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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Building a Home

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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Building a HomeMany buyers are excited by the thought of building a new home, with so many ways to customize and make it their own–and everything brand new! All of those choices, however, come with a degree of stress and anxiety. If you’re considering a new-build you undoubtedly have many questions, ranging from specs and available selections to floor plans and finance options. Understandably, you want to know the specifics of the construction process from start to finish, including the home’s warranty program. Hiring the right home builder–one who answers those questions to your satisfaction–will quell anxiety and instill the confidence you need to move forward.

1. Is building a home more expensive than buying an existing home?

The current housing market is short on supply and high on demand, which means the homes that are for sale are commanding a premium price. Because of this, building a home has become a cost-effective option for many home buyers, particularly when comparing the price of a brand new home with builder’s warranties with the costs of maintaining and updating an older home.

2. How long does it take to build a new home?

In a perfect world, a new home could be be built start-to-finish in six to eight months. Realistically, it’s more of a seven to nine month process, provided there are no major delays. Building a home involves so much more than just hammers and nails. It begins with designing the home and drawing the plans, a process which typically takes four to six weeks. Once plans are finalized, the builder obtains bids from subcontractors and secures permits, which can take another three to six weeks. Finally, construction begins. The real wild card, however–and something entirely out of the builder’s control–is weather, which of course will vary depending upon the time of year and the climate in which the home is built.

3. How much does it cost?

The cost to build a new home is based on many factors, some of which are in the buyers’ hands and others not. The base price will vary depending upon whether the home to be built is a tract model, or a semi-custom or fully-custom home. Location plays a part in pricing, as can permitting, lot purchase, site development, and financing. Choice of materials used, fixtures and finishes, appliances, and design features all impact to the overall cost.

4. How do we find a good location and lot?

If you already own a lot, choose a builder who knows how to best maximize its advantages and minimize any disadvantages. If you are still searching for the ideal lot, bringing the builder on-board early is a smart plan. An experienced builder who knows what you have in mind can identify the lots that will work best and which ones won’t work at all. While most buyers think only of views and backyards, the seasoned builder spots both the treasures and pitfalls of a particular site in terms of characteristics such as the slope, the shape, and the orientation.

5. Do we have to choose from a limited library of floor plans?

Each builder handles plan selection differently. If you intend to build a home in an established subdivision you may be limited to a designated number of floor plans unique to that subdivision. Each plan, however, will typically offer three different front elevation options so that houses on the same street don’t look identical. Some builders start with a basic plan template but allow for custom changes. This is an appealing option for buyers who want personal touches in their home but don’t want the expense and responsibility of designing the entire home. Some builders provide an in-house draftsman who can create a completely custom floor plan, and some builders offer all of the above. When searching for the right builder for your home, be sure to determine which of these options will be available to you as the buyer.

6. How does the financing work?

Some tract home-builders require their buyers to use a designated mortgage company. Others (like Sheffield) allow you to choose your own financing, but do have preferred partner relationships that help you get the best terms, as well as construction-to-permanent loans that lock-in interest rates during the construction. Do your homework up-front to ensure that you make the best financing decision for your given situation.

7. How do we work together during the construction phase and what if we make a change in the middle of the project?

The most successful new-build projects start with an established structure of communication between builder and buyer, and thorough up-front planning to discuss design and technical issues. With a communication system in place, you and your builder will be able to address in a timely manner any issues that may arise throughout the construction process. Because changes can add cost and/or cause delays, having a system in place to discuss, agree upon, and institute any changes will help the work continue as smoothly as possible. Defining decision deadlines up-front, and knowing when it’s too late to make changes will lessen frustration for both builder and buyer.

8. How are problems handled?

Again, communication is key. Establishing a solid and trusted relationship with your builder prevents problems from escalating.

9. What items are covered in your home’s warranty?

Building a new home comes with the satisfaction in knowing that everything is new and comes with a warranty. New-home warranties, however, are not universally alike; take time before you build to understand what is and is not covered by your builder’s warranty. For instance, typically appliances are covered under manufacturers’ warranties, while items such as heating, plumbing, and electrical systems fall under the builder’s warranty. Ask questions:  is labor covered and, if so, to what extent? Is replacement covered for something that cannot be fixed? Which items are expressly not covered? What is and is not covered under the home’s structural warranty? Knowing the answers to these questions up-front goes a long way in establishing and maintaining your peace of mind.

10. How is Sheffield Homes different from other builders?

Sheffield Homes takes pride in combining thoughtful design and unique features to create homes that are energy-efficient, comfortable, and safe–with a strong commitment to making the home-building experience as pleasant as possible for our customers. We understand the Colorado market, as we have worked exclusively here for nearly forty years.

Whether you’re in the market for a starter home or are ready to build the home of your dreams, Sheffield’s process allows you to make custom choices to personalize your home, beginning in the early stages of construction. Our Design Center provides the opportunity to see and touch the finishes that will go into your home, and our design team is committed to work with you to translate your visualization into reality.

Sheffield is committed to building quality homes with integrity and attention to detail. We’re a small but well-established company with deep Colorado roots and a one-on-one approach to dealing with our clients.

Ready to take the first step toward building your dream home? Contact Sheffield Homes today to schedule a free consultation in the Denver metro area and northern Colorado.

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6777 Wadsworth Blvd
Arvada, CO 80003

303-420-0056

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