Schiavi Home Builders is confident in our position in the home building market. So much so, we encourage potential customers to shop other builders. We have posted several blogs about how to compare builders, here is another. As you compare builders, we encourage you to factor in the presentation each builder gives.
Most home building customers visit home builder websites before visiting their offices. This is the very first visit with a builder. Builders should recognize the importance of this visit and be prepared. Focusing on making a good first impression, is an indication that a builder pays attention to the details.
- Is the website organized with a good flow from one page to the next?
- Is information easy to find?
- Is the website up to date and current, or is information static?
Not all customers will research on the internet, so it is equally as important to put our best foot forward at our sales centers as well. On your first visit to a builder’s physical location look at the following details:
- Landscaping at business location: landscaping takes time and effort to maintain.
- Models: neat, clean and cohesively decorated; or a hodge-podge of furniture.
- Office Space: neat, clean & organized; or cluttered & unorganized.
- Sales Person: Professional, friendly; or unkempt & gruff.
On your second visit with a builder, look at these details. The second meeting should be more indepth with more information specific to your building project. We highly recommend scheduling an appointment:
- Did the sales person spend time preparing for your visit?
- How is information presented during your meeting? Computer, binders of information, individual pages…
- Consider what information you are giving vs. what information you are receiving. Does the builder tell you how they can “help” you or ask what you are looking to do.
- Ask if you can drive by a current project. Do a quick visual of the the site. Is it neat and orderly or chaotic?
What other details of presentation do you feel are important?
Choosing to build a new home as opposed to buying a home opens many doors of possibility. However, with these opportunities comes the added responsibility of making the right choices. When buying a home, you can tour the homes, see and touch each home, complete home inspection BEFORE making your choice from the selection of homes on the market. With home building, your options are limitless, however your decisions are many times made sight unseen.
One of the very first decisions made during the home building process, is in a lot of ways the most important decision: Who is building my new home? This blog has been set up to help you make the right choice for you and your family. I came up with a short questionnaire and passed it out to the employees here at Schiavi Home Builders. From our sales team to the construction crew, we are the experts, this is how we would “shop” for a new home builder…
1. What are the top things you would look at in a model home:
- Mouldings – Properly installing mouldings takes time, mouldings that are tight and properly aligned shows a high level of craftsmanship.
- Interior of closet finish – an area corners can be cut without being visible.
- Quality of materials used.
- Options – What can the builder offer that is additional to the standards offered from manufacturer.
- Decor – a poorly furnished home does not present well. Model homes are an investment for builders, they should be one of the biggest sales tools for builders. As such, builders should take time on the presentation of the models, as well as ensuring the homes are clean and tidy.
2. What are some qualifying questions you would ask potential builders?
- How long have you been in the home building business?
- How has your business changed over time?
- How can you support your reputation?
- How much customization/freedom do I have to design my home?
- What is your area of expertise in home building?
3. What other questions would you ask?
- 5 references from recent customers.
- How are your sub contractors chosen?
- What is the timeline for construction?
- Do you offer assistance with financing?
4. What would make you NOT choose a particular builder?
- Poor reviews/testimonials or bad reputation.
- Poor presentation on first visit.
- Not answering above questions.
- Low or no standing with BBB.
- Poor comments from Housing Board or Associations.
Schiavi Home Builders has made some very exciting changes since the beginning of 2012.
Since December our staff has worked hard to develop a new sales process. We say “New” but in fact this process has been in place for years here at Schiavi’s. We spent several month formalizing the details and actually putting together the procedures to back the process. The 5 Simple Step Process to Homeownership is much more than a catchy title. This process is how we can commit to meeting customer expectations in regards to their home fit and finish and move in completion.
This process has brought along other changes such as the development of Homeowner Websites. Yes, that is right Homeowner Websites. Each Schiavi Home Builders customers has a homeowner website, that is set up and maintained specifically for their project. These websites are design to help keep customers up to date on their project.
Our company website has also received a face lift to reflect our 5 Simple Step. And, now our blog is being updated with a fresh new look…
Other changes for Schiavi Home Builders include a new Cottage model which was debuted at the Oxford Hills Home Show at the end of April. Virtual tour and plans will be added to the website in the next few weeks.
Last but probably most sweeping, Schiavi Home Builders has announced our departure from the mobile home industry. From our press release: “The needs of the marketplace have changed and we need to change along with it,” stated Scott Stone of Schiavi Home Builders. “We are focused on building homes using modular technology to meet the needs of today’s energy-conscious buyers.”
Home design tends to flow in trends. Years ago, all homes had a formal Parlor and formal Dining room. With a large eat in kitchen for family meals. This was replaced with the Open design concept. Most recently, builders have been developing “woman centric designs.”
Schiavi Home Builders is developing the design for our next model, so we are researching woman centric design concept. Being a woman myself, I was a bit excited to be involved in the process, my excitement is waning…
I have browsed several websites of builders that tout these design ideas in their marketing, but I feel most fall short in the actual implementation of the concepts. Isn’t woman centric design more than adding closets? I expected to see a difference in the woman centric floorplans vs the normal floorplans.
Over the next month, we will be discussing this concept. We will be researching what elements to add to our new models. What are your thoughts? Is woman centric home design real or a marketing angle? If it is real, what does it mean to you? What would a woman centric home design include that a standard home design may not?
We have all heard the horror stories of families building a home and the contractor going WAY over budget, or worse running out of money and not completing the home… How can people building a new home avoid this disastrous situation?
- Don’t go it alone. So many people think that by being the General Contact of their own building project they will save money. In 95% of the cases where customers act as the GC, the project ended up over budget and WAY over schedule. Find a General Contractor with a strong reputation. Use the Better Business Bureau to check potential companies out, as well as customer referrals.
- Build a relationship with your General Contractor. If you don’t trust your GC, find a different one.
- As you go through the sales process, listen carefully! Beware of builders that consistently use estimates and allowances to give you pricing for your project. There is a big difference between estimates and quotes. Estimates are a general best guess of the cost, a quote is a real number based of the perimeter and details in the quote. Example: Estimate for Demolition of existing structure: $4500; Quote for Demolition of existing structure: Excavator for 4 hours $4,200, 1 extra dumpsters for debris and site clean up $1,500, total $5700. As you can see, the quote is higher than the estimate, but which figure is better?
- By Maine law, there must be a construction contract between the homebuyer and the builder. A construction contract is a binding legal document that must include certain details and wording in order to meet Maine State rules & regulations. Maine has provided an example building contract for people to refer to. We recommend printing this document, to help you get a better understanding of what you should expect in the contract with your contractor.
- In the state of Maine, anyone with a hammer can claim to be a builder. Kind of a scary thought! Please Note: Modular Home Builders are required to be licensed through the state. The Maine Attorney Generals office has set up a comprehensive list of items homebuyers should request from potential home builders on their website. Click here for the list.
B4UBUILD.com is a website filled with information regarding residential construction & remodeling. Most of this information is targeted towards site built (stick built) construction. However, I wanted to point out a few links that are great resources for any type of construction. These links are found on the lower left hand corner of the B4UBUILD homepage. The links below will take you directly to the page:
Know what to expect… This page lays out the facts of the overall process. Building a home is a huge undertaking. Building a trusting relationship with your builder is key to having the process go smooth. Here at Schiavi Home Builders we have a saying “Our job is to manage expectations during the sales process and exceed expectations during construction.” In other words, the sales team works with each customer to clearly define what the customer expects in their home, quality, specifications, level of completion, etc. Then it is the construction team’s job to meet or exceed the expectations laid out.
Homebuilding process arm yourself with knowledge! Schiavi Home Builders feels so strongly about educating prospective home buyers, we offer a FREE New Home Planning Workshop.
How much does it cost? I love this page!! We are asked this question everyday, and get very skeptical looks for homebuyers when we say, “Well, that depends on a lot of variables.” You can’t ask your grocer what your groceries will cost before you put anything into your cart…
Construction schedule This schedule is geared towards a site built home, so please keep in mind it would be greatly condensed with modular technology. However, this page is still a great resource to show you the various components involved in this process. Schiavi Home Builders has a clear schedule for each home we build. This schedule is laid out with consideration of all the homes we are building.
Construction contract Read this page carefully! Your construction contract is your protection against fraud. Schedule an appointment with Schiavi Home Builders to discuss our building contract. We have worked diligently to develop a contract that protects the home buyer as well as our business.