Understanding Your Options
For many of us the idea of building a new home, especially when it’s a vacation home 1,000 miles away, can feel overwhelming. There’s no denying that it is a large undertaking but that doesn’t mean it’s the wrong path for you.
You have three options (we may be simplifying a bit) for building your new island home depending on your budget, skill set and goals. The first option is what we call a production builder. Production Builders usually have between 5-15 pre-engineered house plans that you can choose from. The fact that engineering has already been done for you saves time and money. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t move a wall here or there but the exterior layout and mechanicals are going to limit major changes. These builders have specifications that come standard with every home, upgrades that are pre-priced and the ability to give you a solid build cost that shouldn’t change if you stick to the plan.
Your second option is a true custom homebuilder. If you are looking to truly personalize your island home, this option is for you. This option is often the most misunderstood for a variety of reasons. The most common misconception in custom homes is that the builder is also the designer. Many people like the look of a home and choose a builder based on that alone which isn’t always the best idea. Custom homes are just that, custom. If you have an idea in your mind of what you want, your next step is to get the design down. There are a few options to achieving this. You can visit a website like Sater Design Collection which has thousands of house plans that you can choose from. You can sort by the design style, size and more to find the plan that best fits you. This is an affordable way to find what you’re looking for without higher architect fees. You could also find an architect to custom design a home based solely on your wants and needs. This is a bit pricier but will be custom to you in every way. The third option is to utilize the home builder’s design staff. This option works well if you are 100% sure you have the right builder but takes away your ability to have other builders give you their proposal. Sometimes competition can be a good thing…
The third option is the trickiest. You do have the option to build your own home in Lee County. You do all the design work (or grab a plan from Sater) and become the general contractor on your new home. The reason this is the most difficult is the learning curve needed to pull it off. Sometimes it takes more than the know how to get the job done. Local knowledge of subcontractors, for example, plays a pivotal role. We live on an island in SW Florida and if your plumber decides to go fishing for the 2 weeks you needed him, you could have a mess on your hands. While this option will be the most cost effective, be sure you know what you’re getting into.
We at Pine Island Realty have experience with all aspects of the building process. We have worked with many builders in each of the categories mentioned above and know that one may not be best for all. Let us give you all the information you need to make the right decision.