I am looking at new homes and recently built homes (post 2007) in Cary/Morrisville area. priced ~ 450K. How can I compare builders/sites ?

Asked by Kamal ksaheta, Morrisville, NC Mon Jan 6, 2014

Why: Because these criteria can preserve the value of the homes over a long period of time.

Let me know what other items to add to this list ?
build quality
ceiling height
Fiber glass vs hardyPlank
Brick/stone exterior vs Vinyl
Slab vs crawl space
spacing between houses (10ft vs 30 ft)
lot size

Thank you!

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Michelle Mea…, Agent, Cary, NC
Tue Jan 7, 2014
Hello Ksaheta! I have built homes in the Cary area. The one that I am currently residing in is 15 years old, and has held up to the test of time, beyond my expectations. I chose hardiplank siding, ceiling height, crawl space vs. slab. 9' ceilings upstairs and down, 30 year roof . . . yes, there is a big difference! HVAC is important in a large home, as well as well-planned utilization of space so that you are not heating and cooling too many unused portions of the home.

It is a great idea to get started by looking at a few homes in your price range, so that you can begin to compare. I am free days/nights/weekends to assist you, and would also be happy to look at homes ahead of time to make sure that it is worth your time. Are you in the area now?

If a search has not been set up for you, I can do so ASAP with your contact info, an e-mail address and a phone number. As you probably know, the market has picked up in this area, so the great homes move very quickly!

I can be reached at 919-801-5966, or michellemeans@gorealty.biz
1 vote
Sunita Singh, Agent, Cary, NC
Tue Jan 21, 2014
Hi Ksaheta,
In this area, we have homes built by Standard Pacific Homes, DR Horton, Lennar, Ryan Homes, KB Homes, M/I Homes, Terramor Homes, Poythress Building Co., John Wieland Homes, Chesapeake Homes, ForeverHome, LLC, Pulte Homes, and the list goes on and on. Most of these builders have been in business for years and years and their reputation precedes them. If they were not building a good product for satisfied customers they would not have survived this long.
You are on the right track by looking at the warranty they offer but I think that is where the comparison ends because all the builders use different types of decorative crown moldings, tray ceilings, fixtures, windows, stairs, doors, etc. etc. depending on the style of the home, the price point and design features, etc. Unless you specifically want a ‘green’ home which would sway you more to a builder like ‘Meritage’ I think the comparison becomes a personal preference. Toll Brothers has won many, many builder of the year awards and I don’t get the fascination but have fallen in love with homes built by Standard Pacific Homes, MI Homes and many other builders instead. My point is: look for a home that meets your criteria and suits your lifestyle, and if it gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling, has a good inspection report, appraises and you can afford it, be happy in it :-)
1 vote
kkkkkkkkk, Home Owner, Seattle, WA
Mon Jan 20, 2014
Reading through the answers placed before mine here are some additional considerations:

Avoid any builder or agent who says a crawl space is better than a concrete slab.

Avoid any lender or broker who suggest or recommends you escrow your taxes or insurance into your mortgage or charges a rate higher than the national average.

Avoid signing any contract to work with one agent right away. Most will try to get you to sign a 6 month agreement or offer a 3 month agreement as if doing you a favor. See some homes with an agent and get an idea of their commitment to you, do they call back right away or two or three days later? and things like this.

Brick siding is not better than any other siding if it is not done correctly, brick or stone veneer needs weeping channels for water shedding, improperly applied brick facing is nothing but a future expense to you.

Be ready to pay very high closing cost and fees for appraisals, inspections, etc... compared to other parts of the country as NC is a very small and limited market so lenders, agents, builders have to make as much on each sale as possible. You will have to pay points and other gimmicks thought up by people too dishonest to work for their money.

Understand that Energy Star Certified means nothing as there is no comparative standard and it is a pretend term employed originally to sell appliances that someone realized could make them more money if they used it to define their houses.

Be very careful of real estate agents here, we have worked with about 15 over the years and 13 of them were useless. You can find out more information on your own through research and getting in your car and driving around.

Before buying a property, talk to other owners in the community or drive them during the day and night and on the weekends to see what they are like.

If you are moving to Cary, find out where the new Publix supermarket is going to be located and try to find something in that area as all other grocery stores in this state are absolutely horrible.

Morrisville (in its entirety) and western cary are all in the direct flight path of RDU airport and any sales disclosure will tell you of this. Use google maps to zoom out and see where a house is before you even waste your time driving by it. Also be aware of the trains here as many houses even in areas some think are prestigious like Preston are VERY close to the train tracks and when you do not want to find this out 10 minutes after signing a contract. Do your homework.
1 vote
Masood Yousaf, Agent, Cary, NC
Tue Jan 14, 2014
Start looking for foreclosed/short sale properties first. Example 123 Fairchild Downs Place Cary, NC 27518 or 316 Malvern Hill Lane Morrisville, NC 27560. As far as the builders in my opinion all the national builder almost same. Tear the sheetrock and you will know. Any help please email me at myrealestatebroker@nc.rr.com
1 vote
Masood Yousaf, Agent, Cary, NC
Tue Jan 7, 2014
I am a independent realtor and usually suggest start looking for foreclose first. I give 50% of my earned commission as long as builder and lender approve. If you need any help please email me myrealestatebroker at nc dot rr dot com

1 vote
My NC Homes…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Tue Jan 7, 2014
You are not going to do this effectively over the Internet, you're going to have to do this in person.
Price per square foot is a poor quality metric, as it assumes all homes are built equally on equal pieces of land, It's only value is a quick down and dirty guide to pricing within a subdivision.

Remember the first three rules of real estate haven't changed, it's still all about location. Many of the items you are wondering about fall into the subjective category,

Better homes generally use better products, Hardi-Plank is one of the best siding materials there is, I've never seen or heard of fiberglass being used on the exterior of a home and I've been in real estate for over 25 years and have built a number of homes. Brick or Stone facing is also an excellent siding material. There's nothing wrong with vinyl some people like it because it's low maintenance, however it costs considerably less than the others.

In our area unless you need a slab to avoid steps into the house I would not recommend them or basements to you because of our soils (clay) which hold water for an extended period of time. In this particular area I recommend crawl spaces to all my buyer clients. Bear in mind this adds several thousand dollars in cost for a builder to a home.

Ceiling heights are a personal preference you're going to find that 9'-10' ceilings are standard for the types of homes your considering in Cary on the first floor 8' on the second. Again builders who give you 9' ceilings on the second have spent more money to do so.

I am extremely familiar with most of the builders working in the area, however I don't want to publicly offer my opinions on them as it's likely I'll find myself doing business with in the future, suffice it to say their not all the same. Feel free to contact me directly through my profile here on Trulia for my thoughts. I specialize in buyer side brokering and will never represent a buyer and seller in a single transaction. If I can be of any assistance feel free to contact me.
1 vote
Rob Marquart, Agent, Cary, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
Hi, and welcome to North Carolina. I have lived in the Cary/ Morrisville are since 1999 where we built our 3rd home in Preston Village with Toll Brothers. We move across the street to Preston because I wanted to live on the golf course. Bought a beautiful Charleston style Sun Star home built in 1995. Your questions are very good and I'd like to answer them as best I can:

+/- $450 Range in Cary/ Morrisville:

Price/Sqft - $120 - $180 depending on location

build quality - Good to Excellent depending on builder

ceiling height - For resale, go for at least 9' ceilings on first floor

Fiber glass vs hardyPlank - Hardy Plank or Fiber Cement are far better than Vinyl. Brick is better

Brick/stone exterior vs Vinyl - Noted above

Slab vs crawl space - CRAWL SPACE!

spacing between houses (10ft vs 30 ft) - A good, clean, family neighborhood with well separated houses will always have a better resale value in my opinion.

lot size - In the $450 range you should be looking at .25 acres or more if in a subdivision with amenities like a pool/ park etc...

I am a Broker at Raleigh's most successful firm Fonville Morisey Realty. If I can help you further please feel free to contact me at rmarquart@fmrealty.com
1 vote
Linda Rohrbo…, Agent, Cary, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
Good questions and smart ones. I tend to think like an investor, and from an investor viewpoint, the lower maintenance materials in construction make a difference in the annual costs of ownership. Plus they help with resale. So brick or stone exterior beats siding of any kind. And resale is a big consideration. One thing not on your list is schools. Even if you don't have kids, schools effect resale and so you'll want to know the ratings of the schools for the homes you're considering. Roofing material is another consideration. Some builders cut costs by putting on cheaper shingles - you want the 30 year ones. If you go to Home Depot and take a look at roofing shingles you can educate yourself so you can tell the good shingles from the street at a glance. Another thing that helps resale is a first floor bedroom and bath. Lots of buyers have relatives visit who cannot do stairs, so having that feature broadens the appeal of the home for resale. There's more, of course, but those are the big ticket items. Let me know if I can be of service. I'd love that.
1 vote
Schools are @ the top of my list. I will try to make a trip to Home Depot. is there a quick way to tell the 30 year roof from the cheaper ones ?
Flag Mon Jan 6, 2014
Michael Newp…, Agent, Chapel Hill, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
You are off to a great start in your criteria that you are comparing. You would want to see if a builder is a national builder, or a local custom builder. You will see a huge difference in the quality and time that they put into the construction of your new home.

You probably will not see any homes that are vinyl siding in the Cary/Morrisville area for this price point, but certainly look to see if they are using the HardiPlank brand, or a generic knockoff.

Another item to look into is if the builder is actually building an Energy Star Certified home, or just using Energy Star products. If they are Energy Star Certified then they will be able to give you the certificate when you close, which is really great for re-sale value.

I have helped a number of clients in the Cary/Morrisville area with new construction homes, so if there is anything else that you would like to know or if I can answer any more questions, please feel free to give me a call at 919-747-1950 or email at michaelnewport@gorealty.biz.
1 vote
Tabitha Whit…, Agent, Willow Springs, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
School systems and a good HOA.
1 vote
Tracy Santro…, Agent, Cary, NC
Mon Aug 4, 2014
I live and work in this area 27519 and 27560. You should also keep in mind that we have planes, trains, and automobiles in the area. Most parts of Morrisville are in the flight path so this is something you should also consider.
0 votes
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Tue Jan 14, 2014
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0 votes
Jim Bartlett, Agent, Cary, NC
Tue Jan 7, 2014
Hi Ksaheta;
The best way is to see the homes and the communities in person and then make determinations on each of their qualities. No two builders are alike and no two sites (subdivisions) are alike. They may have many similarities but are not truely apples to apples. I have lived in Cary 20+ years now and would be honored to assist you and your family with this big decision. Please review the recommendations other clients have written about my service and give me a call to discuss your needs, wants and desires.
Jim Bartlett - Cary Home Seller
919-961-1238 jim@caryhomeseller.com
0 votes
Rob Marquart, Agent, Cary, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
Also, while long term value is a huge consideration, I recommend that you also look for locations you and perhaps your family would be most happy. Sometimes happy is also mixed with drive time to jobs and schools...

Here to help - Rob
0 votes
Matt Peedin, Agent, Cary, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
I'm glad to discuss with you. It's definitely worthy of a conversation. You can reach me at 919-210-8388!

0 votes
Kelley Keats, Agent, Durham, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
Hi! One factor to consider is custom builder vs. production builder - the "standard" trim levels in a custom-built home can be considerably higher (site-finished hardwoods as opposed to the factory-finished, snap together type; crown moulding throughout and other millwork like picture frame moulding in the dining area; and other items like that). Over time, the local custom builders stand by their homes and often provide assistance long after the standard one-year warranty period expires.

If you are not working with a real estate agent already, I would be happy to assist you - I live and work in the West Cary/Morrisville area. Please give me a call!
0 votes
Thanks Kelley!

can you tell me, which National/local builders have the longest warranties ?
I know M/I gives a 30 year warranty..

why is site-finished hardwoods better than factory-finished ?
if I get a scratch or damage to the hardwood, which is easier to fix/replace ?
Flag Mon Jan 6, 2014
Shay Matthews, Agent, Raleigh, NC
Mon Jan 6, 2014
Hi. In this price range I would say neighborhood matters, you are in the Preston area which means it will hold value. Happy to pull some listings in and out of Preston. My email is smatthews@fmrealty.com so send me your email and I will send you the top 5 houses.
0 votes
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