Post details: Walk Through the Building Process - Part 2

02/23/05

Permalink 01:01:04 pm, Categories: Articles, 499 words   English (US)

Walk Through the Building Process - Part 2


Picking a Plan

Stock blueprints can save you weeks or months of preparation and save thousands of dollars over hiring an architect or designer to design a home from scratch. But purchasing a set of plans is only the beginning of your preconstruction process. Once the plans arrive, take them to your local government building department to make sure they meet local codes. If you want to make minor changes to the design, such as moving the location of nonstructural interior walls or adding bump-outs on exterior walls, your builder should be able to help you. More involved changes, however, may require the expertise of a professional building designer, architect, or engineer. Even if you find a plan that you feel is perfect for you, it's still a good idea to have the blueprints examined by a pro who can point out the design's merits and possible drawbacks as they relate to your site, climate, and local building codes. Remember, if you make many alterations to a stock home plan, you might rack up design fees close to the cost of having a custom home designed especially for you by an architect or designer. Discuss fees up front. Architects generally charge a flat fee or an hourly rate for counseling and making alterations to a plan. Modification services offered by home plan providers usually charge on a per-item basis.

Finding a Builder Finding a Builder

You've found your perfect home plan, and you're eager to start building. But this is no time to be in a hurry. Choosing a builder is one of the most important decisions you will make. It's a good idea to get bids from at least two or three different builders. Pick those builders carefully. Ask friends, family members, construction trades workers, and others in your community for recommendations. Watch the real estate section of your newspaper for names that come

up again and again in a positive light. Look for signs in front of new homes listing the builder's name, or go to your county assessor's office to determine who built a recently finished house that you admire.

After compiling a list of builders, call your local home builders association to determine if they are members. Although membership does not guarantee the builder's abilities, it's an indication that the builder is reputable.

The next step is to meet with the builders you are considering hiring. If a builder does not want to meet with you directly, go somewhere else. Make sure the builder has experience in the size, style, and price range of home you are planning. Ask for a list of all houses the builder has built within the past few years, and contact the owners to ask about their experience. Visit current building sites to see if they are clean and well-organized. If a builder clears these hurdles, is genuinely interested in your business, and makes you feel comfortable, you're ready to make a commitment.

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