Home Builder Secrets

Home Builder Secrets

Home Builder Secrets

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Every industry has secrets and building is no different.  So what are the biggest secrets that a home builder might not be telling you?

1. Upgrades

There is no such thing as an “upgrade” on a custom home.  An upgrade is moving up from a standard, and nothing in a custom build is standard.  When you are having a custom home built, it’s all one-of-kind, so there should be no charges for upgrades.  Especially before you sign the contract, let alone during planning. The only time a custom home builder should charge you for an “upgrade” is when there are fees incurred from changes made AFTER the build has started.

2. Spray Foam

The most expensive product is not always the best option.  A lot of luxury home builders will choose an expensive product because it is seen as the better option but it doesn’t mean that it is the correct product for a particular application.

A lot of high-end home builders will say that spray foam is the best product for EVERY insulation application. However, spray foam that is not installed properly is dangerous.  Also, in some instances like a large wall, spray foam doesn’t work as well as other applications.  Expensive doesn’t always mean better, when greater value products can work just as well.

3. Little Changes, Big DOLLARS

This secret is a really big one for builders who do track homes.  They make their biggest profit margins from changes and upgrades that their customers order AFTER construction has started.  Track builders have the costs for their plans calculated down to the penny, they know their exact margins for their standard builds.  They hope and pray that YOU change your mind and want that ceramic tile in the bathroom instead of linoleum and that double oven and gas range instead of the standard electrical stove.  Make sure you are aware of ALL the costs associated with making changes after you sign your contract.  In order to fight this, we have create the Emmett Leo Homes Process, a step by step design process that allows us to make sure that every decision is made and confirmed prior to starting any construction.

See how the Emmett Leo Homes Process ensures that there are no upgrades and as little change orders as possible!

4. Energy Efficiency

The key to an energy efficient home is the air barrier, not necessarily specialty products.  The most important thing is keep cold air out and warm air in during the winter and the opposite in the summer.  A fully sealed air barrier around your entire house ensures that there is no way for unconditioned air to get in or out.

Improper installation of these products is the biggest cause of issues and inefficiencies. The correct product and installation make all the difference. This may be a clear plastic vapor barrier, spray foam or another product that prevents air movement across a membrane.  Before you put the drywall up, spending the money on a blower door test is worthwhile to ensure that the air barrier has been properly installed.

5. You don’t NEED a home builder, a realtor OR an architect when building a home.

You don’t actually NEED a home builder.  You CAN build your own house.  You won’t have to pay someone else, and you won’t have to wait on anyone.  You can make ALL your own decisions, pick out your own finishes AND take as long as you want.  The building industry has often hidden the fact that anyone can buy land, pull permits, draw houses and build a house.  But SHOULD you?  Using a great home builder WILL be cheaper than doing it yourself.  They WILL not make the mistakes you would.  They WILL find better solutions to problems as well as provide you with better pricing on material.  They WILL be able to do it faster, safer and with a higher quality and professionalism.  This is what we do, are passionate about and continually educate ourselves on processes, material and improving the quality of homes.

You don’t HAVE to use a realtor either.  Realtors and their associations have created the myth that you have to use them for every real estate transaction.  Realtors can help guide you through the purchasing process and there are some realtors out there that are phenomenal and worth their weight in gold, but you don’t need all their forms and certifications.  The legality and validity of a real estate transaction is based on the content of the contract, it could be written on the back of a napkin and, provided it has the correct information, still be a valid transaction.  HOWEVER, having a great realtor on your side is ALWAYS a bonus and can protect your backside.  They will help you negotiate, and they should be able to help you navigate the entire process.

You don’t HAVE to have an architect either.  You can draw it on a napkin.  You can have a draftsman or builder draw it up.  In fact, your uncle can do design it for you.   Architects are an expense, and one that most home owners don’t see the necessity for.  They add another layer of complexity, another person to talk to that slows down any decision making.  HOWEVER, they are amazing artists.  They design beautiful pieces of art.  Ones that take into consideration WAY more than anyone knows.  Sight lines.  Sunlight.  View points.  Flow.  Function.  Interior design.  Feelings.  They are irreplaceable.  Do you NEED them?  No.  Should you use one every time IF you can?  Absolutely!

Top 5 Considerations For A Custom Home Build

Top 5 Considerations For A Custom Home Build

Top 5 Considerations For A Custom Home Build

Planning your new custom home build is exciting!  We’ve got the top 5 things you should know and consider before you get into planning your new custom home build

1. Budget

First thing you should know before getting started into a custom home build is your budget!  You can dream as big as you want while planning your new home but you really need to consider how much you can actually afford to build.

Once you know your budget, you can reverse engineer pretty much everything.  The money you have available tells you how much you can dedicate towards purchasing your lot, the size house you can build and what quality level  you can choose for your finishing materials.  Your builder will be able to work within your budget and can help you to get you what you want in your new custom home.

2. Timeline

A good builder will do a detailed walkthrough of the building timeline with you.  A large custom home build can often take 18-24 months to complete.  Your builder should provide you with a realistic timeline and indicate any deadlines for items you need to make final decisions about.

Over the course of the build, there may be unforeseen issues that come up: road restrictions, permits, inspection delays, labor or material shortages, and waiting on sub-contractors.  All of these issues (and more) need to be addressed beforehand.  As the client, not being able to see these issues as they happen means that the should be communicated beforehand.

The timeline will also be affected by inclement weather.  Digging, forming and pouring a foundation will be certainly affected when its -35.  Any anticipated poor weather events can slow things down: Tornadoes, hurricanes, freezing rain, etc..  The type of natural forces will, of course, vary depending on where you live, but your builder should have buffer redundancies in place in the schedule.

3. Who To Talk To First

There are a number of professionals you will need to involve in your house building process.  Who do you talk to first?  A great builder will be able to bring in the best interior designers and architects in order to create a team to plan and build your home.

Whether you sketched out your ideas on graph paper or found plans on the internet, your builder should be able to offer you valuable suggestions about the layout, design, function and costs of your home.  Even if you have architectural plans already and are ready to start, a builder can help you evaluate function and costs before beginning construction.

Contact us for any questions about who you think you may need on your team.

4. What Type of House

You might already have a good idea what you want to build or you might need to look around for the various styles before you start.  There are a variety of building heights, designs, and building techniques to consider that can all influence the type of house you build.  Building UP is always cheaper than building OUT so you can get the same square footage for less by building a two storey.

Are you getting older and don’t want to deal with stairs anymore? A single story home without a basement might be what you need. 

Do you have a live-in nanny or need a separate suite for family? 

Do you have a home based business and need a quiet office space?

Factors like this will change the layout of your home.   You will also have to consider any restrictions and codes in place in your city or county.  Many homeowner associations also have covenants in place that can dictate the size and design of your home.  The land layout itself can also affect construction and design of the house.

For more home inspiration, check out our Instagram page 

5. Your Involvement

How involved do you want to be in your build?  As previously mentioned, building a custom home can take up to two years.  You know yourself, your schedule and how much you will be available to be involved.  What decisions do you want to be involved with?  Do you want to make all the final decisions about finishes or just certain ones?  Are there certain features you really want to have in certain rooms?

There are many things to consider when building a custom home.  For many clients, time is their rarest commodity and they will rely on their builder to make a lot of decisions.  You should evaluate your prior commitments and determine how much time you will have to focus on making decisions.  The more you know about yourself and how much you want to be involved with the build will help both you and your builder throughout the entire process.