Outside Forces Can Affect Home Cost

Generally most people think of the local market as the major driver of the cost of a new home, while this is true, other outside forces well beyond the area can have an impact.

The cost of materials can be affected by a wide range of factors. Currently in the news is the talk of tariffs on imported goods. One of particular interest to builders is lumber imported from Canada. Canadian lumber makes up to 40% of the lumber market in the U.S. So an increase in it’s cost will surely cause the overall price of lumber to rise.

Another impact is local and state building requirements and codes. These rules are set by county, state and federal building code offices for reasons of safety and zoning. They can seem very arbitrary and many more rules and requirements are added every year. Deciding to build your home next year as opposed to this year, can sometimes be the difference of a few thousand dollars, depending on how many new codes go into effect. And don’t forget the myriad of permits and fees associated with building a home.

Federal laws can change what building supplies are available and their cost. When new laws are in acted, for instance one to limit the amount of water a toilet uses when it is flushed, can cause product availability issues and also raise it cost.

Other rules surrounding the professionals and workers that are involved in the housing industry also play a part. State or counties can require special licenses or training for real estate agents, contractors, professional trades (plumber, electrician, etc.), lawyers and even day laborers. An additional requirement or cost to any of these individuals will certainly be passed down to the home buyer.

Banking law and interest rates, of course, contribute immensely to the cost of your new home. A slight increase in the mortgage interest rate or limits on how much you can borrow can make the difference between getting that polished granite countertop or settling for a nice faux one.

Fortunately, Louie Hopkins can help guide you through this process. His experience and connections within the local building community, gives him the knowledge and expertise to navigate even the most complicated plan. He has relationships with local real estate agents, brokers, and developers to help you find the right lot. Rest assured that Hopkins Builders has every item on the list covered, from permits to licenses. Give them a call today, 843.992.4697.

Top 3 Questions: Who Will Build Your Home

Finishing off our list of the top three questions every person will need to answer when building their new home: Who will build it? This could be one of the most important questions.

If you’ve already answered the first two, “What will you build?” and “where will you build it?”, this may certainly become a factor for who you choose to build your new home. If you are building a simple single family home, almost any contractor worth his salt can handle that. But if your home has special features or amenities it may take a more seasoned pro to navigate all the possible complications those things can bring.

Also, if you need direction or help in answering the first two questions, an experienced, qualified builder can help guide you through all the options that are available in the area. They are familiar with common home plans and local architects. In addition, they have many connections to developers and real estate agents offering home sites.

Of course one of the most experienced builders in the Pee Dee is Louie Hopkins. Just browse the feature homes on this site to see the craftsmanship that he brings to all his projects, large or small. So if you are ready to start the process, get in touch with Louie today. 843.992.4697

<--- Where to Build

Top 3 Questions: Where To Build Your New Home

As we discussed in the previous article, you have to answer three very important questions when you embark on building a new home, with the first being “What to build.”

Next up, “Where to build.”

This article will barely scratch the surface of all the things to consider when choosing a building lot for your new home, but hopefully it will get you thinking about those overlooked things before you have any regrets after the fact.

Most importantly, you should consider not only lot size, but the overall subdivision, distance to work, schools and stores. These items also factor into the cost of the lot as well. School district zoning is one of the most important considerations if you have children.

Remember, “to whom much is given, much is required.” If you opt for a large lot, think about the ongoing upkeep for a larger yard, such as landscaping, plants, and grass mowing. Those maintenance costs can really add up, whether you do it yourself or hire it out.

A subdivisions location will also affect things like water, sewage, taxes and trash pickup. Other questions will crop up such as: Is the lot in the city limits or in the county? Is there a busy highway nearby that may need widening or construction? Does the neighborhood have covenants or restrictions? And if it does, how are they enforced. Many areas have covenant agreements, but if no Home Owners Association (HOA) exists, they are very hard to enforce when infringements arise. Which brings up another item, HOAs will also have regime fees associated with them that must be paid on an annual or monthly basis.

One good bit of advice, is to visit the area you are considering at different times of the day and night. This will give you a better idea of what goes on in the neighborhood at all hours such as what kind of traffic levels to expect.

Take a look at some of the featured subdivisions on this site and give Louie a call. With his knowledge of the area and years of experience, he can help you find the right lot for your house plan, desires and budget.

Next up, Who will build it (I think you know the answer).

<-- What to Build

Top 3 Decisions When Building a New Home

Congratulations! You’ve finally made the decision to build your new home! Let’s not beat around the bush, get ready for a deluge of items you’ll have to make a decision on. Here are the top three things you’ll need to decide at the very beginning of this process. Aside from financing, the top three things you’ll need to nail down (pun intended) will be What, Where and Who. You’ll need to decide WHAT kind of house to build, WHERE the house will be built and WHO will build it.

In this first installment we’ll discuss the What. This one may be the easiest, since you probably have some ideas about what you are looking for in a new home. You’ll need to determine how many bedrooms and baths, one floor or two, garage or carport. Your list will probably contain those “must haves” and then the optional “nice to haves.”

Typically, here in the flat lands of the Coastal Plain of South Carolina, your home design will not necessarily need to conform to a certain geography, so that opens up a wide range of options.

You have stock home plans, which are widely available for sale at bookstores and on the internet. These are usually good starting points to help get the project moving in the direction of your wants and needs. You’ll soon be an expert at examining those layout drawings and symbols, to find the best triangulation of bedroom to bathroom to kitchen. Your budget will also impact what type and size of home you can afford.

If you decide to employ an architect to design your home, be prepared for that extra cost. Many times you can take your stock plan that’s close and the architect can make the necessary changes for less than a complete design. The benefit of this will be the surety that the changes will be structurally sound and up to code.

Look around and take note of the homes in your area that you admire. Consult friends and family for advice on what they like and don’t like about their current homes. Also, check out home shows and tours in your area, where you can experience several homes in a short period.

Just remember, there is no perfect home! If you wait to get that perfect plan and layout, you may never break ground! With enough pre-planning and advice, you’re sure to find that your new home is pretty close to perfect!

Next up… Where to build.

Hopkins Builders Boasts of Enthusiastic Clients

Guy and Tara Ballenger are enthusiastic clients of Hopkins Builders.

Tara says people had told her horror stories about the building process, and she was really nervous about going through it, especially since she was pregnant with their second child. “Louie has really made it easy for me. There’s a certain air about him that makes me feel very comfortable. It’s not been overwhelming at all. I go by every day. I’ve seen every little stage, which has been really neat. It makes it a little more exciting.”

“I’ve had in my mind what I wanted forever,” she says, adding that she drew on numerous “scratches” of paper, took them to an architect that Louie recommended, and they created her home exactly like she wanted.
Tara took pictures of every stage of the process, beginning with the groundbreaking, and created a scrapbook, preserving good memories of her building experience.

She also dealt with some of the subcontractors, including the carpenter who did the trim. “It’s amazing that I can show this guy a picture and he can do exactly what’s in the picture,” she says.
Louie says, “We’ve created a team of subcontractors that work well with the homeowner and the contractor.”

Louie Goes the Extra Mile to Please His Clients

The Moodys chose Louie’s company for several reasons. “We were very impressed with his personal home as well as the other homes he’d built. He actually came in a little lower than the other builder we had interviewed and gave us more detailing to the house than they planned on doing,” Leslie says.
Features the Moodys had not expected included wrought iron railings outside and on the inside staircase, and larger doors for their bedrooms and closets. “The larger doors really made a difference,” Leslie says. Louie also found extra space and suggested uses for it, including adding an office off the upstairs playroom.

Knowledgeable Customers Commend Hopkins Builders

Retired Army Colonel Dwayne Green and his wife, Starline, contracted Hopkins Builders to build their retirement home. Dwayne says, “It was a pleasure building this house. I’m a fan of Louie’s. He’s young and bright. He’s done amazing things at his age, and I don’t say that about many people.” He adds, “I’m not a novice when it comes to construction.”
Dwayne grew up working with his father in construction, and then earned an engineering degree from South Carolina State College. Before retiring from the Army, he realized he did not own any properties and started purchasing and renovating homes. Since retiring, he continues to work from home as a contractor for the Pentagon, and he continues to acquire and renovate properties of his own.
Dwayne interviewed eight builders before choosing Louie to build his family’s retirement home in Florence. Three important things to Dwayne were that Louie’s company was financially sound, the projects it constructed were high quality and Louie was very easy to work with.

Satisfied Customers for Personal Residence or Rental Properties

Dr. Douglas Snowden and his wife, Deryl, have a long professional and personal relationship with Louie Hopkins. As they began the process of planning and building their home in 2004, they discovered rental properties that Louie had constructed on speculation.
The Snowdens started purchasing some of those properties, and also had Louie build others for them. They now own 26 residential rental properties, including duplex apartments, two-story townhouses and a commercial building, all of which were built by Hopkins Builders.
Deryl says, “Even now, if I need anything done for our personal residence, I call him. He’s a good guy, and he really is a good builder. He’s loyal to his customers, and he works really hard to please them.”
She adds, “We have been very pleased. I think it speaks to his character that we’ve all remained friends and we can all go out to dinner together.”

Hopkins Retains Customers

In 2003, Hopkins Builders built a home for Badge and Laura Baker in Florence. In 2008, when Badge’s employment took him to Manning, SC, they turned to Louie again. Badge says, “We were very pleased with how Louie built the first house, so we were happy to use him again for the second one. He was very prompt in doing what he said he was going to do. I thought Louie was very helpful with suggestions to dress up a room or to cut back on our costs.”
Badge says he was not up to date on building materials and methods, but Louie was, so when he read or heard about something new, he called Louie. “I relied on him to help out with that,” Badge says.