What is the Difference between Kalamazoo Custom Builders and Production Builders?
|The following information was provided by the Kalamazoo Area Builders Association. Choosing a Home Builder: Custom Builder vs. Production Builder|
With so many types of home building companies out there, it’s a little tough to figure out who does what and who builds what. Here’s a quick run-down on how to tell the difference between custom and production home building companies.
Custom home builders generally:
Build on land you own. Some custom builders also build on land they own.
- Build one-of-a-kind houses. A custom home is a site-specific home built from a unique set of plans for a specific client. Some custom builders may offer design/build services.
- Build single-family homes.
- Are generally small-volume builders (those that build 25 or fewer homes a year).
- Tend to build high-end homes.
Production home builders generally:
- Build on land they own.
- Tend to use stock plans, but usually offer a variety of plan choices and options.
- Build all types of housing — single-family, condos, town houses, and rental properties.
- Are large-volume builders (those that build more than 25 homes a year).
- Generally build for all price points — entry level, move up, luxury, etc.
Pre-Settlement Walk-Through Checklist
You’re getting ready to close on your first new home purchase and all that stands in the way of your homeownership is the pre-settlement walk-through. While your excitement is understandable, the home is yours once you close on your loan, so be sure your expectations and the sales contract specifications have been met. Pay special attention during your walk-through to be sure that the builder has made any changes or repairs indicated in the home inspection and to ascertain that all the required work on your new home has been completed. Here’s a checklist to help you through this process.
- Does the ground around the foundation slope away from the house?
- Make sure the water does not pond in swales. To check, water the areas with a hose, if possible.
- Are there signs of erosion?
- Is the shrubbery placed at least 2-3 feet from the foundation?
- If the house has a basement, are the basement window wells clean and graveled?
Roof and Gutters
- Are the shingles flat and tight?
- Is the flashing securely in place?
- Do the gutters, downspouts and splash blocks direct water away from the house?
- Are the windows and doors sealed and protected by weatherstripping?
- Are the trim and fittings tight? Are there any cracks?
- Does the paint cover the surface and trim smoothly?
- Has landscaping been installed according to the terms of your contract?
Doors and Windows
- Are all doors and windows sealed?
- Do they open and close easily?
- Is the glass properly in place? Is any loose or cracked?
- Is the painting satisfactory in all rooms, closets and stairways?
- Did the painters miss any spots?
- Are the trim and molding in place?
- Is the carpet tight? Do the seams match?
- Are there any ridges or seam gaps in vinyl tile or linoleum?
- Are wooden floors properly finished?
Appliances, Fixtures, Surfaces, Etc.
- Do all of the appliances operate properly?
- Are all of the appliances the model and color you ordered?
- Check all faucets and plumbing fixtures, including toilets and showers, to make sure they operate properly.
- Check all electrical fixtures and outlets. Bring a hair dryer to test the outlets.
- Do the heating, cooling and water heating units operate properly? Test them to make sure.
- If the home has a fireplace, do the draft and damper work?
- Are there any nicks, scratches, cracks or burns on any surfaces, including cabinets and countertops?
- Test the doorbell. Also test the intercom system, garage door opener and any other optional items.
Basement and Attic
- Are there indications of dampness or leaks?
- Is there significant cracking in the floors or foundation walls?
- Are there any obvious defects in exposed components, such as floor joists, I-beams, support columns, insulation, heating ducts, plumbing, electrical, etc.?
Certificate of Occupancy
- Has your local municipality signed off on your house?
Some problems may not be readily apparent during the walk-through. Even a professional inspector might miss a few. Most warranties cover any such problems that are the result of faulty workmanship. However, warranties usually exclude problems that result from owner neglect or improper maintenance.
Building Codes: What You Should Know
If you are shopping for a new home, how can you be sure that it was built so that it does not cause health or safety problems for the members of your household? The answer can be given in two words: building codes.
A building code sets forth requirements to protect public health, safety and general welfare as they relate to construction and the occupancy of a building. These codes include specific requirements for building materials, fire protection, structural design, light and ventilation, heating and cooling, sanitary facilities and energy conservation.
There is no national building code enforced by the federal government. Different areas of the country have different construction methods; the techniques used to build houses in a cold climate will be different than those used in a warm climate. Most construction in the United States is regulated at the local level. Only a few municipalities (mostly major cities) write and revise their own codes. Some states have mandatory statewide building codes.
Building homes is a complicated process, so building codes are often long and complicated. To prevent each local jurisdiction from having to develop its own complicated codes from scratch, there are several major model code organizations that draft codes that local areas can adopt.
The local area has total authority for adoption and enforcement. It may adopt a model code as is, adopt only specific portions, or add some of its own changes.
Code writing is a dynamic process, involving constant interaction between the public and private sectors of the construction industry. Federal, state and local governments and individuals involved in code writing and revision represent the views of labor, management, manufacturers and trade associations, contributing much time and technical expertise to the process.
Building codes do not deal with issues such as the quality of the workmanship and materials.
Consumers are protected in these areas through their warranties. For instance, if a building code inspector is examining a home and sees a gouge in a kitchen floor or counter top, that would not be an item affecting health or safety, and as such would not be covered by a building code.
However, it would be covered in the warranty on workmanship and materials.
NEXT LESSON: Learning what you need to do once you find the home you want to purchase!