When you decide to build your dream home, you’ll probably feel a rush of excitement and perhaps, a little bit of fear. We want to ensure that our clients move through the building process with a well-conceived plan and a minimum of surprises. As an Omaha custom home builder, we follow the proven ten-step methodology briefly outlined below:
Step 1: Choose Your Realtor – select one who puts you at ease and has a number of referenceable clients who can attest to the realtor’s new home building expertise and customer service. These next two very important steps can be interchanged. My clients often pick one before the other – but it varies as to which one they pick first.
Step 2: Choose Your Home Site – Select your home site in a neighborhood that fits your price range and meets your family’s needs (i.e., school district and location, distance to work, shopping, freeway, golf, etc.).
Step 3: Floor Plan – Next, you’ll choose your home style and floor plan. Choosing the floor plan that requires the least amount of customization will help minimize costs.
TIP: When you select a builder, it is critical that you see finished samples of their work, preferably occupied by satisfied clients you can speak with directly
Step 4: Choose Your Builder – Next, you’ll choose your builder. Sometimes, you’ll choose a home site that is “builder attached,” meaning you have to choose the builder who owns the home site. When you select a builder, it is critical that you see finished samples of their work, preferably occupied by satisfied clients you can speak with directly.
Step 5: Receiving a Bid – Your Realtor and builder will work with you to ensure that they understand your unique requirements. They will take into consideration the cost of the home site, the standard floor plan, and any modifications or customizations you’ve indicated and they will generate a detailed bid outlining the cost to build your home.
Step 6: Arranging Financing – This is usually the time that you will complete your financing arrangements and choose your lender. I always recommend my clients become “pre-qualified and pre-approved” for financing before we spend too much time looking at home sites or floor plans, however, this step involves a more detailed process to secure financing for the estimated home price.
Step 7: Initiating the Contract – Once you’ve agreed to the bid price (or have modified your options to achieve the price that you desire) and you have the green light on financing, you’re ready to initiate the contract, which your Realtor will write for you.
Step 8: Making Your Custom Selections -- There will be a number of customizable items in your new home including carpet, tile, brick, etc. Your Realtor or builder will direct you as to the timing of each selection and you will need to make sure you make your choices on time, to facilitate the most efficient construction process.
Step 9: Staying In Communication – This is one of the most important facets of the home building process. You need to maintain regular communication with your Realtor and builder to ensure that your home, when finished, meets or exceeds your expectations.
Step 10: The Final Walk Through, Closing and Warranty Process – Your Realtor and either your builder or a home warranty representative will conduct a walk through orientation with you. After this meeting, you should have a “punch list” of items that you want repaired or completed. These items are then taken care of by the builder to ensure the end result of your home building effort is all that you’d hoped. It is also important to familiarize yourself with the builder’s home warranty program and the benchmark dates and methods by which you must notify them of any new issues that arise once you’re in your dream home.
By Brian A. Wilson, Realtor
Originally Published in Builder/Architect Magazine, March 2000