Over the years I've yearned of moving to a much older section of town close to where my kids attend school. It has character and charm. It's something out of Father of the Bride. However, my husband refuses to buy an older home. "Ghosts and gross stuff in the carpet," he claims. Ugh. So, we have always lived in a new home. I've had to work really hard to un-generic them and give them some personality.
However, building a home makes sense in many instances. Although new home construction came to a screeching halt when the market tanked, it is alive and well again. It's a really great option, especially in the Indianapolis/Carmel-area where inventory is low.
There are basically three different categories when it comes to building:
Production - This is a builder that has specific communities and specific floor plans from which to choose. The only real thing you can individualize here would be your lot, grades and colors of cabinets and flooring, and the choice of items such as appliances and some cosmetics like spindles.
Semi-custom - This is a cross between a production and custom home. There are specific communities and floor plans here as well, but you have some flexibility in moving walls, a greater amount of options and upgrades, and perhaps the choice of building on your own home site.
Custom - This is the creme de la creme of building...and it's the most difficult. You are responsible for finding and choosing your own home site, designing your plan from a blank piece of paper, and choosing every.last.bauble that goes into your house. "Did you see the door hinges I just picked out? Superb!" There are a million moving parts to a custom build. Let's take a quick look:
Home site - So you love this wooded lot, but what do you really know about this development? Are the lots selling at a steady pace? What is the reputation of the developer? How much is it going to cost to run utilities and clear the trees and debris? You'd better find out before you plunk down a chunk of change on you dream property.
Architect - Do you know any? What does his finished product look like? How much is he going to charge? Is this step even necessary with what you are trying to achieve?
Builder - This is the biggie. There are a lot of "custom" builders out there. You need to choose wisely. Very wisely, my friend. This could be the nightmare of all nightmares or the coolest thing you've ever done. A friend's recommendation isn't always sufficient. Some of my friends love John Mellencamp. Enough said. You need to speak to someone who can help you navigate through the pros and cons of each builder in your area. Just make sure they have custom building experience (like moi).
Why on earth would you need a Realtor to build a home? Oh boy, there are a million reasons why you don't want to go through this alone. When it comes to production and semi-custom builds, you work with the builder's sales rep. She becomes your friend throughout the course, however, she represents the builder, not you. Big shocker, but sometimes things goes awry in the building process. Some are small, some are not so small. It works largely to your benefit if you have someone looking out for you and, perhaps, going to battle on your behalf. Believe me, it will always work out in the long run, but during the stressful moments, allow me to do your dirty work. And, here's a little secret: Many builders have a Realtor's fee built into their margin. You pay for a Realtor whether you use one or not.
So there you have it. Building 101. There is nothing better than the smell of a new home and moving into something that is individually yours. Something that you've created. It's worth the time and patience. And I guess it's also worth avoiding the late-night hauntings and toenails in your carpet.
Always under construction,