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  • Writer's pictureMallory Herzog | REALTOR®

The Ultimate Builder Guide

Photo: Luke Brothers Custom Homes

Its no secret that new construction is booming across the country, especially in Southwest Florida. Choosing the right builder is tough. There are many variables involved and so much information floating around on the internet. In this blog I will simplify the process. New builders pop up daily, its a great market. I try to meet all new builders and go over their options, so I can keep my clients informed!

National Builders vs Custom Builders

The first difference I like to educate buyers on are the loan differences. National builders will allow you to use a typical Conventional, FHA, VA or USDA loan with a lower down payment and escrow to start your build. Some even give closing credits to assist you with your costs. These builders have their homes in permitting phases when you sign the contract. Your lot is included with your sale in most instances.

Custom builders require a Construction Loan. This loan type is paid is phases and often requires a larger down payment and escrow deposit due to the custom features they are ordering for your home. Custom builders also require you to purchase your lot separately, however most include clearing costs and impact fees to add electricity, water and septic/ sewer.

What's Included? Custom vs National Builders

National builders have certain floor plans to choose from, and you can not deviate away from their design and structure of the build. This is because most have begun the permitting process. They come with your basic kitchen appliances, some include washer and dryer. You can choose color options for flooring, counter tops, and appliances with most builders. Unless its a true "spec home" which is a nearly completed home, and what you see, is what you get! Some of our National builders give you options for upgrades, such as flooring and fixtures. They often give closing incentives to buyers offering to pay a portion of their costs. Ask your realtor to check for buyer incentives for lender credits, first time home buyer programs, as well as first responder discounts.

Custom builders are just as it sounds. Custom from start to finish. Although many do have floor plans to choose from, you can change the layout and design to fit your needs. If you want a bedroom instead of an office. Or a bigger kitchen, instead of a 4th bedroom. Even a XL garage to fit you boat or RV. A custom builder can get it done for you. You meet with a draftsman to get your ideas on paper! You receive a dollar amount allowance for flooring, appliances, paint, fixtures ect. Custom builders do not often give closing cost incentives.

Both builders do include adding electric, sewer/septic, and water in most situations, its important to read your contract throughly and go over it in detail with your realtor. Some have strict guidelines for impact fees and material costs. Most builders DO NOT have a cancelation period like your standard AS-IS Florida contract. You do have an inspection but its at the END of you build, right before closing.

Using Your Own Realtor (Its FREE)

Builders have their own realtor representatives that work in the model homes, they are a fantastic resource on building your home. However, you can use your own representation throughout the build. This ensures you have someone in your corner looking out for your best interest. I often tour 5-10 builders with customers before they make a decision. Once my customers break ground, my favorite thing to do is send detailed updates. I often drive by builds weekly and give video/photo of their progress. This especially helps people building from out of the area. I also make sure inspections are handled, and assist in a smooth closing.

Searching for a builder? I would love to tour your favorites in person or virtually! If you want to take a peek online I have listed some of my favorites below. There are many great builders in the area, the companies mentioned below I've personally worked with. I can stand behind and recommend their work. Click on photo to be directed to their website for further information.

National Builders

Adams Homes - North Port

Yuta Osmakova - (941) 763-1233

Lennar Homes at Biscayne Landing

West Port Community

Single family Homes & Villas

Terrance Webber - (941) 232-2736

DR Horton - Deep Creek

Alan Waltman - 239-244-7851

DR Horton - Gulf Cove & South Gulf Cove

Kristina Prochnow - 941-268-3151

DR Horton -Waterford Community Punta Gorda

Single family homes & Villas in Gated Community

Mike Malloy -908-209-7420

Custom Builders

Summit Custom Homes


Luke Brothers Custom Homes

(941) 769-0332

Thornberry Custom Homes

(941) 205-8115

Model Location : 2710 Magdalina Dr. Punta Gorda, Fl

Harbor Home Builders


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