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Building a new home is an overwhelming process, and it is easy to lose your place in the process. Every decision you make in building your new home, from floor plan to contractor, affects how quickly you can move in, how much it will cost you, and how good the quality is of your home. You should be well-educated before beginning this adventure, and Build Your New House In No Time can help shed light on the home-building process. Author and president of Better Homes Seminars Lon S. Safko will teach you the ins and outs of building a new home, including:
The Largest Investment in Your Life: Be an Educated Consumer!
Who Should Read This Book
How This Book Is Organized
How the Information Is Organized
Part I: What You Need to Know Before You Start to Build
Part II: Getting Started
Part III: Starting the Design Process
Part IV: Planning and Prevention Build a Better Home
Special Elements and Icons
Recommendations for Using This Book
Some Tips Before You Start
I. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOU START TO BUILD.
1. Making a Decision on What to Build.
Understanding the Pros and Cons of Custom Homebuilding
Defining Your Options
Making the Right Choice for You
Reasons to Use a Homebuilder
Homebuilders Have the Right Relationships
Homebuilders Understand the Building Process
Homebuilders Can Negotiate Better Prices
Homebuilders Have the Necessary Insurances
If You Must
Hiring a Homebuilder Takes the Pain Out of Homebuilding
Homebuilders Understand the Magnitude of the Project and Can Avoid Costly Errors
Municipality and Administrative Approvals
2. Being Insured Properly Can Greatly Reduce Your Risk.
What Insurance Policies Do You Need While Building?
What Exactly Do You Need to Be Safe?
If You Paid for the Insurance Your Builder Needs, You Could No Longer Afford to Build
What Will the Necessary Protection Cost You?
What Insurance Does a General Contractor Carry?
Why You Should Contact the Homebuilder's Insurance Company
3. How to Apply Yourself to Getting a Construction Loan.
Knowing Your "Dollars on the Dirt" Before You Begin
How the Builder Goes from "Dollars on the Dirt" to Your New Home
Finding a Lender
Choosing the Right Loan Package
Accumulating All Your Financial Records
Listing Your Credit Card Accounts
Recording Your Other Account Numbers
Gathering Your Address and Work History
Running Your Own Credit Report
Where to Find Your Credit Reports
Understanding Your FICO Score
How to Clean Up Your Credit Report
Amortization Made Simple
Work Through an Amortization Example
4. A Few Key Clauses to Consider in Your Contracts.
What's the Value of a Good Agreement?
Who Is the American Arbitration Association?
A Sample Binding Arbitration Clause
What Are Soft Costs, and Why Are They in Contracts?
Make Sure Soft Costs Are Included in the Fixed Costs of Your Contract
Time Frame for Making Selects
Make Your Selections Based on the Building Schedule
5. Building Your Team of Professionals.
Identifying the Best Realtor for You
How to Locate a Good Realtor
Determining Your Potential Realtor
Getting Your Lender on Your Side
A Lending Relationship Needs to Be Two-Way
Picking Your Lender
Who Selects the Title Company?
What Does a Title Company Do for You?
What's the Relationship Between Your Realtor and Your Title Agent?
Code of Ethics and Conduct
6. Doing Your "Home" Work on Your Homebuilder.
The Process of Finding a Good Homebuilder
How to Locate a Homebuilder Near Your Location
Does Your Homebuilder Pass the Test?
Don't Panic: Interviewing Is Much Easier Than It Sounds
II. GETTING STARTED.
7. How to Select Property Properly.
Who Supplies the Land and Who Doesn't
Asking All the Right Questions Helps You Buy Better Property
Finding the Best Piece of Land for You
Realtors Can Help You Find Your Land
Enlisting Friends, Family, and Others
8. Start Planning Your New Home.
How to Find Home Plans You Really Like
Where to Find a Good Selection of New Home Plans
Find Plans on the Internet, in Books, and with Your Builder
How to Get the Perfect Plan
Starting with an Existing Set of Plans
What Are Study Sets of Plans?
Making Changes to the Plans
How the Builder Determines What's Included in Your New Home
Tell the Homebuilder Your Quality; He'll Tell You the Size
9. Know What's Included in the Base Price.
Putting Together a New Home Ideas Kit
Getting Inspired by Model Homes
Are You Getting What You Pay For?
How You Confirm the Negotiated Price
Building Begins with the Specs and Selects
You Need to Communicate with Your Homebuilder
Don't Leave Money on the Table Because of Comps
Comps Are Only a Starting Point
Negotiating Can Save You More Than You Think
Production (Tract) Homes Can Produce Good Results
Can You Buy a Custom Home for the Cost of Production?
How Is a Production Home Produced?
Make Your Home Better by Collecting Your Ideas in Advance
A File Can Save You Time, Money, and Mistakes
Brochures Can Communicate Your Ideas Better
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Dollars
Collecting Floor Plans Helps You Plan Better
10. Selects and the 5,000 Decisions Necessary to Build a New Home.
Why Are Specs and Selects So Important?
What Are Specs and How Do They Affect Your New Home?
What Are Selects?
Making Your Selects on Time Can Keep Your Project on Schedule
Using the Select Sheet and Builder's Construction Schedule
Using Your New Home Select Sheet
Following Your Builder's Construction Schedule
Colorizing Is the Harmonizing of Your Decisions
Help with Interior Design Is Available
III. STARTING THE DESIGN PROCESS.
11. What You Need to Know About Standard Options.
What Is a Standard Option?
Know Your Choices
If It's Not Standard, It's an Upgrade
Can You Use Your Own Subcontractors?
Make Every Standard Option and Upgrade Part of Your Specs and Selects
12. The Benefits of a Builder's Allowance.
Why a Cash Allowance Can Be a Good Thing
Who Pays When You Exceed Your Allowance and Who Keeps the Difference?
13. Get Your Own Costs and Compare.
When You Compare, You Know the Facts
How to Get Bids to Better Understand Your Costs
Comparing Your Bids
A 10-Minute Negotiation Can Save You $10,000
The Importance of Including Your Specs and Selects
Three Ways to Minimize the Impact of Bid Errors
Minimize Bid Errors with Specs and Selects
Minimize Bid Errors with a "Not to Exceed" Clause
Minimize Bid Errors with a Time and Materials (T&M) Clause
Does Your Homebuilder Mark Up Outside Bids?
How Much Markup Is Fair?
14. Working with Change Orders.
What Are Change Orders?
When Can You Do Change Orders?
Who Accepts Change Orders?
Always Communicate Your Change Orders
Avoid Unwritten Change Orders
Fax, Fax, Fax Your Conversations
15. The Importance of Your Financial Draws.
How the Draw Process Works
Inspections and Release of Funds
Miss a Schedule, Miss a Draw, Slow the Progress
Set Your Draws on Line Items
Other Draw Items You Should Know About
16. Building a Contingency into Your Loan.
Planning Ahead for Unseen Expenses
Be Prepared for Upgrades, Unforeseen Events, and Unanticipated Necessities
Build It into the Loan So That It Can Be Built into the House
If You Don't Use All the Money, You Can Give It Back
IV. PLANNING AND PREVENTION WILL BUILD A BETTER HOME.
17. Understanding Building Permits and Approvals.
What You Need to Submit to Acquire a Building Permit
Who Should Submit Your Plans?
The Homebuilder Knows the System
How Long Can Permits Take?
Government Agencies Can Take Their Time
Who Needs to Approve Your New Home Plans?
Architectural Review Board
18. A Good Site Foundation Is the Base of a Good Home.
What Is Clearing and Grubbing Your Land?
Preparing Your Site for the Foundation
Knowing the Types of Soil That Can Affect Your Home
Soils Can Range from Rock to Clay
Some Clays Can Move Your Foundation
Why Soil Compaction Is Important
Understand Soil and Compaction Reports
19. Getting the Jump on Termites Before You Start.
Why Termites Can Be a Serious Problem
What Are Termites?
How Do You Detect Termites?
Pretreat to Prevent Insects Before You Begin Building
Other Forms of Pretreatment Help Keep Your Home Safe
The Pretreatment Certificate and Warranty
How You Can Help Prevent Termites After Construction
Some Simple Measures Can Keep You Termite Free
20. What You Need to Know About Your New Septic System.
How Does a Septic System Work?
How Does a Perk Test Affect the System Cost?
Good Soils Can Make Your Septic System Less Expensive
What Happens During a Perk Test?
Speak with Your Homebuilder About Septic Costs at the Start
Maintaining a Happy Relationship with Your Septic System
21. What You Can Find When Doing a Home Inspection.
Is a Home Inspection of a New Home Important?
Who's Been Inspecting Your New Home Already?
Should I Do a Prepossession Inspection?
Is a Home Warranty Necessary for My New Home?
Is the Homebuilder Responsible for the Warranty of My New Home?
Ten Things You Can Inspect
22. What to Look for Before You Take Possession.
What Happens at the Walkthrough
Early Effects of Your Home Stabilizing
Homeowner's Insurance and Contact List
A Walkthrough Checklist Can Ensure You Look at Everything
Take a Look at a Walkthrough List
23. Home Maintenance: Caring for Your New Home.
Learn How to Care for Your New Materials and Equipment
Take a Look at Some Examples
Get Your Owner's Manuals and Warranties at the Time of Installation
Remind Your Homebuilder to Save Those Manuals
Get Your List of Subcontractors
Subcontractors Warranty Their Work, Too
24. The Final Touches.
A Few Last-Minute Tasks
Releasing the Final Draw to Your Builder
Hold Back to Ensure That the Punch List Is Complete
Enjoy Your New Home!
Purchase Plan a Fabulous Party In No Time
A. Resources and References.