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Old 10-06-2008, 04:47 AM
 
26 posts, read 109,452 times
Reputation: 16

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So my husband and I were thinking of purchasing a house versus living on military housing. We saw some brand new houses on celebrityhomesomaha.com and we saw some awesome deals and are very interested in purchasing one. We haven't even arrived to Nebraska yet, and this would be our 1st home purchase, so of course we're going to wait until we get there to figure everything out. But in the meantime, I just wanted to do some research. Are the housing communities located in a good area? The deals seem almost too good to be true, and we were just curious about the overall reputation of these builders? Any other information you could add would definitely help. Thanks!
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Old 10-06-2008, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Central Nebraska
1,821 posts, read 4,631,471 times
Reputation: 5065
They build quite a few neighborhoods around the metro. I don't know too much about reputation and such, but I have had two different family friends who live or have lived in homes in celebrity neighborhoods. Both where in northwest Omaha (one around 144th and Maple, one around 168th and Maple) and seemed like pretty nice homes and neighborhoods to me. One of the couples bought one as a starter house last year, and the other couple lived in theirs for only 4 years (they moved) so I didn't hear too much about problems, but neither was there a long time either.

It seems that they could be one of these builders that put up homes fast and quality isn't as good, but I will leave that to more knowlegable folk.
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Old 10-06-2008, 06:59 AM
 
4,669 posts, read 4,075,704 times
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Celebrity builds in new areas that are SIDs or Sanitary Improvement Districts. They won't be inside the Omaha city limits, and you'll consequently pay higher taxes for it. Having said that, the neighborhoods are just fine--but they're not in the city. If you want a suburban area, they're likely just what you want.

I've got a family member that used to frame houses. He also recently built one of his own through a custom builder. From what he said, the quality is pretty much the same whether you use a custom builder or a discount builder like Celebrity or Hearthstone.
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Old 10-06-2008, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,531,201 times
Reputation: 890
Their homes are generally the entry level market... you have a set number of base plan options, a set number upgrade options, and a set number of lots within their "community". It is not a custom design home, but more of a manufacturer model where its a very repeatable process. they used to have the reputation as the "cheap" (quality) builder in town but have been working hard to change that. You will find some very pro-Celebrity folks and some very anti-Celebrity folks...

Take a look at this link - warning, it was started by some anti-folks, but it might give you a little insight on what to watch out for when you work with them.

Celebrity Homes - [domain blocked due to spam]


...
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:03 PM
 
1 posts, read 12,210 times
Reputation: 10
Default Celebrity Homes

Hello,

I am an agent for Celebrity Homes. Our prices and features are very real. I would be happy to mail out some information if you like. We have entry level homes all the way up to 4 bedroom 4 car garage homes.

My website is celebritynewhomesomaha.com

The homes are energy efficient and located next to major shopping and entertainment.

Please let me know if I can help.
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:28 PM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,531,201 times
Reputation: 890
If you are looking for that little community where the developer controls all the houses (e.g. Celebrity), then be sure to also look at Hearthstone. I think they generally hit the same target market, but vary slightly in pricing methodology (especially in regards to upgrades/changes/add-ons) and community location. Also will give you a different look of floor plan to compare to. Looking and understanding both Celebrity and Hearthstone will give you a good understanding of that business model.

The Metropolitan Omaha Builders Association (MOBA) is the recognized trade association for the industry in this area. Here is a link to their list of some of their builders. MOBA Builders List (http://www.moba.com/buildersandremodelers.asp - broken link). If a builder has a website its is listed so might help you as you research builders (both mass manufactured and custom built).

Celebrity Homes (note, the link kwitt gave was an agent specific link - this is the corporate link)
Hearthstone Homes

....
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Old 10-07-2008, 04:37 PM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,531,201 times
Reputation: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdbrich View Post
Celebrity builds in new areas that are SIDs or Sanitary Improvement Districts. ......., and you'll consequently pay higher taxes for it.

That earlier comment about a Sanitary Improvement District (SID) is VERY important to understand. As mentiond, an SID exists outside of a city or town so it has its own taxing authority. They SID assesses a tax levy to pay for its streets, infrastructure, public areas, parks, and the general bonded debt that was used to build the subdivision.

Every SID sets its own tax levy and they vary GREATLY.... Generally an SID levy is much more than what the levy would be if you were "in town".

Example: I live in Papillion, which the city has the lowest tax levy in the Douglas and Sarpy area for any town (last I checked), but one of the SID's that is right next to Papillion have one of the highest tax levys in the two county area! I could move my house about 1/2 mile and move from town to SID and my property tax would almost double. The tax levy and property tax is managed by the county assessor so be sure to talk to them as you are looking into the different communities. Here are their websites: Douglas County Assessor and Sarpy County Assessor.

Every SID has a number (generally 3 digits)... its that SID number that you can give to the County Assessor so they can tell you the levy for that specific SID. Do NOT discount the importance of this part of your research - it could cost (or save) you a lot when comparing homes of equal size/value.

Here is an earlier City-Data discussion regarding property taxes: Relo question: property tax rates. schools
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:15 PM
 
4,669 posts, read 4,075,704 times
Reputation: 409
I live in a 2 year old Hearthstone home. We've been treated well by them. What Dave pointed out above is an issue. My taxes are probably 80% higher than what I'd pay for the same home in the city limits. But on the other hand, I'm not going to get a new home in the city for the same price.

I don't know that the quality is any less than what you'd get from a custom home--but they are a bit "cookie cutter". Most of the homes in a neighborhood do look very similar. I'd guess that Celebrity is the same. If that doesn't bother you, it really is more home for the money than what you'd get from a custom builder.
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Old 10-07-2008, 08:22 PM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,531,201 times
Reputation: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by kdbrich View Post
What Dave pointed out above is an issue. My taxes are probably 80% higher than what I'd pay for the same home in the city limits. .
When you investigate your home, understand the level of debt that the SID has as a percentage of overall SID valuation... if its 4-5% or less and the roads/parks appear to be in good shape then its a fairly healthy SID and your extra taxes will pay that debt down so you would then be eligible to be annexed in a reasonable number of years - once annexed you are part of the town that controls your zoning and when annexed your SID tax goes away and is replaced with the city tax.

If the SID debt is more than 5% of the overall valuation then that community has a higher debt load which will probably prevent them from being annexed in a reasonable amount of time - so you will be paying that SID levy for a longer period of time.

That debt ratio is a figure that any one involved with the SID should know off the top of their head, or be able to get with one phone call. If they won't share it then be suspect - you have every right to know the financial condition of the SID.
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Old 10-08-2008, 01:37 PM
 
Location: Grapevine, TX
66 posts, read 208,828 times
Reputation: 35
My youngest brother just went to college so my mom wanted a smaller place. She has purchased a Celebrity Home and it is still being built. The agent was awesome and she won't have to pay taxes for the first year and they had a deal for only a $1000 dollars down to build it. It seems to be a quality build. Good luck
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