9 Replies Latest reply: Jan 31, 2019 11:06 AM by calicalling RSS

    Buying new construction. Need advice!

    calicalling Active Contributor

      Hello voices of experience.

       

      We are adding to our inventory! Looks like we will be buying a new place, currently under construction. Its a bit of a surprise, since we passed on it when they were taking deposits 2 years ago. We did place our name on the waitlist and just found out that we got picked up for a purchase that fell through.

       

      We've never done new construction for a home or a rental, so its all new to me. Making all the finish selections and also furnishings and contents is overwhelming (our previous rental homes conveyed with contents and I only had to freshen up decor and interiors).

       

      Would love any suggestions, lessons learned, etc. We will probably close June 1-ish, but may delay rental til at least our phase is complete because of noise and contruction traffic/issues.

       

      I am working on a brand and also have posted "coming soon" and 'get on our waitlist" info on my website since it is going to be a high demand ski-in/ski-out location for winter rentals.

       

      Words of wisdom? Suggestions? Encouragement? Advice? Cautions?

        • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
          feibus CommunityAmbassador

          Construction in the mountains is rarely on time.  Plan for it being late.

           

          Buy your own furnishings if you can instead of letting the developer put a "package" in place, since that package will be used for everyone and that doesn't help your place stand out.  Oh, and the package will come with way too many fake plants .

           

          Pick finishings that will not only wear well, but also show well in photos.  Check out this thread: Owner designer failures for some tips on things you might want to avoid.

           

          Do you have others in the mountains?

            • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
              calicalling Active Contributor

              HA! Later the better for me, actually, since it will be a really hot winter renter and not-so-hot in summer. Plan is June close, but if it pushes to July or even August all the better! ;-)

               

              YES! I'm looking at furnishings now and would love advice on that from anyone!

               

              All my places are in the same town and this one is only 200 yards from my others. ;-)

            • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
              u0999 Premier Contributor

              we just (labor day) completed a 2 year construction project of new 3200 sq ft  mountain post and beam and log home VR.

              I do not know your market but in mine we decided to custom build (I already had land) vs buy new construction. I am sure I got better product for same or less money than comparable builder stock. we designed the plan with thinking how it will be rented to maximize "rentability" - i.e layout that included game room loft, place for arcade and foosball, place for dining table that seats 12 etc. But more importantly, we know that corners were not cut in construction. while builders will meet code (most) and just ensure to pass inspections, they will not go above and beyond as there is no profit in it for them. we went above code and added things that may not be visible but will save in long run. better HVAc SEER16 (vs builder grade SEER14), R50 roof (local code calls for R38), R19 spray foam insulated walls (local code allows R13), heated bath floors (for small investments renters rave about them), Low-E366 windows (above code in my area), 105 gal marathon water heater (vs builder grade 50 gal - not enough for a 5 bedroom),  solid wood cabinets (builders put box-store particle board unless you pay a lot extra) etc.   I would suggest being ON TOP of builder day in and day out to ensure quality and that corners are not cut. remember builder builds and gives you the key and walks away - you are the one who will have to pay bills long term.

                • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
                  calicalling Active Contributor

                  WOW! That sounds like heaven. I wish we could afford to build custom, but the only slopeside lots available in my town (1/4 acre) start at 2 MILLION! Just for the LOT! So that's out of the question for us.

                   

                  A consolation is that I know the builder and he's been at it for 50 years in our town. He's keeping 2 of the townhouses (out of 16) for himself so I know he thinks there is value there. The same crew is building all of them, so that's reassuring. He has a fantastic reputation-- even after all these years.

                   

                  Because we are in CA, codes are pretty crazy and highly enforced. Even so, he's building some things above code requirement, because he thinks the codes are not robust enough. Believe it or not, he's even adding e-vehicle charging stations in each garage since by the time all units are finished he thinks that will be a code requirement. ;-)

                   

                  We have visited the site several times and my husband (engineer, tho aerospace, not civil) was impressed with the construction quality. Drywall wasn't up the first time so he was able to see the electrical/plumbing/systems/insultation and thot it was well done. I'm more of a finish girl, and those are very nice, too. Even though we picked up a unit when another buyer fell through, I was still able to choose a lot of the finishes. The builder took me to visit a custom home he built for himself last year and most of the finishes (woodwork, cabinetry, hardware, etc) are the same. The builder was open to making most of the changes we requested, including lighting and ceiling fans (but had to work around sprinkler system, which is code-required in all new construction in most of CA now, even residential SFH).

                   

                  Thanks so much for your experience!

                • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
                  twomoreyears Senior Contributor

                  This isn't about a vacation rental, but about building a house in general.  We've built several, and here is what I learned:

                  Don't put in very many bathtubs.  One will do

                  If they are putting in recessed or other ceiling lights, have them put twice as many in as they design at the start,  And keep track of the wattage on a circuit - they'll try to make you buy more circuits when you add lights even when you don't need them. A circuit should easily handle 1500W.   Especially if you are going LED bulbs, you shouldn't need many circuits at all!

                  Put in more outlets in the kitchen than they design.

                   

                  And the biggest one that helped me:  I hired an interior designer/decorator.  I didn't shop for products with her, I just hired her to consult.  Saved me a fortune in redoing things!  For instance, picking out the chandelier for the entry.  She gave me some parameters to guide my shopping: you don't want lots of crystal, you do want it silver or nickel, it needs to be 600W worth of incandescent bulbs (before LED), and it needs to be a certain size range.  Then I shopped, and came back with pictures of four chandeliers I liked.  She jumped on one right away, and it's absolutely perfect.  My house looks pulled together instead of random.  I never could have done that without her advice.

                   

                  Of course, if decorating is a talent you have, it won't be as useful to you. I'm an engineer, so all that right-brained stuff doesn't come naturally to me.

                    • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
                      u0999 Premier Contributor

                      well let me disagree in part. VRs may need some things that you don't need in a regular house (like hot tub hookup or loft for pool table that you dont have in a regular house unless you are die hard pool player) and VRs don't need some things that you do need in the regular house (they are nice to haves not musts like uuuge walk in closets - in a VR everyone lives out of a suitcase and all they need is a closet, not a huge size bedroom size walk-in - that space is better used for either more common space, bigger bedroom or another bedroom).

                       

                      personally I take designers with a grain of salt. they seem to want to follow rends too much and often sacrifice practicality/livability/long term maintainability  for looks. JMO.

                        • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
                          calicalling Active Contributor

                          Thanks, twomoreyears and u0999!

                           

                          I agree with both of you!

                           

                          Twomoreyears, My MIL and SIL are designers, so I plan to take them up on advice. I love buying/decorating, but I do think that designers have a more full picture of the technical aspects/parameters, etc. I'm planning to send them the floorplan so they can help me limit furnishings to the right size, etc. and maximize the space. Don't get me wrong, sometimes they have wacky ideas, (like u0999 indicated) but I was raised in the South so I'm very much able to smile sweetly while doing exactly the opposite.

                           

                          One benefit of the build, u0999 is that the builder also nightly rents many of the properties he builds/keeps. So he knows what renters want and has built around that. It will have a few things that very few properties in our town will have... namely, private hot tubs (pre-wired/plumbed), private entrances, 2 dedicated masters, and slopeside access, e-vehicle charging.

                      • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
                        grant570 Active Contributor

                        Sounds like you will have a nice place when complete...  Being new is its own draw to potential renters...  We built new as well recently.. Our furniture is a combination of new seating and beds and the rest redone items(tables and dressers).  On a trip to Florida we ended up buying some large paintings of seahorses, now much of the cottage is decorated with seahorse items in addition to the paintings.  Seahorse lamps, seahorse salt and pepper shakers, seahorse doorbell, etc...etc...  We are next to a great lake, so pretty sure no one else has seahorse decorations, so hopefully it will help make it more memorable for our guests...    Have fun with it, a new house is a blank slate, a chance to be unique....

                          • Re: Buying new construction. Need advice!
                            calicalling Active Contributor

                            grant570, we are going with a bit of a random brand, too, which I think will help us to stand out ... Just like your seahorses do! We'll be 'Apogee' (Mammothapogee.com) -- combination of the fact that we'll be the 'top' development in terms of location (not subjective) and quality (subjective) and also our family hobbies/professions of flying (whole family) aerospace test and development (husband) and astrophotography (oldest son).

                             

                            I'm a fan of high quality re-purposed furnishings, too. Once a guest sits on a bench once, its used.