Consider Building in the Mountains
Updated: 08/13/2022 • Bernie Gilchrist
If you’re looking for your Mountain Dream Home here in Western North Carolina and you just can’t find the right home at the right location, then you may want to consider building to ensure your dream comes true. I have so many clients that have a clear idea of what they want to buy but can never find it. If you can’t find a home that’s right for you, then I recommend first locating and purchasing the land that is right for you. Some folks want a mountaintop home while others want to be on a river or close to town. One thing is for sure, once you purchase the land that speaks to you, you can then move on to what type of home you want to build.
Whether you want to build a traditional home, log home-cabin or a modern home, you want to know that you are buying a good quality home from a reputable builder. If you’re in the market for a new home, you should shop for your builder as carefully as you shop for your land and home plans. Here are some tips to help you choose a builder in these old mountains.
First, Make a List of Possible Local Builders
Once you have thought about the type of house you want, you can create a list of potential reputable builders.
- Contact the Smoky Mountain Home Builders Association to obtain a list of builders who construct homes here in Jackson and Haywood counties.
- Look in the real estate section of our local newspaper for builders and projects. Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you to learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building and the prices you can expect to pay.
- Make a list of builders who build the type of home you’re looking for in your price range.
- Talk with us or another local real estate agent, we can help you in your search.
- Ask friends and relatives for recommendations. Ask about builders they have dealt with directly or ask them for names of acquaintances who have recently had a good experience with a builder.
- Ask the local Chamber of Commerce or Better Business Bureau for a list of reputable builders.
Second, Interview Potential Builders
When you have a list of potential builders, it’s time to start asking lots of questions — of both the potential builders and the owners of their homes.
Interview potential home builders to get the answers to all the questions you have. Have your questions ready and take notes.
Ask the builder for a list of recent clients that would be willing to talk with you. Then, visit a builder’s recently built homes and subdivisions. Drive by on a Saturday morning when homeowners may be outside doing chores or errands. Introduce yourself and say you are considering buying a home from the builder who built their home. Talk to several owners and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression of a builder you are likely to get.
Some questions to ask homeowners include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder? Did they stay on budget?
Usually, people tell you if they are pleased with their homes. And if they are not, they’ll probably want to tell you why. At the very least, drive by and see if the homes are visually appealing.
When you talk to builders and homeowners, take along a notebook to record the information you find and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will help you to make comparisons later. Remember to document all comments.
Third, Shop for Quality, Value and Ideas
You want to get this right so be prepared to know what to look for and a clear understanding of the quality you expect for your home.
Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes. Model homes and houses displayed in home shows are often furnished to give you ideas for using the space. You may also ask a builder to see unfurnished homes.
When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trim work and paint. Ask the builder or the builder’s representative a lot of questions.
Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.
Fourth, Ask Questions
Here are a few questions you may want to ask…
When you’re thinking about buying a new home, selecting the right home builder is a key step in creating the home of your dreams. You should feel comfortable asking a potential home builder every question that you think is important. And, a professional builder or sales representative will want to make you a happy and satisfied home owner.
Besides the questions of “How much does it cost?,” and “When can we move in?,” here are some other questions you should ask:
- Will the builder give you references of recent buyers/occupants?
- Does the builder have a financing plan established?
- Are there options in the floor plan — for example, can a basement or deck be added?
- Can a room such as the basement be left unfinished?
- How much “customizing” can be done versus standard features?
- Can appliances be up- or down-graded?
- Are there any additional fees relating to the home or development?
- Will there be a homeowners’ association? If so, what will the dues cost and what do they cover?
- Does the builder offer a warranty program?
- Does the price include landscaping? What if the plants die within a year?
- Are there any restrictive covenants?
- What are the estimated taxes on the property?
- How is the school system rated?
- Are day care and grocery stores convenient and satisfactory?
- What about emergency facilities — police, fire department and hospitals?
- Are there any major development plans for the area in the next five years?
Once you have done your homework and prepared, then you’ll be better equipped to build your Mountain Dream Home!