Are you considering building a Cincinnati new construction patio home just the way you want it? Cincinnati new construction patio homes are a popular choice for our patio home buyers. Often a new patio home is the reward for a lifetime of hard work, and it’s time to have it build just the way you want it!
We routinely represent buyers building patio homes from Cincinnati through southern Dayton. We’d like to take you through the process of building a patio home from first contact with us through receiving the keys to your finished patio home.
The process can be divided into the following phases:
Floor Plan Selection
Lot Selection, Pricing & Financing
The Construction Phase
The Final Steps and Completing The Purchase
So you’re thinking about a patio home as your next home. What do you do next?
1) This is the easy part: HIRE US TO HELP YOU! We’re confident that if you’re reading this that you’ve found no other agent that provides more information about Cincinnati patio homes. We’re experts at the niche and routinely help buyers find the perfect patio home for their wants and budget. Want to talk to past patio home buyers of ours? We’re happy to provide references. And keep in mind, it costs you nothing extra to have us represent you with the builders as we’re already built into their overhead and they don’t give you a better deal for showing up unrepresented.
2) Next, we have some basic questions for you:
- Where in Cincinnati do you want to live?
- Comfortable price range?
- MUST HAVE features? 3 bedrooms? 2 bedrooms and a study? Garage needs? Basement?
- Time frame?
- Do you need to sell a home to buy? (and we can help with both if you want).
- Are there any builders you like or can’t stand?
- Special circumstances we need to consider? Kids? Pets?
- What kind of amenities are important to you? Low frills community or you want the pool, tennis court, walking trails and more?
- Does living in a 55+ community interest you?
We’ll evaluate your answers and determine whether patio homes do or don’t exist that meet your needs, or if some of your criteria need adjusted.
For instance, if you say “I want a new construction patio home in Mason with 3 bedrooms and I don’t want to spend more than $250,000” then our hunt will be VERY short. You’ll either need to change locations or change your budget because new construction + Mason doesn’t equal $250,000.
If on the other hand there are matching communities, we can show you homes currently on the market or past sales to show you what you can expect to find in your location and budget.
We’ve determined that what you want is available. What’s next? Evaluating the matching communities and chances are there won’t be a large number of ideal fits. We can do some preliminary work online (Google aerial shots are great for examining communities for nearby features that might be deal killers for you).
After discussing the pros and cons of each community, it’s time to start our visits, tour the model homes (when they exist) and meet the builder reps. And PLEASE, do not visit the builder rep solo if you have any plans of having us help you. While some builders might be flexible, some will block us out as soon as they realize you stepped across the threshold without us at least calling to make the introduction.
What do we do if none of the matching communities fit your needs? It’s time to look at the next closest matches in location and budget. I’m not trying to upsell you, but if you HAVE to have certain things that aren’t available for the price you initially wanted to pay, are you willing to bump up your budget?
Okay, back to checking out homes. Some builders do have model homes, but it may involve some travel to other communities to see the floor plans that interest you. Those miles are well worth it as model homes are a great way to get a good feel for the capabilities of the builder. You’ll likely see the best they’re capable of with the model homes.
Meeting with the builder’s rep will provide a good feel for the community and a general price range to expect. The builder’s rep can provide key information on what is included standard and what adds to the base price of the home. And perhaps there might be some incentives in place for contracts filed by a certain date.
Floor Plan Selection:
You can change a lot of things about your home after you move in, the floor plan is not one you can easily alter, and if you can, expect some major dollars to do so. So needless to say, it’s critical to pick the right floor plan for your patio home.
Key questions to ask when selecting your floor plan:
- How much room do you need? Don’t get too focused on exact square footage, but overall flow and livability of the home. That said, there’s obviously a big difference between 1400 sq ft and 2100 sq ft.
- What TYPE of rooms do you need? Often we’re told 3 bedrooms, but what the buyer really needs is 2 bedrooms and a study. Keeping your options open increases the possibilities as many patio homes are listed as 2 bedrooms.
- What are your lifestyle needs? Throw a lot of parties or prefer sitting out back early in the morning?
- Do you need a basement, and if so, finished or unfinished? Need a walkout?
- Do you prefer a deck or patio? This can also influence your lot selection.
- Do you want an open floor plan? Or more traditional? We’ve had buyers on both ends of that spectrum.
- Any other special needs for your new patio home? Do you want a sun room? How often do you have overnight guests?
- If there’s any possibility of needing to sell your home later, keep in mind that staying close to “mainstream” with your selection matters.
Now we know what you need in a floor plan, reviewing the builder’s available floor plans will result in eliminating some floor plans very quickly because they clearly don’t meet your needs. And in some cases, a particular builder won’t have a single floor plan that matches your needs and it’s time to move on to another builder. However, that’s not going to be common as most of the larger area patio home builders such as Drees, Fischer, Brookstone, Inverness, M.I.) will offer 6-8 patio home floor plans. And another thing that helps is some builders can actually tweak their floor plans a bit to meet your needs.
Once we’ve got the best floor plan (or two) for your needs it’s ideal to visit a model home of that floor plan. Sometimes the builders won’t have a model home of that type, but may have other opportunities (a home being built or a past buyer of the same floor plan). Nothing beats stepping in the door to put everything into proper perspective.
Once you’ve confirmed the floor plan that works for you, it’s time to get pricing for building your desired patio home. That’s coming up next!
Lot Selection, Pricing & Financing
Most communities have tiered pricing for lots. Bigger costs more. Backing up to the woods? Cost more. Cul de sac lot? That might cost more too! The lots with no premium charge tend to be the normal lots (middle of the street, no extra trees, etc.). Just like selecting the floor plan, if resale is something to consider it becomes even more important to stay away from the high traffic areas and other negative features such as high power lines and retention ponds.
Once you know floor plan and a desired lot, the builder’s rep can readily provide an estimate for building your patio home just the way you want it. A sit down meeting with the rep and a run through of the options list. For some builders, that base price may include a LOT of features like granite counters, hardwood flooring and other desired items. In other cases the standard is rather bland, and options will add up quickly to get what you’d want.
During the quoting process the builder’s rep will start with the floor plan and lot, then proceed to the front appearance (elevation), then room by room query of desired features. Rinse, lather repeat until the whole home has been covered and the quote is complete. You may make adjustments up and down as you find out the actual dollars involved.
And that final number is subject to change as you may make some alterations after visiting the design center later. Perhaps you don’t need quite the level of cabinets you originally thought, or a lower grade of flooring might be suitable. Or you may decide to add a few things that you initially declined. And if the estimate is grossly higher than your budget, it might be time to hit the reset button and change floor plans, lots or even the community entirely (sometimes the same builder may build much cheaper in a different patio home community).
In regards to financing, most major builders are tied closely to a financing company (translated, they OWN a financing company). Typically they’ll offer some incentive to use the builder’s financing (either a lower rate or closing cost reduction). As an overall company they make more and obviously a company they own has incentive to make things work. Even if you plan to use another lender, most builders will require you to get preapproved with their lender. Since the builder is planning to front a LOT of money building your home, they want to make sure loan approval won’t be a problem. Most builders are only taking a down payment of around 5-10%, then not collecting the rest of the bill until the home is complete.
Now you probably didn’t say at the initial quote, “Let’s do this NOW!”. Chances are you take home the estimate and mull over your choices. You might visit the design center and check out what level is what in regards to flooring, cabinets and other items. But keep in mind, with most builders that lot you like is NOT being held for you until you sign the contract and make your initial deposit. Perhaps we’ve even sat down with more than one builder for the quote process. And maybe you want me to come over and assess your current home for expected sales price and time to sell. That’s all part of the process and a service we gladly offer.
But once you reach a decision point and decide you’re ready to proceed, it’s best to act ASAP. I’ll set up a meeting with the builder’s rep and we’ll get the official paperwork done. Builders have their own contract and not the standard Cincinnati MLS contract. And as you might expect, it heavily favors the builder and those terms are not negotiable. Read them carefully and understand what you’re committing to. And bring your checkbook, because the builder will be looking for that initial deposit (probably around 1% of purchase price). The builder will most likely ask for another deposit when the plans are finalized and prior to actually starting foundation digging.
The contract will cover the essentials: what you’re asking to be built, where you’re asking it to be built, estimated price (based on level selections of flooring, cabinets, counters and other items), time frames and important steps, financing requirements, some state required disclosures, a place for that first deposit, and yes, a form that designates us as your agents and that the seller/builder will be paying our fee.
And as we’ve mentioned before, there’s no discount for showing up without an agent. We’re factored into the overall community overhead, so repping yourself provides no financial advantage.
Once all the paperwork is signed, the rep will submit to management for final approval. Do not forget, this is a legally binding contract and if you get cold feet the builder is probably (at a minimum) going to be looking to keep the earnest money deposit, and if they get to the point of building to your specs, it could be worse than just the deposit.
Most major patio home builders in the Cincinnati area will have either a design center or a model home stocked with the major choices for flooring, cabinets, counters, etc. Smaller builders may instead have you pick out options from preferred suppliers, then bring them in.
Your final price will adjust up or down as you make your design selections. Now the next step is the preconstruction meeting. At this point, the builder has the drawings ready for your home. They know exactly where on the lot the home will go, the structure of your home, the outside appearances and all the standard things that go into making your house exactly the way you want it.
The Preconstruction Meeting:
The preconstruction meeting is the last step prior to actually starting excavations for your property. The builder has blueprints for review. The meeting will consist of the builder’s superintendent, the builder’s rep, you (of course) and me as your agent. A page by page review takes place to make sure the home they plan to build matches up with what you expect to be built. Discrepancies get noted for correction. You sign off the blueprints to signify acceptance of those plans and your option list. And like we mentioned earlier, the builder will probably be looking for the 2nd part of your deposit. This will typically be the last payment you make prior to completion of your home.
The builder supe and rep will probably have a checklist of items to cover, and the paperwork to sign to show you got the details such as what you are and aren’t allowed to do during the construction phase, the cost of last-minute changes, etc. Once all the paperwork is done and the builder has the required permits approved, a build start date will be set and the real fun begins!
The Construction Phase:
It’s time to bring out the heavy machinery! First up is prepping the lot for the work. Got a basement in the plans? Obviously a pretty big hole to dig and earth to move! From this start you can expect to have your patio home completed within 3-5 months. It can vary obviously dependent on time of year (cold impacts concrete pours), amount of rain or snow, availability of subcontractors, etc.
Assuming no difficulties with soil or some big rock down in the ground, your foundation will be poured and you’ll know EXACTLY where your home will be on the lot!
The patio home building process can actually progress pretty quickly once the foundation is completed. Framing starts and before you know it your new home actually starts to look like a home. The roof is added and covered as quickly as possible to keep the elements out!
Once your home is ready for drywall, there will be a “pre-drywall” orientation. This is the perfect time to have your first home inspection (and yes, most builders aren’t raving fans of home inspectors). At pre-drywall you have full visibility to plumbing, wiring, framing, vent ducting and other critical elements that become invisible once the drywall is in place.
Some builders will have you sign a waiver to stay off the site (wink, wink) but know that you’re going to visit anyway to watch the progress.
Some guidelines for site visits:
- BE CAREFUL! A home site is HAZARDOUS. There’s a reason the guys and gals on site wear heavy boots and hard hats. Sharp pointy things everywhere, holes in the floor, holes in the ground, no handrails, etc. It’s bad enough for adults, small kids are probably best left at home.
- Stay out of the way when they’re actually working. Ideally check the home in the evening or on weekends, although that is no guarantee that no one will be there.
- No “favors” from the workers. Dropping off a case of craft beer and asking for extra lights or some other change is going to lead to trouble.
- It’s not your home yet, so don’t do anything to it. No painting, landscaping or anything else. Capische?? LOOK only.
- And bonus tip, you probably don’t want to wear your best clothes and shoes. Until you’ve got a poured sidewalk or driveway, the lot can be a mucky mess. Dress shoes don’t stay dressy after one step into the yard.
It’s interesting to watch the sticks and bricks shape up and become your new patio homes. Good builders WILL keep you updated. Most builders we work with understand clear communication and updates provide a good feeling for the buyers. A weekly phone call or email with “here’s what we did last week and what we plan for next week” is a great way to keep you up to speed on your home’s progress.
As the end of construction gets closer, items such as flooring, cabinets and counters will be added, and then protected as best as possible to provide damage.
And while this building is in progress, you’ll be working with your loan officer to finalize the financing side of the equation (that is, unless you’re paying cash!).
The Final Steps and Getting The Keys To Your New Patio Home!:
Your home is starting to look like THE home you planned! As the builder finishes, there are some remaining key steps:
- Step one: FINISH THE FINANCING!!! Your loan officer will probably need a few things from the builder and there will be an appraisal.
- Orientation walkthrough. Shortly before completion the builder will typically hold a walkthrough. The purpose is to provide you the details on how to operate your home, and also to point out things that still need addressed (e.g. cosmetic issues, etc.).
- Final home inspection. If you’re going to have one, NOW is the time to get it done.
And it’s not unusual for the builder to still have some work to do AFTER closing. For instance, landscaping work is seasonally driven, so laying sod in December? Not a good idea right? And the builders typically have scheduled follow ups to address any post move in issues such as nail pops or other things that don’t become apparent until after you’re in the home. But don’t expect them to come out each time there’s an issue. Most often, they’ll save them up and do the corrections in one sweep.
Once the home is finished, a closing date is set. At that time you should also make arrangements for utilities to be transferred into your name, mail forwarded, movers, etc.
At closing it’s official. All the paperwork is signed off, the bank pays the builder the remaining part of the purchase price and you now get the keys to your new home! It’s YOURS!!! Congratulations!!
Ready to get started? Just give Bill a call at 513-520-5305 and we can discuss how we can help you build that perfect patio home!
Serving the Cincinnati patio home market,
Liz and Bill aka BLiz
P.S. Need help selling your home? We don’t just help patio home buyers, we also help home sellers of all types of housing, not just patio homes. So if you need to sell to buy, we can provide you one stop service.