Every year, Angie’s List awards their coveted Super Service award to the top five percent of businesses that exemplify extraordinary customer service. Here, at Lindus Construction, we are proud to have achieved this recognition for the past seven consecutive years. From time-to-time, our friends at Angie’s List invite our COO, Andy Lindus, to be a guest on their podcast to discuss where our industry is headed. Last month’s podcast with Andy discussed the ins and outs of home building and here are some of the highlights.
Remodeling vs. New Home Building: While it may come as a surprise, remodeling actually outranks new construction on the homeowner stress scale. That’s because homeowners generally live in a construction zone for the duration of the project while those building new homes have the luxury of stopping in at the job site to visit.
Getting Started: When considering potential builders, it’s a good idea to make your selection prior to even purchasing the lot. That’s because the layout of your house, and your lot, need to complement each other. Online reviews are a great place to start but it’s also wise to actually speak with a contractor’s previous clients to see if the contractor kept the project on time and within budget. Don’t just settle for clients that just completed projects, ask to speak with and visit jobs as old as five years to see how the work has withstood the test of time. Meet with the company’s designers and ask to meet the supervisor that would be in charge of your actual product to make sure they are a good fit. A picture is worth a thousand words and showing your contractor images from websites such as Houzz and Pinterest allow them to suggest options that will appeal to your tastes.
New Home Trends: As the size of the American family shrinks, so does the square footage of homes. Gone are the days were the kitchen was a secluded place. Most homeowners opt for open floor plans that combine the kitchen, dining and living spaces. This option is conducive to entertaining.
Builder Grade Materials: When building a home, a tempting way to cut costs is opting for builder grade materials. The name builder grade is a bit misleading since builders are technically using them, but by no means are builder grade materials the crème de la crème. In most cases, builder grade materials are just of average quality and are pre-built and mass-produced. Investing money into these types of products can actually leave a homeowner replacing them sooner, costing them more money in the end than if they had just spent a little extra money upfront.
Determining Price: When building a new home, the client and the contractor typically work out a price range that encompasses the work to be done and the materials the homeowners have selected. This amount can increase if the homeowner makes changes, once the project has commenced, but should be done through change order paperwork that discloses the additional costs involved. In order to not run over on your construction budget, at least 15% of it should be discretionary that can be spent at any time during the project. Permits should be pulled by the contractor who will have a working knowledge of which permits need to be pulled and the appropriate timelines associated with them.
Homeowner Visits to the Job site: Homeowner involvement within the project can be instrumental in the end result being exactly what their vision entailed. However, too frequent of visits to the job site can be a distraction and can actually slow the project down. A happy medium is usually a weekly visit to the job site by the homeowner. Bear in mind that most new construction projects have a timeline of six months to a year.
Final Inspection: Hands down, seeing the final product come to fruition is one of the most exciting parts of the home building process. This is a great opportunity to evaluate every window, door, appliance, light switch, faucet, etc. to make sure they function correctly. It can be a great idea to have a home inspector in attendance in order to thoroughly assess the property. A lot of contractors will include a home performance test during the final walk-through to ensure there are no air leaks within the home. It’s completely normal, and expected, that a contractor may have a small punch list after the final inspection in order to make the property perfect for the homeowner.
Warranties: In most states, laws are in place that protect homeowners with a two-year warranty on a new home. This is the beginning of the warranties associated with the home. Be sure to understand the warranties associated with the products installed such as roofing, siding, gutters, windows and major appliances. It’s also important to understand ahead of time what kind of a workmanship guarantee the contractor provides. A workmanship guarantee lays out the terms of how they will warranty items that malfunction due to improper installation.