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2011 - Volume 1 Issue 2
Casas Bonitas
New Home Construction
Article: Bob Skolnick
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The purchase of a new home is a very large financial commitment, whether your new home is designed and built with your insight or purchased new and completed from a custom homebuilder. The individual who is selected as your custom homebuilder will play an enormous role in building your new home with expertise, knowledge and caring. If you choose the right builder and monitor the process, the outcome is likely to be very pleasing and a good investment. Here are a few helpful tips in selecting your custom homebuilder:

    During the building process
your custom homebuilder
will rely on you to make
final decisions in many
areas from the floor plan
to appliances, bathroom
fixtures, cabinet hardware
and much more. Do your
homework in advance.
This will ensure the building
process will flow smoothly
and not get delayed while
key decisions are
[1] Experience - Ask your candidates how they got started in the custom home building business and how many years they have been working as the primary builder / general contractor on new home construction.

[2] Industry Affiliations - Ask if they belong to the National Association of Home Builders local chapter and what continuing education they have participated in over the last several years. Technology is changing the way we build. Your custom homebuilder needs to be aware of the latest code requirements and new approaches to building, especially in the areas of energy efficiency.

[3] Licensed, Bonded & Insured - If they build in a state that requires licensing, ask for a copy of their license number. If you select them, expect to see evidence of liability insurance and bonding. This is essential to ensure you and your investment are protected.

[4] Better Business Bureau - Contact the local and regional Better Business Bureau and determine if there have been any claims filed against them.

[5] References - Ask for at least three references of people who have purchased a home from them in the last several years. Contact those homeowners and ask if the building experience was as expected and the house workmanship was as expected.

[6] Warranty - Define what they will warrant in the short term and in the long term. Always get the warranty in writing before committing to them to start your home.

[7] Planning & Design Procedure - Ask how the design process will flow. Determine who will be doing the drafting of the plans to ensure the plans will be accepted by the local municipality development office.

[8] Cost Estimating - Ask how the costs of each element of your home will be determined and insist that the initial approved plans have a defined cost. Have your agreement define that all changes in cost be presented in writing and first approved by you before implementation.

[9] In Progress Communications - Ask what progress reports you will receive, how and when. Ask to be informed when all benchmark inspections have been scheduled and conducted.

[10] Job Site Supervision - Ask who will be supervising the day-to-day work and interfacing with the sub contractors. If not the builder, then identify the foreman and ask about his or her experience and expertise.

[11] Sub Contractors - Ask how sub contractors are selected and communicated with. Determine who will pay the sub contractors and the schedule of payments. Ensure that all sub contractors carry liability and workers compensation insurance. Make sure there is a written agreement with all sub contractors and you are held harmless for on-the-job injuries.

[12] Energy Efficiency Knowledge - Have a thorough conversation with your custom homebuilder candidates on energy efficient home building. Knowledge of Energy Star rating systems and the building of a tight and energy efficient home will save you a lot of money over time on the operating cost of the home.

[13] Community Covenants - Ask the builder if he or she has built in this community before and make sure they are aware of all covenant requirements that relate to construction, exteriors and set backs. Most developers require that your new home plans are reviewed and approved by their staff prior to you beginning construction. ///
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