I am kind of lost in this activity and appreciate someones kind help. Builder sounds and look legit. I went to some of the communities and discussed with owners there to see his reputation. So far good.
I live in upstate NY. base price is 315K. Following is what he provides as standards.
Could you guys please let me know some points on what I should check for? Most important questions I should ask for? Is it bad idea to reserve a lot which backs to a water retention pond?
Appreciate the help.
Did you check with the State of New York's licensing department to ensure that the builder is licensed? The State may also have a division for filing of contractor complaints; check that also. You may have to do some wandering around the NY website to find this information, but it's worth it.
I would also get a list of specific past jobs, old and recent (in addition to the commmunities with which you've already checked), and check the district and circuit courts' records to see if there have been any suits filed against the builder.
In my area, a function called Court Explorer is linked to our county's circuit court so I can research individuals and companies online. I don't know if counties in your area have that, but it's worth a try.
I wouldn't limit my search to just recent activity, as if there were problems, they may not have yet been discovered. On the other hand, if there were problems in older communities, there's been enough time to discover them and take legal action if that was the homeowner's choice.
BBB can also be checked but I wouldn't rely on them alone.
Good thing to thoroughly check out the builder before going ahead; I hope you find nothing unsatisfactory to spoil your plans. Good luck.
As to the water retention pond, I assume the lot in which you're interested is in a subdivision? If so, ask for a copy of the site plan (or plat if its exists) for the entire subdivision, and also ask for a copy of any Master Deed and Association By-Laws. You're entitled to copies if you purchase the lot, but it's a good idea to review them before so you know what restrictions there are.
You'll want to determine the who, what and where of access to the pond, and any maintenance, including what costs might be shared by the homeowners and/or assessed through the homeowners' association. Also determine if the pond will be fenced. If you have small children, this would be a necessity.
If there are provisions for the maintenance to be assigned by the developer to the homeowner's association, or other entity, after the sub is built out in full, check out what's involved, including whether or not assessments can be levied for ongoing maintenance or other issues relating to the retention pond.
My experience with retention ponds was only through commercial real estate development, but there were obligations specified for the developer for the retention area. I'm not sure I'd want a retention pond at the back of my property though.This message has been edited. Last edited by: GardenSprite,
The most obvious thing that I see is a lack of detail and allowance numbers - hopefully you have lots of more paperwork that fill things out more. Please don't take this wrong but the big 'red flag' that I notice is that this is speced out as a 'builder grade' house with the minimum requirement for everything. That and the fact that over half of all the 'features' listed are code required items that must be included in every house by law. That said, things from the list to check:
Structure - 2x6 is good but nice to know how far apart they are (16" OC is typical). Also, what's the roof framing - trusses or stick built?
Get more details and allowances on:
1. Sink - You get what you pay for. A $50 SS kitchen sink will be shallow and noisy.
2. Disposal - Same thing. Cheap ones are $80, better, quieter models are twice that.
3. Cable - I can guarantee that you will need more than 2 cable outlets. See if you can add more. While you are talking about it, consider Cat5a wiring for computer networks.
4. $1,000 for lighting is not going to go very far without getting really inexpensive fixtures. One splurge for a nice chandelier in the dining room can easily cost half that allowance (actually you can spend several thousand here alone without too much effort).
5. Bath fans - Again, cost tells. A basic $60 fan will work fine, but will sound like a jet engine at takeoff whenever it runs. Go for a model that is noise listed at 2 sones or less.
6. Water Heater - If there are just two of you, then a 40 gallon gas WH will work fine. If you have kids, then there could be problems. If you have teenagers, then you are going to run out of hot water all the time.
7. Kitchen cabinets - This is a hugely important area of the house. You need more details as to what cabinets you can get and what kind of allowance you have . Same for counter tops. Ditto for bathroom vanities.
8. Dishwasher - One of the red flags. A $250 dishwasher is about as inexpensive as you can get. Just try to talk on the phone in your kitchen when that dishwasher is doing it's thing. It's a $315,000 house, go for a decent dishwasher for twice the money.
9. Tile - what kind of choices and allowances.
10. Window grills - It really doesn't cost much more to get grills in all the windows.
You really need to answer these details for all items in the house. Like I said above, I see all builder grade stuff here. Of course the bad news is that any upgrades you may choose will cost you more. In some cases, lots more. The first step is to decide if you want to upgrade and in what areas, then find out if you even can (some developments are locked in with very few choices). And finally, find out what it will cost and if you can afford it.
The first house is a big step and a huge investment. While it is nice to know that you will be moving into a nice, new home that warm fuzzy will soon go away if the house doesn't meet your needs and style.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Jaybee,
Woow this just made me think twice about my plans..I am not sure how to select a good builder.
The best way is to get a direct referral from someone you know and trust who has used a contractor. Friend, relative or co-workers are good sources.
i see that your house is speced out to receive fiberglass tub and shower units. imho you will not be happy with these.
you should have cast iron tubs and tiled showers
it also calls for just 2 outside hose bibs.
you should have 4 1 on each end of house
i did not see any mention of an ice maker box behind the fridge
i am old school, i do not like pex piping for a custom home. i would perfer copper piping
i assume that this is a 2 story house?
how many baths?
you may need 2 water heaters
i perfer 1 w/h down stairs and 1 upstairs
it calls for scald guard valves in tub and shower
they are trouble later. if no kids, you dont need it. your big enough to turn the cold up a little lol
look at the ac specs. it says
balanced return air duct..this is a step that is important and rarely, gets done. inless you call them on it
to balance your system is to measure the cfm input into your unit
then adjust each register, to put out the same amount of air equally
ie... 100 cfm into retuirn duct..4 regesters would be balanced at 25 cfm out put each
this eleminates hot and cold spots in your house
demand a balance report.
your sewer system, insist on a 4inch cleanout as the sewer exits your house. with the cleanout flush with the ground. [so your mower can go over it]
ask for a end of line clean out. this would be a cleanout at the back of your house, so the whole sewr can be rodded out
ask for a clean out under each sinkThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Frodo,
In my opinion as soon as I seen "Pex Pipe" all you would have seen was ass and feet because I would have been gone. But if you're okay with it that's your choice.
Adding to the list......
No warranties implied for foundation and slabs.
30 yr. shingle for 10 or 11+ pitch, what pitch do have (pro rate)
Where is dryer vent located and exit ( known design flaw maybe)
1.6 gal. flush toilet (junk)
Ductless range hood.
What is exactly lot dimensions any easements/ rightaways.
Seeded lawn driveway any guaranties.
Flat paint throughout.
Gas fire place ( money pit)
Check out new homes in the area you wish to buy in. Visit the demos and compare, take notes on everything...
It's your money........
Forgot.... Dues, how much and what do they cover such as trash, snow removal,etc..
What type of restrictions will the neighborhood have.This message has been edited. Last edited by: ron45,
Based on what, Ron? Pex is the most trouble-free plumbing out there. Also, since it can easily be used in a manifold system, it eliminates many of the temperature / water flow fluctuations that are common in houses (like taking a shower when someone flushes a toilet). Pex is also easier and cheaper to install costing less for materials and labor compared to copper. Just about impervious to freezing as it will flex but not split. About the only thing bad for it is sunlight - not really an issue with household plumbing.
Except for some close to fixture connections, just about every plumber I work with has gone to Pex, as have I.
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