Choosing the Right Home Builder

Are you considering building your new home?  There are a lot of things to consider when you are looking for the right contractor to build your dream home, but one significant item is to make sure your contractor is legitimate.  We hear too often in the news about contractors who have scammed people out of money, are unable to complete the work in a timely fashion, or do sub-par work.

If you can check even ONE of the boxes below, you may want to reconsider your contractor.  These are significant red flags that something is wrong.

□ Your contractor can’t provide appropriate licensing and insurance documentation when you ask for it. Obtaining a Contractor’s license is hard work if your contractor has a current license they will be happy to show it to you.  Insurance is important too!  Make sure they can show you certificates for General Liability, Automobile, Workers Compensation & Builders Risk.

□ Your contractor can’t provide up to date portfolios of work or references from other customers. Your contractor should be happy to refer you to speak to a number of their clients and be able to show you homes they’ve built.  You should also be able to obtain online reviews through sites such as Google, Facebook, and Houzz.

□ Is the permitting contractor the owner of the company?  If the owner of the company is not a contractor, then there are opportunities for any number of problems to arise.  The permitting contractor should be responsible to you, not beholden to another person. If there is a problem, who will REALLY be responsible?

□ The contract that the contractor presented to you does not go into detail about what is being provided in your new home and does not have the required legal protections that are afforded both you and the contractor by state law (these are required to be in your contract.)  There is a tremendous amount of information that should be in your contract; the contract is the detail of what is being provided, you don’t want to run into a situation where the contractor says “well, that isn’t in my contract.”  The contract should also have information in their contract that references their contractor’s number, the Florida Homeowners’ Construction Recovery Fund, and it should also discuss lien’s that can occur on your property.

□ They offer a lower price if you sign on the spot.  Aside from being one of the largest monetary decisions you’ll ever make, choosing the contractor to use can be a difficult decision. A quality builder will want you to feel comfortable and excited to start this process when you’re ready.

□ The contractor requests an odd or random payment schedule. Part of a well written new home construction contract is a Draw Schedule, with 6 -7 payments scheduled after certain designated parts of the house have completed (Deposit, Masonry, Roof, etc…)

Your contractor does not discuss or offer a warranty. As a builder, it’s always good practice to be registered with a Warranty company. A 10-year structural warranty is a benefit for the homeowner and builder.

 

Hurricane Season

Hurricane season starts in just a couple of weeks, June 1, and it’s wise to be prepared for the impact of a tropical storm system.  Even though hurricanes and tropical storms rarely have a direct impact on Central Florida (2017 and Irma being a statistical outlier,) it’s always a possibility that we can be directly affected by a storm so you must be prepared to respond quickly.  FEMA has created a checklist of supplies that should be considered necessary to have on hand in the event a hurricane comes your way.  You can find that checklist here:

https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1390846764394-dc08e309debe561d866b05ac84daf1ee/checklist_2014.pdf

You should be prepared with a minimum of 72 hours of supplies, even though you could be displaced or without power for longer.  FEMA and Ready.gov have several other recommendations available on their website for supply kits:

https://www.ready.gov/build-a-kit

Hurricanes and tropical storm systems should never be taken lightly.  Building codes and home construction in Florida have become significantly more stringent in order to protect life and property from the damaging effects of these storms, but you should never put yours or your family’s lives in danger, always heed the warnings of law enforcement and be prepared to evacuate if told to do so.

Hopefully, we will have many quiet years in Central Florida when it comes to hurricanes and tropical storms, but being prepared in the event of a storm’s change of direction will make it significantly more likely that you’ll be safer and your property better protected.

How Long Does It Take to Build a New Home

“How long does it take to build a home?”

This is a common question that we deal with on a regular basis when someone is looking at new construction for their next home.

Design & Estimation – This part of the process usually takes 15-30 days, depending on the final design and details of the new home construction.  This is where we work with you on developing a floor plan of your home and general (to specific) ideas of how you want us to finish your home.  We will then work with our vendors and subcontractors to develop a turnkey price for your home.

Financing – This part of the process can take from 30 days up to about 75 days, and that is almost completely dependent on which bank we are working with.  There are several lenders out there today who are capable of doing new construction loans from start to close in 30 days, but many (especially the big national banks) can take from 60-75 days (or more) to close your loan.  We’re happy to work with you to find a lender that meets your needs and offers you the best financing option for you.

Construction – It’s time to build your new home.  We’ll be working with you to make selections on how your home will be built, discussing locations for electrical outlets, and a variety of other items during this time.  Depending on the complexity of the home, most new home construction takes between five and seven months from when we start.

Overall the process usually takes us between seven and nine months from the time you commit to building your new home until we can have it ready for you to move in.

Increasing Home Prices

If you’re shopping for a new home you already know that one thing is obvious – home prices are going up.  Many of these factors are related to a lack of inventory (homes for sale) across the country.  This article from Inman (real estate news) describes the situation faced by consumers throughout large sections of the United States: https://www.inman.com/2018/03/13/realtor-com-says-inventory-shortage-driving-up-home-prices-mortgage-payments/

It states that the “average price of a home for sale on Realtor.com has gone up by nearly 10 percent between 2017 and 2018.” The reason for this increase in price is due to a significant increase in demand from potential homebuyers after the 2008-2009 recession.  The demand for homes exists, but the supply does not.

The lack of inventory makes this a great time to build your new home.  Construction prices in the North-Central Florida region still have not returned to their pre-recession highs, so you can build a home in 2018 for less money than you could in 2007!  This will not always be the case, though, as costs increase, home prices will follow.  Today we are building homes for approximately 2005/2006 prices with 2018 costs, which is a great position for the home buyer.  As costs and lack of inventory continue to drive up prices, it’s a good bet that it will never be cheaper to build a home than it is today.

Contact us at Secure Built Custom Home Builders to start building your new home!

Doing Our Part to Protect the Florida Honey Bees

As we all know, honeybees are experiencing a rough time due to what’s known as CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder).  This phenomenon not only threatens the honeybees, it also threatens a good portion of the food supply we as humans enjoy.

Earlier today on a job site in Summerset Estates, Ocala, FL our site contractor noticed a very large hive inside of a newly excavated tree trunk.  We stopped production to safely remove the bees and relocate the colony to a place where they can survive and thrive.

Home Automation

As home builders, one topic that we talk about more and more frequently with clients is home automation in new homes. New products are debuting on a regular basis, and sometimes it’s difficult to make sense of all the changes in the industry, and how to implement those changes into your new home.

Today, you’re able to control virtually everything in your house through an app from your phone or tablet. One of the common components that we discuss with home automation is app-controlled thermostats. There are a number of options available for controlling your thermostat from the Nest thermostat to the Ecobee thermostat and Honeywell, among a lot of other options.  These allow you to set, and control your thermostat from your phone or tablet while you are at home or away from home.  Some thermostats are actual learning thermostats that learn your habits on a day-to-day basis and will automatically adjust your temperature settings based on how it has learned your personal schedule.

Home automation doesn’t stop there, you’re also able to control your home’s irrigation system with products like the Rachio, home security systems and cameras from companies such as Nest and Amazon, your homes garage door opener with products like the Chamberlin MyQ, and even your shower with the U by Moen. These products only begin to scratch the surface of home automation is capable of, and what we at Secure Built Custom Home Builders can do you for you when we construct your new home.

If you’re interested in home automation in combination with your new home construction, let’s set up an appointment and discuss your needs!

Ten Reasons to Build vs. Buy

New Home Construction – 10 Reasons to Build vs. Buy

New Home Construction Buy Build
New Home Construction – Buy or Build?

#1 Custom Finishes.  Why settle for another person’s tastes which may be outdated at your time of purchase?  With new home construction, you can select your favorite cabinets, countertops, flooring, paint colors, plumbing, and electrical fixtures to make your home uniquely yours.

#2 Custom Design.  Many families have unique home needs.  Maybe there are 2 or 3 children in the house that would appreciate a playroom, or you need a particular area in your home for an elderly parent to live with you.  Finding an existing home that meets your family’s individual needs can be a daunting task.  New home construction will allow you customize your home design to fit your family’s needs.

#3 Safety.  New homes are built to meet today’s environmentally friendly codes and safety standards.  This means there are significantly fewer chances of the building materials containing volatile organic compounds, paint products are safer, and HVAC coolants are safer today than they have ever been. Today, home electrical system standards require better circuitry including wired smoke detection systems with battery backup throughout the home that lowers the opportunity for home fires.

#4 Advanced Technology & Home Automation.  Did you know that you could control your homes lights, fans, garage doors, door locks, appliances and air conditioners by the sound of your voice?  Just a few years ago these functions were only something we saw in science fiction movies, but today they are a reality.  Many new homes are equipped with state of the art technology that works with your WiFi connection and can be controlled by your voice or smartphone.

#5  Energy & Monthly Savings.  Today’s new homes are more efficient than homes that were built just five years ago and are significantly more efficient than homes 10 to 20 years ago.  Windows that are used today are typically double-pane and utilize required insulation techniques that have significantly improved air conditioning system efficiency.  The difference between energy costs on a new home vs. a home that is ten years old can be dramatic.

#6 Less Maintenance.  Homes today offer new designs and construction techniques that can reduce the amount of maintenance required on your home substantially.  The use of computer-aided design and machine manufacturing makes for better installation techniques and less long-term maintenance.  Newer homes also offer higher ceilings and open floor plans which better reflect the way we live.  These designs and cutting-edge products are engineered to work together better and require less maintenance over the life of the home.

#7 Warranties.  New homes and the products within it are all under warranty, some of which are guaranteed for ten years.  These warranties offer immediate peace of mind and provide buyers years of comfort and enjoyment before having to worry about upgrades and replacements.

#8 Location.  New homes are typically built in newer subdivisions or “up and coming” areas of a community.  It’s likely that they are also surrounded by other new homes which still incorporate a modern and fresh appeal.  Newer subdivisions may also have amenities, sidewalks and designated common areas that were less common in prior generations. 

#9 Wind, Storms & Homeowners Insurance.  Today’s homes are required by law to be built to withstand winds and rains from storms far better than homes that were built even ten years ago.  Insurance companies recognize the benefit of these building techniques and products and often provide generous discounts on insurance policies for new homeowners.  Owners of newer homes can rest much more relaxed knowing that their house was built to weather the storm.

#10 That new home feel.  “New car smell,” it doesn’t just apply to cars!  Homes are a reflection of the needs and desires of the person who built it.   When purchasing a home you may find that the house can be made to fit your needs, but with new construction, you can design the home to meet every requirement that you need.

Detail Oriented Home Construction

Detail Oriented Home Construction

“The devil is in the details”. If you’ve ever done work that has required you to have a focus on small, but very important things you’ve heard this saying.  As home builders, we pride ourselves on managing the details of the homes we have under construction.  We also do our best to apply these values across our entire business, from our marketing through to the home construction phase.

We took these pictures off of the Facebook page of a large nation-wide home builder.  Some of these are pictures where they’ve moved a home from a neighborhood and put it on an open piece of land in Photoshop, and some are renderings.

Does anything stand out to you?

 

We’ll help, they’re all missing driveways.

Luckily, these aren’t real homes.  They’re pictures or renderings of model homes that were done for promotional purposes.  The detail they missed is obvious, when they set the model house and landscaping down they didn’t pay attention to the driveway, or that there wasn’t one, or that it was even accessible since they’re all behind landscaping.

While this is minor in the grand scheme of home construction, it goes to the mindset of the people running the company that is building a house, or maybe your home.  Make sure when you’re talking to your contractor that they’re focused on the details of your home’s construction, the things that are important to you, and not missing the important stuff.

Like driveways.

2018 Parade of Homes

Come See Secure Built Custom Home Builders During the 2018 Ocala – Marion County Parade of Homes.

The 2018 Ocala – Marion Country Parade of Homes is fast approaching.  Information regarding the parade can be found on the Parade of Homes Facebook page, and on the Marion County Builders Association website. In 2018 Secure Built Custom Home Builders is not only a participant in the Parade of Homes, but we are also a sponsor.  We will be showing our Southern Sunrise craftsman style model home that is located at 4011 SE 23rd ST, Ocala, FL 34471.  This home won awards for Best Curb Appeal and Best Bathroom in the 2017 Ocala – Marion Country Parade of Homes.  Come see us and the award-winning model home in Southeast Ocala!

 

 

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