

Part 1:  The Homebuilding Process!

March 11, 2016

By Kelly Wurth

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Have you been looking at resale home after resale home for months and not finding your dream home?   Do you know exactly what you are looking for in a home, but your just not seeing it on the market?  Do you love home decor and design?  Would you consider yourself a little on the picky side?  Are you not up for a do-it-yourself fixer upper?  If you answered yes to any of these questions then that may be a signal that building your dream home is going to be easier then finding your dream home.   

The following article is the first in a series that will provide details about the homebuilding process as well as the good, the bad and the reality of building your dream home.  There are many things that you will want to consider before you take this leap so let’s get started.  

Much of the information provided is from my first-hand experiences building 3 homes in various suburbs of Kansas City over the last 15 years and my background as an engineer.  I will also provide many links to various reliable resources across the web in reference to financial aspects of the homebuilding process as well as definitions of topics and terms that relate to homebuilding. 

1.  Determine How Much You Can Afford to Spend on Your New Home and Get Pre-Approved. 

2.  Make a List of Your Needs and Wants.

Determining early on what is truly important to have in a home at this stage in your life will save you a lot of time and possible disagreements once you move into the construction process.  It will do wonders in helping you determine the right floor-plan, but also the right location to build your new home. 

Consider things such as whether or not you need a home office, do you want a chef’s kitchen or can you get by with the basics, are you a growing family, will you need a full finished basement or loft for kid’s to hang-out in, what is the maximum distance you want to travel to get to work, shopping, entertainment, parks, etc., and do you want a big yard or is maintenance free more your style. 

As you consider these questions think realistically about what your home needs will be over the next 5-7 years at a minimum as this is the length of time that the average home buyer lives in a home.  

3.  Is a Custom or Production Home Builder Right for You?

4.  Find and Narrow Your List of Possible Homebuilders.

There are numerous ways to find a homebuilder in your area.   

  • Call your Realtor and provide them with the list of needs and wants you created in Step 2.  They should be able to provide you with a list of homebuilders to start your search.  
  • Perform a Google search for homebuilders in your area. 
  • Review your local Home Builders Association Member Directory.  Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City
  • Pick up local home magazines.  These can often be found on racks at the entry and exit points of your local grocery stores.  New Homes Journal
  • Drive around to new subdivisions that are currently still under construction.  Stop by the model home's office to learn about the neighborhood homebuilders and review their floor-plans.  

5.  Confirm Which Builder is Best For You.

Online research is key to review the builder’s experience history, floor-plans, price range, photos and current neighborhoods they do construction in, but below are a few other ideas to help you narrow down the possibilities.    

  • Consider going to the neighborhoods where a specific builder has already built homes.  Knock on the door of a few people already living in a home your specific builder has constructed.  Ask if they can spend a few minutes telling you about their experience with the builder. 
    • Were they happy with the building process? 
    • How was the customer service? 
    • Did they have any major construction issues? 
    • Were these issues resolved to their satisfaction? 
    • Does the builder use high-quality materials? 
    • What was the communication process during construction? 
    • How long did construction take? 
    • How likely would they be to use this homebuilder again in the future?
  • Set up a meeting with each of the Homebuilders on your list and ask these 15 questions
  • Sit down with your Realtor and make them aware of your final decision and ensure that they are in agreement.  They live in the world of Real Estate and will most likely be able to confirm whether the homebuilder you want to utilize has a good reputation in the area and will be a good fit to meet your needs.  It’s entirely possible that your Realtor has worked directly with them on past homebuilding projects.  

Check back next week where I will discuss Steps 6-10!

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