Friday, May 30, 2008

Lake Norman Real Estate: Production Homebuilding Process!

The Production Homebuilding Process

In the next few weeks I am going to gather information on builders in the Cornelius, Huntersville, and Mooresville areas. Check back over the next few weeks for community specific information in the Lake Norman Area!

Today I am going to share some of the ins and out of purchasing a new home from a Production Homebuilder. First of all, just as a reminder of what classifies a production homebuilder. Production homebuilders tend to offer the best option on a new home with a budget... although many production homebuilders also offer higher end homes nowadays. They use STOCK floor plans and allow their purchasers to modify a few options and make selections within the home. They also focus on building in mass production, which allow them to have competitive pricing.

When visiting a model home or sales office, take notice on the upkeep of the Model Home(s) and the organization of the people working within the models. The condition of the model reflects on the professionalism of who your dealing with. What does the community entrace look like, how well maintained is it? Drive the jobsite, take notes on the overall community appearance and how well the jobsite is maintained. There is always going to be debris on a construction site, but how are the materials stored and how safe and clean is the jobsite overall (especially on the weekends). This will reflect on the Superintendent of course and how well organized they are and gives you an idea on the quality of the subcontractors you have performing the work.

Ask the sales person or builder if you can walk through a home under construction. Don't do this alone, as someone from the company should be present with you for liability purposes! This can give you an idea of quality of construction.

Make sure to check out all the features and ammenities that the community has to offer. What are the HOA fees??... and it's not bad to stop a resident that is walking down the sidewalk and ask them how well they like the community. Residents don't represent the builder, so they will give you the down-low on the community.

Here is a rough description of how the new building process works... some builder differ on this:

-secure financing and writing the contract (most large builders offer financing which is where you can usually take advantage of their incentives... they may give you 6K in free options but is their interest rate comparable to the going rate... some people use the builder to finance and then refinance later... make sure you look into the details of everything you sign!)

-selecting your options/finishes (most people can't visualize what something looks like so make sure you SEE what you are purchasing... walk through a house that has the same or similar options you are buying... and make sure you know your colors and selections and how well they go together... seek opinions of family and friends if not sure)

-Pre Construction Meeting ... this is usually held with the sales rep and the superintendent. This is essentially where the sales rep hands it off to the person in charge of construction. You normally go over all the options in the house before construction starts. This is also a good time to discuss with the builder if you want to have your own home inspector perform inspections throughout the building process! Your Builder will have to pass different inspections throughout the process, county inspection usually include (footing, foundation, framing, service, rough trades, insulation, final trades, and final inspection... although this can change depending on the area. The most important inspection you can have done is an inspection before drywall is hung in the house!

-Pre Drywall Meeting... usually between the superintendent and the buyer. Allows the buyer to see the house in the framing stage with all the trades in place, before the drywall is hung. Good time to check phone/cable/speaker locations and double check all the visible options.

-Walk Through... held before closing after the house is completed. Walk through and make a punchout list with the superintendent and rewalk the list before closing.


-Service... every builder is different but all have a service program in place. Make sure you know the warranties on your home... Sewer, Structural, Trades, Finishes, Exterior... ect. Make sure you also get a emergency contact list from the builder in the event that something happens after hours!

You can see why it is important to have representation when you purchase a new home... you always want to protect your interests as the buyer! There are many things to know and keep track of! Please contact your Lake Norman Real Estate Professional for more info!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lake Norman Real Estate: Lake Norman New Construction and Homebuilders

Lake Norman New Construction and Builders

The Lake Norman area offers an assortment of Production and Custom Home Builders. These builders offer a wide variety of types of homes they offer, size, options, and prices which can be very attractive to a buyer. Many of these buyers would like to have the luxury of owning something that is new and something that they can help design.

If you are considering purchasing a home through "NEW CONSTRUCTION" it is important to know that when you visit a sales model or meet with a builder you are not represented. North Carolina is a "caveat emptor" state, or "let the buyer beware". Also in North Carolina, the sales person in the model, does not have to be a licensed real estate broker and the Superintendent building your home, does not have to personally be a licensed general contractor. In other words, the sales agent and the builder are representing the company's best interest. When visiting a builder, you should always be present with your Real Estate Agent/Broker. Depending on your agreement with a Buyers Agent, many times the builder will pay the commission to the Agent directly. So, the builder is paying for your representation.

Differences between Production Builders and Custom Builders:

Production Builders:
-Build on their own land.
-Have basic home types and layouts they use and allow customization of certain options.
-Usually construct Single Families, Townhome, and Condos.
-Build in large volumes.
-Offer a new home, at very competitive prices.

Custom Home Builders:
-Will normaly build on land that they own, or you own.
-Build the home custom to the lot and custom to the buyer.
-Some can offer design services.
-Normally only build single family homes.
-Build in lower volumes.
-Tend to build higher quality homes and finishes.

Before selecting a builder, research what they have to offer!

Reputation - Check past clients.
Location - Do they build regularly where you want to build.
Type of Home - Do you like the architecture of their product.
Compatibility - Do personalities conflict.
Warranties - What warranties do the builder offer.
Financial Strength - Will the builder withstand a rough economic period.

Before signing a contract:

-Get opinions from family and friends on the house style and layout.
-Seek input from your lender or the Lake Norman Home Builder Association.
-Check with the North Carolina Licensing Board of General Contractors.
-Ask for verification documentation as proof the contractor has current Workers Comp and Liability insurance that has the appropriate value amount for your construction.

Contact your Real Living Agent at (704)315-8106 for more information.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Real Estate Agency Law - Fiduciary Duties

Fiduciary Duties of an Agent

Obedience: As an agent of your client, you must obey their instructions. That's only if their instructions are not illegal and are in accordance with the contract.

Loyalty: As the agent for your client, you must be loyal and keep their best interests ahead of those of any other party, including yourself.

Disclosure: In many states the law requires a real estate agent, whether in an "agency" capacity or not, to disclose material facts to their client. Material facts are those that, if known by the buyer or seller, might have caused them to change their purchase or sale actions.

Confidentiality: Your fiduciary duty of confidentiality means that you do not disclose anything that you learn about your client, their business, financial or personal affairs or motivations.

Accounting: Accounting for all documents and funds in the transaction is a fiduciary duty. Accurate reporting of the whereabouts of all monies pertaining to the transaction and their ultimate disposition is a fiduciary responsibility.

Reasonable Care: This duty is one to be very careful of. The words "reasonable care" are only finally fully defined in many cases by a judge or jury when it's too late to change your actions. You, as a licensed real estate professional, are expected to have a certain level of knowledge and be able to advise and guide your client through the process without harm.

Diligence: Know Your Fiduciary Duties as an Agent and Perform them Diligently.

For More Information on Agent's responsibilities, please contact your Lake Norman area agent at (704)-315-8106.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lake Norman Real Estate: What does it mean to be green? GREEN BUILDING 101

New Construction at Lake Norman Goes Green

I believe the largest misconception about Green Building is that it only improves Energy Effeciency. Green Building is much more than that. In addition to Energy Effeciency, green building looks at Resource-Efficient Features, Indoor Air Quality Features, and Processes used outside the home. There is a standardized point system that rates how green your home is.

What does Energy Effeciency include?
Look at your Energy Star ratings on your appliances, windows, and water heating systems. Energy effecient trade fixtures (Electrical, Plumbing, HVAC) can further decrease your overall energy effeciency within a home.

What does Water Effecient Features include?
In addition to all the plumbing fixtures and appliances that use water, you have to look at your low-volume irrigation systems, rainwater collection systems, wastewater treatment systems, and hot water recirculation systems.

What does Resource Effecient Features include?
These variables include home size, orientation on the lot, floor plan layout. Your home should take advantage of natural lighting to reduce electricity and should use strategies to reduce heat gain in the summer and heat loss in the winter. The home should also include renewable materials where possible.

What does Indoor Air Qualities Features include?
The HVAC system must be properly sized to the home to properly ventilate the home. Use fans to circulate air where possible and use Low-VOC paints and finishes on the walls.

What do Features Outside the Home include?
Preserve all native vegetation where possible. Landscaping should be appropriate to the climate and rainfall. Reduce Impervious as much as possible. The Lake Norman area currently has Impervious Restrictions on all of it's new construction.

For more information on Green Building check out the NAHB National Green Building Program at You can actually use their website to score how green YOUR home is!

Green Building Council of the Lake Norman Home Builders Assoc. Lake Norman Home Builder Association

Lake Norman Real Estate: Lake Norman/Charlotte Area Links

Lake Norman Real Estate: Lake Norman/Charlotte Area Links

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Lake Norman Real Estate: Lake Norman/Charlotte Area Links

Charlotte/Lake Norman Area Informational Links

Charlotte Chamber of Commerce
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce

Charlotte Observer
Charlotte City Search

North Carolina
Mecklenburg County
Iredell County
Cabarrus County
Lincoln County
Union County
Town of Cornlius
Town of Davidson
Town of Mooresville


Charlotte Sports Commission
Carolina Panthers
Charlotte Bobcats
Charlotte Checkers
Charlotte Eagles


Charlotte/Mecklenburg Schools
Cabarrus County Schools
Irredell/Statesville Schools
Lincoln County Schools
Union County Schools

UNC Charlotte
Davidson University
Queens University
Johnson C. Smith University
Central Piedmon Community College
Johnson and Wales University

Nascar Technical Institue - Mooresville

Please Contact your Lake Norman area Agent at 704-315-8106 for additional information and answers to your questions.