If They Build It, Will You Love It?

Buying new construction may seem like the best way to get everything you want in your dream home. While there are certainly benefits to starting from scratch, there are also some things to consider when deciding if new construction is the way to go.

What you see isn’t always what you get.

Model homes often showcase high-end features like granite counter tops in the kitchen or a clawfoot tub in the bathroom. These items may not be included in the standard home and so the price listed won’t reflect the home you fell in love with. During your model home tour, be sure to ask what features are included in the base price and what is available. Remember that prices can fluctuate based on how much time passes between the initial quote and when construction begins.

Research the builder.

The internet is an easy resource to search reviews, testimonials and articles about the builder you are considering. Ask friends and neighbors about their experiences and get their feedback. Take time to visit the builders’ current developments so you are familiar with what they offer.

What does the future look like?

Visit the city development website or office to determine what is planned for your neighborhood and surrounding area. Are there plans to widen the road? Which direction is the builder growing toward and will it affect that gorgeous view of the river you have now? Ask what your community will look like in five years and be sure it aligns with your vision for the home.

Get it in writing.

Before you sign a purchase agreement, ensure that it includes all important information. Buying a home that is a work in progress can lead to uncertainty with completion and inspection dates. Have your builder document intended dates so you don’t get stuck with extra charges if you’re unable to close on time. Spell out how and when the home will be finished. Verbal discussions are not legally binding, so be sure it’s in writing and that everyone involved signs the documents.

Get started by researching local builders.

How To Find A Family-Friendly Neighborhood.

It’s time to find a neighborhood full of families, to give your kids opportunities to build friendships and memories. Your best resource for locating these family-friendly neighborhoods is your agent.

If you’ve located a possible neighborhood, and wonder if there are lots of kids, take a look around. Look for swing sets, bicycles, basketball hoops or chalk drawings on the driveways or sidewalks. These are signs of a family-friendly neighborhood.

Also check the surrounding area for parks, playgrounds or pools. These amenities are an indication that families are most likely close by. These locations may also boost your sense of community if you frequent them with other families from your neighborhood.

Once you’ve settled on a neighborhood, you’ll need to know what homes are for sale in the area. Search by address or define an area on an interactive map on the Mel Foster Co. website. Another great search tool is the Mel Foster Co. app. It’s free and you simply launch the app in the neighborhood you desire and all homes for sale pop up on your screen with the Foster Finder. The app shows all homes for sale, not just Mel Foster Co. listings.

Looking for a family friendly neighborhood?
Looking for a family friendly neighborhood?

Why You Need A Real Estate Guru.

Are you in the market to buy or sell a home? It is important that you consider working with a licensed Real Estate Professional in order to save yourself time, money, and hassle. There can be a lot of confusion and guesswork when you are out there navigating the market on your own. Here are a few reasons why it’s in your best interest to work with a Real Estate Professional.

Negotiations

From the appraiser, to the home inspector, to the buyer, there are nearly a dozen people that you will have to answer to while selling your home. Let an agent do this busywork for you. Negotiating effectively can mean thousands more saved or earned.

Paperwork

Let an agent with experience navigate and prepare the documents needed when closing on a transaction. Missing something here or there can cost you time and money. Also, each state has different regulations surrounding the purchase or sale of a home. A Real Estate Professional has the experience needed to guide you through.

What Is Your Home Worth?

Pricing your home correctly will attract the right buyer and make sure it isn’t on the market for too long. However, you need the eyes of someone not emotionally attached to your home, to ensure the true value is assessed. The National Association of REALTORS found that, “the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Value of an Agent
Value of an Agent

Five Tips For Selecting The Best Contractor

What are you looking for in a Contractor?
Selecting a Contractor

Home improvement projects aren’t cheap. They are even more costly if you choose a bad contractor. These tips will help you discern the quality of the work your prospective contractor provides and protect your interests during the project.

Ask your friends for referrals

Skip the phone book and go right to the friends you trust for their opinions. Even if they tell you about a bad experience or give you the names of contractors to avoid, this is great information to have.

Make a list of the work you need done

You don’t want a contractor that is great at building decks to be doing your major kitchen remodel. Determine the scope of the work you need done, so as you interview prospective contractors, you can line up their expertise with your needs.

Look at the contractor’s past jobs

Every reputable contractor should provide you with a list of references you can call, or even visit, to see the quality of the work done. Take advantage of the opportunity to see the work for yourself.

Get it in writing

Once you’ve selected your contractor, get a contract written up and thoroughly review it with your contractor before signing the agreement for work.

Be money smart

Be weary of a contractor who asks for more than 10% down. If your contractor can’t start work for several weeks, never give more than a $1,000 deposit.

Once work begins, pay your contractor in increments of 10% as project goals are met. Arrange for the final payment 30 days after completion of the job.

 

5 Hot Trends In New Construction

You’ve decided to build for the freedom to select the amenities and finishes that match your lifestyle and tastes. Here’s a list of five trends to discuss with your builder.

1. Smart House
Automating systems like heating, AC, security and lights can save you money. You can even control systems when you aren’t home by using your iphone.

2. Media Madness
Media rooms that only serve one function are becoming a thing of the past as home sizes shrink. Media still plays a huge role for many when deciding on a home layout, but the media rooms now have more comfortable seating, tables and good lighting. They are intended for more frequent usage than movie theater style rooms of the past.

3. Bye Bye Bulk
Smaller new homes call for smaller furniture pieces, including built ins. Consider swapping out a heavy wall of cabinets for floating shelves. Less bulky furniture also allows more natural light in.

4. Go Low
Check out more energy efficient toilets, faucets and appliances. It’s better for your utility bill and the environment.

5. Reclaim It
Go on the hunt for reclaimed materials that can be integrated into your home’s design. Look for rustic wood, light fixtures or cabinet pulls that will give your home a one of a kind feel.

Build Your Dream Home From The Ground Up

You consider yourself a person who knows what you want. Others might label you picky or hard to please. If you’re not seeing your dream home on the market, maybe it’s time to consider new construction. Before you start searching for a lot, consider these factors to determine if new construction is the right option.

New subdivisions can pop up on the outskirts of town. Some new neighborhoods will be in a location a few minutes from town, which is ideal if you’re looking for a little serenity. Larger lots are typically available a little bit out of town where there is more room to spread out. A new build might be just the thing if you’re looking for a little space between you and your neighbors.

Building your own home is exciting and requires an open mind. Flexibility is key when building a new home as weather, delivery of materials and schedules of subcontractors can shift without a moment’s notice. By remaining positive and staying focused on the end result, building your home can be a thrilling adventure.

You have the opportunity to make all finishing choices. If you are not a decisive decision maker, building a home may not be for you. But imagine the possibilities of picking lighting fixtures, cabinet pulls, paint and carpet. The home you build is a blank canvas that you can customize to reflect your personality and lifestyle. Every decision is yours. If you have very specific ideas of what you want and enjoy the option of selecting every detail, you can create the home of your dreams from the ground up.

Remember to budget for the finishing touches. If you budget carefully and plan for additional costs for window treatments, landscaping, fencing, closet systems and exterior storage, you can customize your home and get the amenities you need.

Consider upgrades to increase your home’s value. Your real estate agent can help you determine where you can save and splurge with resale value in mind. As your home is being designed, consider what options you’d like to add that are beyond builder basics.

If you aren’t scared off by making decisions and can roll with the punches that come with a construction project, then new construction can give you the freedom to create a home you’ll love. Start the process by looking at Mel Foster Co. subdivisions and selecting a real estate agent. Mel Foster Co. represents over 40 subdivisions in eastern Iowa and western Illinois in urban and rural areas. Our Realtors® can guide you through the process to help you find a lot, builder and financing options that will make building a home a rewarding experience.


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