Finding the Ideal Home Builder – 5 Tips for Success

As the real estate market cools, individuals and families considering buying a new home must evaluate many factors. Every search of homes for sale has common elements: location, proximity to good schools and employment, area attractions and distance to family and friends. Some evaluating the market may wish for an older home while others who want to buy a new house prefer the modern amenities common to most new homes offered by various new home builders.

It is a buyer’s market and every new home builder is competing for a shrinking pool of customers. Every home buyer is unique yet each will come across dozens of names when researching the homebuilder industry. The competition is fierce and home builders are outdoing each other with incentives and freebies all designed to bring new home buyers into the sales office. The potential new home buyer is advised to look underneath the noisy sales pitches and marketing efforts and evaluate new home builders based on competence, relevance to individual needs and reputation.

This article will offer 5 tips for success for finding the ideal home builder.

1. Solicit Referrals from Family and Friends
Your friends and family know you best. If they have bought a new home from a homebuilder, ask them how they found the home builder and who they recommend (and indeed, who they would avoid). If you have been inside their home, ask yourself if you like it and ask them if they are having problems. Remember, a referral from friends and family is more valuable than one from a stranger – or a marketing pitch.

2. Research Area Home Builders
87% of future home buyers begin their search online for the simple reason that, because a new home purchase is the biggest purchase of a lifetime, it is best to know your options. But there are a lot of new home builders out there. In busy markets like North Carolina, there are literally dozens all competing for business. Visit their websites. If they invest in a good website with valuable information, it shows they care about demonstrating professionalism and integrity. If they speak to your needs (upmarket, first time home buyer, large family, etc.), it suggests they have worked with people like you. If a website is all glitz and little substance, do not call. If the site has valuable information, interactive floor plans, new house plans, sample photos and the functionality to print plans and brochures, this demonstrates competence. So if you like the site – and like the information it contains – sign up for information. You may be given special promotions and will be the first to hear of new offerings.

3. Research the Experience of Previous Customers
It is extremely unlikely that you will be the first person to buy a home from a prospective homebuilder. Because the internet offers such a diversity of voices and opinions, if you do not know anyone who has worked with a considered homebuilder before, see what the online community has to say about the home builder. Some homebuilders have inspired such contempt that websites exist to showcase reasons to avoid them while others have created incredible loyalty. A little research may save you hours of pain and thousands of dollars.

4. Tour Model Homes and Ask Questions
When a home builder unveils a community of new homes for sale, there will be a model home open for public tours. Take one. Some “tip of the iceberg” questions to ask include: How often will access to the new home be given during building; Are there any fees required that need to be paid upon closing; How many times has a given plan been built; Is there a premium on the home site; What will be built on adjoining properties; What are area zoning laws; and How is code-compliance guaranteed?

5. Read the Paperwork
The new home purchase is a major decision so take the time to read all documents thoroughly. If something is unclear, ask questions. Everybody says “read the fine print” but in this case, perhaps more than any other, this is crucial.

* You may republish this article provided you retain the active hyperlinks below. Copyright 2006, Robert O’Shaughnessy.

* Written on behalf of New Home Builder Orleans Homes

House Plans in 3D – A Market Strategy For Home Builders and Residential Developers

With the economy still forecast to be gloomy and an uncertain road ahead, many residential developments and their builders have put the brakes on new construction projects. For builders and developers in the speculative home building market the strategies for earning a living from what they do best and remaining solvent while doing so are limited and challenging.

Many have resorted to building smaller homes using value engineered construction plans, emphasizing quality not quantity. Much more effort has gone into making a home energy-efficient and utilizing the latest green technologies available today. Also, more affordable homes are being built using less expensive, more standardized materials.

Builders have sharpened their pencils to shrink profit margins, incorporated more productive methods to reduce operating costs and upgraded to the latest technologies to streamline project efficiency. Some have even regrouped, combining resources and developing partnerships with others in their field.

But cost saving tactics can only go so far, especially with bank financing for builders and developers remaining problematic. Creative, private financing has been the alternative for some, however, that is not without its own drawbacks. High interest rates and larger upfront contributing costs required of builders and developers can significantly eat into profit margins.

Many home building companies realizing that future success will depend not only on fresh business practices and sleeker operational models that continually produce less expensive, noticeably better homes are now innovating; stressing more creative approaches to buyer’s needs. The option of marketing their speculative homes via 3D virtual house plans is fast becoming the preferred innovative sales tool.

Today’s buyers want things their way. And they expect a say in what they get. For example, many are more interested in practical and reasonably attractive function than simply fancy form. Small efficient floor plans with flexible space are more relevant than grandiose entrances with huge staircases. Instead of guessing what to build and hoping they will come, listen to prospective homeowners, and give them a chance to personalize each project.

That is why many open-minded builders, thinking outside the box, have been pre-selling semi-customized versions of model homes, through computer modeling of 3D house plans. By providing several base floor plans with full computer generated 3D color views of both the interior and exterior of the proposed new home plan, builders and developers are able to market their projects with the least amount of upfront costs and preparations.

This relatively inexpensive, cost-effective market strategy is a win-win situation worth considering. Builders don’t have to spend a dime in advance on home construction materials or labor costs without knowing the end results. Their sales team and physical presence can be significantly reduced – think virtual office. Actual site visits to model homes would not be encumbered by bad weather or scheduling hassles. Virtual tours would be available on the company website featuring all 3D imagery of the home plans and accompanied by detailed lot information, pricing options and customizations or upgrades.

For a buyer, who can now “shop” from the convenience of his or her home, an initial “walk-through” doesn’t waste either party’s time. With virtual 3D modeling of floor plans future homeowners can see what the proposed residence will look like and get a good impression of spatial relationships within the layout. They can view color options and material choices with respect to exterior siding, trim details and interior finishes.

Buyers still crave customized spaces that look and feel more like unique personal expressions. Starting from the pre-designed computer generated floor plans; buyers would be able to interact with pre-packaged upgrades, color and material choices and other customizable options. All material and finish details such as lighting, fixtures, hardware, appliances, flooring, paint color and exterior siding can then easily be selected and pre-priced. Contracts could be finalized with the least amount of effort.

The marketing strategy of pre-selling new home construction with 3D house plans is an effective method not only for large developments but is especially beneficial for small builders with very little capital and no sales team. A number of our small builder clients with one or two building lots in their inventory have chosen to pre-sell with 3D house plans rather than start risky construction projects on speculation. The money invested in architectural design work pales in comparison to the financing of building construction. And the peace of mind gained from knowing that the project is paid for works wonders on reducing job stress.

Marketing speculative home construction through pre-designed customizable house plans and computer generated 3D modeling is fast becoming the new norm. We have seen this trend both locally and nationwide where future homeowners have a say in the design and construction of their new home and builders have found a new niche for maintaining a profitable business.

Finding a Quality Custom Home Builder

One of the life’s most difficult things is to make a home out of a building! You may not have given a thought to this but a building really needs to become a home before anything else. You may have minimum furniture, but the way you nurture the place makes it your home. Considering the fact that each of us wants to have a beautiful place to live in, you need to find a really good custom home builder. The main problem is that it is easier said than done. Most of the builders do a good job, but then there is a difference between a good and a great job, isn’t it?

Before starting out on the hunt to find the best in business, you can prepare a checklist based on the following pre-requisites that you should find in a quality custom home builder.

• Search Local: Since of late, many companies and self-made builders have come into the scene of home building; you need to really research the market before assigning the work to some group. The internet is a really good place to start your search for local but good home builders. Only after a thorough search if you aren’t convinced about the quality of work that one may provide, you can look for others solutions from a different state or even a city.

• Brand Value and Credentials: The market is immensely competitive when it comes to home building. If you have too many choices at hand, the best thing to do would be to start eliminating the companies who are into this building business. You can also create a self-made marking scale where you can mark the company consulted on points such as cost, time to be taken for completion, labor workforce, brand value, market reputation and as such. It is often the case that we go in for a branded construction company even if they charge a tad higher. The reason is in the statement itself – brand!

However, sometimes new-comers also do pretty good jobs at building a quality home. You have to be on the lookout though!

• Cost Counting: The main factor which sometimes turns a bottle neck is finance. If you have limited funds to spend on building a home or even more than what is required, be open to the company about everything. In all probability, they will be able to guide you the best regarding the work, schedule, labors required and everything that may be required. The idea here is to pre-plan everything in advance and especially when it comes to money, one should be very clear with all the paper work and similar stuff.

Increased competition only means competitive market rates and that translates to a happier you!

• Awarding the Contract: Last but not the least, it is completely your decision whether to award the company with the contract to build you home your not. It is your discretion too! Only when you are fully convinced about their competence, award the job otherwise don’t!