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Hire a Builder

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I always advocate Hiring a Builder when you are looking for a Brand New Home and you're not quite ready to Build all on your own. You need soooo much money to Build Your Own House -- it has to be ready and easily available for all the zillion thngs you have to buy and services you need to pay for during the Build, so if you have the ability to Get a Mortgage, you can buy a New Home from a Builder. Live in this house for a 2 to 5 years, sell it and use your Big Equity you've gained to build the next house...

I think one of the best ways to do well in Real Estate is to Buy New and sell in a few years. I happen to looove mud and construction, so I have no problem buying in a Brand New Development with a lot of building going on around you. You'll get a Brand New House that will increase in value more than any other type of investment, with the smallest risk out there. (Can you tell I love Real Estate?? ha,ha! Can't help it -- I like things that work, and can't be bothered with things that cost a lot of money that might not lead you down a fabulous path, but that's just me!)

One of the great things about Buying a New Home as opposed to buying an Older Home is that once you have paid for the House, most of the spending is done. There are a few things that you have to spend some money on (and this is money outside of a Mortgage, which is a very different type of money, since it has to come straight out of you pocket...), like the Landscaping and Interior Decorating, maybe some Air Conditioning, but usually these can be done gradually as you build your Bank Account back up. 'Older' is usually about 20 years and up... the older the Country (like somewhere in Europe, where homes can be hundreds of years old...), the older the homes, of course, and when you're dealing with an Historical Home, that's a whole other story... but all older homes come with a lot of 'Hidden Expenses', like needing a new roof, new flooring, new lighting, new furnaces... I think you get the picture.

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Quick Note: If you are thinking about buying an Older Home, for Goodness Sake go and get a good inspection. If you already know a good Contractor, have them go over to the House to have a look at what work might have to be done. Don't dismiss what they say, since that could cost you a fortune in the future. And if you're thinking of Renovations when you first walk in the house (and who doesn't??), add in the Real Costs of Reno, not what you're hoping it will cost (not much...!). Renovations can run up to astronomical costs -- much higher than you would have thought were humanly possible!

You can get into some New Homes and Condos for $500. Down -- no kidding. Condominium Projects that ate literaly just getting off the ground can be a very good way of getting into the Real Estate Market. Look around at what's available, so you can make a wise choice.

If you are having a Custom Home built for you, you should be prepared to put down a percentage of the Final Price, or sometimes a flat fee to get started, like $20,000. The Larger the Builder (the bigger the Company), the less likely you are to have to put down a Big Deposit, but you should always have that kind of coin on hand if you're planning on having anything Custom Built for you. A Small Builder may have you pay for a lot of the Material Costs on the way through the Build, and you should be able to get a Builder's Loan that will later roll into a regular Mortgage to get you through that -- check with the Builder and your Banker, first.

Don't get in over your head -- ask about the Financial Arrangements at the very beginning, and then believe what they're saying. One of the biggest problms in Construction and Real Estate is that often someone will have a notion in their head of what they think something should cost, but it's not the reality of the costs involved... watch out for that pitfall.

Follow your Gut Reactions to a New Home, too. When you first walk into a lovely new home, you'll instantly know how you feel about it. Every home we've ever bouhgt, I walk in and say to Dwight, "Oh, I love it. This feels like Home." And it does, and we love each house. Oddly enough, when we bought this piece of Land, I immediately visualized the house on it (it was Bare Land at the time, of course...!), went home and drew out the House. We put an offer in on the Land, it was accepted and I literally dreamt the house, then got up in the middle of the night to draw out every detail. We had it professionally drawn up into Official Blueprints after that, then built the house. All very exciting!

Oh, that reminds me -- when you go into see a Show Home, they usually have all sorts of House Plans up on the Walls, and handouts for you to look therough to show you all their different styles and Floor Plans. Click on my How to Read Blueprints page to get a good understanding of House Plans, so they're not in any way intimidating. Basically, House Plans are just a Map of the house. A room that's 8' X 10' ( 8' means 8 feet) is a very small room, but big enough for a Child's Bedroom, and 20' X 16' is an enormous room, so anything in-between that is good.

The usual Ceiling Height for a Two-Story Home is 8 feet, but I like a 9 foot ceiling, or 10 if you ca swing that... you can always ask the Builder to see how much more it would cost to raise the ceilings by a foot.

Also, if you want a bigger garage, ask your Builder how much it would cost to add another 2 feet, or whatever you might like, where space is available. You might decide it's worth the extra money at the begining that you can add right into your Mortgage to get a bigger garage.

Good luck with your New Home! Drop me a line and let us all know what you bought!

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