Author: alien

Do I Need a Lot Before Finding a Builder?

Aerial view of lot highlighted

If you are thinking of building your dream home in the Rio Grande Valley, location is obviously a priority. While some homeowners already possess plots, others rely on their builders to find them the best fit. So, you don’t mandatorily need a plot before finding a builder.  And why is that? Because reputed builders have been in the business for long and know exactly what works and what doesn’t.

Here are a few reasons you don’t need a site beforehand and can trust your builder to find one for you:

A site needs to be inspected

Not every lot is suitable for building. Not every suitable lot is fitting for the house you desire. While most people think of views and facilities around the house, builders look at it differently. When you sit down with a floor plan you realize you need slopes or the lot needs to be modified. Sometimes the land you own at present may depreciate in value so much that you end up with an unsellable lot. Hence, don’t worry if you don’t possess one already.

Talk to your builder to understand the kind of site you need – elevations, soil properties, and the projected value of the site 5 years down the line.

Builders have the right connections

If you need an authentic site inspection you will have to go through the legal formalities, search for assessors, and do a lot of running around. All these are quickly solved when you hand over lot requirements to the construction company.

The more experienced a builder is, the wider is their professional network. From real estate agents to suppliers to local civic planners, your builder is highly likely to have connections at high places. All this makes it easier – not only land buying or assessing but the entire home building process itself.

Builders are always on the lookout for lots

There are many things a builder looks out for and plots are one of them. If you are training your eyes on a bit of earth to build your house on, chances are your builder is looking at it too. Most construction companies acquire plots for their projects throughout the year. They know how to negotiate with sellers and agents and get what they want. So why take on the burden yourself when your builder can do it for you?

Besides, your chosen home builder might already have a lot of plots ready to build on. And they are likely very carefully chosen and secured for construction.

Builders can help you with loans

Building a house is expensive and no one spends all of their life’s savings on it. Instead, they look for financing. Similarly, if you want to buy a lot, your builder can connect you with the right lender. They enjoy the support of many financial institutions or companies that help you with getting the loan, negotiating terms of repayments, fixing loan duration, and getting possible concessions. If you are doing it all alone, you will first need to find a reliable bank that offers a suitable loan. Then, you must get approval from the builder from the bank to finally get the money in your hand.

Home builders cut down on time and expenses

What an average homeowner does in 30 days looking for a plot, an experienced builder does in a week. And all because they know the right people and exude the right amount of influence. Time is money and every residential builder knows it. Just imagine how much time you would otherwise spend on just buying a piece of land – meeting sellers, visiting the site, connecting with assessors, visiting banks, and getting various approvals. And doing all these along with going to work and managing household responsibilities.

To sum up

Don’t despair if you don’t have a plot yet. It won’t stand in the way of building your dream house. So save up on your resources and let your builder take care of all your housing needs. Get in touch with a builder near you to find out the most suitable sites for your house.

Checklist For Purchasing a New Home in the Rio Grande Valley

Purchasing a new home in RGV

So you want to purchase a new home in the Rio Grande Valley? Great! How much time do you have to pay back your loan? And who’s your real estate agent? Wait, you mean you haven’t thought of it yet?

There are many hits and misses between planning to buy a house and having the keys in your pocket. Here’s a checklist your might find useful:

1. What does a home mean to you?

Before you can even start looking, it helps to identify your needs. Things like a fenced in yard, feng shui, a couple of garages, a basement, and built-in cabinet are just some of the considerations.

Apart from the house itself, you need to think of the neighborhood. Usually, buyers want everyday amenities like schools and supermarkets to be close by. It is a definite plus if the commute to work is short. Likewise, a safe community life is a must-have for most buyers.

2. How much home can you afford?

Home prices vary widely by location, by market appreciation and a host of other factors. Besides, closing fees, and property assessment costs are separate from the selling price. What price is the right price for you? Get an estimate using one of the mortgage calculators online and add to it a couple of extra costs like assessment fee and the price of getting new furniture.

Loans are usually repaid at regular intervals and down payment figures vary. Can you pay it all out of your income? Will there be enough left to take care of your essential expenses?

3. Is your credit report good enough for a loan?

In other words, how likely are you to pay back? A credit report shows your ability for loan repayment. But check your score for errors as they will lower it and you may miss out on a good home buying loan. Getting pre-qualified for borrowings is a good place to start.

A high credit score is an assurance for the lender. Every lender will ask for your report if you wish to get financed. You can check your score on reliable websites online and ask for your copy.

4. Get in touch with the right real estate agent and a suitable lender

Your agent is the point of contact between you and the seller. They help you understand the pros and cons of every property you shortlist or visit in person. They will also help you get the best deal. Experienced agents can discuss the terms of the deal with the seller and help you get the house at a bargain. Because they guard your interests, not the seller’s.

Who is a suitable lender? The real estate team you hire for home buying purposes may recommend reliable lenders they know and have worked with in the past. They are well versed with the buying process and can help you navigate the legal web.

5. Offer your best price for the house

If you are familiar with the home buying process, you already know there are others looking to buy the same property. Once you’ve made your offer known, it will be contested. It is not uncommon to get into bargaining as both sides would try to get the best price. You should also ask your real estate team how much such a property is usually priced at and what a reasonable tag is.

Yet, if you are serious about making the purchase, you have to agree to a price range. After that, if both parties are satisfied with the terms and conditions, the deal goes to the next level and you pay earnest money. This reserves the property in your name and you are one step ahead in acquiring your much-awaited home.

6. Decide on the type of mortgage

Various lenders offer various mortgage terms. Both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages are available with varying repayment duration. Often, home buyers decide on the type of loan by figuring out how long they intend to live at a particular place. Also, income stability is a big factor.

Sometimes, some loans require you to pay only the incurred interest value for the initial few years. Check out if such loans are suitable for you.

7. Close on the home

After you have made the earnest money, it is time to make the balance payment. The closing amount is not just that. There are usually other fees included, for instance, inspection charges, attorney charges, and money spent on title, down payment and the like.

Always take your lender into confidence about these costs.

8. Start living in your new home

The final step is moving in and taking charge of the keys to the place. Unpack, decorate and enjoy your residence. Ask your friends and family to help you move or take the help of movers.

Whatever you do, get in touch with a reliable real estate agent and team to take care of all aspects of buying your first home.

Top 5 Reasons To Choose To Build A Wood Frame Home

Wood frame home structure

The absolute charm of a wood frame house is hard to resist. Wood frames are sturdy and timeless. When you build a house with wooden frames you address several issues at once: availability, design versatility, eco-friendliness, insulation and ease of construction.

Here are the top 5 reasons to build a house with wood frames:


The most popular reason to get yourself a timber-frame house is the abundance of this raw material. Wood is readily found everywhere and your builder can source some of its best variants to build your house with.

It is true that it requires some amount of treatment to prolong its durability. Also, it is required in a large volume where home building is concerned. This makes wood-framed homes slightly pricier than brick-and-mortar homes. But it is obtainable in almost every second home-improvement centre and timber yard. It is easy to ship and easy to work with. Hence, more and more home builders and home buyers are gravitating towards houses made of wood frames.

Most timber suppliers prefer planting more trees than they cut down in order to use this forest resource responsibly. And since trees continue to grow, more and more timber is continually available.

Most often timber sourced from mills is put to use locally, thus reducing the time and cost of transport.

Design Versatility

One of the reasons wood is a popular construction material is that it lends itself to a mind-boggling variety of designs, polishes, shapes, and structures. Wood frames for walls, roofs, floors and other structural components turn a house around and add to its aesthetic appeal.

There are more than three thousand varieties of wood in the US and they are used for various types of framings. The natural patterns, marks and colour they carry usually broaden their versatility. When included in custom built houses, these frames lend a timeless beauty to everything it touches. Few materials can surpass the old-world charm of wooden framing.

The visual attraction of wood frames surpasses that of any other material and part of it derives from its structural strength. This is also the reason you still find wood-framed homes and other buildings standing tall. It is remarkably durable.


  • What is the one material that has the lowest carbon emissions?
  • What is the most sustainable construction fiber?
  • What is the most renewable home building material?

The answer is wood. If any have any doubts regarding the suitability of wood as a component for your house, you can safely bury them now.

First, wood is naturally occurring and it is subjected to fewer stages of processing before being cast into frames. Consequently, it is safer to use than most chemically-treated construction materials. It doesn’t release toxic fumes in the house or outside of it. Hence it contributes to not only a greener but also a healthier home environment.

Second, wood grows fast and is quickly replenished. That’s why it is easy to renew and its supplies can be maintained for long. Responsible suppliers and mill owners despise carelessly felling trees and depleting natural resources. Hence many prefer giving back to nature more than they take -planting as much as ten times the green cover they had to remove.


Another reason builders include wood frames is the unbeatable insulation they provide. Whenever you think of inflated energy consumption, consider getting wooden frames.

The miniature air pockets that are present in wood make them poor conductors of heat. It means that less heat escapes outside, minimizing the strain on indoor heating systems. Similarly, wood frames also keep the house cooler in summer. So you have naturally climate-controlled indoors and low energy bills. Wood is considerably more insulating than glass, aluminum and steel and only ranks behind concrete and stone.

When timber frames are used for doors and windows, there is more room to fit in additional insulation of your choice.

Ease of Construction

When you consider the simplicity of building, wood frames are not only easier to shape but also quicker to put together.

Timber framing can be precision-cut and shaped as desired faster than stone. With little wastage, clearing up after also becomes less time-consuming. The framing is installed swiftly. All these cut down on the overall building hours. Simple mortise and tenon joints fixed with pegs stand the test of time. This reinforces the joints and strengthens the frames. As such it needs no extra wall to balance out the load. These joints are still used by home builders around the world.

When it comes to upkeep, wood frames are highly cost-effective. The labor is available cheaply and home owners often take charge of minor repairs themselves.

All in all, wood framing in custom homes add structural power to the house and keeps it low-maintenance. It is a greener solution that minimizes heat loss and yields to customization readily.

10-Step Guide To Building Your First Custom Home in the RGV

Building Your First Custom Home in the RGV

You might have heard a lot about custom homes and eventually decided that you need one. What sets it apart from ready-to-move-in homes is their design flexibility. When it comes to the perfect first custom home in the Rio Grande Valley, buyers prefer to build one from scratch rather than buy an existing one.

Finding the right builder who can help you realize your dream home doesn’t necessarily have to be a significant burden. When you have teamed up with a builder who knows the nitty-gritty of home construction, transforming an empty plot into a living, breathing house becomes smooth and safe.

But home building begins way before the first stone is laid. Apart from finding a builder of repute, you must follow a few steps to ensure that the result is satisfactory. Here is a 10-step guide to ease you into the grand home building adventure in the RGV:

1. Select your site

Selecting a site for residential construction is always done with care. What are some things to remember when you go site-hunting?

  • How much land are you looking to invest in?
  • What is the landscape like?
  • Is the plot location safe?
  • Is it well connected and easily accessible?

Only when you have satisfactory answers to these questions should you put your money in it. It is one of the fundamental factors of construction.

Your builder can help you choose a suitable plot after an exhaustive assessment. They can help you find out the inherent construction risks, if any, associated with your lot. This piece of groundwork is essential to constructing a sturdy, long-lasting home.

2. Get your finances in order

You cannot afford to go wrong with the financial planning on this one. If you are running low on your finances, it is better to let the dream take a back seat. The first home or the final one, building it requires owners to have a fool-proof financial backing. Your bank should be able to sort your finances and check your credit rating. You can buy one of their mortgage plans if you can pay it back.

Some builders will have their in-house team of financiers who can do the impossible and get you the funds. They can even help you cut down on home building expenses so that your spending is streamlined and wasteful expenditure is curtailed.

3. Find a builder that understands your vision

For first-time custom homeowners, a builder that shares your passion is a match made in heaven. Such a builder can attend to the smallest details and usually has at least a decade-long presence in the industry.

Choose a builder that offers a combination of architectural excellence as well as aesthetic satisfaction. Look for warranties and energy savings that will help you save more in the long run.

The builder you choose must be able to finish the project within a fixed budget and agreed-upon timeline. They should be able to offer free consultation and give you an estimate of your expenses.

You could try looking up the directory of licensed local builders or talk to friends and family that have built a home recently to find a committed and reputed builder.

4. Dive into the customizing

Once you have shortlisted a builder, it’s time to bring out the designer in you. When customizing, start with the look and feel of the house.

Since you are already on this step, you must have considered how space is going to be utilized. Apart from reaching a truce with your family about the number and location of the various rooms in the house, you have to turn your attention to the functional needs – for instance, the HVAC, the various electrical fittings with their energy-saving capacities.

You can either choose to avail of the services of a licensed architect to draw a design or tweak an existing plan to your benefit. Always keep an eye on your budget since it is easy to get carried away at this stage.

5. Finalize the details

Let’s break it down:

  • Is there a specific architectural style you want to be incorporated?
  • Is there a must-have feature?

At this stage, you are ready to put together the various plans you have for your first home. Choose your material with care. The construction raw materials have the final say in the longevity of your residence. Also, talk to your builder about the best paints, finishes and furnishing available within your budget.

6. Get your building plan approved

Before your builder can so much as put a shovel to your lot, your building plan must be approved by the local building committees. There are some documents that you would need, specific permits that you must possess. An experienced builder would be able to handle the mess on your behalf – submit your plans for processing, forward the fee and get them sanctioned.

An undeniable benefit of working with a qualified builder is you can take advantage of their vast network of subcontractors, suppliers, and highly-placed officials.

7. Sign the contract after a final review

You have received the funds, and all permits are up-to-date. It is time to sign the agreement and formalize the project. Check everything beforehand. Once you have formalized the deal, it is time-consuming, not to mention expensive, to make modifications. Many builders charge extra to deviate from what was explicitly mentioned in the contract.

8. Let the constructions begin

The builder starts laying the foundation of your house, followed by putting up the framing. Once the drywall is built, you may be able to look beyond the wood and steel and stone. Family members begin to claim ownership of cozy corners now, and you will start to see how the space would look from inside.

Your builder may invite you for occasional site visits. Take this opportunity to monitor and inspect the whole process. The construction should go as mentioned in the contract. A dependable builder would keep the entire process transparent and always keep communication lines open.

9. Close the deal

Building your first home in the Rio Grande Valley might take as little as nine months or may stretch over two years. Whatever your timeline is, house construction is at the mercy of the elements. So you must be prepared for it mentally.

Before closing, your building manager or contact person would get in touch to inform you of the pending payment, the documents related to taking possession and the date of closing. At this point, the construction is complete. Hence it is imperative that you put everything under a scanner and give the house a thorough inspection.

10. Take charge of your keys

Finally, after months of hard work, suspense and sleepless nights, your first custom home is ready and waiting for you. An average builder will end the client relationship there. A great builder will be prepared with certain services post-sales and would always be in touch.

As you can see, building your first custom home gets more comfortable, faster and a lot less scary when you hire a builder who understands your needs, has the right financial backing, and knows both the industry and the locality.