Take a drive through numerous neighborhoods in Vienna VA., like Vienna Woods, and a clear trend has been taking shape in the last decade. Tear down an existing home built in the 50s and 60s to build a much larger modern custom home in this highly sought after area, Vienna. With few existing empty lots available in Vienna, the choices for would be home owners to build the home of their dreams are slim. This leaves the challenge for Vienna home buyers to find an available home to purchase and tear down then seek out a reputable home builder to build the dream home. This can prove to be a daunting and perplexing undertaking and at times very costly if mistakes are made. These beginning steps and decisions are the most important to having a smooth and exciting home building process. This article will give you some guidance on steps that need to be taken to build a custom home in Vienna but is in no way a do it yourself guide. There are too many aspects and different scenarios that can and will arise from contract to settlement when building a new custom home.
In order to decide if building a custom home or buying an existing home in Vienna is right for your needs, the first step is to find a skilled REALTOR to guide you through the process. (**Multiple shameless plugs for me are coming**) The agent should be knowledgeable and experienced with the custom home building process and fully capable of guiding the buyer every step of the process, contact me to help. The agent should also know and have worked with multiple custom home builders who have built homes in Fairfax County. Buyers building a Custom home in Vienna, just like any home buyer in Northern Virginia, should have a buyer broker agreement since Virginia is a “buyer beware” state, here is an article that further explains buyer agency, Caveat Emptor or Buyer Beware in Virginia. The custom in Virginia is that the buyer’s broker normally gets paid by the seller or builder, here is an article explaining Who Pays the Commission, so arm yourself with an expert, contact me.
Avoid stopping into a model home or calling a builder directly without an agent, they will not pay your agent if you bring one in on the deal later. Here is an article that explains how this works with all new home builders, Negotiating with New Home Builders in Northern VA.
Once armed with a skilled agent, buyers deciding to build a custom home should find a lender who has available financing for a construction loan. Keep in mind that in order to finance the construction of a custom home, the buyer will need 20% down of the entire endeavor. Having a pre approval letter from a mortgage lender will allow better negotiations with the builder of choice. It is always a good idea for your chosen lender to meet and discuss payout process with the custom home builder so there is no work stoppage.
There are different options and routs to take to build a custom home in terms of lot choice. Some Vienna custom home builders like JDA and Ayrhill Homes have lots available and/or spec homes currently under construction. (Spec Home is defined as a new home that has been built on speculation that a buyer will be found) This may make the process faster since they have already acquired the lot. Those home buyers who have time and want to find their own lot and/or tear down home can also go with some other Fairfax County custom home builders like Somerville Homes or Cloud IX Homes and who may also have lots available. Again, give me a call before you contact the builder so you have a custom home expert on your side, contact me.
Now that you have found the perfect lot and home builder the task of planning begins, deciding on the architecture and floor plan. The design phase offers two routs for a floor plan, choose an existing floor plan or get an architect to design one. At this point of the process of building a home, there will be an agreement put in place and possible payment for the design phase only. This is to cover the design expenses of required engineering and architectural work that needs to be completed. I want to issue one caveat; these are general guidelines and are not hard fast rules because I have found every custom home deal is different.
The architecture and engineering is finalized and the vision of a dream home is taking shape, it is time to put pen to paper. The task at hand is to negotiate all the terms and sign the construction contract to start work on the custom home. This may also include a sales contract if the land has not been purchased and will depend on the individual deal at hand. This part of the process should not be rushed and all parties to the deal should have a crystal clear understanding of what is being constructed. When building a custom home, some builders do not use a boiler plate contract depending on the deal and buyers should consider employing a real estate attorney to review the terms.
Fairfax County PermitLet the fun begin……. Now that all terms are in writing, permits are pulled, demolition has begun and construction of a custom home in Vienna is underway. The arduous but exciting task of color and style selections begins, and hopefully the buyer already has an idea of what levels the builder is including in the contract. This, at times, can be a sticking point if there was not clear communication with price level of selections like electrical fixtures, carpet, tile, cabinets, plumbing fixtures, and garage door to name a few. There are also times that buyers choose too many high end selections that were not laid out in the contract and can cause the contract price to get higher. This is why it is paramount that a clear understanding of what selections are included in the contract price is communicated up front.
While the construction is moving forward, the financing bank is in communication every step of the way. There will be milestones of completeness that will need to be achieved and inspected in order for the lender to authorize further payment. There needs to be a good line of communication between the lender and the builder so the draw schedule is understood and followed. Work stoppage can occur if the lender does not inspect the construction at appropriate times or there is a disagreement on the lender required milestones. Including whether and inspections by the appropriate municipality, this can also add to missing the completion date.
VA The custom home is complete, the final inspections have been passed and the occupancy permit is gained, there is one last step. The financing lender will verify the occupancy permit and inspect the property so they can initiate the last payment to the builder. Depending on the specific financing the loan may transform into a standard 30 year mortgage or may be a different variation that should be refinancing in the near future.
There are many different choices involved when building a custom home in Northern Virginia which creates numerous variations to this process. Hire a skilled Realtor, contact me, that can first help determine if building a custom home is right for you and then guide you through the process. They should be with you every step of the way and can help remove the fear and much of the stress when building the custom home in Vienna. Call me for a free consultation to determine if building a custom home in Fairfax County is right for you.