We’ve been asked on several occasions what’s the best way to find the right house plan for our needs? What an excellent question! From our experience and expertise over the last 30+ years we’ve got some key points to help you narrow down what you actually need to focus on for picking a successful house plan and creating that perfect new home build.
Building a new home is a huge commitment that takes time, knowledge, savings and patience. This will most-likely be the largest investment you will ever make so you will want to preplan, take your time and ask the experts. Yes, that last part is critical! Home Builders like us here at Togo Custom Homes, have a proven track record of creating successful new builds and we can definitely help you through the process. This help and consultation will not only make your life easier but it set your mind at ease allowing you to have a great, high-quality new home of your dreams!
This critical stage of planning can be simplified with a few key points. Here’s a few things you should do:
1. Write out your needs, wants and must-haves and then begin to break out the costs.
Don’t forget to consider all the costs that you will incur when building your home:
- Lot purchase including taxes and legal fees
- Lot clearing and site servicing
- Custom house plan designs
- Permits, approvals and inspections
- Utility connections like power, water, sewer, gas and communications
- Foundation, drainage, fill and grading
- Frameworks including floors, walls, roof and sheathing
- Windows, doors, air barrier and cladding
- Plumbing, heating, ventilation, and electrical rough-ins
- Sheetrock, painting and trim
- Cabinets, flooring and decorating
- Final fixtures such as lights, sinks, toilets and taps
- Landscaping, drives, walks, fences and irrigation
- Service costs including insurance, payments, builders’ fees and storage
- Incidentals for unseen issues, cost overruns, delays and damages
2. Get prequalified for a construction and mortgage loan.
By getting prequalified for a construction and mortgage loan you will be so far ahead of the game and you’ll know exactly where you stand. This process can be a slight undertaking, but well worth it. One important point you need to keep your eye on is the interest rates. Interest rates can change in the middle of construction, and that balloon pay-off can be particularly difficult to contend with if construction delays are catastrophic. But if you’ve taken care of the business at hand, you’ll be prepared for any disruptive scenarios that come your way while you build.
Note: Banks offer Construction-To-Permanent Mortgage Loans which are designed to take you from purchasing the lot through completion of construction with one loan. Instead of obtaining separate lot and construction financing, as you approach the end of your construction period, work with your lender to transition from a construction loan to a permanent loan.
3. Lot Location & House Plan Search
Before you start your search for that perfect house plan, search and find the lot you intend to build it on. Find the lot and lock it in for a purchase. Why is this important….well the location of your home is so important…not only for convenience back and forth from work, but on amenities and resell value down the road once you decide to move. Finding the lot is key! The home plan then can be chosen to conform and work with the building site. Your Builder can then rework the plan, if need be to suit the lot you have chosen.
Some house plan sites that can be helpful to you are below for you to checkout. Please note, however Togo Custom Homes can suggest certain plans that we already have in-house that may fit your needs exactly, save time and money, and get your project started immediately. Do keep that in mind.
4. Locate the Right Builder
There are many ways to find the right Home Builder for your area. What you will need to look for is a good track record of years of experience, testimonials, project photos and examples showing that you have found a reputable builder. Here are some tips to help you choose a builder:
- Do a Google Search for your area of possible Builders
- Contact your local Home Builders’ Association to obtain a list of builders. You can find your local HBA at nahb.org/findanhba.
- Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Ask about builders they have dealt with directly, or ask them for names of acquaintances who have recently had a good experience with a builder.
When you have a list of potential builders, it’s time to drill them with important questions such as the following:
- Will the builder give you references of recent buyers/occupants?
- Does the builder have a financing plan established?
- Are there options in the floor plan — for example, can a basement or deck be added?
- Can a room such as the basement be left unfinished?
- How much “customizing” can be done versus standard features?
- Can appliances be up- or down-graded?
- Are there any additional fees relating to the home or development?
- Will there be a home owners’ association? If so, what will the dues cost and what do they cover?
- Does the builder offer a warranty program?
- Does the price include landscaping? What if the plants die within a year?
- Are there any restrictive covenants?
- What are the estimated taxes on the property?
- How is the school system rated?
- Are day care and grocery stores convenient and satisfactory?
- What about emergency facilities — police, fire department and hospitals?
- Do you have a website or a portfolio of your work?
Review their website and get a better understanding of all of the services offered as well as any additional information that can be helpful for you to make your decision. Write down any questions you may have as you do your due diligence.
While talking with the Builders ask for a few different project builds they have done within the last year and do some drive by’s.You may also ask the Builder for phone numbers to Clients that have a similar home structure you are looking for. If you are able to get ahold of them on the phone ask them how the Builder handled the project and would they recommend them. Previous Clients speak volumes because they were once in the same boat you are ready to now begin your journey.
Again, Togo Custom Homes has a full-service Home Building, renovation and addition company that will help you from start to finish with all of the steps above. Contact Us today to learn more about the areas in which we service.