Building Your Home

Building your dream home can be a fun and exciting adventure.

However, the decisions that have to be made and the process you go through can be extremely taxing. Building a new home for your family is much easier with a professional on your side to help you select the right builder, to fight for your best interests, negotiate on your behalf, and ensure that you receive the best product and service possible. Most builder’s sales staff are knowledgeable and friendly, but keep in mind that their primary objective is to work for the builder’s best interests, which may not necessarily coincide with yours.

Scott Rathbone and McGraw Realtors® are excellent partners to entrust to get your dream home built with top quality at the best possible price. Scott has worked with many Tulsa Home Builders, Broken Arrow Home Builders, Owasso Home Builders, and Collinsville Home Builders and has helped many clients custom build their dream home. If you think that building a home in the Tulsa area is right for you, contact us for more information about your choices in neighborhoods, builders, and floorplans, or to have Scott initiate a meeting with some local builders to interview them and view floor plans and homes in person.

New Construction FAQ’s:

How long does it take to build a home?

To build a home from scratch takes anywhere from 3 months to a year. Various factors affect the timeline, such as the size of the home, custom plans, changes to the original design, time of year the build is started, inclement weather, and other unforseen delays. The average build time in the Tulsa area is probably 4 to 6 months. If you want new construction, but don’t have 4-6 months to wait, we can look into model homes or spec homes (homes built by the builder that are not pre-sold). Many times you can find a spec home that may not be completed yet, where you can select many, if not all of the finishes in the home, and even sometimes make minor tweaks/changes.

I have heard it’s best to just deal with a builder directly and that I can save money that way. True?

In the vast majority of cases, this is not true. In fact, it is possible it can cost you more by not having your own representation. Builders have all their construction and selling costs built in to the price of the home, including the commission for a buyer’s agent. They do not discount the price of the home for those buyers that come directly to them, they simply increase their profit when the buyer doesn’t have an agent representing them. They don’t generally discount the home because they need to keep their sales prices up. If they discount a home to one buyer, it affects the appraisal amount on the next several homes they build and sell. Having a buyer’s agent ensures that you are paying a fair price (they will research the sales history for you and have knowledge about what other builders charge), that the contract clearly states what all is included (many buyers will overlook details only to find out later that things they expected are not included), and it gives you leverage that you otherwise would not have. A single buyer represents 1 transaction to the builder, but an agent with a large brokerage represents  hundreds or even thousands of possible future transactions to the builder. McGraw has over 400 agents, and many of those agents sell multiple new construction homes each year. If a buyer is untreated fairly, the builder will lose out on future transactions with not only the agent, but any other agents with the brokerage (word travels fast). This gives the builder incentive to ensure that you are happy with your new home. If you want to build a home, it is important to select your Realtor® you want to act as your buyer’s agent before you meet with any builders.

I have heard that builders are not negotiable on their prices, is that true?

Not necessarily. While most builders do not negotiate the prices quoted to build custom homes, ‘spec’ home prices are often negotiable. The longer a spec home sits without selling, the more negotiable the price becomes. Model homes are also a good way to get a new home with possibly discounted or free upgrades. Builders often have optional upgrades in the model homes, and discount them because the home is not truly ‘new’, plus these homes were often built months prior to selling and construction costs may have been lower at the time they were built compared to current construction costs. It is best to consult with your Realtor® and let them help you negotiate with the builder to ensure that you get the best deal possible on your new home.

Will a builder accept a contract that is contingent on the sale of my home?

Although they prefer not to, some builders will occassionally accept a contract for one of their homes on a short contingency with a ‘kick out’ clause. In other words, they will agree to sell you a home if you can sell your home in, say 45 days, provided that if another qualified buyer brings another contract on the home they will give you 24-48 hours to remove your contingency and purchase the builder’s home. You might be able to do this by qualifying for the purchase without selling your home first, by getting a ‘bridge’ loan, or by some other means (consult your Realtor® and/or mortgage company). If you cannot remove your contingency, they will no longer be legally bound to sell the home to you and may proceed with the sale to the second buyer. For more information about how contingencies work in Oklahoma, contact Scott.

How do I know if a particular Tulsa builder has a good reputation?

There are many ways to investigate a Tulsa builder before making a commitment. A good place to start is by asking your Realtor® about them, but you can also ask the builder for a list of prior clients for references. Check to see if they are a member in good standing of the local Home Builders association, and check them out with the Better Business Bureau. Also, ask your friends and co-workers what they have heard about the builder. Word spreads fast about good and bad builders.

How much money will I need to put down to start the construction process?

This can vary from builder to builder and frome home to home. I have had clients start the process building their new home for as little as a $500 deposit. Smaller homes and spec homes will have smaller deposit requirements. Larger homes and custom-built homes or homes with a lot of non-standard upgrades will require a larger deposit, possibly up to as much as 10% or more of the purchase price.