Prospective homebuyers considering building new houses have much to see during the Summer Parade of Homes, which features 23 homes in the metro area.
While many prospective buyers are dazzled by light fixtures and appliances, they first need to think about where they are going to build, as building a new home also means securing a place on which to build.
Looking at a variety of properties, such as those on the Parade of Homes, can help prospective buyers determine what style of property, and home, is right for them.
"It's important that people start early to get a lot and a builder they want," said Cassi Petersen, president of the Metro Omaha Builders Association, which organizes the parade.
Herb Freeman, chief operations officer and director of builder services for NP Dodge Real Estate Sales Inc., explains some of the questions that a prospective buyer who wants to build should ask.
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IS THE PRICE OF THE LOT IN THE HOUSE PRICE YOU QUOTED ME?
Freeman said many factors go into lot prices.
"Some builders put the base lot price in the price of the home. Maybe that lot that is $30,000 is a walkout lot."
If a buyer wants different amenities, the price of the lot they want may be different from the base price.
"Maybe you want a lot that backs up to trees and has a stream. Maybe a lot has a nice view. Maybe it faces west so in the backyard, you get sun. Maybe it's a corner lot," Freeman said.
Each of these factors could change the price of the lot. As with anything in real estate, the key with lots is location, location, location, so another question to ask is:
WHERE WILL YOU BUILD THIS HOUSE?
"What if I find a lot for $30,000, but it is 12 miles away in a different subdivision," Freeman said. "Are you willing to build on that lot?"
If the answer is no, then the question is "What lots are available at this price?"
Freeman said many developments have one or two price points available. So a prospective homeowner might want to build in a West Shores Villas, but if his total budget is $200,000, he might not be able to build there.
"There's 49 off-water villa lots. They are all west-facing walkout lots," said developer Jason Troshynski, owner of Grace Custom Homes.
Villas refer to homes that include snow removal and lawn care, provided for a monthly fee that is built into the purchase agreement.
Grace Custom Homes is featuring its Tradewind plan, listed at $599,900 (including lot), at West Shores Villas during the Summer Parade of Homes.
"The list price includes the lot, and the house on the parade is the model," Troshynski said. "The lots are 100 feet wide to 190 feet deep, backing up to natural wetlands. They have access to West Shores Lake."
The fact that they have access to West Shores Lake, and are not surrounding West Shores Lake, makes a big difference in the price.
"If you bought a lakefront lot, you would be at a million dollars," Troshynski said. "You can build a villa lot here starting around $500,000 and still be able to boat and spend time on the lake."
Troshynski said the homes are selling to people looking to downsize for their golden years.
"We've already sold nine out of the 49 available," Troshynski said. "The empty nesters have lots of square footage, but now the kids are gone,
so they are downsizing, but they still want a high-end product and have the luxury of not having neighbors behind them."
The demographic drives Grace Custom Homes to look at these villas as long-term residences.
"We have natural stone and brick on the exterior," Troshynski said. "The rest of the house is constructed with fiber cement-board siding. There's very little maintenance on the exterior of this home."
Inside, Troshynski and his team have designed this villa for long-term living with the idea that people's needs change as they age.
"We've widened the doorways and hallways," Troshynski said. "There are no steps from the garage into the house."
These design features would accommodate someone who cannot climb stairs well, or someone who might need to use a wheelchair.
Also accommodating empty-nesters is Oakwood Homes, which is featuring a plan known as the Riviera at 16019 Potter St. It is listed at a base price of $239,000, including lot.
"The target market for this particular home has been a second-time homeowner or a move-down buyer," said Chad Herbolsheimer, regional vice president of Oakwood Homes. "Because we have the ability to customize these completely, we are also getting buyers who are move-up buyers."
A key feature in the customization of this house is the "smart space," 750 square feet above the garage that allows for more flexibility in the home design.
"It's similar to a story-and-a-half," Herbolsheimer said. "Family coming to visit can have their own master bath, sitting area and a large bedroom."
The space also contains 8-foot ceilings, making the rooms feel spacious. The ceiling is not peaked.
"It feels like you are in a normal living space," Herbolsheimer said.
The smart space above this ranch-designed home's garage means that the basement can be used as storage, or can be finished down the road.
"They're very unique plans," Herbolsheimer said.
Other key features in this floor plan include wood floors throughout and an eat-at island in the kitchen, one of Oakwood Homes' trademark features.
This versatile home can be built as a villa or a single-family home.
"In Pine Creek, we own 17 lots that are available," Herbolsheimer said.
"That particular community is for folks who want to lock and leave and everything is taken care of. This can be built in any subdivision in Omaha for a family buyer as well."
IF YOU GO
What: MOBA Spring Parade of Homes
When: Today; Wednesday through June 29
Where: Go to www.moba.com for a list of the 23 parade homes and addresses, and a flipbook describing each house.
Hours: Wednesday through Friday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sundays, noon to 6 p.m.