With my second new construction home nearly complete in Weddington I thought some helpful hints to consumers here in Charlotte was in order. Further I meet so many new Charlotte residents or first time home buyers that I thought some helpful advice is due.
Firstly, building a new home whether it be in NJ like my first house or here in Charlotte isn’t much different other than the style of homes and various building codes. The process itself is fairly the same as well.
To me the number one most important choice in building a new home is choosing the right contractor who is honest, upfront in their fee structure and who has a sound reputation in the area. My experience has been with custom home builder’s vs the national builders and the market in Charlotte has definitely shifted to the national ones.
Besides the factors just mentioned choosing a general contractor to build your home should match the current style of home you desire to build. If you are building a stucco house and the builder you choose has no experience in that or has built mostly brick houses then it may not be the best choice to use them. If you find one go see their work.
Another factor is whether your builder gives you a choice of suppliers for the materials you use for your home. Make sure there are multiple suppliers to choose from or better yet the ability to choose one of your own so that you get the best price relative to your allowances. Also make sure how your builder is sharing in the markups for certain items. Some take a fixed percentage of the allowance for items while others don’t even disclose it. Make sure that is very clearly defined and whether the allowance includes the builder markup or not.
Speaking of allowances builders are notorious for upselling their clients on upgrades and charging for them. This is the single most challenging aspect to building a home and making sure it’s on budget. If you lack the experience I would suggest contacting someone who has built a home before or works in housing, to see if the allowances for items in your new home are accurate relative to what you want to buy. Some rely on decorators for assistance here and Charlotte has plenty of knowledgeable ones and in other cases a really good realtor can be source. One thing is for certain allowances or budgets by builders won’t be correct and in most cases under-estimate the actual costs of items chosen.
In my two experiences budgets/allowances were off by 10-20% which can be very significant. In my cases I either made tradeoffs elsewhere to compensate or used an alternative supplier that was less expensive. My best advice is to have some idea of the class of manufacturers you will use and create your own budget to see if certain items are accurately reflected in allowances. For fixtures as an example go look at them and see what price range you’re in and then calculate a budget and then compare to the builder allowance.
One last piece of advice, is that builders love when clients change things cause that gives them an opportunity to upcharge them for that change. So plan things out carefully because changes from a planned specification can be costly.
All in all if one is careful, plans accordingly and knows the pitfalls of building a new home the experience can be a lot more enjoyable both mentally and financially. Charlotte has plenty of great builders so make sure you find the right one. For more specific insight, please contact me.