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Construction & Home Buying

PAUL AND MELISSA MILITELLO toured the Bellechase neighborhood a full year before deciding to build there.

By Vanessa T. Baxley • Photos by Jeff Markow - Thursday, June 05, 2008


HOME SWEET HOME— The Militello family is happy to be in their new home.


PAUL AND MELISSA MILITELLO toured the Bellechase neighborhood a full year before deciding to build there. “We chose the area because it is close to our children’s school,” says Melissa, “and it’s a short drive for both of us to our office.”

“The quiet, wooded areas surrounding the neighborhood provide the natural setting we were looking for,” adds Paul.

After much discussion about needing more space and adding on to their current home, they decided a brand new home was a better choice financially.

“Building a new home allowed us to get just what we wanted,” explains Melissa, “to add the things that will fit our family’s needs.”

Building a new home usually offers something an existing home doesn’t. Whether it’s room for a growing family, in-home office space, or the convenience of location, the requirements that vary from family to family are usually the first reason homeowners cite in opting for a new home.

Choosing a plan is equally critical. Flexible house plans allow for a variety of uses for spaces throughout the lifespan of the family.  Possibilities for a growing family include children’s bedrooms that could later become a sewing room, den, or guest room when the children leave home. This is also important for potential re-sale. A room that is functional and can convert easily to another space adds value to a home.

“We are looking forward to more space,” says Melissa.“More closets and a pool are going to be great additions for our family.”

Stock home plans can be purchased and save both time and money. Plans that require no changes will make shopping for a builder quicker. Also, a designer or architect can create a house plan from scratch and combine elements to make any new home unique. The size of the building site is critical and must be considered first when choosing a plan or having one drawn.

Be realistic when setting a budget and research products of interest. It is helpful to know from the start what any extra costs will be.

Choosing a quality homebuilder is the single most important decision you make. Ask prospective builders for a list of homes they’ve built in the last several years. A respectable builder is happy to provide this and it allows you to get many viewpoints about what to expect during the building process. Check with your local home builders’ association to verify membership. Visiting job sites can also tell a lot about a builder. Clean sites show that attention to detail is important.

“We searched for a builder with a good reputation,” says Paul, “one we would feel confident in during the entire process.”

Spend time with each potential builder to make all needs very clear, and ask for a timeline of start and completion dates.

Once a builder is selected, the process can take between eight months to a year, depending on the size and complexity of the home. From the foundation to the very last light fixture, choices are abundant in new home construction. Be prepared by researching the available options. For example, do you want wood-frame versus concrete-block construction? Consider the costs of insulation and other energy needs when comparing the two. Exterior finishes not only vary by taste, but also by cost. Stucco, siding, brick, and stone—or a combination of these—are available.


IT’S ALL IN THE PLANNING—Melissa and Paul Militello chose a
flexible house plan with a variety of uses for spaces.


Location is not only important for the actual homesite, but the placement of everything in it. Lighting, windows, and electrical outlets are just a few of the details that shouldn’t be overlooked. Proper placement of all three will allow maximum natural lighting, indoor spot lighting, and flexibility for use of home electronics.

And it’s only natural that little problems will arise during some stage of construction. A professional builder will help handle the situation with ease.

“We had one minor situation with our gas fireplace where the plans and the specs were different,” says Paul. “Our builder handled it immediately and it didn’t become a problem. They are giving us the home they said they would build for us. The greatest part of this process is learning the specifics.”

Excited to get settled into their dream home, the Militellos have no regrets. With time, patience, and a great deal of research, they can now say there really is no place like home.

“People prepared us for the worst,” adds Melissa. “But because we have such great communication with our builder, it’s been stress-free.”




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