Building Your Home
If you want to build your new home, there are things you need to know before you start. Learn about construction standards and about buying land, so you know your rights.
Buying Lots from Developers
Most developers sell their lots through Real Estate agents. This will provide you with a level of protection and also give you the opportunity to use an agent to represent you during the offer and purchase process.
- Learn and know your rights as a buyer
- Learn something about the developer
- Know the facts about the development and the lot you want to buy
- Stay in control when you encounter high pressure sales tactics
- Information on local ordinances, health regulations, etc.
- Get information about the land, such as title policy & copies of deed and mortgages
- Information about utilities, water and plans for sewage disposal
- Development plans including information on roads, streets, and recreational facilities
Check on existing property for sale in local area and use this as a yard stick to decide how much you should spend on land and building compared to existing properties. Be an informed buyer and research your project before committing any money.
- Existence of mortgages or liens on the property
- Whether contract payments are placed in escrow
- Availability of sewer and water service or septic tanks and wells
- Present and proposed utility services and charges
- The type of title the buyer may receive and when it should be received
Read the Property Report Before Signing Anything
This report is prepared and issued by the developer of the subdivision. Federal law may require that you receive this report prior to signing a contract or agreement to buy or lease a lot in this subdivision.
Know the Developer
Knowing your rights under the law is the first step in making a sensible land purchase. To exercise those rights you also must know something about the honesty and reliability of the developer who offers the land that interests you. Make it your business to find out all you can about the company and the property. In addition, get any oral promises or representations in writing.
Don’t count on anybody to do their job right!
Just because an architect has a nice office and a good reputation doesn’t mean the drawings will be done properly. Just because the contractor comes highly recommended doesn’t mean he won’t rip you off and do shoddy work on your future home. In all my experience I’ve never run across a group of more shady characters than contractors and sub-contractors. You must stay on top of the entire home building project if you want to keep from losing all your money and end up getting a house that you hate.
Plan Your Home Building Project Up Front
Contractors love nothing more than a home builder who isn’t sure what he wants, and decides to fill in the details as the house is being built. Why? Because once the contractor has the job, he can charge you anything for changes that weren’t in the contract. My contractor wanted to charge me $10,000 to add a small staircase to a room. I found a sub-contractor to do it for $1800. My contractor wanted to charge me $15,000 to add a fireplace to a den. When I asked how much he would discount the price to NOT build a fireplace in the living room, he said he would discount $1500 from the price. Trust me, when you make changes you’re going to get ripped off.
The above segment was from an English homeowner who had never built a house before and describes some of the consequences that can be encountered when venturing into building your own home.