Green. Gold. Sold.

Setting Expectations
October 23, 2013

We know buyers want their new homes delivered on time. It is important to point out; builders want to deliver their new homes on time. Delays cost everyone money. No one understands that better than the builder who is paying interest to the bank every month. Unfortunately, the builder is at the mercy of Mother Nature, the subcontractors who work for them and local inspectors. Delays can also happen as a result of unforeseeable circumstances such labor or materials shortages and because the buyer's selections haven't been completed on time. The following scenario may be typical of construction of a new homes during the rainy season in Hampton Roads. Before construction begins, plans for the home have to be approved by the locality. Once plans are approved, the builder applies for the permit. The builder will get the home on the schedule of various subs he contracts with to complete the phases of construction. The lot will be staked out and the land will be prepared for the foundation. Block will be delivered to the lot. For the sake of simplicity, this will be a slab foundation. Site tests are conducted on the soil to determine how far to dig. If the foundation crew start digging and finds unusual conditions, then they will make adjustments, possibly bring in some gravel, which may delay the process. Next, the footings are dug. WAIT: if rain is in the forecast today, they won't dig. Rain water would fill the excavated area which may have to be pumped out and you may wait longer for the area to dry. Oh no, we cant get back on the contractors schedule for a couple days, possibly another delay. Once the footings are dug, concrete is poured into the footings. WAIT, if its going to rain today they won't pour the cement. WAIT, the locality needs to inspect the footings. An engineer installs block points. Block is laid. Rough-ins for plumbing and electrical are installed. The footings are in. WAIT, the locality needs to inspect the footings and rough ins. Some localities can take up to 3 working days to get there. Uh oh, maybe one small item isn't to their exact specifications, FAIL. The item is corrected. WAIT, up to 3 more days for an inspector. Oh no, the framing will need to be rescheduled, another delay. Wood for framing and trusses are delivered to the lot. The slab is poured. WAIT, another inspection. The home is framed; sub-floor, joists, walls, trusses, sheathing, usually within a couple days. WAIT, another inspection...3 days... you get the idea. The roof is covered in tar paper and shingles are delivered for the roof. The roof is on in a few days. Again, if it's raining, snowing or incredibly windy, work will be delayed. Windows and doors are installed. The home is wrapped in a synthetic material to repel water (ie, Tyvek ®). The home is now "dried-in". The goals is to protect the home from the elements as soon as possible. Electrical, plumbing and HVAC rough-ins should be complete. WAIT, another inspection. For the next several weeks, a large number of subs may be working in the home at the same time. If any of these contractors has to wait on back-ordered materials; he may cause delays for the others. The exterior walls and the roof are insulated. WAIT, its inspection time. Drywall is installed. Heating and cooling systems are installed. Inspect, inspect...... Walls and ceilings are painted, cabinets are installed (maybe the cabinets come in with flaws-delay), hard flooring is installed. The plumbing and electrical fixtures are next, trim is completed and interior doors are hung. While crews are working inside; the siding, stone or brick is applied to the outside. If the weather has cooperated and the ground isn't saturated or frozen; the driveway and walkways will be dug and framed up. The next dry day, the driveway and walkways will be poured. The final grade is completed and landscaping is installed. The carpet and final cleaning finish the process. I've probably missed a few inspections. The locality will inspect stairs, handrails, garage doors. They will complete final inspections of the HVAC, plumbing, electrical, gas, and grade before a Certificate of Occupancy is issued. If a buyer understands why their new home may be delayed, the process will be smoother for everyone involved. As agents, we can help our customers and clients realize there's more involved than meets the eye. Let's set expectations up front so everyone's still smiling when that gorgeous new home is delivered.   Thanks to Sherry Maser of William E. Wood and Associates Realtors® New Homes Division. This article was originally published in October's Realtor® Magazine. Click here to visit HRRA's website!

It's Electric!
October 14, 2013

The process of building a new home can be very exciting for your clients. But agents who regularly sell new homes know that one of the most difficult decisions many buyers have is knowing which upgrades to choose. I often get the question, "what upgrades are the other buyers getting?" or the statement, "I'm worried I'll miss something important". Options need to be planned for and added at specific stages of construction. The extent of upgrades and changes a builder will incorporate into a new home depends on whether your client is building a custom or production home. Your buyer will need to think about which options are more cost effective to install during construction and which ones can be added later. I've compiled a list of sought after features and modern amenities to be considered when buying a new home.   It's electric! Yes, many of the upgrades current buyers are adding involve the electrician. • 220 outlet in garage for SMART car • Floor receptacle • Under cabinet lighting/over cabinet lighting • Dedicated outlet for freezer • Dimmers • USB charger outlet • Christmas lighting package • Home theater prewire • Exterior spotlights with an additional switch in the bedroom • HDMI prewire for flat screen TV • Drop zone/tech center/charging station • His/hers outlets over bathroom sinks • Additional outlets in garage (usually only 1 is standard) • Outlets in closets for electric brooms, next to the bed, near deck, mantle •Back-up generator panel •Garage door keyless entry •Weather resistant exterior outlets on all sides of the home • CO detector prewire •Pendant lights, recessed light • Extra conduit for future upgrades Features for aging in place... • Lever door handles • Comfort height toilets • Step-in showers • Blocking for future grab bars • Pot filler (no more carrying a pot of water to the stove) Think about.. • Utility sink in garage, dog washing station • Gas line for grill • Hose bibs on all sides of the house • Programmable thermostats • Stub out for irrigation system • Central vac • Tankless water heater • Whole house water circulator - instant hot water • Laundry chute • Attic fan • Bench in the shower • Elongated toilets • Elaborate front doors • Additional insulation for soundproofing rooms   Just a few of these ideas will make your client happy they picked an agent who knows new construction.   Thanks to Sherry Maser of William E. Wood and Associates Realtors® New Homes Division. This article was originally published in June's Realtor® Magazine. Click here to visit HRRA's website!

Important Market Update from Nick Russo!
October 3, 2013

Day 3 of the #governmentshutdown. What impact does this have on rates. The Government has shut down 17 times in the past 46 years and the markets absorbed the shutdown without major concern. The bond market has actually improved over the past 3 days and rates are holding the improvements felt over the past 3 weeks. Freddie Mac reports the 30-yr fixed conventional mortgage rate fell to 4.22% with .7 points/fees paid for this rate. With VA and FHA rates getting back in the 3’s and Conventional rates in the low 4’s let’s not waste this opportunity. Many thought we would not see rates in the low 4’s or high 3’s again but with the bond market improvements and rates dropping, maybe you didn’t miss the boat. With a 1/2% rate reduction you gain more than 5% buying power and pay less per month! Example: $315,000 at a 4.25% rate is a $1549 principal and interest payment (APR 4.345) $300,000 at a 4.75% rate is a $1564 Principal and Interest payment (APR 4.845) Don’t miss out on this opportunity as we all know the trend in rates is that they will go back up!