These early decisions are critical. We have chosen our team carefully to have the right tools and experience to guide you in these critical steps.
MONEY - Probably the place the start. Some of our clients have cash. Most do not. In that case, it becomes a little more involved. You should remember that you are really building the bank's home. By this, I mean that they do have a say in what they will and will not finance. The appraisal process largely determines what they will loan in a given area of town. We are always pushing the lenders to consider other factors in appraising our homes, since they generally cost more to build, but also have significantly lower energy costs and insurance risks. We often do preliminary or "desk" appraisals for our clients when looking at land to determine what building costs could be in a given area of town.
Do you know that many banks do not do construction lending? Do you realize that there could be three different loans and three different closings at title companies? There can be a lot loan, followed by a construction loan, and then a mortgage at the end of construction. The number of loans and closings can be minimized by working with a lender that specializes in new construction. It will save you time and money, not to mention avoiding a lot of frustration and confusion.
LAND - The cost of land in Houston varies wildly, ranging from $10,000/acre just 30 minutes out of town, to $50 to $70 or higher per foot in close in neighborhoods like River Oaks and West University. Other things to consider are location, schools, transportation, land clearing, demolition costs, flood plain issues, soil conditions, and so on. Most properties are listed on HAR, but a good realtor will have other sources for finding the right lot for your project. In driving around a desired area, you may even find for sale by owner lots. However, these are generally unrealistically priced by an overly optimistic seller.
It is critically important to have your builder and architect, as well as your realtor, look at a desired lot to determine if it is feasible for the project that you wish to build. We will help you ensure that the lot is acceptable for the home that you wish to build. Is it big enough? What about setbacks and easements? What will the footprint of the home be? Where will the garage go and how will the driveway be laid out? Is it in the flood plain? If so, how high up will it have to be built? Can a large tree be saved?
In fact, you really need to discuss what the lot needs to be, before you go shopping for lots. The reason is that lots in town go fast and when you find the right one in the right area at the right price, you need to be prepared to ACT. It will not be available long!
PLANS - This is the fun part, or at least it should be. So far, we haven't built for someone that just hit the lottery, so we expect everyone will have a budget. As the client, you are in charge of the cost of the home, so try to be in charge from the start. Don't wait until the house design is complete to find out that it costs way too much! You control three variables in the design process. They are the budget, the square footage and the quality of the finishes. We can help you understand how these are related and how to make sure that there are no surprises once the design and engineering are complete.