After the initial cost of building your new home is determined, you need to budget for additional costs required to finish the home/lot package. Following is a list of some of the costs to consider.
Before you begin laying a lawn you may want to plan where you are going to plant flower and vegetable gardens. It will save you a lot of work and a little bit of money if you stake and rope off these areas when applying seed or sod. You may also want to apply a few extra inches of top soil to these areas. When looking for plants search the Internet for landscaping ideas and mail order suppliers. Here are a few I have used.
You may want to use a professional contractor for this service. Make sure you ask for references and view some of the projects they have installed in your area. Ask neighbors which contractor they used. Ask for prices and written estimates. Unless you have specific plans it will be difficult to obtain comparable quotes. Contractors will quote plants they are familiar with and plants their suppliers have in stock.
Lawn sprinkler System
It is best to plan for a sprinkler system before the home is finished. Collect estimates for this addition and ask questions. Many firms will quote you a package price that may include top soil, final grading and seeding or sod. If estimates include different options, go back and have them supply a new written quote including the options you want. That way you are comparing quotes on a level field.
If possible have the top soil mounded when the site is prepared for construction. It is often less expensive to pay for the mounding than have the top soil replaced after construction. Mounding means that the top soil is scrapped from the site and stored in a mound which is out of the way of the construction site. After the construction is completed the top soil is spread back over the lot. If this is not done, you may have to purchase top soil. It will have to be trucked in and later spread out on the lot during the final grading.
This may or may not be included in your construction cost. Many builders include rough grading. Rough grading spreads the mounds of soil from the basement around the lot to promote proper drainage of rain water away from the house foundation. Final grading spreads the top soil on the lot preparing it for grass seed or sodding.
Grass seeding or sodding
Few builders include this in the cost of construction but some builders provide what is referred to as a, “turn key house.” A term meaning, “all you need to do after closing is turn the key, unlock the door and move in.” Most turn key homes include seeding. If your contact does not, this is another cost you have to allow for. Before applying seed most contractors will go over the soil with a machine that turns up the top few inches creating a habitat for seed or sod to root. You may be able to rake a small lot. On a larger lot you may be able purchase or build an attachment for a lawn tractor. Search the Internet for some ideas on preparing the soil, adding fertilizer, watering and the best time of the year to start a new lawn.
Driveway concrete or asphalt?
A lot has been stated about the durability of each product. The fact is you have to find a good contractor that will do the job right for either one of them to last. Preparing the surface under the pavement is the key to success. Both products will last much longer when a layer of stone is installed under the pavement. This promotes proper drainage and reduces damage from freezing and thawing water. Asphalt surfaces will require compacting of the stone before the pavement is applied. The better the preparation the longer the driveway will last.
Typically asphalt will be less expensive. As for the durability of asphalt, look at the roads you drive on. The quality of asphalt has improved over the years to a degree equal to or better than concrete. Most new and rebuilt roads are paved with asphalt. Parking lots also use the same material.
Some people prefer concrete. It is known for it’s durability and low maintenance. Concrete can increase the resale value of your home. More contractors are offering different colors and patterns. Concrete patios and driveways can become a work or art using multiple colors and patterns.
Mail box and yard light
This is one detail you want to take care of before or soon after moving in. Some subdivisions require you to purchase these items from the developer, preferring that all the mail boxes and yard lights be of the same style. If you are buying the lot from the developer you should get all of the details on the subdivision regulations. The price and details of these items should also be disclosed on the offer to purchase. If you are buying a lot from a third party you should question these details. You may want to have the electrician installing the electronics in the home to also install the yard light. This may be a detail to discuss with your builder.
Many subdivisions require a certain type of tree at a specific size be planted at a specific location in the front yard. This information should be disclosed in the subdivision regulations. You may also want to plant additional trees and shrubs. These can be expensive. Visit a number of nurseries, talk to people and gather prices and information about the trees that interest you. Look up when you plant. Make certain that trees will be far enough from the house so that when it is mature, 50 years down the road, it will not be a problem. Branches should not cover the roof. Make sure you are not planting trees under power lines. Call diggers hot line to make sure you are not digging the hole where power lines or gas pipes are located.
You will need insurance on a home during the construction process. Your builder may require specific coverage.
Some of the other details to consider are electricity and natural gas or other heating. The house will need these services during the construction process. Register with the post office for your change of address when you move. Also contact the phone company to install service. Cable installation for television and computer or satellite installation.