Building your dream home seems simple enough: find the perfect lot, customize your floor plan, hire good contractors, and pick out the details. Of course, as we all know, there’s much more to it than just that – especially in this day and age. From changing interest rates to major supply chain issues and the fluctuating cost of materials, everyone’s homebuilding process is unique. Therefore, it’s wise to do your research beforehand to ensure you’re working with reputable companies that will stick with you every bit of the way, from the beginning loan process to the final inspection. We know, we know – all that research sounds like a lot of work. That’s why we have gone ahead and done it for you.
Plan Ahead for Unexpected Changes
One of the first steps of building your dream home is consulting with your local bank to find the best options that fit your family’s budget. Union Bank & Trust (UBT, ubt.com) has a wide range of options for their borrowers that include lot loans, construction loans, secondary market financing, and portfolio lending. They also offer local servicing to their borrowers. While Mortgage Loans Officer Tami Wolford says some people think that local servicing isn’t important, it makes a difference when the borrower has an issue on a payment or their escrow account. This is why it is much easier to work with someone local that cares, and UBT is known for their excellent customer service which extends well beyond your loan closing.
“There are often unexpected changes that occur during the construction process. Changes can be financed into the loan in some cases; however, borrowers should discuss this process with their builder and lender,” advised Tami. “Borrowers should also be cautious about opening new accounts or increasing their debt during the process of purchasing a home. Changes to their financial picture can impact loan approval. They want to position themselves in the best possible situation to obtain the lowest interest rates available.”
At First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO, fnbo.com), they offer a construction loan product that allows you to finance new construction with as little as 10% down. Payments are interest only and are based on the amount utilized from the loan. In addition, they offer extended lock options, up to 12 months, on the associated permanent mortgage.
“We always encourage our clients to get pre-approved before moving forward with anything else,” said Alan LaFollette, national sales manager, home mortgage division. “In other words, talk to us before talking with the builder. This affords the customer the opportunity to understand what their maximum budget for the build can reasonably be. General contractors also appreciate the pre-approval since it gives them the confidence of knowing that they are maximizing their time by working with someone that has already been through the underwriting process.”
When they pre-approve their clients, FNBO has in-depth conversations up front so that they can understand what the client hopes to achieve and what is important to them. FNBO discusses with the client what they think they would want their maximum payment to be and, from there, they can back into what their budget might realistically need to be based on that information.
Sticking With You Every Step of the Way
When you choose West Gate Bank (westgate.bank) for home construction financing, their team of experienced lenders will help you through every step in the construction project, helping to protect you and your investment. They pride themselves on meticulous and thorough management of your project from start to finish. By having a dedicated Construction Loan department, your project is in good hands as West Gate monitors the monthly construction draws, conducts on-site inspections, tracks lien waivers, and reconciles your project budget against the actual spend. If something doesn’t look right, you can count on them to let you know. Once the build is complete, they have a team of mortgage lenders ready to assist you with the permanent financing of your new home.
“West Gate Bank services mortgage loans locally, which means we do not sell the servicing of your home loan to another bank,” explained Matt Melichar, mortgage loan officer. “We also offer Extended Lock mortgage loans up to nine months in advance of the completion of the new home. Our processing, closing, and underwriting teams are all local and on-site to assist with questions that need quick answers. We also provide our Jumbo Portfolio loan option to customers that have a loan need above the standard limits. Higher input costs and rising purchase prices have caused this to be a popular option.”
Unique Financing Options
At City Bank & Trust (citybankandtrust.com), they offer a Two-Time Close Construction Loan. With this loan, you will have a loan for the construction phase – the “construction loan” – and another loan for the mortgage phase – the “permanent loan” – once the house is completed.
“The permanent loan pays off the construction loan,” explained Shawn Lang, senior vice president. “The construction loan is a 12-month interest-only loan. This can take care of things such as the cost of land, contractor labor, building materials, permits, landscaping, and permanent fixtures such as appliances. Interest-only payments during the construction loan allow for a lower monthly payment during the construction phase.”
City Bank & Trust also offers unique extended lock options to lock your permanent loan in during the construction phase. This long-term fixed rate lock helps give peace of mind in case of rising rates. With this program, they do not charge an upfront fee to lock in your extended lock rate.
Find a Realtor
As one of Lincoln’s top producing real estate agents who works primarily off of referrals from family, friends, and past clients, Jayson Becker with Bancwise Realty (bancwise.com/agent/jayson-becker) understands that there are often factors that will greatly influence where you choose to build your home. These factors may be the location of the best schools or proximity to specific amenities. He takes every detail into consideration when representing you, as his goal is to create a warm and welcoming home-building experience for you and your family. Jayson is unique in the industry thanks to his years of experience in construction and remodeling, so he truly sees all the ins-and-outs of new construction that not all realtors may be able to provide.
Select a Dependable Builder
Building your dream home is likely the biggest investment you’ll make in your lifetime. Because of that, it’s important to build with someone who has a well-documented track record of consistently delivering a quality product. Tru-Built Construction (tru-built.net) was founded in the early 2000s and has since then completed countless remodels, custom home projects, and much more. Their strong reputation has proven that their expert team is dedicated to high-quality work and making people’s visions come true.
“When you select a reputable builder, you receive a quality home and a builder warranty which covers the structure and systems for at least a year, and oftentimes longer, on items such as the roof, windows, siding, and mechanical systems,” explained Co-owner Bo Jones. “With a new home, you can figure 15+ years without having to look at any major repairs, whereas an existing home you might have a list to tackle every year.”
Implement the Beauty of Natural Stone
Merritt Concrete, Fireplace & Stone (merrittlincoln.com) offers natural-cut stone for both interior and exterior designs in your dream home. Merritt stands out in the industry as they do not carry any man-made stone products – everything you find among the 70+ samples in their showroom is natural. In addition, Merritt offers gas and electric fi replaces, as well as small batch ready-mix concrete for those pouring patios or sidewalks.
“Our small batch ready-mix is great in the event of a change-order or if the concrete that has already been poured needs fixed,” explained Justin Starr, director of business development. “Furthermore, we can tend to your landscaping needs with bulk options of sand, gravel, and limestone, as well as mulch. We offer delivery to anywhere in Lincoln with any of our bulk orders.”
Merritt is conveniently located in the heart of Lincoln at 827 S 26th St. Merritt has been strengthening the foundation of the Lincoln community since 1894 and is now owned and operated by Whitehead Oil Company. Convenient hours, service, and quality products will continue to be offered under new ownership.
“My biggest piece of advice for those building a home is to be aware of lead times,” Justin recommended. “Those of us in this industry, we see it every day, but individuals who want to build their homes don’t necessarily see it in the same way. I suggest you don’t get into a big rush because delays are inevitable. And just remember – we are all doing the best we can!”
Handmade Custom Cabinetry
Usher Custom Cabinets (ushercustomcabinets.com) has been around for more than 40 years and, from the very beginning, has built a reputation for excellence in cabinetry and craftsmanship. This is something that the original owner, Dean Usher, instilled into the company for the long term.
“We specialize in residential custom cabinetry, and we tailor every job for the individual client,” said Owner Neal Chloupek. “We design, build, and install all of the cabinets we produce, and because we are a small show, we have the ability to really focus in on the customer’s needs and wants. I present them with a 3D rendering and virtual walk-throughs so that we can really hone in on what they need. Because we customize the cabinetry for any room you choose, we are able to build for your home’s specific design and use the wall space with the greatest efficiency. We are a no-pressure, old-school shop that takes pride in all the jobs we do, no matter the size.”
Cabinets, Granite, and More!
From cabinet and granite to sinks and faucets, the staff at A1 Cabinet & Granite (a1cng.com) is ready to turn the vision you have for your dream home into a thing of beauty. They offer high-quality cabinets and granite countertops at competitive pricing. Hand-pick your actual granite slab from more than 60 colors and 400 slabs at their warehouse. Plus, you can get a free estimate when you bring in your measurements!
“We focus on pricing and quality, which sets us apart from other cabinet and granite companies,” said Office Manager Kim Choo. “Having our own line allows us to promise good quality at reasonable prices. Come to our showroom to see the wide selections of colors and materials, and we’ll work with you to choose a design that suits your tastes and vision.”
While there are many options when it comes to picking out your countertops in your dream home, Kim suggests granite due to it being durable and scratch resistant, in addition to the beautiful colors it comes in.
“Next to diamond, sapphire, and ruby, granite is the hardest natural product on earth,” shared Kim. “Once polished, natural granite will maintain its high gloss for as long as the owner cares for it. Normal use of kitchen knives, cutlery, and cookware leaves no scratches. Heat has almost no effect on natural granite, making it much safer than synthetic surfaces with polymers and resins.”
Find Your Flooring
The flooring you choose to install in your home can greatly impact the functionality of the room as well as the ultimate look. Picking out your flooring involves considering your personal tastes as well as how the room will be used. We spoke to the pros over at Underfoot Flooring Solutions (facebook.com/underfootflooringsolutionslincoln) to learn more about what to consider when picking out your floors.
“Hardwood floors can add an elegant and timeless look to any space,” suggested Operations Manager Chad Schlisner. “It’s also a great choice for high-traffic areas. Carpeted areas add a coziness and intimacy to your home, in addition to offering a certain amount of sound-proofing and insulation.” Underfoot proudly carries all types of flooring. It can be difficult to make a decision – it is your dream home, after all – which is why their knowledgeable team is on standby to help answer any questions you may have and help you select the perfect flooring for your home.
Tie It All Together
The tile and stone that you select to implement into your dream home can really make a difference in how well all of the elements of the house are tied together. From kitchen backsplash to entryway flooring to the shower walls, tile and stone are some of the most important details you’ll pick out when building. For these needs, we recommend Maven Tile & Stone (maventileandstone.com), a new tile design studio opening in Lincoln soon on June 15. They will offer both specialty and commodity products, and clients who purchase through Maven are offered Owner Lizett Nissenson’s tile design services at no charge. The store will be open to both the general public and the trades. To make the building process even more convenient, job site delivery is also available at an additional charge.
Don’t Forget the Final Inspection!
Even with a brand new home, it’s still wise to have a professional inspection done prior to move-in. King’s Home Inspections, LLC (kingsinspections.net) is a wonderful choice, bringing 24 years of experience to the table through Owner Randy King, who is also a certified master inspector. When it comes to new homes, he offers termite inspection and radon testing.
“Although it might seem odd to inspect for termites in new construction, I have occasionally seen termite infestations in new homes. It is wise to have your home regularly inspected for these damaging pests,” advised Randy. “When it comes to radon, many homes now have radon resistant new construction techniques incorporated into their construction, but there is no guarantee that these passive systems will bring radon levels down below 4.0 pCi/l, which is the EPA threshold. Having an actual radon test is the only way to know for sure. And if the home happens to test high, the passive systems can easily be converted to active systems to reduce radon below the threshold for action.”
In the tumultuous times we live in, delays are inevitable when it comes to new construction, Randy reminded us. Material shortages, delivery problems, backlogs of subcontractors being able to work on your home, limited availability of appliance choices and other equipment – all these spell delays and headaches.
“You need a builder who has great communication skills and can keep you abreast of timelines, pricing, and availability,” Randy said. “Working with a local lender also ensures a minimum of problems with cost overruns, draws, etc. Using a title company for disbursements can streamline the process. Get referrals from friends and relatives who have had experience with a particular builder, but be open to newer builders as well. Even the most seasoned professional started out as a newbie at some point.”
A Dream Home Needs a Dream Landscape!
So you want a breathtaking landscape to complement your beautiful new home – but where do you even start? Tom Scharfen, owner of Eagle Nursery (eaglenurseries.com), gave us a bit of advice:
“If you really want a beautiful landscape design, you need to consider a combination of hardscapes and softscapes,” Tom said. “Softscapes include the health of your lawn, the shrubs, trees, and flowers you plant—any live horticultural elements of your landscape. The hardscape includes arbors and pergolas, retaining walls, walking paths, rock designs, firepits, paving, etc. The most beautiful landscape designs balance these elements and tie them together with a harmonious color scheme. People driving by your home may not realize the coordinated nature of your landscape, but they will know it makes them want to slow their speed and roll down the window and take it all in. Effective landscape design can be breathtaking.”
Eagle Nursery offers residential and commercial landscape design and installation, landscape maintenance, hardscapes, landscape lighting, tree spading services, and snow removal. Additionally, they proudly utilize Nebraska-grown and Nebraska-hardy trees, shrubs, and perennials to enhance yards and landscapes throughout the Lincoln area and keep the ecosystem vibrant and healthy.
When it comes to installing a fence, the height, style, and material can all drastically change the outcome of how your property ultimately looks. If you aren’t sure where to start, Empire Netting & Fence (empire-fence.com) is a reputable company that can help you to both select the best fit for your home and professionally install your fence.
“From timeless classics to trendy new styles, we have what you’re looking for,” said Marketing Manager Rachel Kroese. “We offer vinyl, wood, chain link, or aluminum fences, in addition to FenceTrac. FenceTrac is a system that has virtually endless possibilities with a beautiful aesthetic look that is designed to simplify picket installation. Your fence is an investment in your home, and we love to be involved with projects that will help better the lives of the people in our community.”
The best way to get started with Empire is by visiting their website and clicking on their ‘Instant Online Quote’ button. This online estimating tool will allow you to draw the layout for the fence and choose what style you would like. When you finish, you will get an email with a printable layout including total linear footage and budget for that specific fence, giving you a ballpark estimate on the cost of your fencing project. Empire will reach out afterwards to move forward in the process.
An important landscaping task to prioritize that will also ensure you get off to a good start in your dream home is to install an efficient irrigation system. In addition to offering services to install, inspect, and program sprinkler systems for your dream home, Hunt Irrigation (huntirrigation.com) has seen innovations which can save homeowners from wasting hundreds of dollars on water each year, all while keeping your landscape looking brand new.
“In the last few years, sprinkler manufacturers have introduced pressure regulated rotor (oscillating) heads, for which the optimum pressure for a rotor is 45psi,” explained Owner Jeremy Hunt. “Pressure regulating rotors offer the same savings as their counterpart—the fixed spray. By having Hunt install the regulated rotors, you can expect to see a return on your investment in just two years of operation.”
In addition to meeting your irrigation needs, Hunt can also supply you with beautiful landscape lighting. Not only will it enhance your landscaping features during the nighttime hours, but it will also offer safety and security for your home.
If brick is in your vision, reach out to Yankee Hill Brick (yankeehillbrick.com). They have been historically providing brick for about 140 years, and they also offer a selection of time-tested brick styles from different times and places throughout history. Whether you want a home made of brick or you’d prefer to implement it into your landscaping plans, Yankee Hill Brick has many wonderful options. Browse their online gallery of products to find colors and styles that fit your vision.
For Your Storage Needs
Storage units can be a necessity when moving, especially when you are downsizing either into your newly-constructed house or if you are temporarily living in a smaller space while your dream home is being built. If you are in need of a storage unit during the building or moving process, reach out to Store It All (storeitalllincoln.com). The self-storage facility has several options for unit sizes, including units with doors on either end or an outdoor storage pad site. They also allow for easy rental and payments with the option to create an account online at their website, storeitalllincoln.com, where you can select your rental unit and make the monthly payments online. For those who have never used a storage unit before and are wondering if they should make the investment, read their incredibly helpful online blog on their website.
While building your dream home is one of the most exciting ventures you’ll embark on in your lifetime, it’s also one of the biggest investments you’ll make. We recommend working with these professionals who will be with you every step of the way. Happy home building!