Armchair Builder

New Home Pitfalls

New Home Framed

New Home at Frame

Real World Example

The best way to describe potential new home pitfalls is to share a real world example.  I want to tell you about friend of mine that had a new home built by a production home builder.  It was one of those communities that has a single builder constructing all of the homes.  There are four or five house plans offered with a list of optional items available.  So on the day of closing, instead of moving in my friend was tearing apart the house.  That’s right, he removed the vinyl flooring in the baths, kitchen and laundry.  He removed the tubs and showers so he can install tile floors and walls.  All of the walls were painted custom colors and the basic appliances were removed to allow for the installation of restaurant quality appliances.  New mirrors were hung as well as glass shower surrounds installed.  Now, you are probably wondering the same thing I wondered at the time…Why did he decide to have this builder construct his new home if he didn’t like what they were offering?

This is one of the new home pitfalls that some people find themselves in.  It turns out, the plan and the location were perfect, but my friend thought the options offered by the builder were too expensive.  And after having looked at the list of options available, he was right.  The prices were outrageous.  He also wanted some specialty products not offered by the builder.  The builder had contracts with several product manufacturers that wouldn’t allow them to offer products supplied by others.  So, he had two options.  First, he could do exactly what he did…have the builder construct the home and then remodel it after closing.  This added another $15k to the price of the home.  His other option was to buy one of the many lots available in the area and built it as the owner-builder.

Avoid New Home Pitfalls

One way to avoid the new home pitfalls is to become an owner builder.  Even without a construction background, he could have hired a local builder consultant to help with finding trades, bidding, signing subcontracts, scheduling, and quality inspections.  My friend would have saved some big cash in the process and would have avoided the remodeling, waste, and extra costs he incurred after closing.  Sure, there would be extra time required and there are risks associated with becoming an owner builder.  But for those that accept the challenge, it can be extremely rewarding both monetarily and personally.

Production is Not All Bad

If you can find a production builder community in the location you want, with the house plan of your dreams, it can be a good alternative.  Many of these companies like D.R. Horton and KB Homes are very good at what they do.  They’ve simplified their building process to increase efficiencies.  This can be good for customers.  But don’t expect to make a bunch of changes.  If they will allow them, changes will cost you dearly as this is how many production builders pad the bottom line.  It’s not a bad thing, it’s just how the business works and as long as you know what you’re getting into, you’ll be fine.

Owner Builder Help

If you’ve stumbled onto this article without knowing anything about Armchair Builder and you think you might be interested in building your own home, well, you’ve come to the right place.  We offer videos, articles, and pro resources to help owner builders general contractor out their own home.  Stop by our Build Your Own Home resource page for links to some of the best resources.

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