With interest rates at near-historic lows and more families ready to invest in their “forever home,” homebuyers increasingly are considering building a custom home or partially customized home.
During this year’s 69th Annual Fall Parade of Homes (KCParadeofHomes.com), which runs through Oct. 9, prospective buyers can explore a variety of floor plans and neighborhoods, as well as the craftsmanship of almost 100 Kansas City area home builders to help them decide if a custom-built home is the right choice.
Patrick Willis, owner of Willis Custom Homes (http://www.williscustomhomes.com/), said custom-built homes enable buyers to incorporate the very latest floor plans and design trends into the home of their dreams.
“We work with architects to create a custom design. Many times buyers will choose a semi-custom design using one of our models,” said Willis, who also serves as chair of the HBA’s 2016 Parade of Homes Committee. “Many times buyers will come to us with ideas from different models or Houzz or something they’ve seen online, and we end up creating a hybrid of different concepts.”
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If a buyer is interested in building a custom or semi-custom home, getting educated is the first step they should take, according to Jeff Riffe, owner of Riffe Custom Builders.
“The first thing you have to do is decide who’s going to live in the house, what are their needs over the time period you expect to live in the house,” Riffe said. “So go out and look at a variety of houses and floor plans, and take notes of what features you like in particular.”
Getting educated also involves finding a high-quality builder that you trust and feel comfortable working with over an extended period of time.
“You have to have seen their product and the quality of their work, and you have to trust and like them,” Riffe said. “The more you are going to customize, the more time you will spend with your builder. If you’re doing a full custom job, you will be with them for a lot of time for a lot of months, so it’s important to know and feel comfortable with your builder.”
Once you identify the right builder, you’ll want to arrive at your first meeting with a general idea of where you want to live, the floor plan you would like to build and a list of features that are important to you.
“The builders know the process and they have been through it before. In some cases, builders work directly with the homeowner and help with all the decisions, and other builders have people and processes in place that can point you in the right directions,” Riffe said.
When choosing between building a fully customized home from the ground up or purchasing a spec or model home that you can partially customize, the tradeoffs are fairly straightforward.
“The more you customize a house, the more you get just what you want. The advantage of buying a spec house or model is you know exactly what you’re getting, you know exactly what price is up front and it’s available immediately,” Riffe said.
“The disadvantage of building a spec or a model is that you are going to get some things you don’t need that you are paying for. That’s the tradeoff. “
Prospective buyers can see Riffe Custom Builders’ craftsmanship at Parade Entry #43, 16700 Stearns, in Overland Park’s Coffee Creek Crossing community. They can view Willis Custom Homes’ expertise on display at Parade Entry #255, 16111 Carnoustie Lane in Loch Lloyd in The Village of Loch Lloyd and at Parade Entry #148, 15005 Chadwick St., in The Villas of Iron Woods in Overland Park.
Presented by the Home Builder’s Association of Greater Kansas City (HBA) and sponsored by Stewart Title, the Fall Parade of Homes highlights the latest in home design, construction, and technology, plus provides buyers the chance to research the abundance of local builders.
This year’s Parade offers 318 single-family homes, townhomes, and maintenance provided villas constructed by 96 Kansas City metropolitan area builders across five counties on both sides of the state line.
2016 Fall Parade of Homes
When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. now through Oct. 9. Admission is free.
Where: 318 homes throughout the metro. Free Parade Guides listing addresses and information for every home on the Parade are available at the HBA office at 600 E. 103rd St., near Interstate 435 and Holmes Road, and at all Parade homes.
Home prices range from $182,500 to $1.6 million.
More information: Event information and a digital Parade of Homes Guide can be found at KCParadeofHomes.com using an online Home Search tool for locating homes by builder, price, location, school district or amenities, plus a Mobile Search and Maps tool for searching from your smart phone or tablet.