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  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb. 14, 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    They've got a builder - he'll hire his own tradesmen and take care of any "babysitting".
    Been there, and still believe the best protection you have is yourself/your spouse/other family member being visible and proactive.
    Proud Member of the "I Don't Do Facebook" Clique



  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2006
    Location
    The rocky part of KY
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    9,298

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    Being around to oversee isn't a bad idea but there's a fine line between being a PITA and being a good set of eyes.
    Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
    Incredible Invisible


    2 members found this post helpful.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Oct. 5, 2005
    Location
    Stanwood WA
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    296

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    Indeed, most people don't know what they are looking at when looking at the construction particularly in the early stages. Structural, lateral, energy, ventilation and moisture elements will mean nothing to them and they will have no idea if they are installed correctly. Having the homeowner stop by constantly to "oversee" really will be of no benefit unless they are a building professional. It will serve to slow things down and piss off the building trades.

    You either need to select builder who has a verified reputation and track record so that you are confident you can trust them or hire a "project manager-owners representative" with the building knowledge to perform regular inspections. Be careful going to the site and hand waving at the subs as you are likely to find yourself with an unexpected change order.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    410

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    Agreed !!


    1 members found this post helpful.

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2002
    Location
    Cow County, MD
    Posts
    6,958

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curb Appeal View Post
    Contracts will be done after the holidays and excavation should begin mid January. The estimated completion is late mid-July.
    Plan for a November move-in date. I'm not kidding.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Oct. 30, 2008
    Posts
    3,122

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    A good friend just built a semi-custom home and I went with him to his appointments to pick out the finishings. As the daughter of a contractor, I was horrified at what the building company was charging for the different tier levels of finishings. Tour your local Home Depot and Lowes and get a sense of the cost of tile, carpet, hardwoods, door knobs, etc. He was well on his way to get hosed when he finally agreed to look around and realized he could pay significantly less AND get better selection of options if he went with builder basics and upgraded later with individual contractors. And this is a very reputable builder in the Raleigh area of NC.
    Flip a coin. It's not what side lands that matters, but what side you were hoping for when the coin was still in the air.

    You call it boxed wine. I call it carboardeaux.



  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jan. 3, 2003
    Location
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Posts
    955

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    I have worked as a builder/developer for the last 15 years. Here are some tips:

    I know your builder said drop by any time. Do. not. do. that. He needs to know when you are coming. Most liability and builder's risk policies mandate that new home owners must be escorted while on site. Also, be prepared to don a hard hat and safety vest while you are there.

    Decide everything before you start construction! The fewer the change orders, the happier everyone is. You will probably still have one or two. I have yet to build a house with no change orders. It just doesn't happen. But, you can help yourself and your builder by making up your mind on your finishings and then sticking to the plan.

    Pay attention on your pre-drywall walk-thru. Look at where the electrical outlets have been placed. Check the width of the closets. Check the width of the doors at this meeting. It is easier to add or move or change before the drywall goes in. Show up to this meeting on time - I guarantee that the superintendent has other things he needs to do that day.

    Pay attention in your pre-construction meeting. Your site superintendent is your friend. I pay my construction managers and superintendents a nice salary to ensure that your home is the way you want it. Let them do the heavy lifting as far as subcontractors and workers goes. Sorry, but the people who are paying them directly (your builder) and can offer them more work have more weight than you.

    The concrete walks will be among the last things done, and will be done around the time of your landscaping. Please please please make sure the superintendent is aware that the sidewalk to the house must meet ADA slope guidelines. No one likes to tear out concrete to do it over (ask me how I know).

    On your final walk thru, stand in the middle each room. If you can see imperfections from the middle, those are the ones to touch up. Do not stand 12" from the wall - this will piss off your builder and you will not see them once you have pictures on the wall. By the way, you will have nail pops in drywall. It is normal. Wait until just before your home builder's warranty expires to have them fixed. By the end of the first year, the majority of them will have come out, if they are going to.

    Your builder should be using a title company and disbursing agent to pay subcontractors. The disbursing agent is responsible for collecting lien waivers, you don't have to worry about that. You can ask for a copy of the lien waivers be given to you at closing, but I would not necessarily count on it.

    Make sure you get all of your warranty information on the systems and appliances in your house. Hopefully, your builder will give them to you in a nice package - I put everything in a binder for the homeowner, along with copies of the warranty service request. Keep this where you can find it, and make sure you send in any warranty cards at closing.

    Expect the process to last longer than expected. It's just going to.

    Feel free to PM me if you have more questions.
    My new mantra - \"Life is too short not to eat ice cream.\"
    ReRiders Clique


    3 members found this post helpful.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Nov. 22, 2012
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    121

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    Stopping by definitely doesn't help if you don't know what you are looking at. They managed to install our tub wrong even though we were "watching". Discovered it when redoing the bathroom because the shower wall collapsed (they had tiled on regular drywall for the shower instead of waterproof drywall or whatever they are supposed to use). Some grout came loose, water got in, collapse of the wall and a major black mold site. Decided to change the tub surround at the same time, found out they had not put a base under the tub, it could have broken thru anytime. I think those happened because they got in a hurry.

    Also, subs don't always worry about work that isn't theirs. One side of sun porch roof was missing tar paper. We had seen the tar paper on it before the roofers came. Best guess, it blew off and the roofers just ignored that it was missing and put the shingles on.

    One thing to check ahead of time. Switches for lights. Make sure that you can turn them off from different locations, as needed. Example, the light in our garage can only be turned on and off from the laundry room. Which makes the garage "people" door useless because you walk in to a dark garage (overhead door has no light panels on it). The second kitchen light only turns on from a switch by the back door, all the way across the kitchen. And the upstairs hall lights have three different switches upstairs, but can't be turned off from the front hall downstairs.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Jun. 25, 2007
    Posts
    2,213

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    We are building now. Do your OWN pre-drywall inspection with your own inspector. Most builders will allow. You want to catch mistakes and missed items before the walls go in. Think about things like sight out of windows, where you want spotlights at night, rough-ins for things you may want later like ceiling fans, plumbing. Once the plumbing and electrical goes in, BEFORE insulation and drywall, take photos of EVERY wall. So helpful later if you add things to the home, to know where wires and pipes are run. Think about how you will LIVE in the home. Do you want to look out a window while you are cooking? Do you need to see the kids playing in the driveway? Now is the time to change door or window locations. Spend your extra money on things you cannot change later. Like extra insulation/spray in insulation (we are adding on the rear walls of our home where the wind hits terribly). Add structural add ons now if you can - as in square footage (for value). A backsplash can be added later, but extending your family room 4-6 feet is alot harder. When you sign off on your final plans, check EVERY detail. I mean EVERY. Our builder has been wonderful and allowed about 10 change orders for us. We also visit often with no issue. If you are working with a reputable builder and experienced realtor (as in BUYER'S agent, not the builder's realtor), you should be in good hands.



  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,611

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    When they were building my house 10 years ago, the framers made two important mistakes.
    They could fix one, a window was in the wrong place.
    The other, not without considerable expense, so we let that go and the house ended up 8' shorter in length, that added under the garage roof, making the lower garage roof look a bit too long, but still ok.

    Not the framer's mistake, the company that made the plans, that made a mistake in the set for the framers, that the builder didn't catch, the framers didn't catch and I sure didn't either, just assumed all plans matched.

    We ended with the gable on the North end over a house wall, not as the true firewall separation between house and garage, kind of stupid, but it passed inspection as built.

    The fellow that stubbed the plumbing missed one whole line to the master bedroom by 6".
    That means they had to break up the shower pan and redo it to get the drain in the middle, at the plumber's contractor expense.
    The bathtub by it could be fixed easier.
    Mistakes just happen, no matter how much everyone supervises and how many measure and double check.

    Understand that there will be mistakes, some big ones, some that can be fixed, some not so easily.
    That happens in all in life.

    Try to have good advice and supervision and then do the best with what you end up with.
    Fight for what is important to you, learn to help them work around what is not working as intended, just as in any other we do in life.

    I always had a coffee pot, a cooler full of ice and basic soft drinks, coke, Dr Pepper and Gatorade, for whoever was working there and many days brought them a meal from the local cafe, whatever they wanted.
    Working way out here, they appreciated that.

    If you get good people that are trying to do a good job and you are pleasant, even when you could be mad, everyone will appreciate it.

    I still meet in town some times men that worked on my house and they come over to ask how all is going and tell me how much they enjoyed working on my house.

    I have a friend that is a builder, but lives 2+ hours away, so he could not build my house.
    He came check at times and approved of all they were doing.
    He said that building is so stressful for the owners, they many times are taking that out on the builders and by the time the house is done, everyone is walking on eggs.
    He appreciates it when some owners do still end happy and not grumpy by the time it is over.
    The joke between builders is that the builder/owner contract is like a marriage, that tests everyone as the process goes along and is as apt to end up with all still talking to each other after it is done, or a divorce.



  11. #31
    Join Date
    Dec. 2, 2004
    Posts
    3,256

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    ^^^ famous words from the new home owner

    "I didn't know it was going to look like that. "


    Builder: sigh
    The truth is what you can get other people to believe.

    -- Tommy Smothers



  12. #32
    Join Date
    Mar. 24, 2004
    Location
    Pottstown, PA (East Coventry)
    Posts
    3,058

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    My In-laws added an interesting clause to their new home construction. Something to the effect that if the home construction went more than X# of days past the contracted completion date the builder would pay to house the family in a hotel until the house could get a certificate of occupancy. It was a great incentive to make sure the builder completed on time.

    I know they had it in the house they had built in the 70's but am not sure if it was in the one they had done 10 years ago. They would not have needed it from a financial standpoint 10 years ago as they can more than afford to go to a hotel for a month or so. It would have been beyond their means to do that with 4 young children in tow in the 70's.

    My MIL recommended for our first house to not upgrade the carpets through the builder. Her thought was that you would be paying for those upgrades for the full 30 years of the mortgage but the carpets would be long replaced before then. She was right.
    Oh, well, clearly you're not thoroughly indoctrinated to COTH yet, because finger pointing and drawing conclusions are the cornerstones of this great online community. (Tidy Rabbit)


    1 members found this post helpful.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,611

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    Quote Originally Posted by SonnysMom View Post
    My In-laws added an interesting clause to their new home construction. Something to the effect that if the home construction went more than X# of days past the contracted completion date the builder would pay to house the family in a hotel until the house could get a certificate of occupancy. It was a great incentive to make sure the builder completed on time.

    I know they had it in the house they had built in the 70's but am not sure if it was in the one they had done 10 years ago. They would not have needed it from a financial standpoint 10 years ago as they can more than afford to go to a hotel for a month or so. It would have been beyond their means to do that with 4 young children in tow in the 70's.

    My MIL recommended for our first house to not upgrade the carpets through the builder. Her thought was that you would be paying for those upgrades for the full 30 years of the mortgage but the carpets would be long replaced before then. She was right.
    My house was started in January, was supposed to be finished by April, but we put a clause to be finished by May, after that the builder had to pay so much per week over completion.

    Well, it was finished in September, the painter took 2 1/2 months to show up!
    We did agree to wait out for the best painter and he did do a wonderful job.
    Still today, 10 years later, the staining and paint looks like new.

    We traded those late completion payments for some change orders bills.



  14. #34
    Join Date
    Sep. 8, 2012
    Posts
    122

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    Building a house is a true test of a marriage! We were told that by a wise man and truer words were never said.

    Know your budget and stick to it! Make sure you look at the lights fixtures before you set it.

    Go into every room while it is framed. Think like you are living in it. Are there enough outlets? Are the light switches in the best place for every day use?

    Take lots of pictures while it is being built. Make sure you understand the plans so you will know what is right/wrong as it is being done.

    Good luck!

    Kim



  15. #35
    Join Date
    Apr. 17, 2002
    Location
    between the barn and the pond
    Posts
    14,284

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    Quote Originally Posted by SonnysMom View Post
    My In-laws added an interesting clause to their new home construction. Something to the effect that if the home construction went more than X# of days past the contracted completion date the builder would pay to house the family in a hotel until the house could get a certificate of occupancy. It was a great incentive to make sure the builder completed on time.

    That only works if there are no change orders.

    "Can we move that window?"

    Sure, but it isn't going to be free from a time or labor or materials standpoint.


    1 members found this post helpful.

  16. #36
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    40,611

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    If you can, walk thru some houses just being framed, so you can see what a room looks like before it is closed in.

    A standard 12' x 12' bedroom, just the sticks marking the walls, will scare you and make you run for the tape.
    It will look barely large enough to be a closet.

    Once sheetrock goes up, the real proportions start to show up and indeed it ends up being like that one room you measured in a finished house.

    I too have pictures of all the walls as they were going up and later with the electric and plumbing roughed in, for later reference, as you can't see where that is once covered up.

    Today they have foam insulation.
    If they had that when I built, I would have asked them to put plywood on the attic all over and use that insulation under the roof, as so many are doing today.
    As it is, there is some plywood up there in places, the rest just blown in insulation.
    Gives you a whole attic then to store stuff.



  17. #37
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2001
    Location
    Fairfax
    Posts
    1,721

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    Make sure your construction project manager is on site (full time or near full time). The workers tend to do whatever their job is, whether it should be done yet or not. Examples, I've seen drywallers seal up electrical that isn't complete, and you end up with live wire not terminated, in the walls. A full time project manager can prevent those types of problems. If you don't have a full time project manager, recommend you get an inspector and Insist on the ability to access the worksite before drywall goes in to check their work.


    2 members found this post helpful.

  18. #38
    Join Date
    Sep. 7, 2009
    Location
    Lexington, KY
    Posts
    17,459

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mara View Post
    This is why you hire a reputable builder.
    Even the reputable ones make mistakes. It doesn't hurt to stop by every day. They'll think you're a pain, but so what?
    "We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant


    1 members found this post helpful.

  19. #39
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
    Posts
    8,395

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    Don't buy the most expensive closet organizers, but price them out, and find a local company that also installs. My friends had Rubbermaid, and had it installed, for less than 1/3 of buying the pricier brand, and that didn't even include installation. Closet organizers are wonderful, and you can't go wrong with his and hers walkins that are huge.


    Get phone, and cable hookups in all rooms, and two near where you will put the main computer. That way if you put in internet phone, or VOIP (?) you can plug the phone line from the modem to the phone jack, and all phone jacks work.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White



  20. #40
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Alabama
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    8,395

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    Don't get really dark tile or hardwoods, because they show all of the dirt. If I get hardwoods I would get medium to light click together bamboo. Don't buy the usual threshholds, but have them rip an inch or two piece of bamboo and use that-then it saves money, is even with the floor, and looks great.
    You can't fix stupid-Ron White


    1 members found this post helpful.

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