New Construction Questions And Considerations

Dated: 10/25/2017

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If you’ve read through both Parts of the Ins and Outs of Building a New Home, you may still have a laundry list of questions. One topic we often cover with homebuyers dealing with new construction is how to choose a builder. After all, this handful of workers is in charge of building the home of your dreams. So what should you consider when making this decision?

Can you speak with recent buyers the builder has dealt with, or tour some homes they recently built?

Does the builder have a financing plan established?

Are there options or wiggle room in the floor plan — for example, can a basement, deck or bonus room be added?

To save on costs, can a room such as the basement be left unfinished?

How much customizing can be done vs. standard features?

Can you up- or down-grade appliances?

Does the home or development have any additional fees?

Will there be an HOA? If so, what is the cost and what do they cover?

Does the builder offer a warranty program?

Does the price include landscaping? If so, what if the plants die shortly after move-in?

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?

How about emergency facilities — police, fire department and hospitals?

Are there any major development plans for the area in the next five years?


Once you’ve confidently selected a builder you deem reputable and competent, the next step is determining what plot of land to construct your home. Here are some points to consider when selecting a lot in your future subdivision:

Is your lot in close proximity to the entrance of the subdivision/neighborhood? You could possibly have more traffic and noise, how is the builder handling that? On the flipside, this location would allow for quick entrance and exit.

Where are setbacks and easements on the lot if it is in a cul-de-sac? Backyards in Cul-de-Sacs are generally larger and provide more space to enjoy but could have limited space for front yards and parking.

Corner lots have two sidewalks - needing to be cleared of snow in the winter – and two adjacent streets. Generally, corner lots come with larger lot sizes and allow for a side loaded garage.

Homes sitting at a T-intersection or facing an incoming street usually have to deal with headlights from oncoming traffic.

Get an idea of the footprint your home will have on the lot by learning the dimensions of the home. How does it fit? Do you like it? What was the builder’s idea of placing it?

What physical condition is the lot in? Is it flat and grassy; are there large rocks/lots of trees? If there are added elements requiring the builder to remove before construction, this might incur an extra developing cost. Are there issues with expanding soils? Was a soil test done - is it satisfactory? Are there embankments, outcroppings?

What are the easements on this property? These easements are generally for utilities (but are there others?) Where are they located? Do they run alongside the lot or through the lot?

EXPOSURE:

  • Southern exposure - large windows facing south will let you take advantage of the warm sun in the winter time, but will potentially heat up the home in the hot summer days

  • Eastern exposure - any parts of the home oriented to the east will benefit from the morning sun

  • Western exposure - any parts of the home facing west will take advantage of the afternoon sun. Western and southern exposures might make decks and patios very hot in the summer time.

  • Northern exposure - In the winter snow and ice on driveway, walkway, patio will not melt as quickly as if you have some southern and/or western exposure.

What is the topography of the lot? A gentle sloping is great for a walk out basement, while a steeper slope might leave you only little usable backyard space. Does it drop down or go up a sharp hill? Is there a steep bank in the back or a drop off when grading is complete?

What are the overall characteristics of your lot? How close are your neighbors? What will go beside and behind you? What are your views like? If there are any, where will the utility boxes go, are you OK with their placement?


As you can see, building a new home is anything but simple. However, once you do all of the upfront legwork and set eyes on the home of your dreams, everything will be worth it.

Donna Johnston

Donna’s top priority is providing you with quality service. To accomplish this, she’ll listen to your needs and wants, presenting you with properties that match your criteria. Donna, who is very p....

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