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Before You Build: Questions for Your Homebuilder Part 2

Welcome back to our series on Before You Build: Questions for Your Homebuilder. We know you have a million more questions for your homebuilder on just what is right for your new home. Like what windows do I need? What about my shingles? We have created another list of homebuilder questions to help you get started in the right direction.

Building a Home: 10 More Questions


    1. Will my air conditioning cool when it is hot outside?
      It is particularly important to ask your homebuilder during the contract stage what comes standard on your home and what you can expect. Part of that conversation will be to determine where in your home the HVAC system will live, which could play a big role in your home’s construction and overall cooling. Your HVAC contractor will also be able to explain the best options to keep your house cool when you need it. They will discuss with you the load of the system and talk through insulation factors. A big enough system and good airflow through the home will help keep you cool.
    2. Should I use a tank or tankless water heater?
      Knowing whether a tank or tankless water heater is the right fit for your home depends on if your home’s systems are powered by gas, electric, or both. From there, you can discuss with your homebuilder the initial set up costs of each type, the different recovery rates of each, and their maintenance requirements. This should be discussed during the contract stage to best determine your home’s layout and energy efficiency.
  1. What windows should I get?
    The types of windows (wood, clad wood, vinyl, aluminum, or fiberglass) that you use will depend on factors such as budget, style, and maintenance. Your homebuilder should have a list of recommendations as to what material, glaze, and other special features like low-E glass will work best. Be sure to ask any and all window questions during the contract stage so everyone is on the same page before building. Your choice of windows will help refine insulation decisions and overall style.
  1. Should I install an electric vehicle charger?
    Whether you have an electric vehicle or not, adding one just in case you ever decide to get an electric vehicle is a good idea. The only two factors that may play into your decision is cost and convenience. It will certainly be less expensive during the building process rather than after construction and may be a selling point if you ever decide to sell your home. Discuss with your homebuilder during the contract stage to determine where a charging station could be added (usually the garage) and the logistics and costs needed. 
  2. Do I need to pre-wire or pre-plumb for gas and electric appliances?
    This question is especially important to discuss with your homebuilder during the contract stage as adding in wiring after building is a big (and expensive) project. Think about how you will power your home (electric? gas?) and then determine if your appliances will need something different. If you have a gas stove, fireplace, dryer, or grill, be sure you and your homebuilder plan to have gas lines going into your kitchen and other areas as needed. Having the correct wiring from the beginning will save headaches in the long run. Same thing goes for propane.
  3. Should I add exterior electrical outlets or high voltage ones in the garage?
    Aside from building codes requiring electrical outlets outside the home in the front and the back, think about where else you might want easy access to power and discuss with your homebuilder during the contract stage to best determine where everything will fit. Do you want a grilling area that will require extra power? Will you need a higher voltage in the garage to power your shop tools or your sauna (think big!)? Strategically place your outlets for an easier move in and design process.
  4. Should I upgrade my subfloor?
    Why do I need to even think about my subfloor? Doesn’t my homebuilder do that? Subflooring, usually OSB placed in between framing and the finished flooring, is very important when you’re building your new home as it can help prevent squeaky floors and create a solid feel under your feet. Speak with your contractor about what upgrades are available and what benefits that would provide in your new home.
  5. How long will my shingles last? What other types of roofing are available?
    Roofing shingles come in many different materials including asphalt, wood, tile, and metal. The longevity will depend on which type you chose and the weather. A good average lifespan is around 20 years. However, your homebuilder will be able to provide you with a more accurate estimate based on the type they use. If you are interested in a type of roof like a standing seam metal roof that is not standard to your home builder, speak to the homebuilder during the contracting stage. Warranties for your roof will come from the manufacturer, so keep their information for your files.
  6. What type of insulation should I use?
    The most common home insulation types are fiberglass, cellulose, and foam. These types of insulation come in the form of loose-fill, batts, rolls, foam boards, and radiant barriers. Choosing the best type of insulation is going to come down to a few factors such as your budget, the amount space that needs insulation, the required R value, eco friendless, and ease of insulation. Speak with your homebuilder during the contract stage as to what you can expect to get out of your insulation, how that will affect your Energy Star rating and your HVAC performance. Also think about the layout of your home like adding more insulation in bedroom walls or the wall between the house and the garage for soundproofing.
  7. What type of siding should I use?
    There are many different types of siding materials such as vinyl, wood, metal, fiber cement, and brick. There are a few factors that will affect your decision on which siding you want to buy such as durability, looks, cost, and the required maintenance. Your homebuilder may have a standard siding with some upgraded features available. Remember, go over any upgrade options and big decisions such as deciding on a particular brand of siding during the contract stage to avoid any miscommunication during the building process.

Remember, good communication is key and discussing big changes is important during the contract stage of your home. There are so many more questions that can arise when building a home, but we hope these have provided you with a starting place to get the home of your dreams. Still have questions? We’ve seen a lot of houses built so stop by your local McCoy’s where we can talk foundations to front doors.