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Sheryl Petrashek's Blog

By Sheryl Petrashek | Agent in Apple Valley, MN

Three Ways to Select a Builder for your New Home...

Today I had an interesting conversation with a gentleman about Building a New Home in Lakeville.  We talked about the best ways to select a builder in today’s Real Estate Market.  There are several factors involved in selecting a Builder including, the location/specific lot, floor plans and quality of construction.  It’s a complicated process, but I’ll try to tackle it succinctly.

Location or Specific Lot

In the old days, developers held the land after it was divided into lots.  Buyers would drive around, select a location then interview various builders, review floor plans and decide which builder they would hire.  Times have changed.

It’s now very common for Builders to own several lots and not wish to sell them outright. They prefer to keep them and build the home for a Buyer.  It’s understandable since Builders don’t profit from buying and selling lots, they earn their living on the construction of the home.

The Sights and Sounds of a Recovering Real Estate Market!

This leaves the New Home Buyer in a quandary, often forced to Select between their favorite builder or their favorite location.  Which one should you pick? My opinion is, pick your favorite location and hire the builder who owns the lot to construct your new home!

I’m always amazed at how quickly the criteria for liking your new home shifts from the structure to location.  I’m fond of telling buyers, especially first time buyers about this shift. I tell them, “When looking for a home, buyers focus so much on the structure, the layout of the kitchen, the fireplace placement, size of kids’ bedrooms, decorating and cosmetic changes needed, etc.  The minute you move into your new home, all the focus shifts to your location.  How is the commute, especially when it snows? Are you close enough to the school to take a forgotten lunch?  Can you get to shopping quickly? Is the Neighborhood friendly? Is the yard usable? Will your friends and family drop by?”

Floor Plans

Sometimes it’s Love at First Sight!  If you love a floor plan, is it a good reason to select the Builder for your New Construction Home? I would urge you to consider additional factors before letting the floor plan be your primary reason for selecting the builder.  It is true that building a floor plan over and over again allows a builder to work out the kinks or bugs in the floor plan.  They usually build their signature floor plan very well; this is often the case with National Builders such as Pulte, Lennar, and DR Horton.

Great to see the guys back on the construction sites! Everyone is truly happy to be there!

All the Custom Builders I know working in Lakeville, Farmington, Rosemount or anywhere South of the River, can build any floor plan you wish.  Many floor plans are cataloged and owned by large design firms, making them readily available to numerous builders.  Thanks to huge advances in computer design, customizing your Floor Plan is no longer prohibitively expensive.

Quality of Construction

This topic deserves a whole post, and I will write it soon.  This one is tricky because home buyers easily fall into the trap of judging quality of construction based on the wrong criteria.  It’s not exactly their fault, it happens because builders put up finished homes as models.  It’s impossible for the lay person to determine the true quality of construction from the model homes.  Model homes encourage the buyers to focus on the cosmetic details, trimwork and decorating options.

I wonder what would happen if builders left their models open, like cut-aways to show:  the depth of footings, rim joist insulation, size of headers over windows, precision installation of doors and windows, insulation around exterior openings, quality of the exterior sheathing , house wraps, extent of waterproofing on the poured foundation wall, a well-positioned drain-tile system and more!  My husband has a phrase, ‘no one wants to see how the sausage gets made’, I think it applies to New Construction too.  Many disagreements happen during construction because the buyers assumed, based on the cosmetic look of the home, the builder’s techniques and attention to detail would be excellent in all aspects.  It’s shocking for them to witness sloppy standards under the sheetrock.

This is when we see the Quality of Construction in a New Home.

Do your homework before selecting any Builder for your New Dream Home! There are additional questions to ask and your Realtor can help you determine a Builders suitability for your project.  Consider information such as: their building history, licensed status, member of the Builder’s Association, any complaints filed against them at the Commerce Department, Project Financing, who holds Earnest Money and availability of recent references from satisfied clients.

I’m certainly happy to assist you in your pursuit of building your dream home! Give me a Call at 612-889-6496 with any questions you have about lots or local builders!

Comments

By Jennifer Ratcliff,  Tue Oct 23 2012, 10:50
Choosing the right builder is such an important thing. Always contact your real estate professional for advice. Great post!

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