In the 1930s, Kansas City encompassed approximately 58 square miles, the population was about 400,000 people and it ranked as the 19th largest city in America. In 1937, 100 builders who were part of the local real estate board designated themselves as the builder division of the board and then formed the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City (KCHBA).
The average price of a home at that time? $4,600.
Eighty years later, a lot has changed both within the industry and at the KCHBA. But what has stayed the same — although growing by leaps and bounds — is the commitment of its members to building the American dream for Kansas Citians.
The HBA comprises approximately 500 member companies, about 250 of which are homebuilders offering a wide array of home options – everything from inviting maintenance-provided villas, spacious single-family residences and stunning luxury custom homes.
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Although builders might use similar tools and materials when building homes, not all are alike when it comes to things like technique, training and customer service. Finding the right builder whose business approach aligns well with your personal preferences is essential to a pleasant home-building experience.
The builder will ask you plenty of questions during your initial meeting to plan the home of your dreams. But the questions you ask the builder are equally important to determine if it is going to be a positive partnership.
Consider asking the builder about the following:
You will want to find a builder with extensive experience building homes similar to the one you want. Ask to see examples of floor plans and designs they have completed to ensure his or her company can deliver what you need. You should also ask if they have, or are working toward, any professional designations which show that the builder has advanced training in a particular area. A few examples of such designations include Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), Graduate Master Builder (GMB) and Certified Green Professional (CGP).
Any high-quality builder should be ready to provide you with several names and phone numbers of satisfied customers. If they cannot, consider that a red flag and walk away. When reaching out to those former clients, ask how well the builder followed through on the initial plans and if the builder met their expectations regarding budget and timing. Do not forget the most telling question of them all: If they could do it all over, would they hire that builder again?
Many builders will do their best to accommodate your communication preferences. But it is always best to establish expectations as early as possible. The frequency (weekly, monthly, as-needed, etc.) and method (phone, text, email) of how you communicate early on with each other is something that will set the tone throughout the whole building process.
The Fall Parade of Homes, which is produced by the HBA, offers an excellent opportunity to see builders’ work in person, to find a floor plan you love and even meet with the builder to learn more about his approach to home building.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Fall Parade of Homes, which runs from September 23 through October 8. Attracting thousands of prospective homebuyers, the Parade offers something for everyone on both sides of the state line, with nearly 300 homes ranging in price from $250,000 to $1.5 million built by some of the finest home builders in the Greater Kansas City region — all of whom are HBA members.
Information about the Fall Parade of Homes can be found at KCParadeofHomes.com. Using the Home Search tool, users can search for homes by builder, price, location, school district or amenities.
To search the HBA’s Member Directory for a home builder, remodeler or supplier in the greater Kansas City area, visit kchba.org and click on “Member Directory” under the Membership tab.
To read more tips on how to begin the home-building process, visit the HBA’s website, kchba.org, and click on “Consumer Information” under the News/Info tab. Visitors to this page will find answers to questions such as “Why buy new?” and “How much does it cost to build a new home?” The page is continually updated with the latest homebuyer news and design trends so bookmark the page for future reference.
As the KCHBA celebrates its 80th anniversary, it continues to serve as the voice of the housing industry, representing a group that contributes more than $1.5 billion to the Kansas City economy and supports more than 20,000 jobs in the Greater Kansas City metropolitan area. Its members are dedicated to building quality homes for homeowners now — and for the next 80 years.