Category: Home Builder FAQ

March 18th, 2015

Finding the Perfect Lot for Your New Home

Categories: Holland MI Real Estate News, Home Builder FAQ, Ludington Real Estate News, Maplewood Homes, New Home Design |

Which Lot is Right for You?

Which Lot is Right for You?

One area where we can add a lot of value as a home builder is by helping our clients find a good building site.  As a licensed real estate broker, I have full access to the Multiple Listing Service and all the vacant land currently for sale.  I also meet a lot of people and often hear about property that is not yet on the market.   Most builders are not real estate agents and most real estate agents are not builders.  By providing both, we can help you find a lot that works good from a builder’s viewpoint.  If you are looking to build a home in the Holland/Grand Rapids area, the Ludington area, or anywhere in between, we can help you find the perfect homesite.

June 6th, 2014

Trusting Your Builder – Hard to Do, Essential for Success

Categories: Home Builder FAQ, Maplewood Homes |

One of the most important components of the new home construction process is the homeowner-builder relationship.  The foundation of that relationship is built on Trust.

It is essential to find a builder you can trust before entering into a construction agreement to build your home.  Do your research on the front end – investigate the builder’s product and look at homes they’ve built with the same critical eye you’d use on your own home.  Check references with past clients, but also check with building officials, the home builders association, real estate professionals, and financial institutions.  These people work with builders a lot and know who the reputable builders are in any town.

Once you know know you’re working with a reputable builder, one who cares about their reputation in the community,…Let Go.  Let go of the stress, the worry, and all the anxiety of the building process.  The reason you hired a builder was to have someone else deal with all the daily headaches of sub-contractors, material deliveries, building inspections, scheduling delays, etc.  Rest assured that things will go wrong, but that you have someone looking out for you in the process.

Having built nearly 200 homes, we’ve worked for all types of people.  Most of our homeowners have been wonderful, but we also have had a few clients who treated us as if we were somehow their adversary.  They expressed excessive worry over every detail and constantly questioned our work.   Don’t be afraid to ask questions or to be persistent in expressing your concerns if you feel they aren’t being addressed.  But, if you are able to approach every situation with the knowledge that your builder is doing their best to build you a great home, the process will be much more enjoyable for everyone – especially you!

August 1st, 2013

What if I Have My Own Home Plans?

Categories: Home Builder FAQ |

We don’t just build the plans you see here on our website.  In fact, all of the homes in our custom designed client homes section are custom homes we designed specifically for our homeowner.  We can design and build a custom home for you, too.  And if you don’t have your own house plans, and don’t like any of our home designs, we will start from scratch and design a one-of-a-kind home for YOU!

July 26th, 2013

Can you Build on My Lot?

Categories: Home Builder FAQ |

Yes!  Historically, Maplewood Homes has built primarily on our client’s land, and not on lots that we owned ourselves.  Only recently have we begun searching out lots to buy or develop.  We still would be more than happy to build on your lot, too, though.

May 31st, 2013

Understanding the Michigan Construction Lien Law

Categories: Home Builder FAQ |

All homes built in the state of Michigan are subject to the Michigan Construction Lien Act.  The purpose of the act is to make sure all contractors who work on the home are paid and to protect homeowners from ending up in court over unpaid construction trade workers and suppliers.  An unpaid contractor is able to place a lien on a home that they supplied material or labor.  If the builder has already been paid, this can create a significant problem for both the trade sub contractor and the homeowner.  In essence, the construction lien act is designed to protect both the homeowner and the trade contractor from an unscrupulous or irresponsible builder who would collect from the homeowner and then not pay their trades.

Before I describe the process any further, I’d like to put your mind at ease.  Maplewood Homes has been in business for over 17 years, built over 180 new homes, and never once let any of our contractors go unpaid or have a lien placed on any of our clients’ homes.  The process can sound a little complicated, but again, to put your mind at ease, we handle all of the paperwork.  You really don’t need to worry about it at all.

There are four main documents that you may encounter.  The first is called a “Notice of Commencement.”  This form lets everyone know who the homeowner is, who the builder is, and where the home is.  It contains all the information that builders and contractors need to process the other forms.

The next form is called a “Notice of Furnishings.”  This is a document that notifies the homeowner if a trade contractor had provided labor or materials on a construction site.  Occasionally, our clients will receive one of these in the mail and become confused.  If you see this form, it doesn’t mean that there are any unpaid bills, only that materials have been provided.  We work primarily with small, independent trade contractors, many who have worked for us for years and know that they will be paid in a timely fashion.  Because of this, most don’t even bother with a notice of furnishings.  The notice of furnishings must be provided within 20 days of when materials are supplied or 30 days from when wages are due in order to file a construction lien.

The other two forms you may encounter are the “Sworn Statement” and “Lien Waivers.”  Each time we submit a construction draw to the bank, we provide a sworn statement that tells them which trade sub contractors we are going to pay with the funds.  Once the contractors have been paid, they each sign a lien waiver, which takes away their right to file a lien on the client’s home.  Typically, the bank will issue a draw check and then collect the lien waivers from that draw before any additional funds are released.  Again, all this happens behind the scenes between the builder, the bank, and the title company.  Additionally, the title office will check the public record to ensure no liens have been placed each time a draw is submitted.

The only time you really should get involved with the process is if you are paying for your new home without a bank mortgage or title company.  In that case, be sure to get a lien waiver from each contractor that works on your home – especially if they send a notice of furnishings.  We collect lien waivers on every invoice we pay, even if there is no bank or title office looking over our shoulder.  This way we are able to give a copy to our homeowners for their peace of mind that all the bills have been paid in the building of their home.

March 22nd, 2013

Waiting on the Frost Laws

Categories: Home Builder FAQ |

This time every spring we have construction delays due to the local frost laws.  Here in Ludington, they went on last week and we can’t move any really heavy equipment unless the road is classified as “Class A.”  We can still pour concrete if we need to, but they need to send the concrete trucks with half-loads (twice as many) and it will cost a little more.  As soon as we get some warm weather and the frost is out of the ground, we can resume our normal construction schedule.  In the meantime, we do what we can… and wait!  : (    Sometime mother nature just takes over – it’s one of the reasons we add an additional 30 days into the building schedule for winter projects.

March 11th, 2013

Understanding New Home Option Pricing

Categories: Home Builder FAQ |

When you are building a new home, it is tempting to compare the prices for options or upgrades to similar items on the shelves at big-box retailers, such as Home Depot or Lowe’s.  The prices we need to charge are often much more than what it would cost to buy it at one one of these stores.  Why is that?  Why does a $10 can light cost me $80?  At first glance, it might seem like we’re overcharging our clients, but that is just not what we’re about here at Maplewood Homes, so let me explain why items cost more than you would think.  First of all, we need to cover our overhead expenses like any other business.  There is also a little profit in every item.  We aren’t ashamed of making a fair profit and believe that part of being a successful home builder is staying in business so we can serve new clients and be around if any of our past clients need us.  Most of the difference, though, are items that you wouldn’t think of right off the bat.  For example, when you buy a light fixture at the warehouse store, that’s what you get – a light fixture, at the store, in the box.  That same light fixture from Maplewood Homes comes with delivery to your home, at just the right moment when it is need.  It comes with the light bulb, the switch, and all the wiring it needs to function.  It comes with a licensed electrician, with all his tools, on a ladder, in your home.  It comes with a builder to help you decide where to put the light and to update all the construction drawings.  It comes with a warranty, and we even haul away all the packaging.  If you think about it, you aren’t really buying a light fixture.  Your buying the ability to walk into a room and have it light up at the touch of a switch.  It’s like the difference between a pound of hamburger at the grocery store and the deluxe-burger-basket-with-drink-and-fries at your favorite restaurant.

February 27th, 2013

Nothing is Happening on My Home Today!

Categories: Home Builder FAQ |

We work on a 120 day construction schedule for most of our homes.  Some larger, more elaborate custom homes will take longer and we also add some time into the schedule if we’re building in the winter.  This schedule includes breaks between all of our trade contractors when there will be nothing happening at the job site.  This is a  normal part of the process.  None of our contractors work exclusively for Maplewood Homes.  They work for other builders, too, and this means remaining a little bit flexible.  Also, sometimes, it takes a little longer than planned, or they get held up on another job, or there was a weather or material delay.  You get the point!  So if there’s not any progress today, don’t worry.  We’re most likely aware of it and have planned for it in your construction time line.

February 6th, 2013

What is Your “Cost per Square Foot?”

Categories: Home Builder FAQ |

Cultered Stone Exterior, Paved Driveway, & 8/12 Hip Roof all add to the cost of this home without changing the square footage.

As a builder, I am asked this question all the time, and it is a question without a good answer.  I know that is not most people want to hear, so let me explain.

First of all, not all square feet are created equal.  For example, kitchens and bathrooms are much more expensive to build than Living Rooms or Bedrooms.  The added cost of cabinets, countertops, plumbing fixtures, and of coarse, the plumber, add a signification amount of cost to those rooms.  There are also a lot more electrical outlets in the kitchen and they all need to be ground fault circuits, too.  So, two identical homes could be priced much differently based on how much of the square footage is devoted to kitchens and bathrooms.  Also, no one ever figures the size of the garage in these calculations.

Secondly, some home plans are much more intricate and require more labor and materials to construct.  The number of roof valleys, gables, corners, bump-outs, windows, etc, can all add to the cost without increasing the square footage.  A plain rectangular home will be less expensive than and L-shaped home with multiple gables even if both homes are the exact same size.

Next, the level of finish on the exterior and interior of the home again effect the cost without necessarily changing the square footage.  For example, if your home has Glazed Cherry Cabinets, Granite Countertops, and Hardwood Flooring, it will cost more.  You could look at it another way, in that for any given budget, you can build a smaller, fancier home or a larger, simpler one.

The final ingredient in the cost-per-square-foot equation is what the builder is including in the number he/she uses.  For example, all our homes come with many energy efficiency features that other builders do not include.  You will need to find out, does the price include rain gutters?  A garage door opener?  Basement egress windows?  A Well?  Septic System or other utilities?  Permits?  The list goes on and on.

So the cost-per-square-foot number doesn’t really provide any meaningful information without answering dozens of other questions first.  I think many people want to know the cost-per-square-foot so that they know which builders are more expensive, but if a less expensive home builder is not including some of the items a costlier builder is including, they might actually be more expensive!  It truly is a very poor way to compare home builders.

September 25th, 2012

Do you build in the winter?

Categories: Home Builder FAQ, Maplewood Homes |

There are a lot of misconceptions about home building.  One we usually get this time of year is that you either need to hurry up and get it roughed-in before the snow flies or you wait and “build in the spring.”  We build year-round and do just as nice a job on the homes we build in winter.  We do take some extra precautions in the winter to keep fresh concrete from freezing.  We also add a few days to the construction schedule just in case it’s blizzarding while we’re trying to install a roof.  As a home building client, you can be assured that we will honor our warranties all the same and deliver the same attention to detail and level of quality no matter when the home is built.  So yes, we do build in the winter!



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