We in Woodstock are truly lucky to have some fantastic builders to choose from. For the majority, our local builders deliver what they promise and do so with high quality materials and workmanship.
I don't represent one particular builder and thus will not be discussing, at least today, the pros and cons of each. I will however discuss the timeline and what it means to those thinking about going custom.
The process is quite obviously a longer one. Planning and construction times are often between 4 and 6 months and can be a bit longer depending on how many jobs a particular builder has on the go. Stemming back to my previous post Buy - Sell or Sell Buy? One will cost you, the concept of frozen equity plays a large role when making any move. More often then not, when building or buying, most people will need to sell their property prior to buying their next. By the same token, arranging a 120-150 day [4 or 5 month] closing is going to cause problems in negotiations.
I'm not going to lie, arranging the perfect situation where you will be able to move seamlessly from your old house to your new one is going to be difficult. Even great builders have people to depend on and often times things don't stay perfectly on schedule.
These 5 Steps will make things easier!
- Step 1: Financing
There is no point in doing anything until you know what you can or cannot do. Even if you are 99.9% sure that you can both afford and finance the new house you should still go talk to your financial institution. They will also be able to provide you with information regarding a potential bridge that will allow you to own two homes for a period of time. This will cost you, so it is best to go get all the facts before you go any further.
- Step 2: Realtor
Once you have been advised by your bank it is time to call your Realtor. Make an appointment with him or her to go over your thoughts and formulate a plan. Your agent should be doing two things during this appointment. First, he or she should work with you to determine where your house fits on the market. Depending on their individual approach, they may or may not offer staging and professional pictures but assuming that they do, they should make an appointment with their stager to come through the house as soon as possible. This way, regardless of what the stager believes needs to be done, you will have the necessary time to complete everything (Paint and De-cluttering) before listing. This will cut down on a ton of your stress and anxiety.
Once your agent has discussed your homes value and their marketing plan with you, he or she should then help you determine what you are looking for. Obviously, early on there is going to be a bit of feeling out when it comes to design but the stats should remain the same. For example:
- How much can you spend?
- How much do you want to spend?
- Where would you like to build?
- When would you like to be there?
- Is lot size important to you?
- Do you want three bedrooms or four?
- Two-storey or bungalow?
- Would you like a garage?
- If so, how many bays?
I also recommend that at this point, prior to staging and everything, you pre-list your property with what is called an exclusive listing. This will allow your agent to broadcast your property internally before you actually list it on the MLS. You would be surprised as to how many deals come together due to agent-to-agent discussions before the property even hits the market. Even thought your closing date is a long way off, you may as well give your agent the ammunition they need to begin trying to sell your house now.
- Step 3: Preview Builders
Now it's time for the fun part. It's time to see what's out there when it comes to building. Most of the builders in Woodstock can and will build custom but one of their models may fit your fancy and can also be slightly altered to work best for you. What's most important is that you see what they are capable of. Like I said, we are lucky to have some amazing builders in Woodstock so it may just come down to what builder fits you best.
- Step 4: Pick a builder
At this point you should have narrowed your builder search down to two or three. I suggest a quick meeting with each to discuss their timelines and get to know them a little bit as well. I would also suggest being very upfront with all three. Tell them that you are talking to a couple builders to see what situation works best for you. Have your agent attend the meetings with you and take ten minutes after each meeting to discuss the pros and cons of each builder. Then make your decision and proceed forward.
- Step 5: List home and Begin Building Process
Once you have chosen your builder you can begin the process of both selling and building. Have your agent find you the best lot options available. From there, pick your favourite and make sure that it will work for what you have planed when it comes to design [Square footage and the grade of land are key]. Then run through the design specs with the builder and iron out the large details. At this point, don't pay too much attention to minor things like flooring and colours. All of these things can be done later and many of them come at no extra costs due to the business philosophy of our builder whom offer high quality standard features. What is important now is to get the large items figured out so that the construction can start. The sooner the house is completed the easier it will be for your agent to find a buyer that can work with your needed closing date.
From here, sit back and have some fun with the process. There is no doubt that it can get stressful, but ultimately that stress doesn't help anything. What makes all the difference, is that you remember what is to come when all is said and done. Trust that your agent and builder have your back as, around these parts, i'm sure that they do!
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