At the request of our readers, we are beginning a 3-part series on the Home-Building process. We always receive a lot of questions about how the process actually works, and we have made contact with some solid resources to bring you some pretty good information that should be incredibly useful to you.
David Spetrino of Plantation Building Corp (in Wilmington, North Carolina), uses a 10-step process that brings buyers from start to finish. The first step involves meeting their potential customer to identify their wants and needs (this is where you describe your custom dream home and the ideal “move in date,”). They need to know, for example, if you enjoy entertaining in your home, if this is a primary home or a vacation home, and if you would you describe your ideal home as formal, casual, or a hybrid of both styles. They will also ask you if you have any “green” requirements (environmentally-friendly)
Next, they will discuss where the home will be located. If you have a lot ("home site") already, that's fine, and if you provide them with the address or community of choice, they will do the research regarding setbacks, zoning, architectural standards, etc. After this, they move on to the professional service agreement, estimate preparation (where they collect bids from their trade contractors and vendors), and ultimately, the construction contract (which involves the construction schedule and your financing). Spetrino makes it a point to note that, "the bank that provides the construction financing may not always be the bank that retains your long term mortgage. You have likely provided your lender with tax returns and related financials. Your bank will want us to supply them with a copy of the construction contract, set of construction drawings, specifications and the budget."
During this process, the General Contractor comes into play, and there are some pointers provided by Arlene Battishill, a licensed general contractor in Los Angeles. Battishill notes that any proposed home site must be zoned for residential use, and you will need an accurate legal description of the parcel, soil testing, and a structural engineer’s review of the architectural plans to determine if any special reinforcement will be required. Once a licensed general contractor (“GC”) is hired, cost estimates can be made, and once acceptable, the architect or general contractor will submit the architectural plans to the local government building department for evaluation. Once all changes are made and the building permit fees are paid, construction can begin.
From this point on, Spetrino's company works out the full details, and then begins construction. They provide, "regular updates, photos, and twice monthly, a ‘cost report’ that tracks budget and schedule." Over the course of construction, sometimes changes need to be done, and these requests go into a written format, officially known as the ‘change order.’ Once the "Big Day" arrives, a thorough "inspection and orientation of your new home" is completed. After one month, they schedule a follow up walk through to make sure that you are completely happy, and they also schedule a one year walk through.
Battishill notes some of the costs of the process, for example, purchasing the land, the fees paid to all of the required consultants, fees to the local government and then the cost of construction. She notes that financing should be obtained well in advance of construction, and to assume that you will need 25-50% more money than the budget calls for to ensure successful completion, as cost tends to overrun in the construction of new homes.
Please join us on Friday for part two in this series, where we have some additional pointers and points of view from a Property Manager and an Interior Designer.
Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !