New Home Buying Guide
Your Guide to Building Your New Home
Prepare yourself for the process of building your home by understanding the stages and timing. Navigate through the tabs below that walk you through the Build Process, the Build Timeline, and the Financial Process in building with Interra Homes. As always, reach out with any questions you may have now, or along the way!
Buying Guide (PDF) (2 MB, PDF)
Click if you prefer to print the guide and take it with you for future reference.
Time to Find Your Home
You may already have an idea of where you’d like to call home. Maybe you even own the land already. Interra Homes can build your home in one of our great Neighborhoods located throughout West Michigan...or on your own lot.
Your sales agent can guide you through the process of selecting a lot that works for you and the house plan that best suits your needs.
This is also a good time to start considering which of our wide variety of floor plans you’d like to call home.
Time to Pick a Plan
When you build your home with us, you get one on one time with one of our Sales Team Members. Our experienced, knowledgeable agents will walk you through each plan to help you determine the best fit for your lifestyle.
Some Examples of 'Key' Elements:
- Finished Baement
- Third Stall Garage
- Solid Surface Countertops
Time to Get Started
You've made the decision to build, you've selected your floor plan, and you have a Pre-Approval Letter* from your Lender**. Now...it's time to sign a purchase agreement (with initial deposit) and get started on the Build Process of your New Home!
*Need a little guidance on the Financial Process of building your home? No problem. we've put some helpful information together for you in the Financial Process tab above.
**Although not required, we always suggest using one of our Preferred Lenders, who are most familiar with our system and the financial aspects of the build process. A smooth financial process can certainly go a long way toward ensuring you move in on time!
Time to Make Selections
Our Design Center provides you with a wide variety of elements to choose from in the personalization of your home.
Along with the purchase of your new home, you’ll receive one on one time with one of our Interior Design experts. This step in the process can take some time (about four hours all together)...it’s important you don’t feel rushed and understand you have time to make decisions.
In order to make good use of this time, it’s best to be prepared. Come with some idea of how you’d like to customize the details of your new home, or a color scheme you want to incorporate. We encourage you to use our online Gallery of Homes to collect ideas for your new home. You'll be able to search and filter through photos, depending on what you'd like to see. We'll be able to review them together at our meeting.
Time to Finalize Plan
Once the design phases are complete and you’ve fully signed off on your house plans, your Pre-Construction Meeting* will be scheduled. At this meeting, you will meet your Superintendent, who is responsible for managing the specific aspects of your home during construction.
Together you will review your finalized floor plans, selections and site plan. Your Superintendent will give you a clear expectation for how the process will flow. Moving forward into the Building Process, your Superintendent will be your direct contact for all construction related questions. You will receive their contact information at this meeting and are welcome to contact them at any point along the way.
*Your floor plan, selections and lot must be entirely finalized prior to this meeting.
- Once your Pre-Con meeting is complete, the process has been initiated for your Lot Closing. Your sales agent will communicate the date for your lot closing.
The Building Process
All the major decisions have been made. Now...it's time to start watching your dream become reality!
Following the Dig Date, here are the steps in building your home:
- Roofing, Windows + Doors
- Rough-In Mechanicals
- Interior Trim + Cabinets
- Exterior Trim + Siding
- Flooring, Counters + Backsplashes
- Lighting + Plumbing Fixtures
- Final Touches
- Cleaning + Final Grade
For detailed information on the steps, check out the tab above labeled Building Timeline. We do encourage you to make an appointment with your Superintendent to review the progress of your home at any time. Should you have any questions about the process along the way, you can either refer to our online building software or contact your Superintendent directly.
When your home is nearly completed and your closing date approaches, you will schedule time with your Superintendent to "walk-thru" your home. During your Walk Thru, your Superintendent will show you the ins and outs of your new home and will review your home owner warranty.
Time to Move In!
The day you’ve been waiting for is finally here! Especially if a Preferred Lender has been used, this will be a smooth and easy experience for you. You will meet with our Closing Representative who will help you through the process. You’ll receive a packet of information with your closing documents, all warranty information, customer service numbers and a few other items for you to keep in a memorable place.
We pride ourselves on doing whatever we can to improve the home building process. Because we do, we work with a survey company that will be reaching out to you in a week or so, and again at 90-days and 1-year. We welcome your participation in getting us this very helpful feedback.
After Closing, your home is covered by a one-year Builder Warranty, 1-year systems warranty and 2-year structural warranty. Additionally, many of the products in your home are covered by manufacturer warranties. You may contact your Warranty Service Manager with any items that may arise after close. You’ll also be able to schedule this online.
After the dig date, pouring your foundation is the first step in the Building Timeline.
On every Interra Home...regardless of soil conditions, we put exterior and interior stone and tile drainage and full basement peastone to prevent your basement from flooding. Underground plumbing is also done at this time, along with the installation of a sump crock, where your pump will be installed.
We keep energy efficiency in mind in every step of the Building Timeline...and it starts with framing.
We frame your home using an process that provides the best in structural integrity. Raised energy heel trusses are used for the roof to provide more room for insulation in the attic space. Each house is framed with exterior walls that are 19.2” on center…designed and engineered to provide maximum structural strength and optimum insulation.
Now it’s time to protect your home from nature’s elements.
We use a shingle that provides you with a 30 year warranty. Our windows are single-hung Energy Star North, providing an optimum “U” factor…giving you the best in energy efficiency throughout the life of your home.
(Plumbing, Electrical, Heating and Cooling)
Your home is now starting the transformation from an empty shell to a functional home.
We perform a computer analysis of each home for optimum sizing and efficiency of mechanicals. Following your approved floor plan for switch, lighting and outlet locations, we also begin running all electrical throughout your home.
Now that all the work behind your future walls is done, it’s time to insulate your home. This is one of the most important steps in ensuring the comfort of your home for years to come.
We first use caulking and foam sealant in all air penetration areas. For your basement walls, we use an R-10 blanket. Ceilings are insulated using R-49 blown in cellulose. Finally, R-17 blown in cellulose is used on all of your home’s exterior walls.
This step on the Timeline can take up to two weeks. First the drywall is “hung”, then the finishing of the drywall (taping & mudding) takes place. The drywall will then take time to dry.
Now, the house really takes shape! It’s normal for rooms to feel a little smaller at this point, but don’t worry...all of your furniture will fill the space just right.
Here’s where your personal style starts to come through...
Whether you’ve selected standard trim, or upgraded to a more detailed trim element...we work with highly skilled trim carpenters in delivering this element that starts to make your interior come to life.
Whether it’s the kitchen or the powder room, the laundry or the master bath...this is the step where we bring in your selected cabinets.
Now it’s time for the exterior of your home to take on your style!
We trim doors and windows on the front of your home with a natural product. You’ve already selected from our extensive collection of siding colors and styles…and now is the time for you to see it come to life on your home.
Please note : The painting of your exterior trim may be delayed given certain weather conditions.
At this step, we use high-quality paint to color the walls of your home, taking us one step closer to making it yours!
Please be careful when visiting your home during this step! We want your walls to look beautiful when you move in.
From the front door to the back of each closet, this is the step where your hard-surface floors are carefully installed (no carpet yet). We’re also installing your countertops and completing tilework, including your backsplashes.
You’ve already selected your lights for your new home and you’ve waited long enough to see how they will look in your home.
This is the step in the Building Timeline where we install all of your lights, from pendants to chandeliers. We’re also installing plumbing features, including the toilets, faucets and sinks throughout the home.
(Closets, Mirrors, Shower Doors, Carpet, Appliances, Hardware, Final Front Door + Cleaning)
All the details are coming together and finishing touches are underway. Shelving gets installed in closets, appliances are installed, mirrors go up...right down to the final front door install.
Now your house is a home...and almost ready for you to move in...just a few more steps ahead...
Your home receives one final inspection before we receive a “certificate of occupancy” (CofO). All elements of the
home are carefully examined during this last inspection.
Once everything is signed off on, we receive the CofO and are able to schedule the date of your closing.
Before your home closing, your Superintendent will schedule a time to walk-thru your new home together.
This time is designed for you to learn the ins and outs of your home. Together, you will go over a checklist of items and sign off on the completion of your home!
We strongly encourage our home buyers to work with one of our established Preferred Lenders. The reason for this is simply to make the financing process go as smooth as possible.
Our Preferred Lenders are familiar with Interra Homes and our building process, including important details…such as dates and deadlines that are involved in the process. Like us, they are fully dedicated to making your home building process a great experience.
We encourage you to contact any of them to discuss financing options for your new home.
Please note…You are not required to use a preferred lender and may choose any lender to represent yourself.
The Application Process starts by gathering these items* for your Lender
- Pay Stubs (most recent one-month’s pay with 1-year totals)
- W-2/1099 (two-year's worth)
- Tax Returns (two-year's worth)
- Account Statements (two-month's worth - from checking, savings, investments, retirement)
- List of Debt (credit card balances, car payment, etc...)
- Copy of Driver’s License
*Some Lenders may require additional information.
Remember, we have worked with our Preferred Lenders over and over again on every step in the process.
They know what is needed along the way in order to ensure there are no delays in finalizing your closing. Please be sure to follow any instructions they may give according to the timeline they give you. Staying on top of these details will ensure a smooth closing.
For a quick glimpse of some Do’s and Don’ts...see our lists in the box to the right.
We work closely with your Lender* to coordinate the details of your closing. Once we receive notification that you are “clear to close”, you will be contacted to schedule the closing date and time.
Prepare for your closing by bringing a cashier’s check (amount given to you by your lender) made payable to the title company for the closing costs and down payment.
During the closing process, ownership of the home will be transferred into your name and you will get the keys to your new home!
*If you are not using a Preferred Lender, please be sure your Lender has made contact with the Interra Homes closing representative from the beginning of the Financial Process.
The Dos and Don'ts of the Financial Process
- DO keep originals of all pay stubs, bank statements, and other important financial documentation.
- DO notify your loan officer if you plan to receive gift funds.
- DO stay current on existing accounts (i.e. mortgage and car payments). One late payment can affect the closing on your home.
- DO notify your loan officer of any employment changes (i.e., change of employer; recent raise/promotion; etc...).
- DON’T make major purchases during or prior to closing (i.e. new car, furniture, appliances, electronics).
- DON’T open or increase any liabilities, including credit cards, signature loans, etc., during the loan process.
- DON’T close, open or transfer any asset accounts without getting proper documentation required for your loan file - for example, if you transfer all the funds in your stock account to your savings account, then documentation is required.
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