By: Lorrie Ward Jackson | Category: Real Estate | Issue: February 2010
Robert Benzel, owner of Benzel Properties, along with his associate, Rowdy.
Spring sunshine often warms the blood and quickens the brain, turning thoughts to projects that cold weather prohibited us from even considering. That makes spring a perfect time to start the planning process if you have been wanting to have a home custom built. According to Robert Benzel of Benzel Properties, weather is only one consideration when it comes to the home building process.
“A lot of people would like to be in their new home by the time school starts in the fall,” says Benzel. “If so, now is the time to start making those preparations, or it will be October or November before the house is actually finished.”
Benzel explains that the first part of the process is listing the reasons you want to buy a home. He encourages clients to write their reasons down: where they want to live, how long they want to live there, what neighborhood they would like to live in, where they would like their children to attend school, etc. “Neighborhoods, schools, and economy are all factors that affect the market both today and tomorrow,” says Benzel, who helps clients determine whether it makes good financial sense at the moment. “You should think about whether you can realistically afford the type of home you want at this point.”
The next step, and most important, according to Benzel, is the mortgage prequalification process. “Before you even start looking at houses, you need to see how the mortgage lender views your situation,” he advises. “This will also help you know what you can actually afford.”
After price range has been set and preapproval obtained, Benzel helps the client choose or design the actual floor plan. By researching existing house plans and touring homes, he works together with the client to find ideas while pointing out the pros, cons and costs of certain features. “Most pre-made floor plans won’t have everything the client wants or needs,” Benzel says. “But we can compile the best features of two or three good floor plans.”
With actual building in progress, Benzel always makes himself available to clients to discuss any concerns or changes. “This is a very stressful time in a person’s life,” Benzel says. “That’s why I only take on 10 to 20 clients a year, so I can work with them every step of the way.” Benzel also believes his pricing method helps reduce some of the stress that comes with home building territory. “I use the cost-plus pricing method rather than the bid method,” he states. “That way even if you upgrade, or if the prices of products change due to inflation, natural disaster or even supply and demand, my overhead never changes.”
Benzel Properties is also a full service real estate brokerage firm, in case you need to sell your existing home or would like to bypass the building process all together and buy a home outright. No matter what your needs, Benzel stands behind his promise of honesty and personalized service throughout the entire experience.