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Should First-Time Homebuyers Build a House?

Purchasing your first home is an exciting time, but it also comes with plenty of decisions to make.

Before you get stuck on paint colors, landscaping, and new furniture, you might be wondering whether you can afford to build a house rather than buying a pre-existing home. Building a home may be more affordable than you think, but understanding the differences between buying and building and asking yourself the right questions will help you make your decision.

What are the differences between building and buying a home?

There are pros and cons to both buying or building a house, and deciding really comes down to personal preference. In today’s market, the prices between building and buying a home are comparable.

One major difference is that building a home means no immediate renovations; when you buy an older home, chances are you’ll find something that needs to be repaired, updated, or replaced, and these renovations can really add up.

Many first-time homebuyers are concerned about the amount of time it takes to build a house. While a modular home does take an average of 3-4 months to complete, renovations in an existing home can take just as long (and you’re often forced to live in the house during the renovation process to save money.)

Are you ready to build?

A common mistake that many first-time homebuyers make is taking the maximum home loan available to them. Your bank may offer you more than you can afford, which can lead to extra fees and larger monthly payments. Look past your total loan qualification and instead take a loan with a mortgage you know you’ll be able to afford.

Before you build, ask yourself these questions:

  • How long do I plan to stay in my next home?

    If you plan on staying in your new home long term, having a custom built home which meets all your specifications might be the right choice for you.
  • What are my “must haves” in a home?

    Certain house features and customization options are more expensive when they’re added to an existing home.
  • Am I willing to put in the extra work?

    Building a home requires more decisions and extra time collaborating with your builder to make sure everything in your home fits exactly what you’re looking for.

Building a house is possible for first-time homebuyers. To learn how to decide how much house you can afford to build, check out our free guide.

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Building a Home: The Features You Don’t Want to Overlook

Making the decision to build a house is exciting, but it also comes with its fair share of worries. There are so many things to think about and so many decisions to make. That’s why we’ve decided to help get you started with some important reminders!

Quality over Quantity

Don’t build a house that’s too big – you’ll waste space and have less money to spend on the finishes of the house. Use your funds to create focal points in your rooms, like built-in cabinetry or a fireplace, with nice details (but not so much detail that it feels too “busy”). 

Unique trim and moldings can really enhance your space, so keep them in mind. You’ll feel more comfortable in a smaller, intimate space with beautiful touches than a large, empty room.

living room with white couch

Insulation

To maintain comfortable temperatures in your home, you need to insulate interior walls. Also, pay special attention to plumbing – if you want to avoid unwanted sounds of flushing toilets, for example. Add closets between bedrooms or built-in bookshelves (books will absorb sounds) for further sound insulation. It’s much cheaper/easier to do this now rather than later.

Outlets

Make sure you choose the right locations for your outlets. They should be easily accessible and in a place where furniture can conceal them. It would also be a good idea to have outlets on the outside of the house. Depending on how creative you want to be, you could even opt for outlets inside drawers. There’s nothing more inconvenient than a house with too few outlets.

Ventilation and Light

Never underestimate the power of natural light and ventilation (and the power of building code rules and regulations which will require that you have a specific amount of both for certain rooms). The circulation areas of your homes, like hallways, need natural light as well. Not only is it a necessity, but it makes your space feel much more open and natural. If you’ve ever seen a room with floor-to-ceiling windows, you’ll know just how much the light transforms that area. In short, a sufficient amount of windows is a must.

Windows

Let’s talk about these in a little more detail. You’re going to be looking through them all day, so that saying “quality over quantity” is still very relevant here. It’s worth investing in windows that are appealing and reliable. Keep the type of window consistent throughout the house and make sure they’re well-placed. Out of reach windows are going to make opening, closing, or cleaning them a lot more difficult than it should be.

Open, modern style kitchen

We hope this we’ve answered some of your questions (some you may not have realized you had!) and given you new ideas for your future home. Creating your perfect space takes a great deal of time, planning, and effort, but you’ll get there. And when you do, you’ll see just how much it was worth it.

Would you like to know more about custom homes and the many additions you can include? Contact Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington today, and we can help you create the living space you’ve been wanting!

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Tips for Planning A Housewarming Party

There’s no greater feeling than having moved into your new home. Everything is fresh and exciting, and it deserves to be shown off! Welcoming guests into your home is a great way to celebrate and settle in, so here are some tips to ensure everything goes smoothly during your housewarming party:

1. Plan It Out

Plan way ahead of time! Decide what type of gathering you’d like to have and who you’d like to invite. You might want something more informal, like guests dropping in throughout the afternoon and staying for casual drinks light snacks, or you can throw a formal dinner party. No matter what you choose or how elaborate you’d like it to be, you won’t regret giving yourself plenty of time to prepare for it.

2. Decide How to Invite Guests

Once you’ve made your guest list, it’s time to get those invites sent out! There are many ways to go about this, such as a simple phone call, a Facebook invite, an online invitation (maybe through Paperless Post), or even a handwritten letter. Whatever you decide to go with, make sure you require your guests to respond to your invitation by a certain date. This way you’ll know exactly who and how many are coming and you can prepare accordingly.

Housewarming party Four people clinking glasses with wine
Housewarming party Line of candles

3. Clean Up Your House

A housewarming party is unique in that guests will likely expect to see most of the rooms in the house. This means you’re going to have to go that extra mile to spiff up every room and make sure all your valuables are put away. In particular, focus on prepping your bathrooms – which will likely see more traffic than usual – and make sure the entire house smells great. Candles, diffusers, or air fresheners are essential here.

4. Prepare Seating

You want your guests to feel comfortable, so making sure they have a place to sit – instead of standing around awkwardly – is a must. You may need to pull chairs from other rooms in order to provide enough seating for everyone, but trust us, everyone will feel more at ease.

Pro tip: if you have benches, trunks, or even unpacked boxes, spruce them up with fabric (particularly the boxes) and offer them as seats.

Housewarming party Friends having dinner

5. Enjoy Yourself

Don’t get too caught up in all the things you have to do to keep the party going. Take the time to talk, eat, and relax with your friends and family. It might be helpful to ask family members or trusted friends beforehand to help you out during the party, so you won’t have to handle everything yourself.

Plus, you’ll want some extra time to document with lots of fun pictures, and you can make an album of them later on. This will be a special event for you, so don’t hesitate to commemorate the occasion. Now is the time when you can genuinely start to enjoy your new living space with people you love!

Contact Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington

Ready to host your own housewarming party? Contact Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington, and we can help you design your perfect living space!

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Floor Plans: What’s the Right Choice for You?

So you’ve made the decision to move forward with your plans to buy a custom home. Now you’re faced with the question, “What floor plan do I choose?” This is one of the biggest decisions you’ll have to make, so here are some important factors to consider so you can make the best choice for your home.

1. Determine Your Price Range

Sometimes, it’s easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying and planning for your new home. How much will your budget allow you to spend? Know what your price range is, and stick to it as well as you can. Whether you’ve got a certain layout in mind or you’re wanting to work with your home builder to create a completely custom design, always be aware of pricing. Our team can guide you through this process, showing you how we can meet your needs within your budget.

kitchen vanity with dual sinks

2. Remember Who’s Living There

One of the first things you should do is consider the size of your family. What will you all feel comfortable in, and what would be functional for everyone? You don’t want to feel cramped in your own home, but you also don’t want to pay for too much unused space. How many rooms you’ll need for family members? How often do you host out-of-town family and friends? And how many bathrooms would be appropriate for yourselves or for guests? Having it all mapped out keeps you in control of your home journey.

3. Modifications are Possible

Don’t forget, while you’re checking out hundreds of floor plans, you can customize your home as much you want. Your home will be designed entirely by you – your wants and needs are top priority, so if you have any special requests, you can always make them known. We can guide you, but ultimately you’re building your dream house! Here are some helpful hints about modifications.

4. Consider Square Footage and Style

Do you have a specific size and style in mind already? Square footage is just another way you can use to customize your floor plan. And if you’ve always had a preference for a certain style of home, you can sync these two details to create your dream home. This is the beauty of crafting your own space!

example floor plans being shown to a young woman

5. Go With Your Gut

Have you had a specific floor plan in mind? Maybe one stuck out to you and you haven’t forgotten it, even after all your searches. Chances are, this is leading you in the right direction. Above all, you want to be happy and settled in your new home, so if something feels right, don’t dismiss it. If you’re concerned about pricing, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your builder. Learn more about modular home costs.

young woman looking at floor plan options in a kitchen

6. Seek Guidance from a Professional

Your custom home builder is, of course, the best option for guidance! Write down any questions that might pop into your head through the process and address each point the next time you meet with them. Talking with a professional can ease some your worries, and you’ll walk away feeling excited about your new home!

Have questions about the perfect floor plan for you and your family? Contact Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington, and we’ll help you find the right choice!

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What is a Sealed Crawl Space?

At Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington, we build all of our custom modular homes with a sealed crawl space to provide better protection and air quality. Unlike vented crawl spaces, a sealed crawl space offers a number of benefits to your house and your family. But what is a sealed crawl space and how can it benefit your home?

What is a Sealed Crawl Space?

Traditionally, crawl spaces beneath a house are vented to allow air to pass beneath the house freely. Unfortunately, if you live in a humid area your crawl space might not be able to keep moisture out, which can lead to problems. Common issues associated with a vented crawl space are mold, mildew, wood rot, and poor air quality. Even worse, open crawl spaces can provide a home to pests and local wildlife.

A closed or “sealed” crawl space has no wall vents, meaning air cannot pass into the crawl space from outside your home. The ground in a sealed crawl space is covered with a moisture barrier which is sealed against the foundation walls. All gaps are sealed to create an air- and watertight sealed space. A sloped exterior grading around the foundation pulls water away from the house.

If you live in an area with a lot of moisture in the air such as the Southeastern United States, your home is at greater risk of developing mold and mildew. Having a sealed crawl space will prevent the buildup of moisture which can lead to mold and provides a number of additional benefits to your home.

young family under a blanket

The Benefits of a Sealed Crawl Space

  • Improved air quality, making it a great option for anyone with allergies or respiratory issues.
  • Saves you up to 18% on your heating and cooling costs each year.
  • The moisture-free crawl space reduces the chance of mold and mildew.
  • Moisture control also helps to reduce the chance of buckling underneath hardwood floors and protects your subfloors.
  • Keeps your floors warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.
  • The dry air prevents frozen pipes in the winter.
  • The sealed area help to deter termites, pests, and wildlife from entering your home.

Having a sealed crawl space offers numerous benefits to you, your family, and your home, and can even save you money on your energy bills. When you build a home with Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington, your custom modular home will come with a sealed crawl space built standard.

Not sure if you can afford to build a custom home with a sealed crawl space? Download our free guide below!

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Can I Afford to Build a House? 5 Questions to Ask Yourself

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer who wants to get the most out of your purchase, or a homeowner looking for the perfect new home for your family, building a house is a great option. Many people assume that building a house is more expensive than buying, but that isn’t actually the case. The cost of building a house is comparable to buying, but you’ll get much more for your money.

Building a house is more affordable than you think! When calculating how much house you can afford to build, ask yourself these five questions:

How much down payment can I provide?

The cost of building a house will largely depend on your down payment. Before you talk to your bank, decide on the amount you can afford. The higher your down payment, the lower your monthly mortgage fees will be.

What’s my monthly budget?

Your bank or lender will pre-qualify you for a home loan based on your income, your credit, your down payment, and other factors for you and your spouse. The amount may be higher than you expect, but remember that what you qualify for might not necessarily be what you can afford!

How much will it cost to buy land?

Land purchase is a unique cost of building a house. Be sure to factor the cost of your property into your overall budget. To learn more about buying land, click here to check out our free land buying guide and checklist!

What upgrades can I afford?

Are you hoping for a house with wall-to-wall hardwood floors or maybe an updated spa-like master bathroom? Your builder will work with you to make adjustments and upgrades to your house plan. Keep in mind that the cost of upgrades can add up quickly. It’s a good idea to sit down and make a “must have” and a “want” list so you can prioritize the most important upgrades.

Will I have other costs?

Permits, taxes, utility connections, homeowner’s association fees, and other costs can bite into your monthly budget. Be sure to research your property before you buy to learn about costs associated with the land. Your builder will be able to tell you what permits and other fees need to be taken care of before you build

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Home Upgrades that are Worth the Money

When you’re building a house, the cost of upgrades add up quickly. It can be difficult to prioritize–should you opt for hardwood floors, or would it be better to add on a third bedroom? Some home upgrades are better to add before your home is built, while others can wait until your budget allows.

Adding home upgrades to your building plan might not seem like something you can afford, but consider this: a $10,000 addition to a 30-year mortgage is only about $30-40 more on your monthly payment. 

Many of these home upgrades are also cheaper to add to a house during construction and can become much more expensive once the home is already built.

Structural Changes

Room additions, roof pitch, and other changes to your home’s structure are best made during the construction process. These changes are much more difficult to do once a home has been built and will be more expensive.

Exterior Upgrades

Your home’s exterior is the first thing people will see, so make sure you’re getting exactly what you want. Siding, paint, and even shutters can be expensive and time consuming renovations. Get your house’s exterior style right the first time.

Energy Efficient Upgrades

It’s much easier (and cheaper) to have an energy efficient home if you choose to upgrade your building plan rather than wait to renovate later. Energy efficient windows, siding, and insulation are all much more affordable if your costs don’t include tear-down of existing features.

modular home being built

Kitchen Upgrades

An upgraded kitchen can drastically boost the value of your home, but renovating a kitchen is time consuming and expenses can add up quickly. If you’re thinking about where to put some extra money from your budget, the kitchen is one of the best places to start.

kitchen with stainless steel appliances

Other Upgrades to Consider

  • Adding a fireplace, whether it’s gas or wood-burning
  • Extra outlets
  • Wiring for cable, internet, and surround sound
  • HVAC upgrades such as central air conditioning
  • Tankless water heaters
  • Extra closet space
  • Adding a deck, porch, or garage
newly installed wooden deck

Building your dream home is more affordable than you think. Contact the modular home builders at Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington or browse our floorplans to get started building a home in North Carolina!

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7 Ways to Prepare Your House for Winter

Fall is here in North Carolina, which means the weather might get a bit chilly soon (or not…). Before winter gets here in a few months (or not…), it’s a good idea to start prepping your house for cold weather. With the right preparation, you can save money on energy bills, be prepared for potential winter storms, and prevent expensive repairs to your HVAC systems or water pipes. Follow these steps to winterize your house and stay cozy all winter.

How to Winterize Your House

  1. Do some end-of-summer yard maintenance

    No one misses their lawn mower during the off-season, but before you lock up your shed for the year, take a weekend to do some preventative maintenance around your yard. Trim away dead or oversized branches that could threaten your home during an ice storm, rake up the excess leaf mulch, and clean out your gutters to allow snow and ice to melt and drain away safely.

  2. Get a snow day kit.

    Snow days aren’t exactly the norm in North Carolina, but it never hurts to be prepared. Make sure you’re stocked up on road salt, snow shovels, and ice scrapers before the hardware stores run out. If you have a fireplace, make sure you’re well stocked on natural gas or extra firewood, and don’t forget the hot chocolate supply!

  3. Check your house for drafts.

    A drafty house will drive up your energy bills all winter as you struggle to keep your house warm. Windows, chimneys, and doorways are the most common areas to find drafts. One easy test is to light an incense stick and hold it in places where you suspect a draft. If the smoke is suddenly pushed or pulled, you’ve found a place where heat can escape.

  4. Insulate your pipes.

    Frozen pipes occur when temperatures drop sharply, often at night. These pipes can burst as they defrost, causing flooding, water damage, and thousands in plumbing repairs. Insulation foam is inexpensive and easy to install; check your local hardware store for pipe insulation.

  5. Winterize your windows.

    Even if your window is closed, you could still be losing heat through the glass. Hang curtains and install plastic window film to keep the heat from escaping your home.

  6. Take your plants inside.

    Potted plants and plants that don’t go dormant during the winter are at risk of turning to mush during even the slightest overnight freeze. Protect your plants by bringing them inside during the winter, and leave them near a window so they can stay happy all season long.

  7. Get an HVAC tune-up.

    Regular HVAC maintenance will increase the lifespan of your unit and save you money on your energy bills all year round. Make sure your heater is working efficiently by scheduling a tune-up.

Interested in finding your dream home this winter? Consider building instead! Download our FREE guide to learn about the quality standards of a modular home!

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8 Things to Consider When Looking for a House

Looking for a House?

Are you looking for a new house? There’s plenty to think about before you make a decision. We’ve put together a checklist of 8 things you might not have considered when house hunting. If you’d rather get exactly what you want in a new home, consider building instead! These tips are even helpful as you are deciding on a floor plan for your custom home. Some of these tips are easy to forget, but they make a world of difference in the flow and efficiency of your home!

  • Location, location, location.

Are you close enough to work and school? Is there a busy street nearby? Any noisy venues that could keep you from relaxing at home?

  • How is the floor plan?

Make sure the house’s layout works for you. If you like to entertain, look for an open floor plan. If you have kids, consider how close you’d like the master bedroom to be to their rooms. Get the floorplan you want when you build rather than buy!

the kelly floorplan
  • Is there going to be enough space?

Look at the size of the rooms as well as the number. Will there be enough space for you, your family, and your furniture?

  • What’s the lot grading like?

A big yard is a plus when looking for a new house, but it’s useless if the entire yard is too steep to enjoy.

  • Is there enough natural light?

Natural light can brighten up a house and make it feel like a home. Pay attention to the house’s location on the lot and think about how the light will change throughout the day.

Custom home living room with crown moulding
  • What’s the parking situation?

Is the driveway large enough for all your vehicles? Is there street parking? Your car is probably your second largest investment, so think about where you’ll leave it every evening!

  • How is the neighborhood?

Location aside, consider the neighborhood itself. Is it safe for your kids? Are there parks and facilities nearby? Do your neighbors take their trash cans in? Try doing a drive-by at different times throughout the week to see what it’s really like.

  • What’s in store for your family’s future?

What are your goals for yourself and your family? Will those goals require more space, such as an extra bedroom for a new baby, or a big garage to house your future workshop? Think ahead to figure out if a house will still work for you in 5-10 years or more.

Rather than spending money renovating a house that doesn’t work for you or your family, consider building instead! A modular home costs less to build than a traditional stick built home, and can be fully customized to get the style and function you’re looking for.

Browse our floor plans and learn how Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington can help you build your dream home!

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Top 10 Countertop Options for Your Kitchen Design

Building a home comes with plenty of options to choose from and decisions to be made, and that includes choosing the material for your kitchen countertop. With so many options out there, it’s easy to get the look you want for your kitchen and still stick to your budget, but looks aren’t everything!

It’s just as important to look for something that’s durable enough to outlast all the meal prep, parties, and holiday dinners you’ll have in your new home. In this post we’ll list some of the most popular countertop options and how they stand up to heat, stains, and scratches. We’ll even tell you how to get a free granite countertop from Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington!

Top 10 Kitchen Countertop Materials

kitchen countertop material

Granite

Perhaps the most popular countertop material, granite is valued for its durability as well as its beauty. Cut from igneous rock into slabs, granite comes in a variety of colors and patterns, and is resistant to scratches, heat, and heavy impact.

Marble

Marble is quickly becoming a popular choice for high-end kitchen designs due to its natural beauty. Although not as durable as granite or quartz, marble is heat-resistant and can be buffed to remove minor scratches and nicks.

Quartz

Practical yet stylish, quartz countertops are extremely durable and require very little maintenance to keep it looking like new. Quartz is resistant to stains, heat, scratching, and impact.

Soapstone

Soapstone countertops have been used in scientific labs for years due to being nearly impervious against chemicals. In the kitchen, soapstone resists stains, acids, and high heat from pots and pans.

Laminate

Starting at around $5 per square foot, laminate countertops are much more affordable than other materials. Laminate is available in a variety of finishes that can mimic almost any material such as granite or wood, but isn’t heat resistant and can be prone to scratching.

Glass

Sleek and modern, glass is becoming popular in kitchen design. The non-porous surface is heat and stain resistant, and one of the most sanitary countertop options available.

Concrete

Perfect for a kitchen designed with a more industrial look in mind, concrete is another durable countertop material. It can be poured directly in place so you won’t have to worry about broken slabs or mismatched patterns. Concrete can even be dyed for a gorgeous finish!

Custom kitchen sink
Kitchen with wooden countertops

Stainless Steel

Following the popularity of stainless steel appliances, these countertops are especially popular for kitchens where heavy prep and hot pots and pans are common.

Recycled Materials

“Going green” has never looked better! Countertops made with recycled materials tend to be budget-friendly. Made with reclaimed glass, wood, or even paper, recycled material countertops are typically bound with a heat-resistant resin.

Butcher’s Block

Add some warmth to your kitchen design with a natural wood or butcher’s block countertop. When properly sealed, this durable material is safe for food prep and highly heat resistant.

Everyone wants a kitchen that looks great, but it’s just as important to pick a countertop that will continue to look great no matter how you use it!

When you choose to build a modular home with Carolina Custom Homes of Burlington, we’ll include a FREE granite countertop upgrade as part of your design! Learn more about it by clicking the button below!

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What to expect when you meet with Carolina Custom Homes.

First: Tell us when you’d like to come see us.

Then: Chat with us about your unique needs and vision. We’d recommend considering the following so we can cover a lot of ground in our meeting and better serve you.

  • How did you hear about us?
  • How much space and how many bedrooms and bathrooms would be ideal?
  • Would you prefer a one-story home or multi-story home?
  • Do you already have land and if so what’s it like and where is it located
  • Budget! How much are you looking to spend? Will you be financing your home or paying cash?

The rest is really just showing them the model homes and finding out what is important to them in their new home.

Finally: Walk through some of our most popular floor plans. We swap these out occasionally, so keep an eye out for anything new you’d like to see. Keep in mind while your wandering that any of our floor plans can be customized to better fit your lifestyle.

Not Ready To Meet?

During the tour of our homes, you will see a wide variety of features that are available to you for your custom project. Of course, any home you build with us, can be completely customized with an open concept floor plan, 9′ ceilings, granite countertops, hardwood flooring, atrium doors, transom windows, etc.

Touring our floor plansHeading