Building a House Part 4: Meeting the Construction Manager

Construction Hardhat

We finally met with our construction manager! This is a late post as a fyi. We were waiting for Beazer to receive their building permits.  In our area, building permits are reviewed and approved every 30 days. The City of Katy is extremely strict on home building quality which is great for consumers like us.  This is deeply appreciated!

Once the building permits were approved, our Beazer Home Consultant contacted us right away to schedule a quick 30-40 minute face to face meeting with our Construction Manager.

It was a personal experience to be able to meet the person who will be in charge of project managing our future home.  He was friendly and extremely transparent on validating our needs and laying out expectations. He walked us through the blueprint of our future property and where our house and yard were located. In terms of expectations, the target date to finish building the home is November but he let us know right away there might be a possibility the actual move in date could be sometime in December. For us, we love the transparency since we can attempt to plan for the expectation.

For communication, our construction manager mentioned he will be giving us updates every two weeks. As for the next step, him and his team will be breaking ground to start installing the plumbing to prepare for laying down the foundation!

Building a House Part 2: Home Design Studio Session

Beazer Homes Design Studio in Houston, TXAfter signing an exciting agreement on our house, our next step was to schedule a 5-6 hour session at the local Beazer Design Studio. It’s by appointment only and is scheduled through your Beazer new homes consultant. The design studio is where you would choose your selections and/or upgrades for your house. The selections can include internal paint colors, carpet, tiles, lighting, kitchen cabinets, kitchen backsplashes, faucet finishes, media wiring, and etc.

Based on my experience and working directly with our awesome home consultant, the following are tips and what you should expect to do before attending the design studio to wrapping up your session.

Before Attending Your Beazer Design Studio Session

Visit the Beazer Design Studio by yourself or with a spouse or a friend. This is where you can have all the time in the world to see all the selections available to figure out what would match well in terms of color scheme and potential upgrades you may be interested in. My wife and her friend went out to the design studio and had a chance to conduct homework with the sample pieces to see which colors and materials worked and did not worked. They took pictures of the samples they put together and my wife created a list of options she liked.  For me, I had to stay home to watch my kids so facetime through my phone made it possible to be part of the research experience. This home design homework made us more prepared for the actual scheduled appointment.

The main reason for doing homework in advance is to make sure you can make the most effective design decisions for your new house in less than 5-6 hours. You’re only given about 24-48 hours after the session to change your home design decisions. After the 48 hours, you have to pay a fee for each change request. The fee is not cheap and could be better spent on upgrades for your house.

Attending your Beazer Home Design Studio Session

  1. Make sure to arrive 15 minutes ahead of time. You will not get time back for being late. You will lose it.
  2. Bring your prepared list of house options you liked and pictures.
  3. You will first meet your home design studio consultant who will take you through each part of the studio to complete your home.
  4. The first part of the home design studio session is focused on the technology of the house. This is where you will meet the technology consultant to discuss your options and upgrades for installing surround sound speakers, home media entertainment systems built into the house, security systems, wiring (ex: CAT5  versus CAT6 cables), and other in-home technology (ex: cameras). For us, we went for the CAT6 wiring and avoided integrating the cost of media technology into our mortgage. If you’re interested in Beazer’s installation services, you can still get them to install for you after the house is built which is nice.
  5. The next parts include choosing your lights, carpet, tiles, cabinets (kitchen, bathroom, etc), paint (internal/external), railings, kitchen appliances, faucet finishes, sinks, shower, bathtub, and more. Some of your options include micro elements such as choosing the color of your grout.
  6. Once you have finished selecting your options, the home design studio consultant will document, review, and ask you to initial and finalize your options. Again, you will get a 24-48 hour period to make changes without a penalty (check with your local Beazer Home Design Studio consultant for the actual period as it may change). Typically, you will receive an X amount of free upgrade dollars which you can use for upgrades in the studio or a discount on more premium land. This depends on the Beazer special promotions in your local area. For your upgrades, you will be asked to contribute 1% of your upgrades as an upgrade downpayment. This money all contributes into your overall down payment at the end.

What Should You Consider Upgrading?

For us with our little ones running around, we felt it was important to upgrade from carpets to tiles for the living room and the dining room. These two areas receive an extensive amount of walking traffic within the house. This means more risk for ruining the carpet with vulnerable wear and tear in addition to stains.

Lighting in the house was quite important to us. The right lighting and design can create an enjoyable and happy atmosphere so we upgraded our lights.

We upgraded to iron rods for the stairs as it will be difficult to install later on plus it is more durable and stable than wood.

If you can afford to, I would recommend expanding the covered patio so you can enjoy time outside without burning in the sun.

What You Should Not Get in the Design Studio

Remember, everything you add in the design studio will somewhat contribute to your overall monthly payment.

We decided to not add fans in the design studio and will do it ourselves. The cost of adding a fan to the project was not worth it.

The installation of surround sound speakers and projectors was out for us. Technology is changing rapidly and I would much prefer just getting the wiring and purchasing speakers or projectors on my own. You can seriously buy a sound speaker or project at Amazon and do it yourself.

I hope this was helpful! Feel free to reach out with any questions.

The next step in this house building journey is to finally see our land!

Building versus Buying an Existing House

Beazer Homes Fenway Model Standard

When looking for a new home, the following big question came up for my wife and I.

Should we buy an existing house or build brand new?

Our family of seven (yes with five kids) is outgrowing our current rental home so we made the decision to venture out into becoming homeowners! It’s both exciting and scary at the same time.

I’m going to list what we thought about regarding this question to help others make the right decision for them.

Buying an Existing House versus Building a New House

1) Time

If you’re short on time and need to move soon then buying an existing house could be favorable. It can take between 5-6 months on average to build a new house. For our family, we were comfortable with the expected timeline.

2) Preference of Old Versus New

For our family, it was the fear of buying an old house then having to spend possibly thousands of dollars for repairs.  We bought a used house in the past and had to invest in repairs to end up leaving a bad taste in our mouths. The idea of getting a fresh new house was more exciting to us.

3) Customizing a House (ex: number of bedrooms, movie room, etc).

With buying an existing older house, you don’t get to choose the structure of your house including the materials and features. For us, we wanted to be able to choose the model, materials, number of bedrooms, how the house is wired for internet efficiency, the property to be built on, and the overall look and feel.

4) Cost of Buying an Existing House versus Building Brand New

We started our house hunting with suggestions from friends on local houses for sale and of course other websites like Realtor.com. As we were looking at the houses, our attention was focused on price, number of bedrooms, special features (ex: movie room), size of property, and of course the cost. While searching, I ended up seeing advertisements of building a new house and brand new communities popping up in the area. When comparing the price of an existing house and a building a brand new house, the cost didn’t make sense for me to buy an existing house. There were cases where the cost was the similar but you get to choose what you want in the house versus buying features you may not care for. It depends on the location and what you want in the house.

Our Decision

We chose to build a brand new house!

I hope this information will help to make the right decision for you.

We will be posting throughout our journey of building our first ever brand new house. Keep checking up on us!

– Jimmy