Washington Home Builder
Serving the Greater Pacific Northwest
Tri-Cities: (509) 783-1411 Tacoma: (253) 272-5300 Spokane: (509) 255-3939

Planning Ahead

Posted in: How It Works

EXTERIOR MATERIALS AND SPECIFICATIONS

Are you considering building a new home? If so, there are certain facts that you need to consider. First and foremost what we want our clients to understand is that construction is like having a baby. It can be joyous from the day you find out that you are actually going to build a new home, to being overjoyed with progress that you will see happening on your home, to just wanting to get it done. There are all the emotions in between, and then jubilation as the home is finished and you are moving in. Just as with starting a family, we encourage you to think serious about the ordering of a home. Planning is essential to success. Here are a few of the things to think about.

  • What can I ultimately afford? This is best discussed with one of our approved lenders as they will ascertain from your earning and debt ratios. Note: Did you know that if your appraised value is high enough and your construction cost are low enough, you may be able to “wrap” some of your existing debt into the permanent take out loan. Eliminating a large payment of a visa or car payment may give you a larger amount of monthly payment you can use towards the purchase of a home.
  • Is location more important than the size of a home? Often clients are happier purchasing a parcel of land that is in a better location and then buying a smaller home to stay within their budget. Which type are you?
  • What are your time frames? 4 months, 6 months, 1 year?
  • How developed is the land in question? Will it take time to develop it for construction? Does it have power, sewer, or septic installed or do you have a septic design already. Is there water at the site or will you have to drill a well or have local water brought to your property? We are here to help if you need assistance.
  • Which options will you order? Some options increase the value of your home while others are considered “lifestyle choices”. Remember that banks do a pre-construction appraisal before construction begins to determine the value of the proposed project. If the buyer puts too many “lifestyle choice” options on the home, this may have a detrimental effect on the appraisal of the home and may require that you put money into the project or change either your home or your options. This can cause frustration on the part of all parties. Our knowledgeable sales staff can assist you to determine if the options you want will help or hinder your appraisal. Our upcoming website will feature those upgrades – We have broken them into “Helps with Value” or Lifestyle Choice”. Look for it soon.
  • Is your lot level or sloped? Sloped lots cost more in construction for concrete, pony walls, glue lams and or beam and post construction. Sometimes up to $30,000. I encourage people to solicit a knowledgeable realtor for land purchasing. Not all realtors understand land. It is best to call the agency, talk with the broker and ask him or her who is the best suited in their office to handle your land purchase. This is an area that family contact or a friend in the business must be set aside if the person is not qualified.
  • Do you have unreal expectations? If you expect to have a home done in two or three months, I can say with some certainty that this is an unreal expectation. Framers, plumbers, roofers, electricians, and others typically have several homes that they are servicing at any one time. As a result, your home will be put on a schedule that we hope will be constructed from the day the footings are poured until you’re handed the keys, to be about 150 days. Although, be aware that “owner items” or things that you are going to be responsible for, must also be accomplished within certain time frames. This is the reason that our contracts says “about” 150 days. However, if you get you items done sooner than we allot, say we give you 15 days to do your exterior painting if you elect to go with Hardie Plank siding package in two days that does not mean that we will shorten our schedule. Your home is scheduled from the day we pour the foundation base upon certain criteria that we feel the average home owner can accomplish in a given time. If we can get to it sooner, we will. Be aware that there are others having their home constructed also and all must wait their turn.
  • Will you be out of town or out of state during construction? If so, we would encourage you strongly putting off the ordering of your home until you will be in the general area of the project. Why? Certain items must be performed by the purchaser, someone hired or assigned. Some companies don’t mind telling you not to worry about it and order the home. However, it is our experience that this attitude puts the company a head of the client and will ultimately harm you in the future.

If you have any other question, please contact us and consult with a knowledgeable sales member. I hope that this helps you to appreciate what is involved with the planning stages.

Do you need your home NOW!?

If you have done your due diligence, have studied the floor plans, know your options, then please feel free to come by and order your home. The process will likely take less than an hour. A word of caution: Please have a lender chosen before you order.

Why does True Built Home have selected lenders?

This question is perhaps one of the other most asked questions from potential clients. Here is the reason:
Lenders have a process of approving of a builder. It is a lengthy one. Here are but a few of the things they may have us do. Someone has to take the time to fill it out all the forms, produce profit and loss statements, bio’s of owner or owners and quarterly statements. They often will pull credit of it owners and or corporation. All of this is an inefficient means to operate a volume building company. What we have done is to narrow down the banks or mortgage companies we feel are best suited for our clients and program and have already been pre-approved. Some have felt that banks are giving “kick backs” to the builder. This is simply not true and is illegal. Sometimes the banker or mortgage company may pay for some co-op advertisement with the expectation of referring clients – but that is all. There has been so much illegal activity with some in the lending business, that it is simply a case of maintaining a standard of integrity that we hope protects you the borrower and us the builder.

In my experience, and I have assisted thousands of purchasers through the lending process. If our approved lenders can not do the project, it is highly unlikely that anybody else can. They are just as motivated as any other lender with one enormous difference. They answer to True Built Home if clients are not treated fairly and timely. We can just take them off our list. Here is what I have seen happen time and time again. Some builders will charge you a fee to use your lender. This in essence is paying for the aforementioned items that will have to be accomplished by the builder. Client gets the okay to purchase or order the home. Client puts $1,700 to $2,200 down to lock in the price; another $1,500 to $2,000 for the lender fee, bringing the total to approximately $4,000. I have seen time and time again that the lender ultimately could not do the project and now the client is out all that money because it is non-refundable. Our aim is you first. When a builder will allow you to use another lender and charges you a fee, are you really first? How much money are some builders making off of “lender fee”?

Can you customize our product?

The word customize comes with a certain cost adjustments. Customize homes can start at $100 per sq. foot and up. Often, if not always, a customized home may take longer to build often exceeding nine months to over a year. Our clients are conscientious about cost overruns and delays. Having worked for others that promise short build times while offering customizable changes are just not being realistic. At True Built Home, we are convinced that changing stock plans, having them engineered, getting them to the client, passing city and county requirements and then getting everyone on board with those changes is simple impossible. It may work once in a while, but consistently, we consider the challenges so over whelming as to avoid it like the plague. Many home buyers will openly admit only after problems have occurred that it sounded too good to be true. If it worked so well, why haven’t the other larger on your lot builders adopted the practice? Time and time again I witnessed homes that the owner paid to have changed, sent to engineering for three to seven weeks and then submitted to a county or city only to be disapproved. Guess who has to pay to have it re-engineered? Correct, you. Following is one scenario that I have seen in the field before:

A client wants 42’’ cabinets in the master bath. Standard cabinets are 36’’. Sales person orders them, adds it to the home change order. Sales person not trained to change plan cad operator, shows 42’’ cabinets on blueprints. Cabinet people send out cabinets, but no one informed the electrician. Sometime the cabinets are wrong too, because the plan changer never made that clear on the blueprints. Plug outlets are too low, you know the ones you plug your hair dryer into or electric toothbrush. Trim carpenters shows up and starts to set cabinets. Has to end his day when he discovers that the outlets are to low. A delay occurs and it might be several days before electrician can make it back out. Delays occur; client is paying interest on loan. Electrician makes changes. Trim carpenters fit it back into his schedule which may take several days because he has several homes he is doing. Because the electrician has made a change, the electrical inspector may require a re-inspection. This will cost additional money. Not much, but it adds up. Sometimes it is passed along to the electrician or home owner. Next the mirror and wire shelving people show up. Nobody informed them of the taller cabinets and guess what? The mirror is too big and can’t be used in the master bath. Wire shelving contractor can’t finish his job and has to stop work, order new mirror, wait a few days for it to be delivered and then get back out to the home which may take a few more days. Then you have sheet rockers, carpet and vinyl installers and you have to do the painting, so all of that gets delayed. All the while the interest on the home is ticking daily. This may have been but one change on a home that in turned caused several changes. This is but one. Worse is when the foundation never got changed correctly, or the trusses! Volume is great for maintaining a price point for the buyer. It has not worked with the changing of plans. Be caution, very, very cautious about ordering a home with changes. You are simply much better off ordering a home from without changes.

How long will it take to build my True Built Home?

We expect about 150 days or sooner.

The joys of building a True Built Home

One of the greatest rewards that I have enjoyed over the years is to see large families get big homes when they otherwise could not. My father was in the military for 20 years and we moved about every three to five years. I was in three high schools before I graduated! I had three sisters and they all wanted their own room. Having the privilege to build large homes for families or affordable homes for the baby boomers that are coming up on retirement is exciting and rewarding.

Thank you for your interest in volume home building and True Built Home.
Best regards,
Lewis D. Mann