Archive for February 28, 2013

How to Choose a Home Builder El Paso, Tx

If you’re in the market for a new home, you should shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your home. Whether you are buying a condo, a townhouse, a house in a subdivision, or a custom built house, you want to know that you are buying a good quality home from a reputable builder. Here are a couple of tips to help you choose a builder.

Make A List of Possible Builders

Once you have thought about the type of house you want, you will need to find a builder.

Contact your local home builders’ association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes in your area. You can find your local HBA at nahb.org/findanhba. You can also look on Move.com, NAHB’s official new homes listing website.
Look in the real estate section of your local newspaper for builders and projects. Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you to learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building, and the prices you can expect to pay. Make a list of builders who build the type of home you’re looking for in your price range.
Local real estate agents may also be able to help you in your search. Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Ask about builders they have dealt with directly, or ask them for names of acquaintances who have recently had a good experience with a builder.
Do Your Homework

Once you have a list of builders, how can you find out about their reputations and the quality of their work? The best way to learn about builders is to visit homes they have built and talk with the owners.

Ask builders on your list for the addresses of their recently built homes and subdivisions. Builders may even be able to provide names of some home owners who would be willing to talk with you.
Drive by on a Saturday morning when home owners may be outside doing chores or errands. Introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home. Talk to several owners, and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression of a builder you are likely to get. At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.
When you talk to builders and home owners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later. Some questions you can ask people include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder?
Usually, people tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And if they are not, they’ll probably want to tell you why.
Shop For Quality and Value

Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Model homes and houses displayed in home shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes.

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork, and paint. Ask the builder or the builder’s representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.

 

5 Tips for Choosing the Perfect Home Floor Plan El Paso, Tx

The layout of your home is probably one of the most significant choices you will ever make regarding your home. Regardless if you live in an apartment, a condominium or a house, the layout of the rooms and how they flow will largely depend on your lifestyle.  Whether you prefer single story or multiple stories, and all the bedrooms on the top floor – choosing a perfect plan can be stressful.  Here are 5 tips to help you decide on a plan right for your family.

1.) Choose a floor plan that suits your lifestyle: In a previous post we discussed the pros and cons of having an open floor plan.  There are factors you should consider regardless of openness. Factors such as: layout of rooms with consideration of family size and ages of children is essential. Most families who have young children like to have the private spaces of the house – bedrooms and bathrooms grouped in one area of the home.  While families with teenagers and young adults prefer to have bedrooms separated from each other.  If you’re house hunting, these factors will be important when choosing a home to move into. Assess your current floor plan and what the pros and cons are.  You may like it, or would prefer to try a different one.

2.) Do you entertain often or rarely? Many home floor plans are centered on entertaining and welcoming guests the minute they step through the front door. A wide foyer opening into an open floor plan living and dining room and meandering to the outdoors would be perfect for guests visiting. Although, if you and your family are more private and don’t like your full home on display every time the front door is opened, you may opt for a formal living room adjacent to the front door. This will allow guests a place to immediately sit and feel comfortable while leaving the rest of your house private.

3.)    Single story or multistory? Many families enjoy single story homes for the quietness of no overhead foot traffic noise.  Some single story homes, or ‘Ranch’ style homes tend to group public rooms in the center and bedrooms and baths are located on the “wings” of the floor plan.  Multistory homes give the added benefit of views to the outside instead of looking directly into a neighbor’s window. Multistory homes also give each family member their own space and room to have privacy over single story floor plans.

4.)    Do certain functions of your home need special accessibility? Whether you have a live-in family member that needs extra space to maneuver or children who need extra wide hallways to run around, consider this factor when choosing a floor plan.  Older homes tend to have narrower hallways, doorways and often door head heights. Remember renovating or altering non load bearing wall locations in the future is an option.  Consider this if you fall in love with a floor plan but your family needs change over the years.

5.)    How much outdoor living do you wish to have? Your floor plan will most likely include an outdoor leisure area. Whether that is a porch, lanai, swimming pool or other amenities.  When choosing a floor plan, assess how much your family will use these outdoor leisure amenities. Similar to a large yard, it looks beautiful when you keep up with it, but can look terrible if you don’t.  Ensure you want the added responsibility of keeping up with the outdoor plan AND the indoors at the same time.

Deciding on a floor plan can be fun and frustrating at the same time.  Assess your family’s lifestyle and your preferences to how you enjoy living.  With patience your dream home floor plan will be easier to find than you think!

 

What Will a Custom Home Builder Do For You? El Paso, Tx

By Eric Willey

If you have driven through the suburbs, you have seen a lot of homes that look exactly the same. These are cookie cutter homes and if you want something that everyone else has, then these are the homes for you. However, if you want a home that is a step above and one that is completely customized for you, then you need to think about getting a custom builder. A custom home builder does not build like you would find in the suburbs. These builder’s work are completely unique.

A custom builder will make a one-of-a-kind home that is designed for a certain client and a certain location. The builder will either create the plans themselves, or they will create them through the help of an architect. Sometimes there will be a professional designer putting together the home plans for you.

Unlike other builders, who can make over 100 homes per year, a custom builder is only going to make about 25 homes, or less, per year. In most cases, these builders will build their houses on property that you own, while production builders will not be building on the same property that you own.

The great thing about a custom builder is that you can work with them directly to get the exact design that you want. By building a custom home, you can have a great house that you will love for years to come. When you buy one that is not custom made, you do not get to have a say in how it is built.

A good example of this is if you want a home that is environmentally-friendly. If you buy a home not made by a custom builder, you typically just get what they make. However, with a custom builder, you can have skylights, passive solar heating, geothermal heating and cooling systems, bamboo floors, crushed glass countertops and more.

This gives you the ability to have the exact amenities that you want. There are many custom builders who can do excellent work and will be able to make a home you can be proud of. Look around and find the right custom home builder for you and you will get the expertise that you want.

 

5 Steps to Choosing the Right Home Builder El Paso, Tx

Building a new home can be an exciting process. Choosing your favorite community, the best lot, your dream plan and then selecting every little detail. Not only do I have a background in new home construction with a top Texas home builder, I also went through the building process recently and had both good and bad experiences. I was asked by a friend how they should choose which builder to go with … Can you say loaded question?
Many people fail to realize that choosing the right new home builder is far more important than having the perfect floor plan. The wrong builder means a life filled with stress and sleepless nights while the right builder will ensure your home is built to last with relatively low stress. Notice I still said there was stress involved. It’s kind of hard to avoid stress when your dreams are in someone else’s hands combined with the fact that a home is not a perfect product! I have found that there are 5 things you can do to increase the chance of choosing the right home builder.

5 Steps to Help Choose the Right New Home Builder

First and most important, speak with the current homeowners in the neighborhood where you plan on purchasing. If possible, speak with the homeowners that have lived there for over a year and their bumper-to-bumper warranty has run out. This will give you the real scoop on the quality of the homes, typical number of problems and general overall attitude. Don’t worry about knocking on a stranger’s door to ask questions about their experience. They have been in your shoes and will be happy to answer your questions.
Try to avoid talking to homeowners from other communities (even from the same home builder). Every community has different construction managers and different trades that conduct the work. You may get a false sense of security talking to someone across town. If the community is brand new, then choose the closest community as they will sometimes use the same trades to do the labor.
Check the current JD Power rating for the builders. You can see the newest JD Power ratings by clicking here. The problem with the JD Power ratings is that many builders focus solely on scoring high and can completely miss the mark in other areas. For example there are a few builders who score very high on the list and yet most people in the industry know them as crappy builders. Building a solid home doesn’t seem to score as high as fixing the many problems in a timely manner!?
Compare the builder’s warranty programs. You will be surprised to find what a few builders fail to cover under their warranty. Don’t just check to see what is covered, find out how long they cover the items and how quickly they resolve the problems that can and will arise. You will find that a strong warranty can greatly reduce your long term stress.
Compare the building material specs. I don’t mean GE appliances vs. Viking appliances but rather joist types, siding material, brick manufacturers, etc. For example, there are a few builders that still using wood siding. Technology has come too far for builders to be using wood. If your house will have siding, they should be spending a little more money to go with a product like Hardi siding. Hardi is fire retardant, holds paint 5 times longer than wood, you don’t have to worry about termites and blah, blah, blah. Sorry, I won’t bore you with all of the details. No, this isn’t an Ad for products; I just think it’s important to recognize what your potential builder may be skimping on that could cause you stress and money in the future.
Don’t always trust a Realtor’s opinion on this issue. I hate to say that since 90% of Realtors will be honest and hold your best interest in mind. Unfortunately, like many professions, a few greedy people can give everyone else a bad name. Many home builders have unintentionally poisoned the waters with higher than normal Realtor commissions resulting in bad advice for a bigger paycheck.