5 Steps to building a custom home in SouthWood
1. Plan Your Budget
Begin now to think about how much you can afford to spend and how much building your new home is likely to cost. Quality builders will meet with you to discuss your plans & ideas and give you an idea of the cost associated with the build. Chances are you will need a construction loan and a mortgage, if you are not working with a builder who can build on their line of credit. It’s not too early to find out what size loan you qualify for. Also, knowing the approximate costs will help you modify your building plans to meet your budget.
2. Choose Your Lot / Homesite
Whether you are building your dream custom home on a Golf course lot or a homesite on the lake, you will almost always need to choose the land before you select floor plans or other details. You (and any pros you hire) will need to investigate factors such as soil condition and drainage. Also the slope of the lot can have a large impact on the type of foundation that needs to be built to support the home and keep everything level. A professional builder will always meet with you at your preferred lot to give you their opinion on the condition of the lot, and any factors that may affect the home.
3. Choose Your Builder
Custom homes are built by teams of people, never just one person, so even if you meet the most charismatic builder with an incredible personality that you just “click” with, you need to do your homework. What is the quality of the finished product? Ask friends or other residents in SouthWood for their opinion on the current active builders in the neighborhood, take a look at other homes that they’ve built. The cheapest builder is often the cheapest for a reason.
4. Pick a Plan
Many new homes are built using stock plans from a catalog. The builder or a home designer may make minor modifications in room size, window style or other details. A custom-designed home, on the other hand, is created specifically for the family which will live there. In most cases, custom-designed homes require the services of a licensed architect and a good builder will have already developed a relationship with an architect and will include the cost of drawing the plans in the pricing you receive. Whether you opt for a stock or a custom design, you will be wise to choose a plan that will meet your needs for many years to come. Most clients I’ve worked with had one or two ideas to start with, often just sketches on a piece of paper, which then turn into beautiful homes in a just a few months. A good builder will be able to visualize your idea’s and turn them into a functional floor plan.
5. Sign an Agreement
All agreements with your builder will need to be in writing with an included earnest money deposit and a letter of pre-approval from your preferred lender. If the builder is using his line of credit to build the home I have seen deposits for as little as 2%. If you are using a construction perm loan I have seen deposits for around $1000. Make sure you understand the agreement you are signing, hopefully you are working with a Realtor, if so they will be able to explain any language of the agreement you might not understand, or you can have an attorney review the documents.
Building a custom home in SouthWood
Southwood was created from the vision of St. Joe by intricately blending the natural with the man made. In order to maintain the integrity of Tallahassee’s most uniquely designed master planned community all builders and the overall design of the home must be approved by St. Joe and The Architectural Control Committee.
Southwood is very open and welcomes the opportunity to build a good working relationship with any builder. In order for a contractor to be approved by St. Joe the contractor must meet the following criteria.
A contractor must:
- Hold all applicable licenses as required by the State of Florida, the City of Tallahassee, and Leon County
- Have a minimum of three years of home building experience.
- Have achieved at least 15 certificates of occupancy within the past five years
- Have a minimum of a $2 million line of credit
- Have experience in building in a planned community that has architectural control or an architectural review process
- Provide ten references, including a list of owners for which the contractor has built homes in the Southwood Community, if any.
- Demonstrate a minimum satisfaction rating of ninety percent.
- Have a proven warranty program.
- Not have any unanswered complaints on file with Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation or the Tallahassee Builders Association.
- Demonstrate that it has a proven relationship with trades and suppliers.
- Have a sufficient safety program.
- Have workers’ compensation insurance coverage sufficient to meet the statutory limit of the applicable workers’ compensation law for the state of Florida.
** compliance with all the criteria is not a guarantee of approval. Subject to change without prior notice **
In order to make the building process St. Joe has created a design guide for planning and architecture, Patterns For Place Making. This guide is available at our office in SouthWood located in the Town Center, make sure you call ahead if you would like one.