Ok.. So you have decided you want to build a new home, and you have obtained mortgage financing, now you have to figure out whatkind of new construction home build you want to do? Do you want a new fully custom home, tract built, or semi-custom? Well, regardless of which of those you choose aside from the choice of which home builder you want to hire to build it the next most important factor is your floor plan.
You might not think it’s that important because most are just so excited about having a new house, that their real estate agent will usually run them through a local community by a large national home builder and push them into something without sitting them down to discuss how they should pick out a plan. After all the agent isn’t the one that will be living there day in and day out, you will. Trust me you don’t want to get sucked into a house because you think it’s pretty on the inside or you like the vaulted ceilings, tile floors, or whatever only to regret it in a year because you now realize that the floor plan doesn’t fit your daily family needs. Unfortunately this happens all to often.
If you are going fully custom you will need to hire an architect and then you and your architect will usually talk about all these factors. Hiring an architect (if you can afford one) is definitely the way to go if you are building a custom home, because they can tailor the home to your needs, and they will suggest things you otherwise would have never thought of.
Let’s go over the questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a floor plan:
1.) How large is your family? Do you planning on having children? Although, you might not have kids now, if you plan on having them you should think about things like where is the laundry room (1st or 2nd floor), how large are the bedrooms and closets in the bedrooms, where are the bedrooms in relation to the exits of the home, where are the bedrooms in relation to the master bedroom and stairs. I think everyone knows that open floor plans are the rage, but when having children it is a must have. By having a very open floor plan allows you to be able to cook in the kitchen, sit in your office, or dining room and still easily see the kids to keep an eye on them.
2.) How old are you? How long do you plan on living in this home? If you are older and getting close to retirement you need to consider a one story home, house plan on a slab foundation instead of crawl space, or one with an elevator. Yes; I said elevator. Here in Charleston SC, real estate is commonly known to have elevators because much of our area is in a flood zone, and the lots are fairly small so homes can be close to one another and parking is best suited under the home. You may be nimble now, but as we age it becomes harder and harder to walk up stairs and get around and a home that accommodates your mobility needs is key. Where is the master bedroom located? Obviously, you won’t want to build or buy a newly built home with the bedroom upstairs if you are in your 60’s now and this is to be the last home you live in. To that I also go further and say you should also think about the size of lot you want to build on, or do you want a condo instead. Many seniors opt for a “patio home” which is usually a small one story home on a slab with a small lot so as to keep the yard upkeep manageable. You may find the best home and community until later realize you are spending $200+ month on landscaping costs because you built a home on a large lot and you can no longer do the landscaping yourself.
3.) Closet space – I know this probably applies to mostly woman and is likely the most obvious of the things to consider when picking out or designing a floor plan. If you can’t have your dream, gigantic closet as far as sq footage is concerned think about building the house with 9 ft ceilings and then you can have more room for two rows of hangers, and shelves without needing a lot of extra sq footage.
4.) Storage– Do you tend to collect and hold onto material things? Do you have a lot of family heirlooms? If this applies to you then you need to consider how much space is available for storage, and what unused space in the home can be converted to a storage space. Many home plans have tiny nooks here and there that can be fitted with a door and lined with plywood to make for extra storage space. But wait; how accessible is the storage space that is in the home? Meaning, are you going to have to squeeze in and out of closets, and walls to get to your storage spaces. You may want to consider having a floor plan that has storage in the main parts of the home and not just the attic or basement because if you need to access things you put into storage a lot it will get annoying to go up and down the stairs.
So.. If you are looking to build a new home in a developmentwith a large builder and pick one of their existing home plans, build your own custom home with a local home builder, or buy a house plan from the internet you need to really do your best to think long and hard about it, because you don’t want to be in a home you don’t enjoy everyday. Secondly, if you notice there are annoying things with your home layout there is a good chance that prospective buyers in the future will notice it too. A good real estate agent in Charleston, SCor wherever you are considering building should have this discussion with you so you don’t make the wrong choice.
Building a new home can be an exciting thing, but it has a lot of things to consider. Even if you are just building with a large national builder there is more to it than one might imagine. So one might as themselves is it worth it to build new? Should I buy an existing home? There are some factors to consider when building a new home.If you ask a mortgage loan officer they are going to try to steer you toward buying a built home instead of building because getting a construction loan is a almost impossible these days. Trust me I know because I was in the mortgage business for over 13 years. My suggestion is if you absolutely have to have a new home, then try to find a semi-custom “spec” (speculative) home. Meaning a developer buys a large plot of land and has multiple house plans from you to choose from. IF you and your real estate agent get under contract on a home that is in the middle of construction but not yet sold your home builder will usually let you pick out many things that fit your taste. Like: the type of flooring, paint colors, trim packages, counter tops, cabinets, even type of roof material, and landscaping so you get a new home with a custom feel without all the hassle of having to hire an architect, permitting, etc.Since I am Charleston, SC real estate agent, built my own home, and once owned a mortgage company I will answer the question for you from my experience.To be honest with you building is kind of a pain, unless you have a great home builder and bank. Right now banking and mortgage lending is NOT smooth sailing. It was a pain getting a construction loan when anyone with a pulse could qualify in 2004-2006. So getting a construction loan now is even more of a nightmare. As an ex- mortgage loan professional I would not suggest building just for that reason alone. You have to put down a lot more money then you would have to for just a traditional purchase.If you still want to build just be prepared for a busy few months. Depending on the size of home, the finishes, the town you are building, among others, the process can be from 4 months to 2+ years. There are many meetings involved, decisions to be made, and things to consider, and with a lot of people. IF you really do your homework and find a great reputable, experienced builder then you can make your process a little easier. In any event building a home is not usually an enjoyable experience, simply because there are so many choices and changes, that can test your nerves.Precision Construction is Charleston’s best Affordable Home BuilderIn closing my suggestion is to seriously think about it before making a decision. You may even consider buying an older home, or a foreclosure and renovating it to look new. If you want a like new home then I suggest letting me find you home that needs a lot of work then let a contractor redo it to your liking. Then you can make changes, additions, and improvements that will suit you. Sometimes when doing a renovation it too can also be a difficult process for getting money from a bank, but one loan that is tailored for this type of process is a 203k from FHA. Make sure you specifically ask about this type of loan and make sure your mortgage loan officer is very very familiar with this type of loan.If you have decided you absolutely have to have new construction, but don’t think you want to deal with the hassles that come along with building one yourself, you can always look for an already built spec home or at least one already started. This is where a real estate agent can be a huge help.
According to CNBCnew home sales are up almost 15% and the highest price jump on record since 1963. Charleston, SC homes prices have gone up as well. Existing-home sales also rose slightly last month to reach their highest level since late 2009, while the supply of homes for sale took a big jump but still remains tight, the National Association of Realtors said Wednesday.April’s annual sales rate was the highest since November 2009, when sales hit an annual rate of 5.44 million. But sales are still at a relatively low level. From 2000 through 2005, before the housing bubble burst, the annual rate of sales averaged more than 6 million a month. Although to most agents things are almost booming it is a misleading because the boom for builder and sellers really has to do with lack of inventory in available Charleston, SC real estate listings. The inventory of homes for sale, meanwhile, expanded in April to a 5.2-month supply from 4.7 months in March. That means all the homes would sell in that time-frame if no new supply was added. Realtors consider a 6-month supply to be a balanced market between buyers and sellers. “The robust housing market recovery is occurring in spite of tight access to credit and limited inventory,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “If not for those constraints, existing-home sales easily would be well above the 5 million-unit pace,” he said. New-home construction is needed to alleviate the inventory tightness, he says, and “tame” price growth to a healthy pace.While here locally – Charleston, SC new construction is up +8.6% from May of 2012 as seen on the left.
There are essentially 4 types of newly built homes you could choose from if new construction is what you have to have.
1.) Fully Custom Built Homes –
Just as its name states, custom homes are as YOU want them. As the prospective home owner you would be expected to hire an architect whereby with regular meetings you, your architect, and home builder would design a home according to your direction, and vision. After you have signed off on the design of your home it then has to be stamped by a licensed engineer to make sure its design features are structurally sound. Beware of a fully custom home because they take much longer to build, and they require many many meetings with a plethora of different people all of which are there to make sure you get exactly what you want. Also, here in Charleston, South Carolina, downtown specifically there is an ARB (architectural review board) which oversees the construction of every building in historic Charleston. However, there is a good reason for this. Aside from the normal responsibilities of ensuring the safety of each property, it too is responsible for preserving the look and historic significance of one of the United States most respected and historically relevant cities in the country. If you are considering building in Mount Pleasant, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, or surrounding areas there is less chance you have to be too concerned with having each phase of your design and construction signed off on from an aesthetic point at least. However, many newer suburban communities also have restrictions and rules that have to be adhered to there to preserve a consistent feel of the neighborhood. For instance Kiawah Island home builders have to make sure their customers know that they can not use white for their exterior trim color.
1.a Next are the finishes, i.e. type of cabinets, trim, hard wood floor species, stain colors, electrical fixtures, plumbing fixtures, tile, exterior materials, carpet styles, paint colors, and many more options. It is common for your builder (general contractor) to have a few design partners that will help you when choosing from the hundreds or thousands of options available to you with each phase of construction. It is fairly safe to say that the more elaborate and detailed your home is with design elements the longer it will take to build.
2.a If you’re building in a PUD with an HOA even though you want a completely custom home you still have to build according to the building design rules of the neighborhood by laws which may preclude you from doing some of the things you originally wanted exactly the way you wanted.
2.) Semi-Custom –
A semi-custom (similar to spec) home usually refers to a type of new construction home whereby the builder will either provide you with a multiple different home plans to choose from if they (may or may not) already own the dirt. Yet the home buyer can make small changes to the plans, but usually not to the structural elements as well as they get to choose the finishes mentioned in 1.a. This kind of home is probably your most commonly used option, and many of your local & national home builders prefer to offer this as it is the most flexible to most people who want a “nicer” option but don’t want hassle of custom. Here are examples of SC new construction homes.
You feel as if you are getting a fully custom home without having the additional time, and expense of hiring and meeting with an architect. Since the builder is familiar with the floor plans they usually are fairly confident with giving you a estimated close date and cost depending on the finishes you choose.
3.) Spec (Speculative) –
Spec homes are where a builder (national or local) will pre-build a newly constructed home, choose the floor plans, and the finishes, landscaping, etc. hoping that a prospective buyer will be interested in buying it as he or she designed it. They are “speculating” that there are enough interested buyers in the market, hence the name “spec home”. These homes are usually built in established neighborhoods often times in nicer communities consisting mostly of custom homes.
4.) Tract Home –
Usually your most affordable option – As defined by Wikipedia – Tract housing is a style of housing development in which multiple similar homes are built on a tract of land which is subdivided into individual small lots. Tract housing developments are typically found in North American suburbs that were modeled on the “Levittown” concept and sometimes encompass large areas of dozens of square miles.
These types of homes although new are usually of lesser quality than the first three options because the builders know exactly what it costs them to build each home as cheaply as possible because believe it or not their profit is in the land. Most of the national builders whose names you’d recognize such as: DR Horton, Beazer, Pulte, Toll Brother and Centex, are considered tract builders. The expense and “power” is in the dirt. If you own the dirt or tract of land to build then you have the power because buyers have no other choice other than to buy your product if they want to live in certain areas. These home builders like DR Horton will buy large pieces of land all over the country and develop the dirt, but in order to compete with local builders will many times offer a semi-custom feature into their plans. Whereby, they will have usually offer 6, sometimes 8 floorplans to choose from, and offer a hand full of different finish options. Such as: 3 types of prefinished hardwood flooring, 4 types of ceramic tile or vinyl, 3 styles of carpet, 3 different exterior wall coverings, etc. This is the most standard commonly known options for buying new homes in Charleston, SC or wherever.