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Frequently Asked Questions

  • How to Select a Builder.
  • Should I buy a build a new home or buy a resale?
  • Tips for Selling your Present Home.
  • What are Building Codes?


Selecting a Builder - By Judy Kincaid 

Once you make the decision to build or purchase a new home, you must then select your builder. Equally important, you need to have some idea of the style of home you want, area or areas you want to live, and it goes without saying, a preliminary budget. Once you have made these decisions, you are ready to begin the selection process of contracting for your new home. This is an exciting time and emotions can run high, but do remember, buying a home is one of the most important investments of a lifetime and needs to be treated with utmost respect. 

Starting Your Search 
Begin by looking in the real estate div of your newspaper. Large production builders have model homes for you to walk through, as do many medium and small builders. Model homes help to select a floor plan and to visualize how space is used. They also are useful in determining what your budget will buy. Real estate companies and your local Home Builders Association are great resources. 

The Internet is fast becoming the way to do home buying research. Many sites feature floor plans, options and area information allowing you the luxury of picking and choosing many items from your computer. This new way of shopping also saves time by eliminating areas that are not suitable for your lifestyle. You will find website addresses on most builder and REALTOR ads. Friends, relatives, and co-workers who have recently purchased new homes are also great resources. 

Making the Right Choice 
Once you have your list of potential builders, check their reputations and the quality of their work. Record your impressions in a notebook, as this is helpful when making comparisons. Visit communities where builders have recently built. Look at homes that are the style you have interest in. Talk to people who have built with the builder you are considering and ask questions. Did the builder do what he promised and did he finish in a timely manner according to his deadlines? Would they build with the same builder again? 

Shop for Quality and Value 
When visiting builder models or homes recently built by the builder of choice, check for quality. Cabinetry, carpeting, drywall, trim work and paint are good indicators. If you are not comfortable checking these items, take someone along who has construction knowledge. Value is equally important. Just because a home is less expensive doesn't make it a better value. A home is primarily a place to live, but it is always an important investment. Consider appreciation values. Be concerned with the value you are getting for your money regarding 

Warranties and Service 
After the sale, an important criteria is the type of warranty provided on the home. Ask to see a copy and read it carefully. Don't be afraid to ask questions. Most builders offer a written warranty. Warranties on new homes are usually for one year. Many items in the home will be covered under manufacturer's warranties. 

Inspection and Closing 
A walk-through of your new home should take place prior to closing. At this time, a checklist of items needing repair and missing items are listed. Most builders have a time limit as to when these items are to be completed. Additional follow-up times are stated in the purchase contract. Customary is 30 to 60 days after move-in, with a final walk-through eleven months after closing. Emergencies are handled on an as-needed basis with your builder providing telephone numbers at the time of closing. 

Be Thorough 
Ask questions...Be specific...Understand your contract... Building or purchasing a new home is a wonderful thing. Do your homework so you will have the confidence and knowledge to not only make the right decision, but to enjoy the experience. 

Building a "New" Home vs. Buying a Resale 

Much has been said about purchasing or building a "New" home versus purchasing a resale. It is a decision each family must make but buying "New" does have its advantages, and the building process, no matter what you may have heard, can be a fun time. 

New homes today offer far more then they did just a few years ago. Builders and developers work very hard to provide buyers with value, style, design and community. Floorplans are creative with kitchen and baths leading the way with more space and amenities. Locations are selected with care and for their potential value. And with building materials increasing at an average of 5% a year, your "New" home may increase in value before you even move in. 

"New" homes can be personalized. Imagine your home and what is important to your family...large and lovely windows, a brick fireplace, built-in desk and bookshelves, beautiful faucets, and an energy efficient furnace...the decisions are yours to make. 

The community you select depicts your lifestyle. Young childrenÉswim club, bike trails, and a tot lot. Tennis, golf and other family sports are an important part of many Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky communities. Enjoy your home and enjoy your neighborhood.

The "New" floorplan has many possibilities. A hearth room for cozy evenings, the home office or computer area, the gourmet kitchen for entertaining family and friends, the master suite your special retreat, or a sun room or screened-in-porch for enjoying year round sunsets. 

Exterior design reflects personal style...the Brick Traditional, English Tudor or Wood Contemporary...all beautiful yet so very different. Landscaping and gardening have become important not only in how the home looks but on family lifestyle...your choice simple or elegant. 

The neighborhood "feel" is so important. Curving streets, distinctive entranceways, large yards, placement of the home, and architectural diversity all contribute to making an attractive community. Trees, plantings, and walking paths make for a great looking neighborhood and a great place to live. 

The choices are yours to make when building or purchasing a "New" Home. 

Selling Your Present Home 

You have signed the contract to build your new home and six months (or whatever time your builder has agreed to) may seem a long way off - but it is time to think about selling your home. 

As important as it has been to think through the many details of purchasing your "New" home, just as much thought needs to go into selling the home where you presently live. 

Curb appeal is crucial to selling any home. It is very important that the outside of your home project a welcoming air to invite in buyers and Real estate professionals. Walkways and porches need to be clean, in-season flowers project a warm welcome and it goes without saying that the grass needs to be cut. Once inside, a bright, clean interior becomes the major selling point. 

Windows - need to be clean, cracked windowpanes replaced, screens removed to let the light spill in, wash or dry-clean curtains, remove damaged or stained blinds, paint window trim and be sure window sills are uncluttered. 

Walls - need to be in neutral tones, remove busy or outdated wallpaper and always remember light walls make a room look larger. Display framed artwork, decorative plates or sconces. Hang mirrors in small rooms to make spaces appear larger. Make sure all doors, switch plates and mirrors are clean. For visual interest, add a wallpaper border. Attractive borders are an inexpensive way to spruce up a room. 

Floors - If you can't strip or refinish your wood floors, at least have them buffed and treated with a single layer of polyurethane. Clean carpets and repair rips. Scatter rugs are popular and can be used effectively to brighten small spaces. Make sure they are backed with non-slip pads. Replace worn sheet goods or linoleum and repair chipped tiles. Make sure grout around tile is clean. 

Just doing these few things will make a great difference in how your house is perceived by future buyers and hopefully will make for a quick sale. 

What are the Building Codes? 

Building Codes have been developed by well intentioned people who are actively involved in the construction industry. The purpose as stated in the CABO One and Two Family Dwelling Code, "is to provide minimum standards for the protection of life, limb, property, environment, and for the safety and welfare of the consumer, general public and the owners and occupants of residential buildings regulated by this code." However it is important to remember that building codes are adopted, modified and enforced by local politicians and government officials. 

An important fact about building codes is that they "are not intended to limit the appropriate use of materials, appliances, equipment or methods of design or construction not specifically prescribed by the code, provided the building official determines that the proposed alternate materials, appliances, equipment or methods of design or construction are at least equivalent of that prescribed code..." In other words you might be able to use alternate construction methods or materials, provided you can prove - to the satisfaction of the building official - that your way is as good or better then what the code book describes. 

In order to learn which codes are being used and how they will affect you and your construction project, contact your local building inspection department, office of planning and zoning and/or department of permits. You may want to start by calling the most local government body that has jurisdiction. Local boards, councils, and assemblies frequently exclude portions of "standard" codes and/or adopt requirements that are not specifically prescribed in "code books". Depending upon other specifics about your project, including but not limited to whether or not you have a well, septic, system, sensitive environmental conditions, or public use areas, you may also be subject to state and/or federal requirements. 

Building codes are constantly changing and they can vary by state, county, city, town, and/or borough. Be sure to thoroughly research the codes in your area before you build.