I’m writing this blog from the couch of my in-law’s home. My family and I moved out of our house and sold it yesterday. As a result, we get to live with family for a few weeks while we wait for our new home to be built.
Building our new house has been an exciting and unique experience. I’m sharing four lessons I’ve learned along the way.
1. It’s designed to be fun.
You know how you say, “Oooh, that’s cute!” or “Wow! I would love that!” when watching HGTV or perusing a home designer’s Pinterest board? The builder knows that about you too, so they do an excellent job of creating opportunities for your home design dreams to come to life!
With choices of exterior elevation, floor plans, paint, flooring, doors, cabinets, hardware, and more–the customization and concierge service at the design center are like a dream come true.
2. It’s expensive.
Making design choices is not fun by accident–it’s intentional. The builder engineers this experience and uses it to increase profits.
The hard truth no one wants to hear is this: buying a home from a builder is typically more expensive than buying a similar home from a traditional seller on MLS. The cost of almost everything involved is marked up, making the overall sales price higher.
But it doesn’t stop at the design center. There are also profit margins built-in with the builder’s preferred lender, title company and any other affiliated business relationship involved. All of these factors make the building process expensive.
PRO TIP: Do not default to using the builder’s lender. YOU HAVE OPTIONS.
3. It’s not fully customizable.
When you buy a home the traditional way, you walk through homes that are already built. In most cases, they’ve been lived in by other people. As a result, you are buying a home that has someone else’s style. This gets most people to think about different paint or floors. As mentioned above, those are things you can pick out in the new build process!
But sometimes, as you walk through a home for sale, you think it may be a little better for your family if the floor plan was slightly different. Things like, “What if we removed this wall?” or “it would be nice if this doorway were wider,” or “the den would be much better as a bedroom,” may cross your mind.
Although some things can be modified with a builder, it is not 100% customizable. You typically can only choose from their available floor plans, and even the seemingly “simple” adjustments like moving a wall or adding a door are not always possible. Customizations cost money. As a result, the builder has wisely templated many of their processes and limited some customizations to ensure they can maximize profit.
4. Patience and grace create a better experience.
A home build is an extremely involved process. The number of people involved and the number of steps to follow are extensive. Because people are not perfect (me and you included), mistakes will be made. Things will fall through the cracks, someone will drop the ball, and plans will NEVER go exactly as they are supposed to. Knowing this truth and having grace is a huge help.
In addition to unforeseen issues is an unknown close date. There are estimated dates, but these are not for sure. It’s easy to get anxious and excited because again, this is fun! It is more than a home; it is a brand new home with many design customizations catered to you and your family. Don’t let the excitement create frustration when these estimated close dates are not met or keep getting pushed back. Estimated dates and missed deadlines are a relatively normal aspect of home builds.
My family and I have really enjoyed buying a home from a builder. It is a process I would recommend! Just know that it’s more expensive, not fully customizable and that grace and patience make it better.
To get prequalified on a home loan before talking with a builder, schedule an appointment with one of our wise home loan advisors here.