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Old 01-17-2017, 05:57 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now Rehoboth Beach, DE
7,778 posts, read 10,456,334 times
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RDLR, you are right there is NOTHING like good old fashioned homes that are built to last with few corners cut. I will argue that insulation today is much better than back in those days, but, you can't beat the old construction.

Re:SMCGLYNN. I understand that apparently she/he is an upset homeowner but out of 23 posts 10 are ripping INSIGHT apart. I own my own home and it was not built by a builder of name recognition, so I have no ponies in the game. As the former Architectural Review Chair for my community, I can only state one thing from my experience with 4 builders. I can say that Schell brothers impressed impressed me. Was it all perfect? NO, but the few problems we had with the builds were addressed by Schell to my satisfaction and that of the homeowner.

I will also note that while one can have a bad experience with a builder for certain, over time the people that work for these builders often will change and that can change the overall perception of a job from good to bad or vice versa. What was then in not necessarily now. It might be, it could be, but what happened may not be currently what is going on. One needs to look at the number of complaints in terms of number of builds and then make a decision. Building a home is not for the faint of heart and doing your homework is as important as selection of the home plot.
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Old 01-18-2017, 06:08 AM
 
7,321 posts, read 10,752,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nuts2uiam View Post
Building a home is not for the faint of heart and doing your homework is as important as selection of the home plot.
Great point! That's for sure! We built 2 new homes in our lifetime, and both times, were our own general contractor. I think that's what drove us to purchasing this old home! Been here 32 years!
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Old 01-18-2017, 02:11 PM
 
Location: Ocean View, DE
1,766 posts, read 3,053,515 times
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My parents' old farmhouse was built in 1860....has amazing detail and still has some of the old, original beams going across the kitchen ceiling. Yep, the old insulation was crap, but they had their first floor totally gutted and remodeled after it was flooded a few years ago. The new insulation made it beyond weather tight and that first floor is COOKING during the winter just being heated by a wood stove and some propane digital heater they bought to replace their old oil furnace. They still need to do the upstairs though.....
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Old 01-19-2017, 03:57 AM
 
7,321 posts, read 10,752,675 times
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"Green" homes are really popular now. I think Insight is one of those builders, if I remember correctly. Our old house has thick plaster walls. Would that be considered "Green" these days ???? LOL
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Old 01-23-2017, 08:27 AM
 
188 posts, read 115,787 times
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Many "Green" homes use advanced framing. This is usually 2" by 6" studs on 24" centers on the outside, and 2" by 4" studs on 24" centers on the inside walls. Less wood with deeper and larger spacing allows for more insulation. I am not convinced that the structure is as strong as conventional building techniques.
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Old 01-23-2017, 02:54 PM
 
22 posts, read 44,093 times
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Arabus, actually the inside walls are 2x4 on 16 center with insight don't know about other contractors.
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Old 01-23-2017, 09:21 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,535 times
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Default Hard to find a home...

I appreciate the time and effort spent by the people who have shared their experiences, knowledge and thoughts on this forum.

I have been looking for a home for about 5 years. It was just recently that we had zeroed in on a home that was about 10 years old but someone swooped and got it before we could get our act together... We have to sell our home and go through that process.

I have spent some time with Insight. They simply aren't in an area that I like. I wouldn't be interested in a development that to me feels like I have no elbow room like some of their communities. From my experience the few lots in their developments that I would have been interested in have premiums that take them out of consideration. I have tried to buy with Insight but they just don't have anything. Same with Schell. Small lots. And it should be noted that I am in the $300K range, so Schell would be pushing it price-wise anyway.

I have a family member who is an inspector and he seems to feel that most of these high volume places are more or less the same and nothing special. He suggested to me that a one single story home with a basement might be the best route. He also asked if I had looked into Beracah Homes who he recommended. I can't get past the 'modular" stigma. Probably wrong of me but it is what it is. But he was not impressed with Insight at all... or Schell for that matter.

So, despite all of that, at this point, I have decided to build. But my credit is unfortunately fair/good, so County Bank said there is no way they would do that or anything with me. lol. Anyway the next bank we talked to had no problems with me at $350K as long as I did a land/home package or a used home. But he can't do a construction loan either. Ideally I'd like to find a builder who would buy the land I want and make it a land/home package. Other than that I could sell my home and and be left with enough to buy the lot I want. Then sit on it for a year and try to get my credit into the 800's I guess. It would just be easier and probably just as good to do a land home package that is already available.

Capstone has a land/home package that I am very interested in. Its on a great lot in the right location. All the stars align except that I don't know and can't find out a lot about Capstone. They seem to have a fine BBB rating and have relatively minor complaints. However, I heard from Insight Homes sales rep that Capstone got rid of the founder or something and hired a Ryan Homes guy to replace him, so that is a little unsettling. I will have to look into it.

I have talked to several people about houses and whenever Ryan is brought up its just not good. I know 2 people who own Ryan homes and they feel like they live in a inferior home. That's just my experience with the people I've talked to. So right or wrong, I don't want anything to do with Ryan Homes. So that Capstone has evidently hired a guy from Ryan (IF true) to run things is disheartening.

I have other options. I have two lots that I am interested in and another land/home package that might work but I'm not very inspired by it. The lot itself just isn't very attractive but its in a good location and I can build a home with a walkout basement... and that interests me.

Insight for what its worth has been great. I would still feel like I am buying a cheap house for $300K but all of the people I have talked to really like their Insight home. Their basements cost twice as much as everyone else I have checked.

About a year ago, I talked with someone at Capstone in Millsboro and got some sales tactics that were harmless but nonetheless not appreciated. I don't want to be sold on a house or manipulated. I want information. I also found out (well allegedly) that one of the developments that they had put Capstone signs on vacant lots without permission. At least that is what the developer of that community told me. I don't know if that is true because he was also trying to sell me a house there. But I was persistent with Capstone for about a month trying to get them to give me a price on a home on one of those lots but they never could. I believe the salesperson was really trying to get a price but couldn't. Then he said they were trying to determine the interest in that development but would still get me a price... which of course, he didn't. It was just a red flag. I had scratched Capstone off my list. But now that I have found a nice land/home package by Capstone in one of their developments, I have to investigate further. Ughh. For what I would be getting for the money SEEMS to be a good deal. Like I said, it checks off all the boxes.

Anyone have any thoughts on Capstone? And I guess I mean with homes built in the last year or so because I think the GM left in 2015. I'm not even really sure how much I can find out. I mean the development I am looking into is probably 10 years old, so the chances of me finding newly built homes is going to be a little slimmer.

FWIW, a friend just built a Schell home and couldn't be happier. She said it went smoothly and no problems. lol... I'm not sure if the people who have had issues are just very loud (and justifiably so) and so it seems like a bad idea to build or if a lot of people build new homes without much issue.

Not sure if I added to the discussion. I have followed this thread for a while and thought I would chime in.

Good luck to everyone.
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Old 01-24-2017, 09:18 AM
 
Location: Delmarva
118 posts, read 198,443 times
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It sounds like you have done a lot of homework.

If you haven't already, I highly suggest you talk to people that own capstone homes in different communities just to get an idea of what their experience is. Usually homeowners will tell you the good and the bad.

Is there a reason you want a basement ? The reason I ask, is that in Sussex County, in some areas there is low water table and in some communities with homes with basements, the sump pump runs constantly. The water table varies so randomly that one house may have their sump pump idle most of the time while the house next door has 2 sump pumps running constantly.

If you are considering a single floor ranch home, why not build one without a basement ? I would guess the cost would be cheaper than having a basement unless you need the space.

My two cents is that Schell for the most part does build quality homes but at a higher perceived price compared to other builders. Schell does an excellent job marketing. I have talked to people who lived in earlier builds by Schell that weren't of good quality. That wouldn't rule me out of Schell but I would have to do my due diligence.
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:35 PM
 
2 posts, read 2,535 times
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Default Thanks for the reply

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaponies View Post
Is there a reason you want a basement ?

If you are considering a single floor ranch home, why not build one without a basement ? I would guess the cost would be cheaper than having a basement unless you need the space.

My two cents is that Schell for the most part does build quality homes but at a higher perceived price compared to other builders. Schell does an excellent job marketing. I have talked to people who lived in earlier builds by Schell that weren't of good quality. That wouldn't rule me out of Schell but I would have to do my due diligence.
I actually want a "walk-out" basement. One that lets a lot of light in and seems more like a house than a dungeon. Otherwise I don't really want one for the reasons you stated. I love them though. And a basement is like getting another house (almost double the square footage) for $15K or $20K (or $30K if you go with Insight). It is just cheaper to build down than up. So if I wanted to put an unfinished 2nd story on a particular Insight home it would cost $40K or more for less space.

Also, I think a pump running constantly might be offset to some degree by the constant temp a basement affords. So in my mind it would be less expensive to heat and cool than a second story.

Also, I have, begrudgingly (understatement), been in my crawl space about 10 times fixing a water pump (twice), or the dryer vent, or getting mice or rats from chewing up my duct work, and a few other times when I was just trying to figure out what was going on with our furnace and once when I had to replace the water line to the refrigerator. I simply hate it. So if I had a basement it would alleviate that to a large degree I believe.

I grew up with a basement in Sussex County and I loved it. But it did fill with water once and we never could figure it out. Some years later when my sister lived there they found out the water was coming from the fireplace into this little box where the ashes dropped in the basement. They fixed it and made a very nice space out of it.

But the real reason is that I want MY space, lol. That is the honest reason. My family will dominate the rest of the space and I won't have any. I would happily do a 3BR with 2BA with a bonus room over the garage. But the few builders that I have spoken with don't really do that. I did talk to Parker Builders in Millsboro and they do them on most of their homes but he doesn't have any locations that I like. Seems like a good guy and does a nice job with his developments, as well as beautiful and seemingly very well built homes.

So more than you ever wanted to know about my reasoning process. My biggest concern with them is the rising water table. I might be good now but what about 20 years from now?

So the property with Capstone is actually on a flood plain. Where the house is located it wouldn't be but about 50% of the backyard would be non tidal wetlands. So I walked the property and I don't think it would be a problem any time soon but I can't imagine that a bank would not insist on flood insurance even though there is a good 10 foot slope to the flood plain from the house. i.e the walk out basement would be 10 feet higher than the flood plain. If I did move forward with this I would need to talk to the other people in the flood plain and try to get their rational on building there and to see if they had any issues with financing or if they need flood insurance.

Schell has a model that I love called the Heron. It is comparable to the Frank model by Insight in size. Schell is offering a $5500 incentive on their homes which brings the price down to just about $5000 more than the base Frank. For me, the aesthetics alone are worth the money. But its still $240K even with the incentive. Add in $20K for well, septic, driveway and then add a few relatively minor options/upgrades and your probably close to $275K plus the $75K for the lot... and I am over budget, lol. Nonetheless, IMO it is a considerably better deal and it appears that you are getting more for your money and perhaps a better built home with Schell. But its hard to know if that is the case. I do know someone who just bought a Schell home a few months ago and loves it. Will she still love it in a few or 5 years? That's the question.

I have to talked to Schell but they really insisted that I look at their communities to see if I liked them. It was almost like they would have preferred not to build on my lot. Perhaps there is more profit to buy in one of their communities since they probably got a very good deal on the land. But I certainly don't know that.

10 years ago, my sister sold her house, bought the property she wanted with the profit from the sale and used the property as her 20% down collateral with the bank and built her home with Warfel Construction who built a rock solid home for them with a basement That is the route I think I would prefer to go but I'm not sure banks do that as freely as they did 10 years ago.

How important is a home with a view? Would you rather have an average home with a great view? Or a great home with an average view?

And does anyone have experience with having the builder buy the lot you want and then make it a land/home package?

Good grief. Sorry for the long winded reply. You would think this is all I think about.
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Old 01-25-2017, 06:39 AM
 
7,321 posts, read 10,752,675 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaveHunter View Post
And does anyone have experience with having the builder buy the lot you want and then make it a land/home package?
No..But....
We had many of the concerns you're now facing. Our solution was, maybe, not the norm. We sold our 160 acre farm and retained 3 acres frontage for our home site. We were our own general contractors. We purchased the house plans, made some changes in those plans, hired the escavator to dig the basement and finish the site improvements, hired plumbers, electricians, well and septic contractors, and workers we had faith in. (of course we knew who to select since we;re locals and have been here forever). We built 2 new homes, being our own general contractor, and while I recommend it, it is a lot of work and responsibility. You must know the most reputable contractors. But at least, we got what we wanted; our laundry list was much like yours.
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