building in a subdivision Home Building Locations

Building Your Home In a Subdivision

Building Your Home In a Subdivision

Subdivision Colorado SpringsChoosing a place to build your home is one of the most important decisions you will make during the entire home building process. The location can end up driving a lot of other factors like the style of home as well as the price you end up paying.

While some people prefer to live in a remote location on acreage, many people find the idea of living in a neighborhood or subdivision is very appealing. A subdivision offers community and in many cases convenience. 

It is important to understand that from a building standpoint, not all subdivisions are the same. 

Different Types of Subdivisions 

If you are thinking about building your dream home in a subdivision, it’s important to understand that there are different types of subdivisions. The way these subdivisions are set up will determine what type of house you can build, how much you will spend and in many cases who can actually build your house.

Production Subdivisions

The most common type of subdivision today is the “Production Home” subdivision. In this scenario, a developer creates a subdivision and then proceeds to sell individual lots to a predetermined group of homebuilders. These builders commit to purchase a set number of lots and build a model home from which to sell their homes in that community. The developer, in turn, restricts the number of competing builders in that community and will only sell lots to those builders.

If you want to build a new home in this type of community, you are limited to a handful of builders and their plans. If there is a particular lot you are interested in, you would need to work with the particular builder that owns that lot. 

In most cases, this works out just fine but in some cases, the builder may not have a plan that works for a particular buyer. In these cases, the buyer can talk with another builder in that community about purchasing or trading the lot for one in the preferred builder’s inventory but if it’s a great lot, the chances of the initial builder agreeing to this are slim.

Builders subdivision

The primary benefit of the production subdivision is economy of scale. Since the builders are essentially staying on the same street, they can move trades or workers from one house to the next. This saves time and money which contributes to the affordability of these homes.

If you find a home you love in this type of neighborhood, consider yourself lucky. The production neighborhood provides an economical, convenient way to get into a brand new home. In most cases, the builder will carry the financing until the home is ready and your expected closing day is fairly predictable.

If you can’t find your dream home in a production neighborhood, you may need to look into a custom or semi-custom community. 

Custom and Semi-Custom Subdivisions

new build house colorado springsThe second type of subdivision is the custom or semi-custom subdivision. In this scenario, the developer will sell the lots to individual homeowners as well as to builder clients. If the lot is sold to an individual, they will usually end up choosing a builder, designer, and other professionals to work with on the project. 

Another scenario and one we don’t recommend is one where the lot owner ends up acting as their own general contractor for the building project.

Another possibility in a custom lot subdivision is one where the builder buys the lot. The builder will most likely choose a plan for the lot and price the whole package out before putting a sign on the lot in order to attract an interested buyer. 

If you have a distinct style and layout in mind, purchasing the lot outright from the developer is a good idea. This puts you in control of the final product. 

The custom or semi-custom community affords a lot more flexibility in terms of design, style, and amenities but this flexibility comes at a price. For starters, the home buyer will most likely need to take care of the lot purchase. It is more difficult to qualify for the lot and construction loans than it is is the production home scenario. 

Another difficult aspect of building in a custom home subdivision is cost. In many cases, the design guidelines and requirements for a subdivision can drive up the cost of building your home.

Design Standards

Most Custom and Semi-Custom Home communities have design guidelines, requirements, and standards. These will be found within the covenants for the community. These design standards will specify everything from minimum square footage requirements to color and exterior cladding materials.

In many cases, these requirements can drive the cost of a building project through the roof. Expensive exterior stone accents and high-end roofing materials are two good examples of design requirements that can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of a home without really impacting the livability of the home.

building new home in colorado springs

The square footage requirements will also drive the final price of the home as well. In many cases these requirements will specify the required square footage for either the entire structure or for specific parts of the property. For example, if you build a ranch style home, the requirements might state that you must have a minimum of 2,800 square feet on the main level. Depending on the type of foundation required, this house could end up being close to 6,000 square feet. This is fine if you want a home this big but if you were looking to build something smaller, the time to find out about these requirements is before you purchase the lot.

It is important to read and understand the design guidelines before you purchase land in any subdivision but especially a custom home development. It’s important to maintain an appropriate relationship between lot acquisition cost and final project cost.

Covenants

Most modern subdivisions are going to have some sort of Home Owners Association or HOA. These subdivisions will most likely have a set of restrictive covenants as well. Covenants are set up to maintain some sort of consistency in a neighborhood in terms of how the neighborhood looks and what you can and cannot do in the neighborhood. 

While some people appreciate the structure of a covenant protected neighborhood, others get upset at the idea that there is some type of restriction on their property and how they can use it. If this is you, you should avoid a covenant protected community at all costs. 

covenant community colorado springsPart of the process of closing on a piece of property is your agreement to obey and adhere to any and all covenants present in that community. The HOA or governing entity in the neighborhood has the right to enforce the covenants. This enforcement can start with a simple note but extend as far as levying fines for non-compliance and filing liens against your property for non-payment of these fines.

We’ve all seen the news stories of the disgruntled homeowner fighting the HOA for their right to do something the covenants prohibit. This is certainly not something you want to be involved with, it’s much easier to find a lot in a community that doesn’t have covenants or better yet, covenants that are in line with your lifestyle.

The best way to avoid problems with an HOA and covenant violations is to read the covenants before you buy.

Fees, Dues, and Assessments

Many subdivisions are going to have homeowners association dues. These dues pay for things like common area maintenance and common amenities. It’s important when buying in a subdivision the understand how much your homeowner’s dues are going to be and what they pay for.

HOA colorado springs

You’re going to want to do some investigation into the HOAs reserve fund as well. The reserve fund is set up to cover any unexpected maintenance or repair expenses. In a community that has shared amenities like a Community Center, Fitness facility, or a pool, these expenses can be pretty significant. If the reserve fund isn’t sufficient to cover any potential repairs, the HOA can levy a special assessment on the owners within the community to cover any gap between repairs and the reserve fund. This can be a nasty surprise for homeowners, especially when they have no idea it’s coming.

It’s wise to look at the financials for the association of any subdivision before you buy. It’s also a good idea to talk to neighbors about how the HOA operates. This information shouldn’t necessarily stop you from buying buy will give you an idea of what to investigate before purchasing.

In Conclusion

Building your home in a subdivision can be a great experience and living in this type of community can bring years of happiness. You just need to do a little homework before purchasing and building in this type of community.

Process

Home Building Process – Phase 7 Final Walkthrough

Home Building Process Phase 7 - Final Walkthrough

Phase 7 is the last phase in the Building Process.  During this stage, the client and Mike Hall will conduct the the “Pre-Walk Through”.  This is our chance to get your input on any of the remaining issues or decisions prior to the final walk-through and closing.

Process

Home Building Process – Phase 6 Interior Finish

Home Building Process Phase 6 - Interior Finish

Phase 6 is the last phase of the construction process.  

Interior Finish

The home is nearing completion and the detail of the home is added to make it truly special. 

• Interior Wall Paint
• Trim Installation
• Tile Installation
• Hardwood Installation
• Cabinet Installation
• Counter top Installation
• Stair Rail Installation
• Stucco Top Coat application
• Roof Installation
• Exterior Flatwork
• Paint and/or stain interior trim
• Plumbing trim
• Electrical trim
• Mechanical trim
• Phone/AV/Cable Trim
• Stain and Seal Hardwoods
• Install Appliances
• Mirrors and SH Doors
• Carpet Installation
• Windows Cleaned
• Screens and hardware
• Interior Clean
• Final Grade

Process

Home Building Process – Phase 5 Framing and Construction

Home Building Process Phase 5 - Framing & Construction

Phase 5 of the building process is where the exciting part of the construction begins.

Framing

Activities that occur during this stage include:

• Framing
• Fireplace install
• Roof Dry In
• Gutter and Downspouts
• Window Install
• Plumbing Rough
• Mechanical Rough
• Plumbing and Mechanical Inspection
• Electrical Walk Through
• Electrical Rough
• Electrical Inspection
• Electrical Service
• Garage Doors Installed
• Stucco/Masonry Lathe
• Phone/AV/Cable Wiring
• Radiant Tube Install (if applicable)
• Pour Lightweight concrete (if applicable)
• Frame Inspection
• Insulation
• Insulation Inspection
• Drywall
• Shelving
• Stucco Brown Coat
• Paint Exterior
• Masonry Exterior

Process

Home Building Process – Phase 4 Excavation & Foundation

Home Building Process Phase 4 - Excavation & Foundation

Phase 4 is where the excitement begins.  With the lot staked and cleared, the excavation and construction can begin.

Excavation & Foundation Begins

When it comes to building your home, there’s a great deal of work that goes on behind the scenes before you can take the first steps towards constructing the building itself.

One important stage in the process and the very first step when it comes to the process of building is excavation.

If you’re building a new house, then you most likely included an expense like this in your budget. Excavation isn’t always easy, nor is it a particularly inexpensive step in the process, but it’s one that’s vitally important nonetheless –especially in Colorado Springs, where there’s an abundance of soil that’s unsuitable for foundations.

Earlier on in Phase Three, we covered the process of determining the approximate location for your home site. This was based on things like view, driveway, and drainage.

Now, we’ll take a look at excavation –a measure that’s vital for laying the foundation upon which the home will be built. Read on to see what’s involved in this process, and what you should know about cost, timing, and how it all unfolds.

Excavation: The First Step in Creating a Solid Foundation

As you may already know, Colorado is home to what’s known as ‘expansive soils’ –soils that can change volume when they soak up water. The most common types of expansive soils are clays and silts. These soils will draw water in whenever it’s available.

Naturally, this type of soil can pose a real threat to potential homes, as it can compromise and damage the foundation.

While these soil types can be found throughout the states and Canada, they’re especially prevalent in California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, and other western and southern states.

There are a tremendous number of structures across the states that have been subjected to damage that’s caused when moisture-absorbed soils expand. In fact, it’s estimated that the annual cost of expansive soil-caused damage in the U.S. is $2.3 billion, according to Benson, Kerrane, Storz & Nelson, P.C. That’s more than twice the damage caused by floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes combined.

When it comes to expansive soils, this underestimated but tremendously destructive force can usually be seen within the first few months, or in some cases, years, after a home is built. As water from the rain or irrigation systems filters through to below the home’s foundation it can cause a condition known as ‘edge-lift.’ This can cause cracking in the foundation and can also be seen as cracks in the home’s walls. Over time, ‘center-lift’ can also occur; which is when moisture reaches the center of the housing slab, resulting in even more extensive damage.

In most cases, excavation is a vital part of ensuring that the ground beneath the home is suitable for a strong foundation.

What Happens: A Brief Overview

When it comes to your home’s design, the attentiveness and diligence that’s taken at the start will have a long-term impact on the structure’s strength and integrity.

Home Builders are required to enlist the services of a geologic engineer, to prepare a soils report on the conditions of the soils at the building site. This report would identify any expansive soils. By doing this, they’ll be able to give recommendations on how to build a home that will be able to mitigate or minimize the effects of expansive soils. Some of the measures that are often taken include the removal of these soils, hauling in new, non-expansive soils, chemical treatments, post-tensioned floor foundations, or even imposing limits on irrigation systems or requiring the installation of drainage systems.

Before Excavation: The Survey

At Homes By Michael Hall; We like to be involved in the process of lot selection. This accomplishes two things; first of all, it enables us to help determine where the ideal building location will be. Additionally, we can be involved with the geological testing at the build site prior to our client’s purchasing. If the site won’t work or the cost of excavation is too high, our clients can terminate the deal during the inspection period of the transaction, minimizing additional expenses.

We start by staking out a rough footprint for the home. We’ll then have a geologic engineer test within the envelope of the site. This testing is required in order to obtain a foundation and footer inspection which are ultimately required for a final building permit.

Since the samples must come from within the actual building envelope, it’s helpful to flag the actual boring holes for the surveyor.

Based on the results of the soils test, we’ll receive one of the following from the geologic engineer:

  • Approval to proceed in the desired site location, or
  • Conditional approval based on bringing the soils at the site up to an acceptable standard

In the case of conditional approval, the general course of action includes what’s known as an ‘over dig and backfill.’ With this approach, the excavator will over dig; beyond the actual size of the foundation. The scope of the over dig will be determined by the geologic engineer. In most cases, they may ask for a four-foot over dig, while less common, there may be a recommendation for the dig to be up to ten feet.

Ultimately the surveyor will finalize the site plan and placement, officially staking the property in order to produce an approved plan.

Excavation Begins

Once we have an approved plan, excavation begins.

A professional excavator will come in and begins digging.

The excavator will use the approved plan and staking report in order to know where to dig.

The depth that they will dig depends on a number of factors, including the type of foundation, whether there will be a crawl space, and whether there will be a basement.

No matter what type of foundation you ultimately choose, it will most likely need to be placed on cement footers. Due to frost mitigation requirements here in the Pikes Peak Region or anywhere the ground freezes for that matter, we actually pour the foundation walls on cement footers that will be placed at least 30” below the surface.

The idea is to keep freezing water away from the footers. As water freezes it expands—this expansion can create and exert enough force and pressure can literally lift and crack these cement footers and ultimately the foundation and house.

The type of foundation will be the deciding factor as to how deep the footers ultimately end up.

Let’s look at each of these foundation types and how they affect excavation and footer depth now:

Slab: This is the most basic of foundation types, as the name suggests it is a simple concrete slab. There is a wide range of options and variables that pertain to the slab foundation, enough for a complete article.

The important point for our purposes is that slab foundations still need to meet frost mitigation requirements. This requirement will generally drive the cost up to the point where it makes more sense to build on a basement or crawlspace.

Crawl Space: A crawl space has become a popular option for our aging population. A crawl space still requires at least 30 inches of excavation, at least along the Front Range in order to protect the foundation from frost. In the mountains, 36 to 40 inches is generally the minimum requirement.

Crawl spaces are often thought to add substantial cost savings when building a home. This is not the case as most of the cost the excavation is actually getting the equipment out to the site and started. Digging an additional 4 to 6 feet doesn’t have that much of an impact on the overall cost.

Basement: This is by far the most popular type of foundation, at least here along the front range of Colorado. The basement provides a great foundation system with the added benefit of extra storage space or affordable finished living space.

There are different types of basements as well; Full basement, Garden Level and Walk out. More on these in another article.

The basement excavation certainly costs more but when you weigh the cost against the other options and frost mitigation requirements, the basement turns out to give home owners the best bang for the buck.

The Open Hole Inspection

At the end of the excavation comes what’s known as the ‘open hole inspection.’ At this stage, the geologic or soils engineer will revisit the site and inspect it to confirm that the soils in the open hole match the sample taken from the drill log and that it meets the recommendation of the soils report.

Once the engineer signs off on the soils and condition of the open hole, we will be ready to start the process of pouring the foundation.

How Long Does It Take?

Excavation for a foundation can range from 3 to 4 days, on up to 3 weeks.

Generally, a worst case scenario will involve a 10-foot over dig. This tends to happen in areas where there are boulders. We have seen these types of excavations in areas like Cedar Heights. This is a beautiful location on the west side of Colorado Springs –and it has stunning views, but building in this area and ones like it often present a significant challenge.

Once the dig is complete, we’ll then have it backfilled with non-expansive, or ‘structural fill soils,’ although in some cases, the engineer will allow the soil to be removed, conditioned (wetted down), compacted, and returned.

How Much Does It Cost?

The cost of excavation itself can vary considerably depending on the contractor that you use, as well as the extent of the job. For instance, excavating a patch of land that’s easily accessible and contains few trees is far cheaper than clearing a remote patch that contains large boulders that are stuck in clay. Generally, though, you can expect to spend between $10,000 to $30,000 on excavation costs in most areas. Be sure to obtain a few different estimates from excavation companies up front. Also, keep in mind that extra excavation, hauling away dirt, disposal fees, and bringing in new soil, can all add to the cost.

Process

Home Building Process – Phase 3 Contract & Preparation

Home Building Process Phase 3 - Contract & Preparation

Phase 3 begins after the final plans have been completed.  These are the final steps required prior to ground breaking and the beginning of construction.

Design is a collaborative process where we present you with choices and you respond with honest feedback. For example…”I like this kitchen but”….at this point our planner would take your input and rework the plan to present you with several additional options. We go back and forth until we exceed your expectations.

Design is a collaborative process where we present you with choices and you respond with honest feedback. For example…”I like this kitchen but”….at this point our planner would take your input and rework the plan to present you with several additional options. We go back and forth until we exceed your expectations

Contract

Once we have final plans and pricing, we proceed to contract. This is where we outline the terms of the building process, timeline etc…

Regional Building Department

We submit the final set of plans to the Regional Building Department for approval. This process can take from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the size and scope of the project.

Staking the lot

This is a metal stake and string outline of how the actual footprint of the home will look on the lot. This is often required by developers and/or community “Architectural Control Committees

Site Preparation & Tree Removal

Preserving the natural beauty of the home site is of paramount importance to us. That’s why we remove trees and brush on an “as needed” basis. Removing trees allows us to open view corridors, bring more light into the home site and can help keep costs down. The faster we can get trucks in and out of the build site, the more money we save.

Final Approvals

Once we have approval from the Regional Building Department, Community Architectural Control Committee and/or Home Owners Association, we are ready to proceed to Phase 4 and start construction.

Process

Home Building Process Phase 2 – Design

Home Building Process - Phase 2 Design

Once the design agreement is in place, we use the Living Requirements Inventory to develop the actual plans for your home. You will work with our design team to produce the final set of plans. We use these plans to finalize pricing in addition to actually build your home. 

Design is a collaborative process where we present you with choices and you respond with honest feedback. For example…”I like this kitchen but”….at this point our planner would take your input and rework the plan to present you with several additional options. We go back and forth until we exceed your expectations.

Design Team

Our design team consists of five players, each with a goal of producing an exceptional home.

1. Homeowner – The homeowner’s responsibility in this process is to examine all of the input from our team, and make the final decision as to what stays and what goes.

2. Builder – Mike’s involvement at this point is to keep everything on track and maintain the groups focus on objectives like budget, size, etc…

3. Architectural Designer/Planner – This person collects information from everyone on the team and translates those ideas into a set of plans. This is the person that understands the rules of design as well as building industry standards and regional building department codes.

4. Interior Designer – This is the person responsible for assisting in choices of style. They help decide on colors, paints, flooring etc…

5. Realtor – Our sales associates have years of experience in the residential re-sale field. They are here to make sure we are aware of how the decisions we make during the design process will effect the resale value of the home we are creating.

Revisions

You will work in conjunction with our design team to refine your plans until we are all satisfied that what we have on paper will translate into something beyond your expectations.

Final Plans

These are the byproduct of the design teams efforts. The resulting plans will be submitted to The Regional Building Department, for final approval. These will also be the plans used for final pricing and ultimately construction.

Price

At this point the builder takes the final plans in conjunction with the list of fixtures and finishes and “prices the home out”. This is a time consuming process but essential to our commitment deliver your home on budget. Once we have determined the final price for the home we developed during the design process, it’s time to go to contract in Phase 3.

Custom Home Floorplans, Homes by Michael Hall Plans

The Trottier Floorplan

The Trottier Floorplan

Custom Home Floorplans, Homes by Michael Hall

This custom home floorplan features a large great room at the heart of the main level. Additionally, the Kitchen and Dining Room combine to make a very comfortable living area. The exterior features stucco, stone and rustic exposed truss work.

2,677

Main Level Square Footage

2,677

Lower Level Square Footage

5,3,54

Total Square Footage

4 or 5

Total Bedrooms

4

Total Bathrooms

Walk-out ranch

Floorplan

Main Level

Master Suite

4 Car Attached

Garage

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Custom Home Floorplan, Colorado Springs Home Builder Plans

The LaFleur Floorplan

The LaFleur Floorplan

Custom Home Floorplan, Colorado Springs Home Builder

This custom home floorplan is similar to the Perrault with an expanded master suite. Additionally, we turn the garage at a 45 degree angle, this affords us the ability to maximize the garage area while minimizing the impact on the footprint.This stunning two-story custom home floorplan features a dramatic main level featuring vaulted ceilings, main level master suite, large kitchen and walks out to a large covered deck. The upper level of this plan features an open loft area, private office, and potential for additional bedrooms.

The lower level is ideal for entertaining and features the potential for up to 4 additional bedrooms. We have also seen clients set this up as a fantastic “In-Law” suite.

2,909

Main Level Square Footage

2,709

Lower Level Square Footage

6,730

Total Square Footage

5

Total Bedrooms

56

Total Bathrooms

2-Story

Floorplan

Main Level

Master Suite

4 Car Attached

Garage

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Colorado Springs Home Builder Plans

The Galleria Floorplan

The Galleria Floorplan

Custom Home Floorplan, Homes by Michael Hall

This custom home floorplan is similar to the Perrault with an expanded master suite. Additionally, we turn the garage at a 45 degree angle, this affords us the ability to maximize the garage area while minimizing the impact on the footprint.

3,178

Main Level Square Footage

3,178

Lower Level Square Footage

6,356

Total Square Footage

5

Total Bedrooms

5

Total Bathrooms

Walk-Out Ranch

Floorplan

Main Level

Master Suite

4 Car Attached

Garage

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Home Building Tips

The Relationship Between Lot Cost and Total Building Cost

The Relationship Between Lot Cost and Total Building Cost

With Colorado real estate being in high demand, local housing markets are experiencing a shortage in inventory for resale.

This lack of availability in existing homes is motivating some buyers to buy vacant land and build, rather than wait for their ideal home to come on the market or to settle for a home they don’t love.

Buyers have a few options when it comes to buying land and building a new home:

  • They can choose a production builder (also known as a tract builder) or
  • They can build a custom home

Production Builders

Production builders are a popular option for buyers looking to simplify the building process. Production builders already have the systems in place to build multiple new homes, usually in a development, with connections to city services and infrastructures, like electricity and streets. They own the lots and package them with pre-designed houses to provide a complete property to the buyer.

This simplifies the building process for the buyers and is often the far more cost-effective route to building a new home.

Production builders and developers usually purchase entire tracts of land and divide the land into lots of various sizes. So the buyer typically doesn’t know how much the production builder paid for each lot. And because of the pre-planned nature of production builders, buyers have few choices with regard to lot size. They simply choose one of the available lots provided by the production builder.

The builder may only allow certain home plans to be built on certain lots to retain a pleasing neighborhood aesthetic and uniform land-to-building ratio in the community. The land-to-building ratio is simply how much house sits on how much land. Builders don’t want to build a large house on a small lot or a small house on a large lot. So if you’re considering a production builder, you should be careful to confirm that the specific home design you want is available with the specific lot you’re interested in.

Additionally, production builders typically offer upgrade packages to the homes. Upgrades could include higher-quality materials, like granite countertops instead of Formica, or additional features like fireplaces or spa tubs. These upgrades are pre-selected by the builder to ensure that the total cost of the build will fall within an appraisal-safe range.

All of this pre-planning means the buyers don’t have to spend any time thinking about the cost of the land and how it relates to the total cost of the build. The production builders have already taken care of that.

Custom Homes


Some buyers will prefer to build a custom home rather than buy a production builder’s package. The most common reasons for choosing the custom home route are:

  • You don’t find exactly what you’re looking for in production homes
  • You want something unique
  • You want a larger lot for added privacy
  • You want to design your dream home

Choosing to build a custom home raises the question of how to evaluate the cost of the lot compared to the total project cost.

Unlike purchasing a lot-and-home package from a production builder, building a custom home generally requires finding your own lot. The lot is an entirely separate expense from the building budget.

When looking at lots, it’s important to understand any community building restrictions. Communities may have architectural building requirements that strongly influence the look and feel of the completed home. The building requirements and restrictions will also directly impact your total project costs.

The Traditional Percentage of Costs to Allocate to Land

The cost of the lot has traditionally been 25% of the total project cost.

For example, if you have a total project budget of $200,000, you should expect to pay $50,000 of that amount for the vacant land since 25% of $200,000 is $50,000.

This ratio has changed in recent years due to factors like increasing lot prices, escalating construction costs, and the increased demand for smaller homes.

As long as the final project appraises, lenders are flexible with the lot-cost-to-total-cost ratio. Homeowners Associations (HOAs), however, may be less flexible.

How HOAs Affect the Lot-Cost-to-Total-Cost Ratio

HOAs have the authority to dictate what can and cannot be built in the community

The goal of the HOA regarding design restrictions is to create a visually-appealing community of cohesive, stylized homes and landscapes.

Some homeowners find HOA design guidelines overly restrictive. Other homeowners appreciate the pleasant environment provided by the curated look and feel of the neighborhood. Many of these restrictions exist to keep the community free from some of the eye-sores that plague other communities, like distracting paint colors or out-of-place architecture.

To that end, HOAs have specific design guidelines addressing multiple aspects of the build that may include:

  • Square Footage
  • Style
  • Exterior Cladding
  • Roof Style and Roofing Material
  • Landscaping
  • And More

These restrictions can actually be helpful in the building process because they eliminate many choices. With so many decisions to be made in building a custom home, buyers spend excessive amounts of time shopping different options for styles and materials. HOA requirements to use certain styles and materials saves a lot of time and indecision for many buyers.

Square Footage

Of course each of these design guidelines directly affects the total cost of your home building project. So it’s important to budget around the HOA’s design requirements. And because they will directly impact your total cost, they should be considered even before you purchase a lot. You want to make sure you will have enough money remaining in your budget, after purchasing your lot, to build a home in accordance with the HOA’s design guidelines.

Just as production builders are concerned about the land-to-building ratio, so are HOAs. No one wants a large house built on a too-small lot or vice versa. So HOAs will typically dictate the size of the structure that can be built on a given lot.

Let’s look at an example:

A couple buys a lot for $75,000 in an HOA community with a strict set of design guidelines. Their total budget is $300,000. They don’t need a lot of square footage, but they do want a good quality home with some nice upgrades.

In Colorado Springs a basic tract, or even semi-custom, home could be built for as little as $110 per square foot (for anyone wondering, luxury custom homes tend to start at about $150 per square foot).

At $110 per square foot, our buyers could build a 2,000 square foot home and still be within their budget (110 per square foot x 2,000 sq feet = 220,000 + 75,000 for the lot = 295,000).

However, when the architect begins designing the home, they notice that the HOA design guidelines dictate that the ranch-style home the buyers want to build must have a minimum of 1,500 square feet on the main level.

This requirement means the project cost is already at $240,000 (1,500 square feet times $110 = $165,000 + 75,000 for the lot) before adding in the cost of the lower level or foundation. A 1,500 square foot main level will require a 1,500 square foot foundation and crawlspace or basement, which could add another $165,000 putting the total project cost at $405,000. So project ends up being $105,000 over the $300,000 budget, even before upgrades can be added.

This is why the HOA square footage requirements should be considered prior to purchasing a lot.

Style

In most HOA areas, you’ll immediately notice that the architectural style is consistent throughout the development. This is due to the HOA style guidelines.

The guidelines may restrict builders from including design elements like balconies, columns, or bay windows, which would keep the building costs lower. Alternatively, the guidelines may require certain architectural design elements, which would increase the total project cost.

Exterior Cladding

Exterior cladding is likely included in the design guidelines to present a uniform exterior appearance.

Stone costs significantly more than stucco, which costs more than masonite. Many HOA’s require both stucco and a significant amount of decorative stone. Make sure your budget takes the exterior cladding requirement into consideration.

Roof Style and Roofing Material

A simple gable roof (the classic roofing style in which the roof peaks in the center and slopes down on two sides of a rectangular house) is inexpensive to install and maintain. But because it lacks visual interest, many HOA guidelines call for more expensive styles. The more modern hip-and-valley style, which creates multiple angles and multiple peaks is naturally more expensive because it is more complex.

Roofing materials are also a consideration. For example, fire-prone areas may require tightly-interlocking clay tile over a fire resistant cap sheet. Both the cap sheet and the tile are far more expensive than a traditional shingle roof. The cost of the roof could potentially double if higher-end materials are required by the HOA.

Landscaping

Landscaping is often an underestimated (or even forgotten) budget item for new builds. But landscaping can be costly, especially when the HOA is involved in landscape design.

HOAs routinely issue guidelines for things like:

  • The size and material of costly hardscape. The HOA may dictate how wide your driveway must be, and they may require a fence or wall around your lot of a certain height and thickness. They can even require gates of a certain style.
  • The amount of sod. If the neighborhood is looking for a green lawn aesthetic, they can require that a specific percentage of your lot be covered in sod.
  • Number of trees. HOAs want enough trees to make the community feel green, but not so many as to make it look overgrown. So they can dictate the number of trees per lot.
  • Sprinkler system requirements. To ensure that the landscaping is maintained throughout the neighborhood, the HOA may have requirements for sprinkler systems to keep the lawn well-watered.

Naturally, all of these items add to your total building budget, so they may cut into the amount specifically budgeted for the lot.

Other Factors that Impact Cost

In addition to the ways the HOA requirements affect the total project cost, other factors like soil quality, utilities, and construction quality will also make an impact on the total cost.

Soil Quality

Vacant land might not be quite ready to be built on. The lot might need to be leveled before building can begin. Additional excavation and backfill may be required due to expansive soils, which can drive the project cost up.

Utilities

The soil can also affect water and septic systems. Additional excavation or backfill could be required to accommodate the septic system design. And the depth of the aquifer can significantly affect well costs based on how easy or how difficult it is to access the aquifer

Also, there will be fees to connect the utilities for the home with the public utility systems. Public Utilities Tap fees should be researched for your specific building location and included in your project budget.

Construction Quality

Lastly, construction quality can substantially impact the cost of the project. Homes are typically built on a per-square-foot cost-basis. The better the construction quality, the higher the cost per square foot.

For example, a $110 per square foot build might include lower-end construction materials like:

  • Vinyl windows
  • Hollow-core doors
  • Formica countertops

A $150 per square foot build, on the other hand, would include higher-end construction materials like:

  • Aluminum-clad wood windows
  • Solid wood doors
  • Granite countertops

And again, these costs are per square foot. So on a 2,000 square foot home, the construction quality could potentially make an $80,000 difference ($40 difference per square foot x 2,000 square feet).

Conclusion

The lot price does not stand alone. It is deeply connected to the total project cost by way of its relationship to the cost of the structure that can be built on that lot.

The building requirements and restrictions go with the lot. And they directly impact the total cost of the project. Before you buy a lot it’s important to understand the many factors that contribute to the final price of the completed home.

You should consult with your builder prior to purchasing a lot. They can usually shed some light on most of the issues mentioned in this article

Start Building Your Dream Home

Custom Home Floorplan, Colorado Springs Home Builder Plans

The Englemann Floorplan

The Englemann Floorplan

Colorado Springs Home Builder, Englemann
This custom home floor plan is such a well-designed plan, we have used it as a base for a number of homes. The main level features a stunning great room with vaulted ceilings, large windows stone fireplace and walks out to a covered deck. The Kitchen features a spacious nook, large island and hearth room. This popular plan offers more than 6,400 square feet. The main level features a great combination of open great room space and more traditional spaces.

3,473

Main Level Square Footage

2,998

Lower Level Square Footage

6,471

Total Square Footage

4-5

Total Bedrooms

5

Total Bathrooms

Walk-Out Ranch

Floorplan

Main Level

Master Suite

4 Car Attached

Garage

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Process

Colorado Springs Home Building Process

Colorado Springs Home Building Process

Building a home is a huge undertaking with thousands of tasks, interdependencies and conditions. Homes by Michael Hall follows a well established routine set of phases to assure a quality home built on time and within the specified budget. We don’t like surprises, and we know that you don’t like surprises either.

We have found that this process is key to our client’s understanding and appreciation of the home building process. By breaking the process into phases our clients will know exactly what is going on when and what steps are coming up next. We want our clients to know what to expect and when the critical decisions need to be made. Take a look at the different activities that occur in our 7 phase process.

Phase 1 – Planning

Phase 2 – Design

Phase 3 – Contract & Preparation

Phase 4 – Excavation & Construction

Phase 5 – Framing

Phase 6 – Interior Finish

Phase 7 – Walkthrough

What you will notice is that at least half of the activities happen even before a hammer hits a nail. The first 3 phases are critical to establishing the client’s requirements. Homes by Michael Hall takes no shortcuts during these phases. If the requirements aren’t properly developed, the end result will never be satisfactory to the client. Once we break ground and begin excavation, we begin the documentation of the building of your home. We feature real time progress of our homes on our website for our client’s and their friends to enjoy.

Process

Colorado Springs Home Building Process Phase 1 – Planning

Home Building Process - Phase 1 Planning

This first phase of the home building process is centered around planning and communicating requirements.  This is the stage where we have our ears wide open and are documenting the specifics of what you, the client, desire in your new home.

Budget

We help you determine your budget for the entire project. This will set the standard for everything that follows including location, size, amenities and more.  In the beginning, you will have a rough budgetary number, but as you complete the design process and sign off on the plans, you will know exactly the price of your home at the end of Phase 2.

Area Selection

Based on your budget and requirements, we will show you areas with available home sites that will allow your total project price to come in within budget.  Homes by Michael Hall specializes in the Pikes Peak Region and we know where some of the best areas are available.

Site Selection

Once we have narrowed the areas down to your preferred neighborhoods, we start on specific lots. We pre-qualify lots based on your preferences and present you with the the best choices.

Living Requirements Inventory

How do you know what you want in your new home?  We do a detailed analysis of how you live and what you need. Our goal is not to build you the biggest home possible but to evaluate your needs and help you come up with the right home for how you live. At this point we are just trying to get the big blocks in place so we can give you a general idea about price. Once we complete the design process and produce a set of final plans we can provide a definitive price.

Design Agreement

Once we have a sense of what your requirements are and where you want to build, we enter into a design agreement. This outlines how we will work together through the design and planning process.

Why Mike?

Colorado Springs Home Building Case Studies

Home Building Case Studies

Why Mike?

Many builders showcase “testimonials” on their website, and we are no different. We added testimonials to our website because people like to read them. Unfortunately, sometimes snippets of people’s opinions don’t often give you a lot of detail or specifics nor do they help you truly trust the person the testimonial is about.

So, in addition to testimonials, we have chosen to share with you some Case Studies that we feel do a better job at portraying the type of builder Mike Hall is and also help you understand some struggles that people run into during their home building experience. These are just a few Case Studies that we have chosen to highlight. Through Mike Hall’s extensive experience, he has accumulated many others. When you first meet with Mike Hall to discuss your home building project, feel free to ask him about his experience solving some challenges that you may face.

The Knowledge to Nail It

Here’s an Idea

Go Ahead… Pinch Your Pennies

I’ve Never Liked Surprise Parties