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nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink

Any tips for building a new home?

We are looking to build a new tract home and are looking for some tips on the process. We've met several times with the builder to discuss the basic overview of the process and what it entails. I'm in the process of doing some due diligence on the builder (checking reviews, references, even knocking on the doors of some of the people moving into the homes for feedback).

I'm also planning on talking with a real estate attorney on a few items like the builder completing the initial fix-it/punch list & home inspection prior to final signing and making sure the warranty is kosher.

I've already let them know that I'm a stickler for details and that I live right around the corner and will be stopping by frequently to check on things. They didn't seem to mind that. Also when talking with them, a few people in the process of builds stopped in and mentioned things that weren't in the right place, or as they expected, and they said it would be taken care of.

I also happen to work for the city and know many of the building inspectors. I've spoken with some in general terms and they have let me know that they are much more strict on the builders these days than during the "boom" when they were just trying to keep up. They also had decent things to say about the builder. (Homes built during the crazy time here were thrown up quickly and complete crap).

So, any other tips? Nothing has been signed yet, heck they haven't even mentioned signing anything. They just said to let them know when we are ready and they will be too.
--
This Space for Rent...


Pacrat
Old and Cranky
Premium,MVM
join:2001-03-10
Cortland, OH
kudos:2
Common lore dictates that you have to build the same home 2.7 times in order to get it right!


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA
reply to nightdesigns
Talk to or read some of bcool's stuff as he just moved into a new house.
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill

boaterbob
Premium
join:2005-08-01
Moncks Corner, SC
When the job is finished and before the builder asks for his final draw/payment, have him sign a letter/form that he has paid *ALL* his subs in full. That will ensure that he does not get all your money but failed to pay any subs who then file a lien on your property - which either you will need to pay or you will need to pay an attorney to go after the builder to clear (pay) the subs to clear the liens.

Make sure all your wiring for computer/TV, etc equipment with proper termination fittings is defined up front. Specify any special lumber bracing you want in addition to normal stuff - cross beam to secure the bracket for the big screen TV, etc.

If you want a certain brand paint to be used - say so in writing.

Keep records of *EVERYTHING* with pictures of everything that will be covered by drywall, etc - plumbing, electrical, whatever. Sometime you will want to know 'what's behind this wall' before you drill into the wall - good pictures help! Make a computer record with pics and notes - easy to search in later years.

pandora
Premium
join:2001-06-01
Outland
kudos:2
Reviews:
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reply to nightdesigns
If you are contracting, be certain the builders vision matches yours. Get as much detail into the blueprints as possible, assume any decision left to a tradesman will not be the decision you'd have made.

Be certain ALL local city, county, town laws and ordinances are complied with.

Best of luck.
--
Congress could mess up a one piece jigsaw puzzle.

averagedude

join:2002-01-30
San Diego, CA
Reviews:
·Cox HSI

2 edits
reply to boaterbob
Click for full size
moms house
When my mom rebuilt after the fire, she paid the general his fee for over seeing the project, but she paid each sub-contractors directly and had each sign a release before the final payment.

Yea, it meant she wrote lots of checks, but with lots of checks comes lots of paper work and documentation in case anything went wrong.

Don't for a minute think that a 74 year old 4'6' frail old lady with only a high school education can't go toe to toe with a contractor. Those poor contractor fools who thought she was an easy mark...I still chuckle....they went in with low numbers thinking they could change order up the price...still chuckling...if she said dance, they danced.

She knew the real power was in the power of the purse.

Edit:
added pic to show how well it turned out.

switchman

join:1999-11-06
reply to nightdesigns
Make sure you put in Cat6 and RG6 coax to every room. I would run two of each. In some cases, I would put multiple drops on different walls. Have them home run it back to a central location. It can even be a closet.

I would also run separate power feeds to the rooms where you think you may more load. The typical process is to run a power line to the room and daisy chain it to all the plugs and the lights.

I would also wire it for an alarm system with individual contacts. You don't have to put the panel in, but at least run the wires and contacts. It is easy before you put the drywall up.

As others have said, get everything in writing and put on the blueprint.


JRW2
R.I.P. Mom, Brian, Ziggy, Max and Zen.
Premium
join:2004-12-20
La La Land
kudos:5
Reviews:
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1 recommendation

reply to averagedude
said by averagedude:

added pic to show how well it turned out.



Why does she have a big "A" by the front door????


John Galt
Forward, March
Premium
join:2004-09-30
Happy Camp
kudos:8
reply to boaterbob
said by boaterbob:

When the job is finished and before the builder asks for his final draw/payment, have him sign a letter/form that he has paid *ALL* his subs in full. That will ensure that he does not get all your money but failed to pay any subs who then file a lien on your property - which either you will need to pay or you will need to pay an attorney to go after the builder to clear (pay) the subs to clear the liens.

The proper method is to get the contractor to obtain the lien releases from each of his vendors and subs. Have him provide a notarized document in advance of construction that lists all of the vendors and subs he intends on using.
--
No amount of force can control a free man, a man whose mind is free. You can't conquer a free man; the most you can do is kill him. Well, you can try to...



mityfowl
Premium
join:2000-11-06
Dallas, TX
reply to nightdesigns
I don't know if you'll have many opportunities to make changes in a tract home.


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
reply to nightdesigns
Thank you for all the replies.

A few notes based on feedback:
While the main part of the house can't be adjusted, you do have the ability to select options (bedroom vs loft, living room vs dining room, and finishes such as paint, tile, carpet). They are also pretty in-tune with the more tech savvy crowd and do include a central panel for data/CATV and you can add extra drops wherever you want and the pricing is reasonable for that in addition to adding extra electrical outlets, switches, lights, etc.

I plan on getting any design choices/change orders/etc in writing for future verification.

Thanks for the help.
--
This Space for Rent...


docchat

join:2002-10-02
New York, NY
Any suggestions about the wiring for each room? (Cable/Coaxial is included in all rooms). Anything else/any other suggestions as to what type of cabling and how many connections in the rooms? Thanks!


nightdesigns
Gone missing, back soon
Premium
join:2002-05-31
AZ
Reviews:
·CenturyLink
My plan is to run a minimum of 2x coax and 2x data to each room with more in areas like the office and entertainment center. Also running lines to the demarc and conduit from the demarc to the panel and from the attic to the panel. May run a couple of lines to the garage for the heck of it.
--
This Space for Rent...


35245635

join:2013-03-04
North Reading, MA
reply to nightdesigns
said by nightdesigns:

Thank you for all the replies.

A few notes based on feedback:
While the main part of the house can't be adjusted, you do have the ability to select options (bedroom vs loft, living room vs dining room, and finishes such as paint, tile, carpet). They are also pretty in-tune with the more tech savvy crowd and do include a central panel for data/CATV and you can add extra drops wherever you want and the pricing is reasonable for that in addition to adding extra electrical outlets, switches, lights, etc.

I plan on getting any design choices/change orders/etc in writing for future verification.

Thanks for the help.

The 'a la carte' method is what kills most people. I have 2 friends who purchased new houses in the last 3-5 years. The houses were all reasonable on price to start. All the 'extras' is what kills you. Down the road all the stuff that goes wrong is also what kills you. Most of the 'extras' seem reasonable that is until you talk to people in the trade and find out it's $5 in materials and $35 in labor that they are charging you $75-100 to do. Sure it seems reasonable until you understand what the real costs are. You can guarantee 20-30% added to anything for the contractor fee. That's how they make money. They aren't in business to be your friend or do you any favors just make money.

Hopefully your property doesn't drop 15-25% in value after you buy it because it was overpriced after the 'extras' for the area like my friends. Sure a $400,000 house in a $350,000 seems reasonable. That is until you add $50,000 to $75,000 in 'extras'. You just overpriced the house without knowing it. The contractor/developer doesn't care and won't tell you anything as it's not in their best interest to do so.
--
"Everyone has his day and some days last longer than others." - Winston Churchill

dharel1705

join:2009-06-09
Merrick, NY
kudos:1
reply to nightdesigns
Regardless of what anyone tells you, and regardless of the house being new construction, hire your own competent home inspector to go over every inch of the house before you either write the final check or close on the house.

You'll need someone to find things the builder may have taken shortcuts on and/or things that need to be fixed that you won't find yourself.

ncbill
Premium
join:2007-01-23
Winston Salem, NC
reply to nightdesigns
maybe this should go into the "leaky roof" thread, but keep your roof as simple as possible.

our town home has purely decorative dormers (opening into a truss attic) and they have been a nightmare of leaks (shingled roof).


Snakeoil
Ignore Button. The coward's feature.
Premium
join:2000-08-05
Mentor, OH
kudos:1
reply to nightdesigns
Try to see what is underground.

Meaning are there any high pressure gas pipes in the area. Not far from where I live, a series of homes exploded because a regulator valve in the gas line failed and natural gas was pumped into the homes.

Also, because of the recent oil leak in Arkansas, you might want to see if you are building on top of a pipeline. Supposedly many of the residents weren't told that the homes were on top of such a line.

I also recall that building inspectors aren't to be trusted. When I lived in GA, a Contractor was facing a large lawsuit. He had built homes on concrete slabs that were to thin for the weight of the house. At least one house had an exterior wall break away from the home. It turns out the contractor had paid off the inspector when the concrete was poured. The slab was only 1/2 the thickness of what it should have been.
--
Is a person a failure for doing nothing? Or is he a failure for trying, and not succeeding at what he is attempting to do? What did you fail at today?.
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