What to Expect when You’re Inspecting

When you and your Realtor successfully negotiate an offer to purchase a home and you go officially “under contract”, the next step for smart buyers is to hire an inspector to inspect the home. But what does that entail, and how do you find a good inspector, and how do you know what he finds?

Inspectors are like any other professionals–there are good ones, there are really good ones, and there are not-so-good ones. Your realtor should be able to give you a list of several inspectors that are licensed by the state, and that past clients have hired and been satisfied with.

Call 2 or 3 of the inspectors on the list and find out what they charge, the scope of their inspection, how they will deliver the report and how quickly, how quickly they’re available, etc. Be sure to ask each inspector the same questions so you can compare apples to apples.

Once you hire someone and have an appointment set, it’s important for you to be there for the inspection. If you can’t come for the entire time, find out how long he’ll be there and come toward the end so you can go over the findings with the inspector on site. He should be able to show you pictures he’s taken of problem areas, explain what those problems are, and guide you in deciding whether or not you want to proceed with the purchase of the home.

Your inspector will inspect the whole house. He’ll look at the roof, go into the attic, check the electrical panels, switches, and plugs; he’ll check out the HVAC system, run the heater and the air conditioner to be sure they’re heating/cooling properly. He’ll also run the appliances, turn on all the lights, check windows, look at walls, open and close doors, look at flooring.

Outside, he’ll check the foundation–if it’s a pier and beam, he will go under the house. He’ll look at all exterior trim, check the chimney and fireplace, check water pressure. If the house has a sprinkler system, he’ll check that as well. He’ll check for plumbing leaks, run all faucets, flush all toilets.

If the house has a pool, that may be a separate inspection done by someone who knows pools. Same if the house is on a septic system.

You should also have a termite/wood-destroying insect inspection to be sure there are no termites, carpenter ants, or other pests trying to set up house.

He’ll follow up with a written report that details the results of his inspection and points out items that should be considered for repair.

After you receive this report, then it’s up to you, your realtor, and the decision makers to decide what to do. In Texas, if you’ve chosen and paid for an option period, you have 3 choices; accept the property as is and move forward; exercise your “option” to terminate and receive a refund of your earnest money deposit; or, negotiate with the seller for repairs. Just be sure you make your decision and notify the seller in writing before the end of your option period. Your realtor can explain this process in more detail, or you can contact me and I’d be happy to do so.

Keep a copy of the inspection report. If you choose to ask the seller to repair some of the items, you may also want to share a copy of the report with him/her so that he/she can see exactly what the inspector said about whatever the issue or issues may be.

If you’re not real familiar with all the terminology and workings of a house, you might ask the inspector how much it would cost to fix the things he has noted. He may not wish to answer that question as it is beyond his area of expertise. But he should be able to tell you whether or not something warrants further investigation by someone who can fix it.

Talk to your realtor and let him/her guide you. Most of us who have been in business awhile have found inspectors whose work we trust and who will give a buyer straight answers without making small things into big deals and who will make sure any major
items that present problems will be explained and encourage buyers to have them evaluated more completely.

Good luck! Inspections are important. Unless you have the expertise and skills to evaluate home repairs and perform them, the cost of an inspection will pay for itself in peace of mind!

4 “Pearls of Wisdom” for First-time Homebuyers

Buying your first home can be a real roller coaster ride!  Up, down, all around!  Here are 4 “pearls” for you to remember when you decide to start on this journey:

pearl_12109  Pearl #1–There is no such thing as the “perfect home”–unless you have an unlimited budget!   Focus on what’s most important to you–things that can’t be easily changed.  1-story or 2=story, the floor plan, the location.  When you are swept up in someone else’s decor choices–the ones you like and the ones you may not like–you often overlook the basics.  Paint, countertops, appliances, flooring can all be changed.  The neighborhood, the layout of the house, the “flow”–probably not.  And don’t let yourself get caught up in seller’s furniture, artwork, accessories.  They won’t be there when you’re ready to move in!


pearl_12109  Pearl #2–Don’t search for a home until you’re ready to buy!  In our market today, homes you’re looking at now, probably won’t be available next month or maybe even next week!  Until you’re ready to go, save yourself the frustration of finding a house you love when you’re not able to make an offer and then finding that it’s gone when you’re ready.


pearl_12109  Pearl #3–Use a local lender!!!  I can’t stress this enough!!  Big banks are not pleasant or easy to deal with for a mortgage and I have had several clients whose transactions fell apart due to issues with big bank lenders.  Find someone local who can walk down the hall and meet with the underwriter to figure things out and make things happen.  Don’t know a local lender?  I do!  I’m happy to share some names of local lenders who go the extra mile to help you get your loan approved and funded!  Call me!


pearl_12109   Pearl #4–Make sure you have a Realtor who cares and knows what he/she is doing!  Your Realtor should be able to guide you to a home that fits your preferences/needs for size, location, and price.  And that is priced fairly and will provide good resale value.  Yes, it’s your home, but it’s also your largest investment so you want to feel confident that you’re investing wisely for now and the future.  And you want a Realtor who knows the market and knows how to do his or her job and will guide you along the path, helping to smooth any bumps that may arise.

I would love to be that Realtor for you!  Call me and let’s figure out the best path for you!  210-363-9282.




House Hunting with Pets


Do you have a fur baby? Most of us do, and pets add so much to our lives. I know mine does!

While raising my family, we had dogs, cats, guinea pigs, birds, fish, turtles, and probably something else I’ve forgotten about! Now that my nest is empty, I’m down to just one sweet kitty, but I can’t imagine how boring life would be without her!

When you’re shopping for a new home, there are a few things you’ll want to look for to accommodate your fur baby or babies. They don’t care about granite counters or a spa bath, but there are a few things that will make a new house feel like home for your pets.

Here are some things to consider and check for–mostly geared for dogs since they’re a little more “high maintenance” than kitties.

1. Grass! And a fence! Unlike cats, dogs need to go outside to take care of business, and need an enclosed space to do that. Fences need to be tall enough so they can’t jump over and low enough to discourage digging under! If there’s an HOA, be sure the rules allow a fence tall enough for your dog.

2. Dog Park/play areas. If your house’s yard is small and your dog is large, look for a house that’s convenient to a dog park or other open area so your dog can run free and play–dogs need exercise too!

3. Storage–is there a space to store your dog’s “gear”–leash, toys, etc.? If you also have little ones, you’ll want to be able to keep dog toys put away when not in use so Fido’s the only one chewing on them!

4. Flooring–hard floors are a lot easier to keep clean than wall-to-wall carpet! Dogs shed, cats shed, they track in dirt, they track around cat litter, they’re messy eaters. Sweeping up after them is much easier with tile.
And look for floors that can stand up to dog feet–hardwood floors can be scratched with constant running back and forth.

5. Access to the back–is there a door that can accommodate a doggie/kitty door? If so, and if you install one, it will certainly make your life easier and give your pet the freedom to come and go. Highly recommended!

One more thing to consider as you’re looking at houses–are there other dogs in the immediate area? Does your dog get along with others pretty well, or will having a neighbor dog cause a lot of drama? No one likes to listen to a neighbor’s dog bark incessantly, so keep that in mind if there are other dogs next door.

Hope that helps!

Buying or Selling a Home? Time to get Tech-y!

Are you a tech geek?  If you are, good for you–the paperwork part of buying or selling a home will be a lot easier for you!

If you’re not, or don’t think you are, then time to brush up and/or learn some new skills!  There’s a lot of paperwork involved in buying and selling a home these days.  Paperwork from your realtor, and even more from your lender!  And just when you think there couldn’t possibly be anything else, there will be!

There are some tech tools that will make things a lot easier for you during the home-buying process.  And your realtor and lender will appreciate that  you can comply with their requests easily and quickly.  If you don’t already have some of these tools at home, it’s a good idea to find out where you can access some of them–at work, at a retail outlet, etc.  It will save you time and hassle later.

Many realtors today are going paperless.  Maybe not 100%, but as much as possible.  Many operate completely without putting pen to paper.  If you want to speed up the process and make things easier, here are a few tools and programs you should be familiar with.

1. Smartphone.  Most everyone has a smartphone these days, whether an iPhone or a Windows phone or an Android.  No matter which carrier and platform you’re using,  you should be able to send and receive text messages and emails on your phone and use wifi to get online.  Text and email are preferred ways of communicating these days.

2. Tablet or laptop.  There are some things that will be easier to do on a laptop or tablet rather than a phone.  If you’ll need to read a document, the larger screen certainly makes it easier to do that!

3. Scanner.  There are apps that will scan and send a document from your phone or tablet.  Many home printers will do that too–if they’re the all-in-one variety.  For sending the countless financial documents that your lender will require, a regular scanner may work better than a scan app.  If you don’t have that at home, check to see if you have access at your workplace.  Or a FedEx Office or UPS Store also might work–although they may charge for their service.

4. Fax.  Not used as much now as just a few years ago–scanning and emailing keeps the document more legible, especially after multiple transmissions, but most lenders and title companies still have fax #’s so they haven’t gone away completely.  If you have a fax at home or at the office you can use, it will be less costly than using the service of a FedEx Office or UPS Store.  They charge by the page and that can get costly!

5. Electronic signatures.  Many realtors, myself included, use a program called DocuSign to send documents for signature.  Many lender do also.  And electronic signatures are accepted by most lenders and title companies.  There is another program that is used by some agents called DotLoop.  Both programs send the documents to each signer with instructions on where to click to “sign” and then a final click to send the “envelope” on to the next signer or back to whoever sent it to you.  It’s easy and quick, and saves countless hours and gallons of gas trying to coordinate schedules to meet somewhere for signing.  In these days of homes flying off the market, the time saved could mean the difference between having your offer accepted and being beaten out by another buyer who got their offer in before yours!

6. Computer and printer.  Most everyone has a home computer these days and a printer.  Or has access to one.  When documents are sent to you electronically, if you want a “hard copy” you’ll need to be able to download and print things out yourself.

7. Digital file storage.  Dropbox has changed my life!  It’s my electronic file cabinet where I keep all my files and personal information.  Another program in wide use is Evernote–you can save notes, web sites, videos, pictures, documents, everything in Evernote.  Both Dropbox and Evernote have desktop versions for the computer and mobile apps that allow you to access your files remotely from your phone or tablet.  Game changers!


So, if you’re not familiar with some of these tech tools, check them out and be prepared to use them during your transaction.  There are many aspects of the process that are time-sensitive and the quicker you can submit your documents, sign your paperwork, and communicate back and forth, the easier and smoother your transaction will be.



Buyers, get prepared before you start!

If you’re thinking about buying a home this year, I hope you will take some time to get ready and get prepared before you officially start the process.  If it’s been awhile since you were “in the market” for a home, here’s a heads up–the rules have changed!

The mortgage melt-down of a few years ago has brought lots of changes to the lending/mortgage industry.  And these changes affect all lenders, not just the big ones that we heard so much about when things went bad.  They are federal guidelines that must be followed by all lenders.  Different changes in place for different types of loans, but all lenders now are requiring much much more information and documentation from borrowers.

I am not a licensed mortgage professional so  I can’t go into all the details, but after working with many buyers in the last couple of years and seeing them get upset, frustrated, and downright angry about what they were asked to provide, I have tried to prepare my current buyers for this new world!

Basically, before you actually go visit with a lender, either in person, on the phone, or online, gather all your financial documents from the last 2-3 years all together.  This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, bank statements, pay stubs, credit card statements, current loan/mortgage information, car payments, child support, divorce decrees, tax returns, income/dividend statements, any financial gifts you may have received, student loan paperwork, pretty much anything that has a financial impact on your life.

What about a lender?  Who should you choose?  How should you choose?  There are many excellent lenders out there who can help you.  Many specialize in a particular kind of loan, just as attorneys and physicians specialize in certain areas.  If you’re looking for a VA loan, for example, it makes sense to work with a lender who specializes in VA loans.  He/She will know the limits in  your area, have contacts with VA underwriters, VA appraisers, and other folks who will have a part in approving your loan.  A VA lender will also be able to advise and assist your realtor to help you present a compelling offer when you find a house you like.  As a Realtor, I always appreciate that kind of help and advice!

Where do you find a lender?  Ask your Realtor!  You should definitely be working with one!  Most of us (Realtors) know lenders who can help you with particular kinds of loans, if you have a lower credit score, etc.  My recommendation is to choose a local lender, not someone online who is not in your area.  A local lender can usually help you easier and quicker than someone you connect with online.

Most buyers like to contact more than one lender initially, to compare interest rates, and I encourage that.  But, as with anything you buy, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples.  Small variations in percentage points or fractions of points will probably not translate into a huge difference in your monthly payment, but the fees and other terms of the loan may make a difference at the closing table.  Be sure you’re considering everything, not just interest rates.  And, as with other purchases, it’s not always about the rate–those other fees and terms can make a difference in the overall cost of your loan and what funds  you’ll need at closing.  Shop carefully!

So, you’ve done your homework, gathered your paperwork and financial files, and chosen a lender, gotten pre-approved for your loan.  Good job!  Now it’s time to go find a house with your Realtor!  Once you’ve identified a property, made an offer, negotiated the terms, and gotten it accepted, be sure to let your lender know and provide a copy of the executed contract.  Then, get ready to start sending paperwork!   Figure on about 6 weeks from contract to closing, possibly longer for some loans or if you have unusual circumstances.

Be patient!  There are a lot of moving parts and a lot of people involved in the processing and underwriting process.  Your realtor and your lender should be keeping up with things as they progress and letting you know what’s happening, but if they don’t, then check on things yourself!  If you’ve done your advance preparation, have a good realtor, and a good lender, then you’ll be celebrating in your new home soon!  Congratulations, and good luck!




5 Factors That Affect your Credit Score

Looking to purchase a home?  Your credit score is a crucial part of the transaction!  It will help determine what kind of financing  you’re able to secure, the interest rate you qualify for, and even if you can qualify for a loan at all!  And it’s not just for buying a home!  Insurance companies look at that score.  If you’re looking to lease, landlords consider your credit score as well.

This number is important so you need to take good care of it and protect it!  Scores range between 200 and 800.  The higher the number, the better your score!  620 is the “magic number”!  That’s the minimum most lenders want to see to qualify you for a mortgage!

Here are 5 things that can affect your score–positively or negatively.  Be mindful of:

1. Your payment history!  You must pay your bills on time!  Late payments, bankruptcy filing, liens, collection activity all show up on  your credit report and can impact your score in a negative way.

2. How much you owe.  And also the ratio of debt to available credit.  If you owe a lot on several accounts, you may be overextended and lenders may not want to lend to you.  But if you have a small ratio of debt to overall available credit (and make your payments on time!), that’s a good thing!

3. The length of your credit history.  Your lender and/or your realtor may have told you not to go open new accounts while you’re trying to obtain mortgage financing.  Lenders like to see a history, and the longer the better–it shows that you can manage your debts.

4.  New credit.  Multiple new accounts opened within the last couple of years will impact your score–and not in a good way!  Remember, lenders want to see some history and evidence that you can manage your payments.

5. The type of credit you use.  There are different kinds of credit and in general, it’s good to have evidence of more than one type–installment loans, credit cards, a mortgage.  Again, lenders want to see that you can take care of your debt and your obligations.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every year from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies–Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.  It’s a good idea to obtain those reports, check them, and report anything that’s not accurate to the agency.  That’s also a good way to find out if someone is opening accounts in your name!

Your credit score can make a huge difference when you buy a home, a car, insurance, furniture, anything that requires you to take out a loan.  Stay on top of your score and save yourself some $$!



Are you set to sell? Or to buy?

The real estate market in San Antonio is moving and active!   Mortgage rates are affordable and so is living in San Antonio!   The economy is bustling here and people are moving–moving in and moving up!

If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, it’s a great time to do so!  Our inventory levels are at a low point and homes that are positioned correctly in the market, are in good condition, and are in our average/median price range of $150,000-$250,000 are just not staying on the market very long.  If  your home meets these criteria, and you’re ready to sell it, my advice to you is to have a plan B for moving!  My best case/worst case scenario–your home goes under contract in the first month or less that it’s on the market and is scheduled to close within 45 days.  Where will you go?  Think about that!  There are always options, so consult  your REALTOR® to discuss them and be prepared!

Are you thinking about buying a new home or a move-up home?  This is a good time for that also, as mortgage rates are still very affordable.   Before you start looking at homes, do your homework and get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.  Sellers will want to see a pre-approval letter with any offer you make, so having that ready in advance will put you in a good position.  I always tell my buyer clients to take the time they need to find a home they like and want, but once you identify that property, be prepared to make an offer right away, and make your best offer!  If you like a home, I can guarantee in this market that someone else does too!  Multiple offers on homes are becoming more and more common, so making a low offer initially so  you can come up later doesn’t work!  When a seller has more than one offer to consider, he/she is looking at all the terms of each offer.  The offer that will be the best for the seller is the one that will be negotiated and accepted, so make your best offer if you’re serious about the house!

Sellers, remember that the real first showing of your home to almost every buyer out there these days in on the internet.  A house with no pictures or just a few pictures will be passed over by most buyers in favor of one that gives them a lot to look at.  Buyers these days are looking at inside, outside, google street views, everything they can find out about the house, before they ever decide whether or not to come look at it in person.  Be sure your home is well represented and photographed for those internet shoppers!  You can’t change the location of your home or the neighbors’s homes, but you can make yours stand out by cleaning, de-cluttering, updating if necessary, repairing small things, and making sure you have great curb appeal.

Buyers, remember that all your online research is great for gathering information, but sometimes–actually most times–you should go and see a home in person.  Pictures give you a great idea of the general look of a home, but you need to see it for yourself before you pass final judgement.  It’s difficult to judge the size of a room, the layout of a home, the size of a yard, etc. just from a photo.  Photos are taken to show off a home’s best features, but they don’t always give you the “big picture” of a home, its neighborhood, the condition, etc.  If you’re liking what you see online, then go see the real thing and then decide whether or not it will fit your criteria and needs for a home.

Spring is springing in San Antonio!  If you’re ready to purchase or sell a home, or both, this is a good time to be in the market!

If you’re in San Antonio, I’d love to help you!  And if  you’re not, I can help you find a realtor where you are. Contact form.


Bring on the Holidays!


ThanksgivingWow–Halloween’s been over less than 48 hours and while out doing errands on this beautiful Saturday morning, I already saw Christmas trees up in shopping centers, found Christmas paper goods, cards, food, candy at the grocery store, and I’m seeing Christmas ads on TV!  Bring on the holidays!

Are you thinking of buying or selling a house?  Are you already in the market?  Wondering what effect, if any, the holidays have on home sales?

The short answer is that yes, the holidays definitely affect home sales.  Activity traditionally slows down toward the end of the year as everyone’s thoughts and efforts focus on Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s–the gifts, the parties, the football, the family!  Lots to do!  And if buying or selling a home isn’t a top priority, most people will put it on the back burner for a couple of months and get through the season.

But, some folks don’t have that luxury.  Some people have to move and the fact that it’s November or December isn’t relevant!  So, there are definitely still people looking to buy a home and sell a home!  The best news is that buyers who are out looking this time of year are serious!  They’re looking because they need to find a home!  So, Sellers, don’t think there’s no chance you’ll sell your home during the holidays!  That just might be the best gift of all!

What can you do to keep your home attractive to buyers if your home is for sale?  Don’t go overboard with holiday decorations!  Put up a tree, have some holiday things out if you like, but don’t do the whole house thing this year.  And if you put up lights outside, be sure that cords are  out of the way so no one can trip on them.  And safety first!  Be sure  your lights are approved for use outside as well as your extension cords.

If  you have gifts out, keep them under control.  Remember, some buyers may have children with them when they’re looking–sometimes it’s hard for little ones to understand that what they see belongs to someone else!  If you have family  heirloom ornaments or decorations, keep them out of reach or just leave them packed up this year while people are going through your home.

Buyers, be flexible with your showing appointments.  Everyone has extra activities going on with holiday guests, parties, etc.  Try to understand if the time you want to come through is not a good time for the sellers.  But, Sellers, this goes both ways!  You need to be flexible too–buyers may be in from out of town and not have the luxury of coming back tomorrow–if you want to sell your home, try to accommodate them as best you can–you never know if this is the buyer who’s going to fall in love with your home.  Do you want to risk losing them because you won’t let them in?

I have moved right before and right after Christmas in past years, with small children and school-age kids as well.  I have never been more organized before or since for the holidays!  One year, we moved across town on Dec. 22.  By the end of the day on Dec. 23, the tree was up, stockings were hung, presents were under the tree, and Santa showed up at the new address right on schedule!  We had a great Christmas that year and I’ve tried to get my act together like I did then ever since–still trying, but this is going to be the year!  Right!!!  (probably NOT!)

Happy Holidays!holly

Buyers and the Home Inspection

Congratulations!  You’ve found a house you love, made an offer, negotiated it, and had it accepted!  Now you’re in option/inspection period and ready to hire an inspector to evaluate the home.  In Texas, realtors give our buyers a list of inspectors who are licensed so buyers can choose who to hire.  I usually like to indicate inspectors I’ve worked with before who I feel have done a good job for my clients, but it’s the buyer’s choice of who to select.  So, now that you’ve made your choice and set up an inspection appointment, what’s next?

First, be sure your realtor has informed the listing agent of the inspection time and who the inspector will be so the seller knows and can be prepared and arrange to be gone.  Try to make your appointment for a time when you and your realtor can be there for the inspection.  If  you can’t be there for the entire time, find out about how long he thinks he will be and try to at least come for the last part of the inspection so the inspector can go over his findings with you.

Keep in mind that an inspector’s license (at least in Texas) requires him to note anything in the home that does not meet current building code.  Depending on the age of the home, that could be quite a few things, as building codes change a lot.  Just because something does not meet current codes, does not mean it needs repair or is dangerous.  It just means that the item is not up to today’s standards, which likely did not exist when the home was built!  A good inspector will let you know if a particular item warrants repair or replacement or not, but don’t panic just because there are a lot of items marked!

Inspectors are not supposed to give estimates of what it will cost to fix something or replace something.  That is not their field of expertise.  They can recommend you consult someone who specializes in whatever the item is, e.g. an HVAC technician, an electrician, a plumber, etc.   He may also suggest that a particular item is a minor repair that can be done easily with a couple of small parts, but if you’re not handy, or don’t know someone who is, always best to get an estimate for repairs from someone who knows!

After you’ve had a chance to see the report and have seen first hand what items have been noted in the report, talk to your realtor about which items you would like for the seller to take care of before closing.   All these repairs are negotiable, and that’s between you and the seller what’s going to be done and by whom.  Your realtor will help you decide and negotiate for the things that are most important to you and explain your options.  Be sure you ask for receipts for all work the seller has agreed to do so you know it’s been done and who did it.

Once those negotiations are complete, you’re moving on toward closing the transaction if you’ve come to an agreement, or finding another property if you haven’t.

Good luck!

Working with Home Builders

I’ve been out with buyer clients quite a bit lately, most recently in the past week.  These particular clients wanted a new home from a builder so we’ve been to several communities around San Antonio, visiting the model homes of several different builders.  These buyers wanted to see finished homes to find out what features and finish-outs are standard and which are upgrades.  Almost across the board, we found some things that were common with all these builders in all these communities.

1–their model homes are all beautiful, decorated to show all the latest popular trends, and all with most available upgrades.   Builder models are not the reality of what they are offering to you.  Be sure you understand that all these beautiful floors, fancy kitchens, gorgeous granite counters, etc., are probably not going to come standard with their homes, but you can pay extra if you want them.

2–all the builder sales reps were nice and very knowledgeable about their products and communities and what was there, what was coming, etc.  For that reason, if you are seriously considering buying a new builder home, you should definitely start at the sales office and talk to the builder’s representative to get important information.

3–in my experience, most builders are happy to work with you and your realtor.  In my years in real estate, I’ve only had 2 times that a builder’s sales rep has tried to muscle me out of a deal with a buyer.  One time, the buyer went for it and I lost; the other time, my buyer said no way and the builder lost.  But those were definitely the exceptions and had to do more with the rep than the builder.  So, by all means, visit with your realtor or let the rep know you’re working with a realtor, and be sure you’ll have someone representing you, just as the builder has a representative on his side.

4–most builders we visited have very little inventory available!  Builders have cut way back on building spec homes and most just do not have much to show buyers that is finished and ready for move-in.  This varies from community to community and builder to builder, but if you’re wanting something ready-to-go, your options are limited.  Expect to either build from scratch, or find something under construction but not ready yet.

5–understand that builders have a plan in place for their community.  They will only build certain homes on certain lots.  You may have a choice of elevations for a home and/or materials for the exterior, but if you want a certain plan on a particular lot, you may be in for a disappointment if your plan doesn’t fit the builder’s plan.  Same goes for the interior finish for your home.  They have a certain range of options available for each home plan; some are standard, some are upgrades, but they cannot deviate much from the options they give you.   And as far as plans go, many builders will offer some options for some things–fireplace or not, study or not, box window here or not, etc.  But other than their pre-planned options, they do not change their plans.  If you want to move a closet here, or add a bathroom there, then you need to visit a custom builder, not a large-volume builder.

6–be sure you’re very clear before you authorize paperwork on exactly what is included, what  you’re paying extra for, and how much those extras are going to cost.  It should all be spelled out for you in the contract, but be sure you read and understand everything.

7–prices are going up; mortgage rates are starting to creep up also.  Most of the builders I visited over the last few days had signs posted about price increases going into effect June 1 (we visited the last few days of May).  None of them were talking about drastic increases, but a few thousand here and a slight increase in mortgage rates can mean a few hundred dollars a month in payments.  Time is money!

8–building a home is an amazing experience, frustrating at times, nerve-wracking at times, but so satisfying and exciting when you finally move in!  Enjoy the ride!