By Richie Burke Contributor Published Jun 18, 2020 at 5:16 PM

Building a home is a huge life event for most people. It can also be the source of a lot of stress and uncertainty. Luckily, on this episode of the Keeping it Local Podcast Powered by First Federal Bank, we have our own Brian McManus and David Belman from David Belman Homes to answer a lot of the questions that consume first-time home builders so you can get off to a good start when the time is right! 

Some of the questions we answer are: 

  • When are you ready to build a home? 

  • Where should you start, and what is the process? 

  • Buying a home versus building a home: What are the pros and cons? 

  • What’s a Homeowners Association (HOA), and what do you need to be aware of when building there? 

  • What is the best way to finance a new home, and what financial position should you be in? 

  • Why is it so important to have a budget before getting started? 

  • How do you select the right builder and bank? 

Some of the main takeaways are:

  • Get pre-approved by your bank/lender and have your budget before going to a builder. Then, be transparent about your budget. We have seen a lot of people waste time and money, and feel disappointed when going to a builder first without a budget and having them put work in before going to the bank. There is a lot of information and misinformation online regarding building and budgeting. Go to a professional like First Federal Bank first so you are on the same page and have someone guiding you through how to finance and set a budget that fits your situation.  
  • Buying versus building: If you can’t visualize well, get stressed out or have trouble making decisions, then building can sometimes do more harm than good. If you are someone who has a clear vision, knows what they want and values new technology, then building may be right for you. Another misconception is that buying is cheaper than building. Sometimes it is, but you will save a lot on maintenance when building or purchasing a new home. Remember, older homes may need repairs like a new roof or other cosmetic updates at one point. 
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) dues can be minimal or get pricey. Make sure you know what you are getting into beforehand and that you are a fan of the benefits you are getting. If your development has a pool and a workout facility but you won’t use it, then you may want to reconsider if it’s worth paying to be part of an HOA. 
  • Don’t buy a lot before talking to the builder. Though you may find a good price on a lot, there could be issues that prohibit you from building your dream home. Your builder will be able to help inspect a lot with you.
  • Don’t buy only on price. A home is not a commodity; you typically pay for what you get. 

If you are reading this now in June 2020, rates are at historic lows due to the pandemic – so if you are looking to build, now can be a great time.  

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