Many of my clients build with me, and, in fact, it’s a large part of my business. Since my background is in engineering, I feel right at home in the design phase and the selection of a proper home site, not to mention planning out all of the details.
I can remember a drafting class I took in high school where we used pencil and paper (eventually we went to mylar and ink, but that’s another story) to draw up a floor plan of a home. We actually built a scale model of the home we designed, and ever since I’ve been hooked on design.
I went on to design everything from medical devices and tanks for the military to satellites. When I got into electronics, I started my own firm and we designed circuits for more products and companies than I can count.
Moving to Charlottesville
When we moved to Charlottesville 12 years ago, I left that life behind and got into real estate. It was therefore natural for me to have a passion for new construction and also to want to learn every part of the process.
Selecting a Home Site
The process of selecting a home site is much more complex than just what fits a clients’ budget. The topography of the lot is a major factor and you actually should have a good idea of what your home design will be so that you can see if the two work together.
There are also several other things to consider: power, water, easements and line of sight. I can go on, but you get the idea.
Selecting a Builder
The biggest mistake I see clients make is that they use the builder who owns, or has an option to own, the lot they want. It’s a huge decision when you select a builder, and, let me tell you from experience, you want one that’s not only excellent, but one that you get along with, as this process has a lot of interaction.
The second biggest mistake I have seen in our area is someone who works with the builder’s agent or goes to a sales office and works with the builder’s representative directly. Working without an agent to represent your interests in Virginia doesn’t make sense. When someone does this, they must think they are getting a better deal, but this isn’t true.
The price, with or without an agent, will be the same. I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t use a professional to protect their interests. The truth is that the public just needs to be better educated on this subject.
Selecting an Agent
I do watch other agents, and even those who represent builders. Most have very little knowledge of engineering, construction and the problems that may arise in the process of building.
I’m not saying that these agents are not good at what they do with regard to writing a contact, negotiating a price, working with the attorney, etc., but I am saying that they tend to treat new construction like any other contract, and, in my opinion, new construction is unique.
Why Some of my Clients Build
For some clients building is a perfect option. If they have the time, the capital and really want new construction, then a client may be a good candidate for building.
Building is not for everyone and it takes special considerations. If you’re thinking of building, let’s talk!