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Old 07-14-2012, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
7,740 posts, read 10,415,020 times
Reputation: 7714

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We have been looking for a home that suits us and thus far have not found "the" house. Actually that is not totally true, we found it but the timing did not work. We have been looking and our agent suggest that we buy the land and have a builder build it for us. Had not considered that prior to her suggestion.

Anyone have suggestions regarding builders. It would be in the Rahoboth Beach area. We saw signs for Schell Brothers, Ryan Hones, NV Homes, Lewes Building company and Insight to name just a few. Our heads are already ready to explode with the options and are just starting to see if this will work for us.

Any opinions are welcome, we are looking for pluses and minuses to building vs buying existing homes. Also any experience with particular builders either pro or con. We are from out of state so that is a consideration but according to our broker she says it is done all the time especially in this area. In the day and age of digital photography it is a snap.
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Old 07-14-2012, 10:53 PM
 
Location: Delmarva
118 posts, read 197,330 times
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Hi - What kind of land/home did you have in mind ? How many acres ? in flood plain ? do you want streetlights and/or sidewalks ? do you want a $60/mo HOA or $120 or more ? when do you want to close on the house ? do you want condo or fee simple or other ?

Many questions to consider and your answers will help narrow it down.

In our research we found that Ryan/NV (really same company) had some nice communities in the area but based on the reviews of Ryan on the web by homeowners we decided it wasn't worth the potential aggravation. Ryan didn't seem to have any trouble in DE but they had a boat land in other states such as MD, VA, PA, OH, etc.

Schell does have some nice houses but we didn't really like the communities. For example, love creek had ponds with geese, which means poop in your yard depending on if the house is close to the pond. Love creek also has a leech field, which is they clean the sewage from the community and the 'clean' water is distributed to a common grassy area in the community. Some homes have this common area in the back on their houses. We didn't want that at all since we plan to garden. Schell quality does seem to be good but it could be pricey.

Insight does a good marketing pitch but I'm leery of their real quality and financial strength. They did have some financial trouble 2 years ago. I think there is one case still open with Insight. You can look this up on the Delaware court system website.

As for resale vs new, for us we leaned toward new because a new build most of the time is cheaper than a resale and you are getting a new home with new warranties vs. a resale that most likely has some expired warranties. Some warranties like roof and structural will probably still be in effect though. With a new you can also do some customization, depending on the builder. We've noticed that resales in communities where the builder is still building are having a hard time competing on price with new. I'm guessing that most people are saying why should we buy resale when I can get a new at or below the resales price, and also get some customization.

If you tell us your requirements we can hone in.

We also found some very established communities that are 95% full that either had open land or there were many resales available. These communities were very tempting.
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Old 07-15-2012, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
7,740 posts, read 10,415,020 times
Reputation: 7714
We have a community in mind but it will be a spot build as it is one of the few remaining plots left. Schell, from a dm I received will only do semi-customization of existing floor plans, i.e you can customize your cabinets, floors, shingles, etc. but not to add a room that is not already an option. The DM used the example of if you took a ranch house model and wanted to add an additional bedroom on to it. They can 't do it if it is not already an option, for example like a screen porch. The poster said you need to go to Echelon for custom work. If I can find a plan I like with no major alterations then they can build it anywhere.

Our chosen community is fee simple and there is an HOA that we are comfortable with. The real questions are if we do build, which builder is reputable and not going to rip us off product wise by shoddy workmanship or inflated costs.
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Old 07-15-2012, 12:33 PM
 
7,313 posts, read 10,732,737 times
Reputation: 14757
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuts2uiam View Post
The DM used the example of if you took a ranch house model and wanted to add an additional bedroom on to it. They can 't do it if it is not already an option, for example like a screen porch. The poster said you need to go to Echelon for custom work. If I can find a plan I like with no major alterations then they can build it anywhere.
Most of the builders mentioned only build from their own plans, and add/subtract amenities. This is called "tract style" housing. And, it is just that - rows and rows of "same look" housing, in beige, cream, white or gray. Garage on the left, or garage on the right.....take your pick. Select the Elizabeth, Melissa, or Deborah model, and the builder will tell you what the rules are for changes in regard to that particular model. The plat plan is such to squeeze the most number of houses on any given parcel of land. Pick a plan of theirs, and they will allow you to deviate to a certain extent. But, get it right the first time because when everything's signed, and you want to make changes, the builders charge for every little change they have to make, down to moving an electrical outlet over a few inches. Most new construction in Delaware these days is tract housing, and most of the builders come from out of state to start up subdivisions here.

We built 3 new homes from scratch, with our own plans which we had an architect design, after discussing what our preferences were. Very costly, though, at that time. I'm sure much more costly now. In addition, we were our own general contractor. But we are locals, and we knew who to hire to do the sub contractor work, such as electric, plumbing, drywall, framing, roofing, etc.

If I didn't know the area, and if I didn't know anything about wells, hard/soft/iron water locations, community water sources, gravity septics, low pressure pipe systems, flood plains, and other......I'd probably play it safe and have a home built in a tract subdivision. But then.....nah, I don't think so.

Last edited by rdlr; 07-15-2012 at 12:58 PM..
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Old 07-17-2012, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
7,740 posts, read 10,415,020 times
Reputation: 7714
RDR, Thanks so much that is what we have been able to figure out so far. I seem to have gotten a range from $90 to $150 a square foot. It seems so broad a range that it is making us question the whole idea even more. One builder has a credit for $9200 for appliances in the kitchen. I need a simple stove and fridge not a Wolf or Subzero, eeegads!. I tried to figure it out by moving the balance to say an upgrade to the cabinets and counter top and I am still terrified that I will end up needing to "spend" more than I want to because I have "credits". Obviously we need to do a lot more homework to understand the entire process buy I must say it is daunting and that is why I wanted to see if anyone had a good experience with a local builder and how it went.
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:23 PM
 
Location: SE Florida
1,194 posts, read 3,677,880 times
Reputation: 754
Good luck and the amount of money as a credit kinda means a little when it comes to building a new home.

During 1972 we bought a new home on the Little Assawoman bay in Fenwick Island for 44k. Sold it a few years later for a small profit. It was very simple and the builder "gave" us a high credit too but a stove, lights, frig, carpet etc were not included in the original amount.

I built a few homes in my days and 10 years ago I did charge $175/sq ft. minus the lot.
One story and 1,200 Sq ft home would be complete including a frig, 4 burner stove, ceramic tile in entrance ways, over sized A/C central unit with heat, maximun insulation throughout, 1 chandelier in each of the 2 bathrooms and a few additional lights and outlets for cable TV, telephone in the kitchen and both baths with a good security system.

When the buyer was finished it would run them close to $225k and the ground would normally cost $135k but the home was guaranteed for 10 years with an insurance policy I provided.

I believe you get what you pay for and $90/sf seems too cheap for a good home.

We are now living in SE Floida on the water nd the ground cost us 250k for our 3,200 SF home and the home built to my specs. My upgrades were 41k. Our home is kinda simple but totaled $365k for the home.... It is a heck of a lot of money considering it is a home and not a mansion.

Almost all builders nowadays are looking for work. You must meet with them in person on and enxtended phone conversation and find out what they provide for the money you want to spend. Please get a set of plans and if you are unable to read them then ask someone to because it is very important. Better yet ask what homes the builder has built in the past of currently under construction and get their address including phone number then call them....

Also stay away from your second suggested builder because our friend hasd one built by them and things just didn't work out they way they should. (Insulation and A/C duct work must be dry). I know this could have been an isolated case but you should see for yourself.

Good luck and your area you chose is wonderful.
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Old 07-17-2012, 02:30 PM
 
7,313 posts, read 10,732,737 times
Reputation: 14757
Quote:
Originally Posted by nuts2uiam View Post
I seem to have gotten a range from $90 to $150 a square foot. It seems so broad a range that it is making us question the whole idea even more.
Keep in mind, that location of the lot plays a large part in how much you will pay per sfla. If the lot is located within a designated growth zone having all public utilities, and where housing developments are springing up everywhere, expect to pay a higher land value which is rolled into the price of the new construction. It's not unusual to see $150 psf for a 1,600 sf house in a growth zone. That same house down the road in a non-growth zone could sell for $95-$110 psf. Before you buy new construction anywhere, check out re-sales in the subdivisions that interest you. They are the true test of market value.

Keep up the good work!
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Old 10-04-2012, 10:05 PM
 
10 posts, read 24,061 times
Reputation: 10
nuts2uiam: Did you ever enter an agreement to build something? If you did, which builder did you select and how has the experience been thus far?
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Old 10-05-2012, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
7,740 posts, read 10,415,020 times
Reputation: 7714
Quote:
Originally Posted by WestoverAndOver View Post
nuts2uiam: Did you ever enter an agreement to build something? If you did, which builder did you select and how has the experience been thus far?
Timing is everything and after meeting and speaking with builders, we found a wonderful home as a resale. I can honestly say if I were going to build I would use BZ Construction Services. They do a wonderful job, seem to be very creative and build a good product as a reasonable price. That said, I ended up not going the distance, so I can only go by the before the build experience, but they and their work were quite impressive. They have a home in Hawkseye in Lewes that can be seen.
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