pulse. Sweaty palms. Short of breath. Although these sound like
the symptoms of an infatuated adolescent or an over-the-hill aerobics
instructor, they're also the telltale signs of a person who's anxious
to break ground and build a new home. You've stashed the cash, picked
a plan and prepared the family for a change of place. You're eager
to burst across the starting line, but before you take that first
step, make sure you have no misconceptions about the process. You
don't want to be over your head in dry wall before you comprehend
what you stand to gain and lose. Are you ready to build? Take this
quiz to find out.
"If I construct a new home, I can get exactly what I want."
Answer true and you understand that building from scratch offers
the unique opportunity to orchestrate every element of the home,
from the siding and windows right down to the bathroom faucets
and knobs on cabinets. Even the your stock plan can be customized
to make it one-of-a-kind.
"My new home will be a hassle-free place to live."
The answer is true. At least it will be for the first couple of
years. If everything in the home is new, maintenance chores will
consist of changing light bulbs. Fixtures, appliances and materials
will be under warranty, and if you have a good builder, he'll
come back to fix any construction glitches you discover after
moving in, provided you call him within a reasonable time period.
"Building is an easier way to acquire a house." Easy?
Was Rome built in a day? Constructing your personal empire is
a lot different from buying one. It only takes 30 to 45 days to
close on an existing home, but it takes an average of five months
to raise a house with the help of a builder. And those 20 weeks
are likely to be energy-sappers. You'll be under pressure to make
hundreds of decisions within a very short period, and you'll be
juggling these challenges with your family responsibilites and
work. It's a hefty investment in time and mental focus, but the
people who've been there say the fatigue is worth it.
"I can save money building a new home." Many people
think they can trim expenses by taking on the role of general
contractor, but this line of reasoning is more often wishful thinking.
You could pocket the 20 percent that a hired hand would take home
in profit, but the money earned could get spent. Subcontractors
will frequently quote higher prices to one-time home builders
who aren't in a position to give them ongoing work. Even materials
suppliers who claim to offer you builder's discounts are likely
to provide better prices to high-volume customers. However, that
doesn't mean the answer to this question is false. There are homeowners
who pinch pennies by doing some of the work themselves. If you
have time, expertise and a couple of handy-man friends, you can
tackle projects such as drywalling, siding or roofing.
"A new home will save on energy and insurance costs."
True. Even low-end homes are typically built with more energy-efficient
features than houses raised years ago. Double-paned windows, the
standard in home construction these days, have almost twice the
insulating value of the single-paned types in older homes, and
new houses have heavy-duty wall and attic insulation.
"A new house will appreciate more by the time I sell it."
This one's tough to prove true. According to the US Bureau of
the Census and the National Association of Realtors, the average
cost of both new and existing homes has increased by nine percent
since 1978. Although experts say a new house will appreciate more
than average in the first few years, its value eventually levels
off. However, if resale value is a primary concern, you can research
the amenities that are most-wanted in your area and incorporate
them into your plan. Only when you build from scratch do you have
that kind of control.
Did you answer most of the questions correctly? Congratulations.
You can plan and budget with the best builders. But even if you
had to rely on a cheat sheet to answer some of these questions,
at best you're getting an education, which is the first step on
the road to your new home.