Sunday, April 6, 2008

Getting Outside Help

As we see the house exterior coming to completion I am grateful for a decision we made some time back to hire a builder friend of ours to look over the "stock" design and specifications and make suggestions and recommendations. As competent and friendly as I have found the people at Church Hill Homes, I think this is an area where any new home buyers can ensure that they are a participant in the process, rather than being a passive consumer.

In our case our builder helped us with our design, as well as our understanding exactly what we would be getting in the package. Design changes he suggested were:
  • Extending the front porch the full width of the house, rather then the 2/3 width in the stock design.
  • Substituting the casement windows on the second story front with double-hung windows to match the top and first floor windows. I'll post a photo when the windows are actually in.
He also looked over the specifications and was able to reassure us that Church Hill was building a quality home, from the materials, to the insulation package, to the heating/cooling system. We did not follow all his recommendations, but decided which issues were most important and discussed and negotiated with the Church Hill folks on pricing and implementing those changes. The whole process made us more informed buyers, and was well worth the money we spent (and the additional costs of his changes).

As our friend put it, "you will be coming home to this house for a long time and you want to be really happy with how it looks to you, especially the front." He is also fond of asking this question: "In ten (or twenty) years, how much will the additional cost of doing what you really want seem - while you will have enjoyed the benefit of your decision the entire time."

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