Choosing A Home That Has Value

How to make sure you profit from life's biggest investment

So we decided to build a four-bedroom house with a four-car garage.”

The first step, then, was to pick out a property in a location where they wanted to live. “We found a two-acre lot in an area where you can see stars at night and deer come into the back yard,” says William. “At the same time, it’s not far from a highway, which is important because my work requires a lot of driving.”

Once they had a parcel of land selected, the home building process began. “We got plans on the Internet,” says Daisy. Interested home buyers can go to a search engine such as Google and enter “home plans”; several sites will be shown. The Noels found their plan at Dream Home Source (www.dreamhomesource.com).

“On the Internet, the architectural firm providing the plans is identified,” says William. “We picked out a plan and spoke to the architects. Because we felt comfortable with what we heard, we went ahead and bought the plan.”

The next step was to hire a local contractor to turn the plan into reality. “We got some leads by referrals and interviewed several contractors,” says William. “Then we picked one who had experience with larger homes because we didn’t want someone learning at our expense. We walked through a large house he had built and were very impressed.”

The homeowner usually adds to the homebuilding plan. Some of the extras specified by William and Daisy not only add to their enjoyment, but also may enhance resale value. “Most plans call for carpet and tile, but we added hardwood floors,” says William.

In addition, the Noels upgraded the heating system and used solar board rather than plywood on the roof, to improve energy efficiency. “We expect that heating our 4,000-square-foot house will cost no more than heating the average 2,500-square-foot house,” says William. “We also installed four different phone lines. In the future, I believe more people will work out of their home so they’ll find it appealing to buy a house that’s ready for phone, fax, and cable.”

The Noels’ advice to others? “If you’re going to build a house, you have to stay involved,” says William. “You can’t just hand a contractor $300,000 and say, ‘Call me when it’s done.’ We looked at the job every day, to keep up with the work. We also established relations with subcontractors so we could make changes ourselves, if we couldn’t reach the builder.”

Although you may be able to save money by building a home instead of buying, not everyone will want to deal with the hassle, even if you wind up with the features you want at a lower price. Whether you buy or build, take the time to shop carefully and the payoff could be big. The promise of rising property values makes any home purchase much sweeter.

Finding the Right Agent
Finding the right real estate agent may be the most important step in purchasing a home that will appreciate in value. The Website www.ourfamilyplace.com offers the following tips to make

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