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Frequently Asked Homebuilding Questions

Asking questions may be the most essential part of your initial homebuilding journey.  Always ask questions when talking to your builder, lender, jurisdictional representatives, or any entity involved with your new home build.  There is no question too silly or simple to understand what to expect when the rubber hits the road with your new home build.

  • Where do you build new homes in Central Oregon?
    Currently, we build in the following areas in Central Oregon; however, if you are still waiting to see your city or town listed, contact us to discover if we can build a new home in your desired location. Redmond is the hub where our company is located. We also build homes in Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Madras, Culver, Terrebonne, Eagle Crest, La Pine, Powell Butte, and Prineville, Oregon.
  • Can your stock plans be customized?
    You bet! Your property might have views where we need to add windows, or you may want to re-design a bedroom into an office, or you must adjust the exterior elevation to adhere to your neighborhood homeowner's association. We can do that!
  • Why should I build my new home with VisionMaker Homes?
    We could toot our own horn all day long; however, this is a question best answered by you. Research VisionMaker Homes and other builders you're considering and learn what value each offers. All builders are not created equal, as we provide different offerings for standard features, house plan designs, and processes. Get educated and feel confident when you choose the builder who is the right fit for your new home build! FYI - We hope it's us! Thank you for the opportunity to earn the chance to build your next new home!
  • What is a complimentary homesite evaluation?
    Your homesite evaluation is a free yet valuable service where we meet on your property or the property you're considering purchasing. Together, we walk the land, completing a comprehensive checklist and exploring the buildability of this specific property. This research is the start of uncovering unforeseen circumstances that may arise during construction, which will minimize the costly surprises during the construction of your new home. Your complimentary homesite evaluation is the most crucial step in the initial stages of your homebuilding journey.
  • What is due diligence and how can VisionMaker Homes help?
    We assist in researching the buildability of your land to uncover details about your property that you may not know; however, they are essential to understand so we minimize the surprises when your home is under construction. This research includes calling city and county jurisdictions to understand zoning, setbacks, and any geological items related to your land. Also included is researching utilities and whether they are to your property and operable or need to be brought in so we can connect to all services when ready—this concise list of what we provide during your property due diligence phase.
  • What is building a home on your land?
    Homebuilders who build on your land have stock house plan offerings that are value-engineered and constructed multiple times, reducing your risk of cost overages during the construction phase of your new home build. In short, customers who build a home on their land supply the land and construction financing pay for all fees and items required outside of the builder's construction contract, either through a construction loan or cash financing, and their builder constructs the new home. This is an efficient, more cost-effective way to build a new home than starting from scratch on an entire custom home.
  • What is a Production Home Builder?
    A builder uses a set of floor plans to create multiple homes that buyers can personalize to varying degrees.
  • What is a Semi-Custom Home?
    A builder offers a customizable home with options for structural changes to meet buyer preferences. This is typical with most on your land homebuilders.
  • What is a Spec Home?
    A spec home is a house built by a builder without a buyer's contract in hopes of selling it at a profit. It may be personalized with the buyer's choice of finishes.
  • How long will it take to build my new home?
    From foundation to finish, the typical time to completion is six months. Build time depends on many factors, including the complexity of your home design, how long it takes for the jurisdiction to issue building permits, and whether utilities are already on your property or need to be brought to your property so they are ready for hook-up. These are only some of the questions we help to answer when assisting you in your due diligence phase after performing a free homesite evaluation on your land.
  • Does it cost more to build on sloped land vs flat?
    Yes, sloped property poses more of a challenge and will add more cost to your new home build. However, it's possible. Additional costs may include steps in your foundation, taller foundation walls, more backfill, the need to construct decks vs concrete patios, etc. The good news is building on sloped land can also add value to your new home. For instance, it may have a unique view that other properties do not offer, or it's in a location that is very desirable compared to other properties that are flat.
  • Can you design and build a custom house plan?
    Yes, you can customize one of our offered house plans, or we can work with our preferred house design consultants who can bring your custom home design vision to life.
  • R-Value, What's that?
    The term R-Value is used to identify the level of insulation in a house. The higher the R-Value, the more efficient the insulation is at preventing heat transfer. The appropriate R-Value for a new home can vary depending on the climate of the area and the specific areas of the home where insulation is installed.
  • What's a Punch-List?
    A punch list is a list of items that need to be fixed by the contractor. It is created by the general contractor, project manager, or homebuyers and may include missing trim, sections that need another coat of paint, or other issues.
  • What is a Builder Walk-Through?
    Shortly before the settlement, the buyers are given a walk-through of the home to check for any last-minute problems that need to be addressed. A representative of the builder will provide the buyers with a thorough demonstration of items like appliances, water shut-off valves, how to change furnace filters, and other important features. This will ensure that the buyer is knowledgeable about the workings of their new home.
  • I have a custom home plan designed. Can you build from the plans I provide?
    Yes, this can be an option! Contact to set up a complimentary preliminary plan design meeting to discuss possibly constructing a custom home from your pre-designed house plans.
  • Does it cost more to build a full custom home?
    Yes, a custom home always costs more than a stock plan. However, your best value may be to choose a stock house plan from our plan lineup to customize or start from scratch to build a home exactly how you envision it. Just because it costs more to build does not mean it's not your best value option.
  • What should I know about Construction Loans?
    There are multiple lenders offering construction loans. with distinctive features and benefits. Some focus primarily on residential construction loans, while others provide multi-family project financing or even land loans where you can purchase the land of your dreams and build it years later when you are ready. Distinct types of funding offered also include conventional construction financing, FHA construction loans, VA construction loans, and hard money lenders.
  • Construction-Only, All-In-One and Renovations Construction Loans, what's the difference?
    Construction-Only, also called a Two-Closing Construction to Permanent, is the traditional short-term loan that covers the cost of land, permits, fees, and the construction of your new home. This loan will be paid in full when your builder completes your home. The second step for this type of loan is to refinance into a 15-year or 30-year long-term mortgage loan. Like the previous loan discussed, an All-In-One Home Construction Loan covers the cost of land, permits, fees, and the construction of your new home. The significant difference is there is no need to requalify for your permanent long-term financing. During the construction phase, you will make interest-only payments on the total amount drawn and not the entire cost to build. This means your monthly interest payments gradually increase during construction as you draw more money to pay for the material and labor for your home build. Once construction is complete, your construction loan transitions to permanent financing. Want to stay in your current home, update finishes, or adjust your current floor Plan? Then, a Home Renovation Construction Loan is for you. This type of construction loan finances labor, materials, permits, fees, and other costs to improve your current home. These loans will be based on the appraised value of your home after the renovation is completed. This is a terrific way to spruce up your current home and increase your equity with the right improvements.
  • Can I finance my land and other costs associated with my new home build?
    Yes, Yes and Yes!!! Different lenders offer distinct features when it comes to construction financing. However, most, if not all, offer you the ability to include all costs outside of your builder's construction contract in your loan, which provides for your land purchase, permit fees, and preconstruction utility improvements if your home appraisal and down payment meets lender guidelines.
  • Can I finance my home with cash?
    You bet! Many newly constructed homes are built with a customer's cash funds. This is a terrific way to invest your hard-earned money in your new home and avoid costly lender fees, which increase the cost of your new home, saving you thousands of dollars! Other advantages to paying cash include no interest payments, no appraisal fee, and potentially expediting subcontractor payments because there is no need for a lender to inspect the progress of your new home project and jump through hoops to release funds.
  • Do you offer construction financing?
    No, we are not a lender. However, we can provide you with lenders offering construction loan financing for projects like yours.
  • Can Construction Loans be used for a home renovation project?
    Yes, Construction Loans can be utilized for renovation projects and new home construction.
  • What if the cost of construction exceeds my budget during construction?
    This is why it's important not to cut corners when preparing your budget before signing your construction contract with a homebuilder. Make sure to perform detailed due diligence by contacting local building districts for permit fees and understanding the buildability of your home site. At VisionMaker Homes, we help you with this step as it's important that your homebuilding experience is exceptional! Doing this helps discover potential issues that could arise during construction that would increase costs. MOST IMPORTANTLY, make sure to have a 10% contingency built into your budget, ensuring you have the funds to pay for those unexpected costs that arise. Depending on the difficulty of your home structure, meaning how custom your home is and how complex your land is to develop, your 10% contingency may be adjusted up or down. However, 10% is a suitable number to stick with for your peace of mind. What's cool about this is you don't pay for it if you don't use it!
  • What is a Loan Pre-Approval?
    A mortgage pre-qualification is issued by a lender based on the buyer's income, assets, and credit score. It specifies the maximum amount of loan that the buyer is eligible for. However, final loan approval is subject to an appraisal of the property to ensure that its value is greater than the loan amount.
  • Rural Development Loans, What is that?
    USDA-administered loans with 100% financing at low interest rates are available only for properties in designated rural areas, with possible income limits.
  • What is a Sales Contract?
    A contract is a legally binding agreement between a buyer and a seller that outlines all the essential details regarding the sale of a property. It should clearly specify the purchase price, along with an estimated settlement and move-in date. The contract should also detail the consequences if the buyer is unable to secure financing when the sale is ready to close. It should also describe what happens if the builder fails to meet the settlement date or any other agreed-upon contractual obligation. Additionally, the contract should include a clause that specifies the course of action if the home appraises for less than the agreed-upon price.
  • What is a Home Equity Line of Credit?
    Homeowners have the option to borrow money against the equity in their home. This money can be used to pay for various expenses such as home improvements, college tuition, personal expenses or a down payment on another property. The amount available for borrowing will depend on the appraised value of the home and the outstanding mortgage debt. A line of credit can be used as needed and can be repaid over time.
  • What's Homeowners Insurance?
    Homeowners and lenders are protected against financial loss from damages such as fire through insurance, also known as hazard insurance.
  • Jumbo Loan, What's that?
    Mortgage loans that exceed the conforming loan limits established by the U.S. Congress for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are known as jumbo loans. These loans usually come with a higher interest rate and require a larger down payment and a better credit score than smaller loans.
  • What is a Loan Origination Fee?
    A loan processing fee, also known as a "point," is charged by the lender and is equal to 1% of the loan amount.
  • What are Loan Points?
    A fee of 1% of the loan amount charged by the lender; points can be paid at closing to lower the interest rate.
  • Can you build multi-family house plans?
    We can build investment properties, including a duplex, triplex, or fourplex. We also construct residential homes with attached or detached ADUs (accessory dwelling units) that are utilized for investment as rentals or for multi-generational living with family members sharing the same property but not the same dwelling. If you are still looking for a plan on our website, contact us, and we will work with you to research and design the perfect floor plan for your investment project.
  • Do you build for investors or developers who own multiple lots and need a builder to complete their project?
    Yes, we have experience in production homebuilding. We can be an asset to an investor or developer specializing in developing finished lots but not going vertical with the actual structure. In addition to building your homes, we can help plan what product would sell and adjust the finish offerings for a specific price point and market segment.
  • What if I don't own land?
    No problem! We are excited to help when you are just getting started and help you find the right property for your new home. There is a lot to learn about what to look for when searching, and that is where our experience can help with the success of your new home build!
  • How do I find Land?
    One way is to contact a local Realtor® or Real Estate Broker specializing in land sales in your location. You can also search on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist, or drive the area you want to build and look for sale by owner signs. Another option some land seekers have taken is when driving around. If they identify a parcel of vacant land, they research who owns it and send a letter informing them they would like to buy their land to build a home. There are many creative ways to find and purchase land to build your next home.
  • How do I know if I can build a new home on my land?
    We provide free home site evaluations for everyone exploring the possibility of building a new home on their land. Even if you do not own land and are just looking, we are here to help discover the buildability of the land you are interested in. A few good questions are: does the home I want to build fit within the building footprint, or is the property zoned for my intended use? Let us help guide you in the beginning stages of your homebuilding journey!
  • Do you offer a Turnkey Site Development Solution like other builders?
    Included with every construction project is our Build-Site Solution™. This above-average standard feature includes your project buildability research provided early in your homebuilding journey. Other features included are excavation, utility connection, and permit management. Does your project need additional building site development tasks like debris removal, demolition of previous structures, or landscaping? Let's discuss your project-specific needs and see how we can help with additional Build-Site Solution features. Check out our Standard Features page for a more in-depth look at this and other features included, or Contact Us to learn more.
  • What is a Property Survey?
    A survey is a process that determines the precise boundaries of a person's land.
  • Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
    An accessory dwelling unit, called an ADU, is a secondary living quarters built on your land. ADUs can be added to an existing home or built simultaneously as the primary residence. An ADU can either be attached to the primary dwelling or detached, providing more privacy. These tiny home dwellings are utilized by families who desire to live close by or as rental units to generate income, and either way, they can be an excellent investment. Most jurisdictions do not allow ADUs to exceed a percentage of the primary dwelling's square footage or 800 sf. This regulation varies per jurisdiction, so you should research your local guidelines.
  • Build On Your Own Land (BOYL)
    A stick-built new home constructed by a home builder or general contractor on land already owned or recently purchased by the builder's customer. Some on-your-lot home builders require customers to complete owner responsibilities, also called sweat equity, including the building permit process, managing excavation crews, painting crews, homesite construction debris removal, and even painting the interior and exterior of their new home. At VisionMaker Homes, these tasks are included with every home built, minimizing our customers' stress and improving our customers' experience.
  • Builder Warranty
    Many home builders offer a full one-year warranty covering your entire home with an additional ten-year warranty covering structural defects. Items typically not covered under a home builder warranty include owner-installed products, owner-provided materials, or owner-managed trades not included in your construction contract. Other warranties provided include manufacturer warranties, for example, material warranties for appliances, flooring, siding, and roofing. In addition, third-party extended warranties may be available for you to purchase, covering your home after the home builder warranties expire.
  • Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R's)
    The rules and regulations set by the developer or homeowners’ association for the use of properties and the safety of residents in the community.
  • Homeowners' Association
    An HOA is a mandatory membership for homeowners within its community. Members must pay dues and follow the association's rules.
  • Infill Lot
    A previously developed lot with an older existing structure to be replaced. The existing structure is torn down, and a new one is built to maximize the property's use. Sometimes, owners redevelop these properties to offer higher density or more housing units per acre. Pro Tip: Contact the jurisdiction to research the approved uses for your property.
  • Loan-To-Value Ratio
    The ratio of the mortgage loan amount to the home's value determines the equity the owner has in the home or the amount of down payment a buyer is paying. The difference between the two numbers reflects this amount of equity.
  • Performance Bond
    Funds that a contractor deposits with a government agency as insurance to guarantee completion of a project.
  • Permit
    You will need many permits to build a new home on your land. Depending on whether your home is located inside or outside city limits, these permits can include building permits, septic permits, well permits, or right-of-way permits for ingress and egress from a public road to your driveway. You will need to contact multiple governing agencies and research the required permits for your building project.
  • Plot Plan
    A plot plan or site plan is required to receive a building permit. A surveyor typically provides this document and shows the location of your home on the lot. It also includes property lines, required setbacks, utility locations, topography or slope of your land, and easements.
  • Title Insurance
    Title insurance is a type of insurance that protects the lender against title defects. It is usually required by lenders. Homebuyers can also buy their own title insurance to protect themselves in case of a future problem with their title.
  • Research multiple home builders.
    You are probably thinking, "Why is a builder recommending we interview other builders"? The answer is easy: we want you to feel confident you made the right decision when selecting the builder for your project and that you diligently did what was best for you and your family. Of course, we want the builder of choice to be VisionMaker Homes; however, most importantly, we want you to have the peace of mind you chose the best builder for your project.
  • The lowest bid builder is rarely the best value.
    If a builder's bid is much lower than the other builders you shopped for, and it seems it might be too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure to compare all estimates provided by the builders you are interviewing in detail. The lowest bidding builder may leave out items the other builders include, and you want to avoid finding this out after you start building. PRO TIP: Review all bids and estimates to ensure your chosen builder provides your best value.
  • When on a tight budget, don't go cheap on these items.
    Are you building a new home on a tight budget? In this case, certain features in your new home can be easily improved after moving in. For instance, carpet, paint, ceiling fans (if a pre-wire package was initially installed), and garage door openers can all be improved after your home is built. However, some items are more difficult to renovate and cost tremendously more after construction commences. Number one are structural features, including windows, moving walls, and covered patios. The second most important feature to make sure and choose the ones you want most are cabinets. These are expensive items in your home, and when you scrap your old cabinets and add the cost of your new cabinets, this can add up to many thousands of dollars that could be utilized to improve other features and add more value. So, when you are in the phase of your homebuilding journey and choosing the features to be included in your new home build, make a list of your must-haves so you can make an informed decision and love the house you live in.
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