Before New Home Construction
How to Get Started


This page is dedicated to helping you make the right choices to begin your new home construction project.

new home construction before constrcution

HOW DID I GO FROM THIS?...
new home construction after construction
TO THIS?… READ ON!

   
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I would like to start at the beginning. What a novel idea (you say), Right? Well any new home construction project has many alternatives and many different ways to start so, Here We Go!

Your first mission if you should so choose, is to select from one of the five options below. These options are in fact the first and most important decision that we will discuss on this page about New Home Construction.

To put it another way, it would be prudent to take some time and look before you leap. There are a pile of Home Construction programs and services out there but they all fall essentially into one of the five categories below.

I cannot stress enough not to jump on the first fast train to new home construction land. The initial decisions that you make, ie... who is going to help me build my new home, what services am I going to use, what program am I going to join or pay for, will be a marriage for you for the next 6 to 12 months of home construction. And of course, the most important thing that it will be determined is quality and how much it will cost for your new home.

Enough said, on to OPTION NUMBER ONE!


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New Home Construction - Option # 1 -You are the General Contractor
You are the General Contract and you are responsible for every aspect of the home construction process. From finding the property that you will build on, to plan selection, and on to financing, and on and on...

When most people think of new home construction, this is what they envision. Doing it all, and having to know how to do it.

The obvious pluses of this are you don't have to pay you. Right? Wrong! Your time is worth something, so if you are really busy and can be more productive and profitable with other activities, you may want to consider another option for building your own home.

To understand more of the building process, visit our Home Construction Process page and then come back here. It is a general overview of the phases of construction laid out logically. More logic oh boy! Go look and come back here; We need to decide how to get started, Right? See you soon!

New Home Construction Process
I know you went and looked. It seems like a big project but you have to take it on step at a time. So here we go!


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You can't go wrong learning as much as you can about new home construction. Remember you are ultimately in charge because it is your money that is paying for this home construction. You need knowledge of the process to keep everybody honest. You are so nice nobody would take advantage of you. Right? Wrong!

Many people think New Home Construction is very complicated and it is if you try to take it all on yourself. Let me put it another way, if you have a good general idea of the process and have the right skilled people to help you, you can be the General Contractor and do a great job. You will bring more dedication and commitment than anybody else, IT IS YOUR HOUSE.

Long before I started my new home construction project I invested in books to do research. Knowledge is so important for success in any endeavor. This is also true with home construction. So many of us hear about people building their own home and think it is such a complicated process. New Home Construction is like any other major task you have ever learned how to do. You do it one step at a time.

Now would be a good time to go have a look at our Knowledge Center. Look around, you need to prepare to achieve a good end result. A BEAUTIFUL HOME.

Building Knowledge Center

Back already, let's go on to option number 2.


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New Home Construction - Option # 2-The Building Supervisor

You hire a Building Supervisor to build your new home. His responsibilities are scheduling lining up contractors and following the day-to-day home construction.

Finding a good building supervisor for your new home construction can be a little tricky. Let me explain.

The Building Supervisor ideally has been involved in new home construction for many years and has successfully finished many houses. Your first job is to verify this. Get references and follow up. I cannot stress this point enough. Many states do not even require licensing for them.

Let's say you get a reference for a good one and you check out his references. You must take into account his workload. In other words if he or she has 12 new home construction projects going on at the time you are wanting to start your house you need to keep looking. The more houses they have the thinner they are spread and less attention to your project. How many projects is right? That is a judgment call, I think anything over 4 or 5 is spreading it a little thin but many factors play into it. Like, how far are the projects apart, and how big the houses are, and how complicated they are.

I have had friends that used a Building Supervisor with great success. I have also heard some horror stories. Most of these guys or gals have worked for General Contractors and struck out on their own. The difference between them and a General Contractor, or Custom Builder, is you find the land, handle the money and the entire financing etc...

If you find the right one, and there are really good ones out there, they can be a Godsend. They bring knowledge and expertise and resources. They deal with contractors everyday and have a good list of them. This can be good and bad. Let me explain. You ultimately are responsible for the construction of your home legally and financially. If you totally trust you Building Supervisor and he or she brings in a bad contractor that does inferior work or does not finish, you have to make it right. The bank looks to you, not the Supervisor!


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This brings up another point. NEVER, let the Building Supervisor pay your contractors, why? Because if you do and he or she does not pay them properly the contractor can easily place a workman's lien on your property. Is this bad you ask? It is very bad because until it is satisfied you cannot close on your final loan. We will cover this more on the Legal page. If you want to peek now go ahead. Come back here when you finish.

Legal Issues & The Owner Builder
Let me get back to Contractors one more time. ALWAYS, check them out. I do not care if they are recommended and have a hallo, do it for me please. Why do you ask, Don't get me started again, please. Make sure they are Bonded, Insured and have a clean record from the BBB in your area. ASK for REFERENCES and check them out. I know it is a pain and takes so much time but if you don't you could be very sorry. OK, see what you did, I am going again. It is best to let me cool down and you go look at the New Home Construction Contractor page. When you get back I will be ready again. See you soon!

Building Contractor
OK! Now you know all about picking the right contractor for your home construction project and checking their bids and you are the best contractor picker in the West or East. Let's cover the last thing I have to say about Building Supervisors. And that is, drum roll please,

Where do I find one of these guys or gals, and how do I Know I got a good one?


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You can contact a good building supply yard. Not Home Depot or Lowes but a professional Building Supply that home construction contractors use. Call, but better yet, go there, almost always they have a place that these folks can put a card. Ask the people behind the counter, don't be shy they deal with these guys or gals everyday. Ask which one they recommend and go to more than one yard, do some detective work. You can also look on the net at Chamber of Commerce sites for your area, and yes the phone book, but I have never seen one there.

OK, you found two or three. Call them meet them get reference follow up ask them how many projects they have and how many they will take on at a time. If anything seems fishy cut and run. This is a Marriage! This person will be in charge of your New Home Construction Project and quite possibly building your biggest investment.

The bottom line is if you are not absolutely sure, don't do it. You would be far better off building the house yourself than using someone that is not going to give you 100% to the project (I know you would), you are taking the time to research right! Slow down, do your homework, and make the right choice.

Speaking of choices, onward to Option 3. OK, if you want go take a break but come back here. We have a house to build!


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New Home Construction - Option # 3 -The Local Owner Builder Program
You enroll in a local Owner Builder Program. What the heck is that you say? Keep your seat and here we go!

Owner builder programs generally offer services all wrapped up in a neat tidy package for your new home construction. They take you from conception to walking in the front door of your new home. Be the builder, build your own home and save thousands we show you how and all that good stuff. Do I sound sarcastic? I don't mean to. In my search for the right solution to build my home I investigated them all. I visited three local Owner Builder Programs and none of them impressed me.

What did you find out you ask?

Good question! I found they essentially offer the same services all the prices varied some by square footage. Some were based on services rendered. Let me cover the commonalities.

They all offered a general guide to building your own home. It was an abbreviated version that supplied SOME information.

They all offered plans, one group would throw the plans in if you built an exact duplicate of a house that they had already built. Poowee; If I wanted that I would have bought a cookie cutter house! The plans were part of the package in all the programs, I mean you have to have them, right? Of course you could bring your own plans and that was fine. You were given only so many revisions by their draftsman, and then any addition revisions really cost you. A quick note: always ask if you get to directly contact the draftsman. Many of these programs want you to pick a general plan or one from a catalog and then have the draftsman do the revisions you want. If you do not have one on one with the draftsman, you have a mess to deal with. I know this because I have a friend that went this route.


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Another real pain my buddy had was the plans took 4 months to complete. Ever time he would send back a revision it took forever. Meanwhile his new home construction was at a stand still, in fact he had not even started and the owner builder program had charged him their fee already. He was upset!

They all offered sources of financing home construction. Here is the rub, all of them, when I did my search had a two step loan process. What is that you ask? Good Question Again!

You first apply for a new home construction loan and then you draw money from an account to build you house. After you finish your new home construction, you then close on your final, or permanent loan. Why is this process good or bad you ASK? It is bad if you have to pay closing costs twice, it is good if you don't. When I looked, they all had double closing fees at the Owner Builders. They explained it away by saying that you would save so much money it didn't matter. Of course they say you can bring your own financing but they strongly discourage it. In my opinion this is primarily because the banks are offering them points. Don't get me started here.

OK, I want you to go and look at the new home construction loan page. My fingers are tired anyway. Come back soon!

Home Construction Loans
Back so soon? I bet you didn't read it all. Ok, you're a fast reader! Let's get going again.


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So you reviewed all your options on financing and understand a few things now. Let me say it again (if you read the new home construction loan page) Do your homework, check out the loans available. All the loan search pages are free and you need to get 2 or 3 opinions on your financing on your new home construction and mortgage. Ok, for those of you that did not go to the Home Construction Loan page I will give you a couple of links here to find the money you need. It is a good idea to make these companies compete for your loan. The days of the monopoly man looking over the desk and telling you "I don't know about you son" are over they will scramble to make you happy. I know I am repeating myself but, these mortgage search pages may not list new home construction loans but most all of the banks they represent do. So, when they come calling you tell them what you need and they offer products that wrap it all up in one nice loan. There I said it again! Want to know more? Go back to the New Home Construction Loan page and make them Show you the Money!
Now if you did your homework (and I know you did) you can look the Owner Builder guy right in the eye and say you can't fool this one, I got my eye on you. No kidding you can act with confidence when you have done your research and know what is out there. Remember Knowledge is power! With that in mind, we need to move on. Onward it is!

They all offer a contractor list of APPROVED contractors. Whoops! There it is. The approved word means watch out! Do your research, and be careful! If you have been around home building for anytime at all you know the new home construction contractor is a different group. Some of them are excellent, some of them are terrible, and some of them are terribly excellent. Now I know that we have been over this and you have been to the contractor page, but you need to do your research. Please believe me (I know you do)do your homework and check out any contractor that is going to do anything on your home. One word of advice NEVER PAY A CONTRACTOR UNTIL THEY ARE DONE!!!! Now I am not saying that you should not pay them according to a draw schedule. What I am saying is if you don't have enough money to keep them coming back to finish they will disappear. Believe me it is like magic when you give them a check and no more money is to be had they are gone, adios, vapor cloud, outta here, gone! Now you did it again! I am all fired up. For the real skinny on contractors please go to the new home construction contractor page and do your research then report back to class as instructed. See ya...

New Home Construction Building Contractor


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The last and final thing they all offer in varying degrees is advice. You can call or email or fax or whatever a question or complaint about an APPROVED contractor (calm down George). The Program my friend used was OK about getting back in a day or two by e-mail but when it came to a phone call about something urgent, FORGET ABOUT IT.

Oh, I almost forgot, one of the programs offered a weekly inspection by a certified builder. Well being the perceptive chap that I am, don't laugh, I looked around at the place and asked one question. How many certified builders do you have doing inspections? The young lady responded, well there is Mr. X senior and Mr. X Jr., both have been building houses for years and are very qualified. I then asked another question, "Can I meet them at the site and go over the progress"? She responded, " No, Mr. Stevens, they come out at different times and the schedule is not known, in advance". Well later upon reflection I remembered that she told me they had over a hundred houses in the Program at that time and I did the math. Two builders doing inspections at 100 houses per week all over a four county region and they we building houses as General Contractors also. You put a pencil to it! These guys would have to be Clark Kent to make all this work. Even if Super Builder could get to each site what kind of dedication could he offer to my new home construction project?

I don't need to give you all the details on my friends experience, BUT IT WAS NOT A GOOD ONE. When we went back and did a root cause on how He got in all the trouble it was because he did not do his homework and research. I COULD NOT IN GOOD CONSCIENCE TELL YOU THAT I HAVE MUCH RESPECT FOR THESE PROGRAMS. Just be careful and remember people are not always 100% truthful, NO KIDDING.

Time for the broken record response! Do your research on any of these programs. This includes a face to face a list of clients that are now being served and from the past. Make sure you get a big list, not two or three. Please call them and ask hard questions. Again, anything fishy "Run Forest Run".


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New Home Construction - Option # 4 -The National Owner Builder Program
You enroll in a National Owner Builder Program. I am defining a national program as anybody that does business all over the US. Most of these companies have a web presence. OK what have we got here national Owner Builder program what is the difference? Strap on your seat belt! Here we go...

Just take all the information above and add and subtract one or two things. The local or regional Owner Builder programs are going to tell you that they are there if you need them, you know, for consultation or advice; maybe even a weekly builder inspection, UH HUH; Well let's subtract what is fluff and add what is not.

In other words, most of what the local guys tell you about being there is useless, why? Because you can never get them to answer or be responsive. I spent time with my friend when he was building his house and he was not happy about the response time (remember time is money and the interest clock is ticking on the new home construction loan). IN fact at one point his Electrical Contractor did not show up for two weeks and he was trying to get his house electrical finished. He called, and called, and called, and e mailed, and faxed the Owner Builder company and finally he got a response that they could not find the Electrical Contractor. Come to find out he had been in jail and his whole crew disbanded and went to work for other companies. Guess who had to shell out more money for completion, your right! My friend.

OK, let me get back on track. Now we know we can't really count on the local guys for great communication. So how are they different than the National Program. You got me on that one, I see no real advantage. Other than you can drive locally and pick up prints and documents. That is why FedeX is in Business right?


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Now it is time to look at something that is important. Building materials, yes the stuff we construct our new house out of. The local guys have pull with the local building centers and lumber yards. Now I do not have any hard evidence of this but it would seem that this would be the case. At least that is what the Local Owner Builder guys told me and we know they wouldn't stretch the truth, right?

Now we need to look at the National Programs a minute. New Home Construction can become pretty complicated when the Program you are in tells you that you must use a certain supplier in their program. They tell you it is because they get a deep discount. So, what do we do class? When we doubt or need to verify what somebody is telling us? 123 all together! Research! How do we research what the cost is from one supplier to another. We take our plans to at least three Home Construction Building supply houses and ask for a detailed line by line bid. Guess what you do with that, you comparative shop these dudes. Ladies and Gentlemen this is no Wall-mart way here, you need to be able to do this, and if you only have one supplier you have trouble.

If you are going to consider any Owner Builder type program National, Regional, or Local you must be able to bid your materials. It is a very competitive market. Remember, this is your money and you had better get smart quick. Everybody is your friend when the checkbook is full. Get the knowledge you need to succeed, Read, Research and build you new home with confidence.

One last notable difference, at least according to the local Owner Builder guys. They say they have the edge on Local recommended Contractors. Don't get me started again on these guys! What are we going to do? 123 Research! We have the tools to do it. As I have said before, there are national contractor search engines and they are Free! They are good research tools. Even if we have a list of locals from our program we are going to search out other contractors (they are locals also) and compare bids. Again, he who has the knowledge and uses it wins the prize. The prize in new home construction is a beautiful well constructed house all done at the best price. Once again, here is the link to the Contractor page and a link to two contractor search engines.


Building Contractor


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New Home Construction - Option # 5 -The Custom Home Builder
You figure enough of this! You spend the money and hire a Custom Home Builder. Get out your wallet, and guess what? You better know as much as you can about the process so you can make sure you are getting the best home for your money.

Prior to building our house we took our plans to two Custom Home Builders and the unanimous decision in my house was OH MY GOD, IT IS GOING TO COST THAT MUCH. Now mind you, we were shocked. So we had a choice: get less house, or build it ourselves. I think you know what I did.

Let me sum up. New Home Construction is enough of a challenge without involving the wrong people in it. You need to make your own decisions, so do it with the best information that you can. Please follow thru with your dream. Home construction is not that complicated, if you choose the right people to help.

Ok, we now have made up our mind what kind of program or person that is going to help us with our new home construction process. It may be the person in the mirror, and if you ask me, I think you can do it. Our next step is to find the money we need to build. I know you want to nail this thing together! We will get to that: be patient! After the money stuff we will find plans and then land. Of course many of you have the land, or are looking.

This is exciting stuff. Now on to financing your dream!



Onward to Construction Loans!



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