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Custom home builder in Oakland and Macomb County specializing in energy efficient homes.

Choosing a home builder for your new dream house

lapeer michigan home buildersWhen you are planning to have a new home constructed, choosing a builder is the most important decision you will make. The builder not only has the responsibility for the largest investment you may ever make, but also has a direct impact on your family’s future comfort and happiness.

For a happy and productive home building experience, you must be able to communicate clearly with your builder so that he understands what you want and you understand what he is doing for you. You must also have confidence in the reputation and ability of your builder to deliver the home of your dreams.

Envy Homes always recommends soliciting 3 bids before choosing a builder. In our experience, no two builders create bids alike. We have reviewed numerous contracts from other builders and are sometimes shocked by what is left out. Due to the variation in contracts, they can sometimes be difficult to evaluate without missing something. Below are some items that every agreement should include. These are items we have found to be left out in other contracts. For a complete list please contact our office. We can also provide you with a Contract Guideline Form for easier comparison.
Does Each Contract/Estimate Include:

• Finished Driveway: Be sure to compare the materials for the driveway that the builder intends to use. We have found some contractors will only put down a base, just enough to get their supply trucks in and out. This leaves you with having to provide finish materials in order to have an acceptable driveway. Also, we have found some builders do not include the driveway at all, or only an approach. Be sure to specify what you want, and make sure it is included in the contract price.
• Utilities: Does the builder provide an allowance to cover the electrical/natural gas utilities? This fee will vary depending on the length the utility lines need to run. Also, these costs are considerably higher during winter construction months. In addition, be sure you are not being left with the overwhelming paperwork and responsibility of applying for the utility installation.
• Septic/Well: Is the septic and/or well costs included in your estimate if you are building in a rural area? We have found that urban builders who try to build in rural areas tend to leave this out. Did the builder look at your perc test, septic permit or visit your vacant land to give you sufficient funds for your field, or is he pulling a number out of the air? Although no builder can give you a set cost for you septic/well, he should be able to estimate an adequate allowance. If this is not included, you are looking at a very substantial amount- sometimes in excess of $10,000. Be sure he has included costs to cover an engineered septic field if necessary. In addition, if you are basing your decision off of a cost per square foot calculation, be sure all builders are including this in the equation.
• Concrete: Be sure each builder is providing you with the same amount of concrete. Some may not include an approach or sidewalk. If you wish to have one or both, make sure all of the builders provide you with a contract that includes the same amount.
• Allowances: Builders are going to give you allowances for certain items in your home. For example, countertops are typically an allowance item. Unless you go to a builder before the contract is signed with the exact countertop brand, line and color, the builder will be unable to pinpoint a price. Even if you tell a builder you would like granite countertops, there is a significant difference between every color and line of granite. By creating an allowance, the builder gives you money to work with allowing you to make the decision further on in the building process. However, you must compare the allowances of each builder. If one builder gives you $2,000 for your countertops and another builder gives you $8,000, make sure there is a $6,000 difference in the overall contract price. Remember that if you choose an item that is under your allowance amount you will receive a refund. Ask us for a contract guideline form for easier calculation of the differences. For any allowance item, be sure the builder will extend his discounts to you.
• Timeline: Be sure to consider the different expected timelines each builder promises. One builder may have a lower contract price, but how much will you pay in interest on your loan before he finishes the job?

To help decide if a builder is the one you want to construct your new home, experts suggest asking these questions:

(We will email you a convenient form with space for note taking if you send an email to ChoosingABuilder@envyhomes.com.)

About Envy Homes

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