The Manuel Builders Blog

Category: Building Process

Helpful Home Hints

Categories: Building Process, FAQs, Other | Posted: July 15, 2018

Building a home is a huge endeavor and because of that, we make sure that every little detail will never go unnoticed. Once you begin the construction of your home, you may come across a few moments when something doesn’t look right or the same as you remember from your selections meeting. When working with Manuel Builders, we do our best to make these moments disappear. That includes preparing you beforehand so you know exactly what’s going on every step of the way!

Since the beginning of the year, we have been sharing some helpful home hints to explain certain parts of our process that could cause homeowners anxiety or confusion. Did you miss a few of them? No worries at all! We’ve compiled all of our helpful hints from this year into this one location, so that you can stay updated on what to expect when you choose to build a Manuel Builders home. Happy building!

 

1. Get With Your Lender Before You Begin Construction

If you’re planning to build a home on your own property, did you know that you need a construction loan? Many homeowners worry about paying the monthly interest rate on the construction loan during the actual building stages. It’s a common misunderstanding that the construction loan holds a full monthly note, similar to a monthly mortgage payment. In actuality, a construction loan is an “interest-only” loan, meaning you are only paying interest on the amount being used each month (similar to how credit card interest works). As the builder takes a draw from the construction line of credit, the balance increases and the payment adjusts, according to what funds are actually being used in that month of construction.

2. Snazzy Gold Door Knobs

Don’t panic if you arrive at your construction site and notice that the exterior door knobs are not what you remember picking out at selections. During the construction process, Manuel Builders will install temporary door knobs on all exterior doors as a means of protecting the knobs from scratches or other damage. Once construction is complete and you move in, you will notice the proper door knobs have been installed!

 

3. Windows Looking a Little Bare?

In South Louisiana, opening the windows and enjoying the breeze is one of the greatest perks of living here! But, of course, you won’t want the army of mosquitos and other critters getting in. Our team makes sure to take care of your window screens during the construction process so as to not allow any tears or holes to form before you even move in. That’s why your Project Manager moves all window screens into the attic during the construction process and installs them once construction is complete!

 

 

 

4. The Color Won’t Stay That Way, We Promise!

It’s probably in every new homeowner’s deepest nightmare…showing up to your almost completed home and seeing a color you did NOT pick out. Well, for our clients that choose the James Hardie Plank Veneer exterior (which is becoming increasingly popular, particularly with our Farmhouse style homes), this fear may manifest for a brief second when they show up after the initial installation of these walls. But don’t worry! This is not permanent. The yellow color of the plank is the signature primer that all the Hardie planks are treated with, prior to delivery. This primer ensures that the paint color you actually choose maintains the look you want for years to come. By the time you move in, your selected color will replace the yellow primer and will keep its quality!

 

5. No Need to Pay Attention to the Brick Bundles!

Brick veneer is very popular because it is a very low-maintenance element. Something that may concern our new homeowners is that the brick on the pallets doesn’t really look like the brick they selected with our Design Consultant. A couple of things to keep in mind is that brick will appear darker when wet. Since the brick wall is made up of 30% mortar, the brick will not show its true appearance until it is fully
installed with the mortar. Also, only the face of the brick – the side that is shown on the brick wall – receives the texture and coating you will recognize from your selection. However, manufacturers will often place the bricks on the pallet with the “butt” of the brick facing outwards. This is what causes some confusion as to whether or not the correct bricks were ordered. Rest assured that the bricks you selected are the ones being installed by our team!

 

 

We hope you found these explanations helpful and they give you some peace of mind during the construction process. As always, our team is here to answer any questions and explain our methods as we build you the home of your dreams. Just talk to your Project Manager if something doesn’t feel right and we will do our best to help put you at ease. Manuel Builders is here to make home building easy!

Check back to our Facebook page once a month to see more #HelpfulHomeHints during the construction of your home!

 

 

 

“Wow” Moments in the Field

Categories: Building Process, Home Design, Lifestyle, Other | Posted: June 29, 2018

One of the benefits of being a project manager (PM) that oversees the construction of homes in the field is that I get to see the homeowner’s plans and dreams come to life day by day as the job progresses. This is great for me being a homeowner as well, because I get to experience first-hand how well an option works in a real space. There is nothing I love more than getting to the end of a project with a new option or different elevation that we are trying for the first time and being able to step back and say, “Wow, this really turned out great.” As a builder our end goal is to give our clients that same experience and to give them the opportunity to say, “This is JUST how I planned it!”

So that being said, I wanted to take a few minutes and share with you some of my favorite “Wow” moments from the last few years as a Project Manager for Manuel Builders.


It was impossible for me to pick just one feature about this home that I enjoyed building. There were several things about this particular build that were different and slightly more complicated than we had done before. As a PM for the “Build on Your Land” division of the company, this is the stuff we look forward to. It gives us the opportunity to stretch our skills and learn something new. There were a few question marks as to how some of these elements would come together structurally and aesthetically, but working with the trades in the field, we came up with a few ideas that really pulled off a clean look that both us and the homeowners would love.

The front porch has a massive feel to it that really balances and pulls together the rest of the exterior. I remember the homeowner saying at the site evaluation, “I want the front porch to be the first thing you see when you are driving up to my house.” We certainly delivered that vision to him. It’s impossible to overlook, but still doesn’t feel bulky or overdone.

The interior living room has 3 massive 24’ cedar beams that carry the front porch details inside. The homeowner also had a really specific vision for the fireplace and mantle. He wanted it to look like it was tied into the wall. At first we weren’t sure if it was possible due to the space available surrounding the fireplace. We worked with the trim carpenter to give the homeowner exactly the look he was wanting for the corner fireplace and mantle.

At the end of the day there were so many details about this house that came together and worked really well. It was fun to build and turned out to be a big hit on social media.

View the Josephine Home here.

 


 

This particular master bath was arranged a little differently than any Lasalle plan I had built before, and to me, while it had an efficient use of space, it still felt luxurious at the same time. The best thing that happened on this bath plan happened after we had already framed up the house and complete rough ins. The homeowner came to me and asked if it would be too late to change some of the details about her master shower. The original plan was to have a wall going all the way to the ceiling to cut off the shower from the vanity area. She was really hoping it wasn’t too late to remove the top half of the wall between the shower and vanity and flip the shower head to the opposite wall. This was something that we were able to make happen for her, and I really feel like it was a great call on her part. She ended up with a frameless glass wall on 2 sides of her shower that really allowed all the natural light to flood the bathroom and give it an open, airy feel. This really couldn’t have been experienced with a full floor to ceiling wall blocking off the light from the windows. It was definitely a win in the field, and I will never forget how much better that master bath looked and felt at the end of the job.

View the LaSalle-French Home here.


 

This is a detail that I really loved from a more recently completed job. Brick backsplash is a detail that contrasts the clean and straightforward elements of a modern kitchen with a rough texture that can’t be replicated any other way. It is not a design element that everyone will like or appreciate, but in this particular kitchen, it is one of the defining elements that make you say, “Man, that just looks like it belongs there.” The colors that the homeowner chose balanced the dark reds of the brick and tied everything together. It will definitely go down as one of my favorite kitchen designs that I’ve done to date!

View the LaSalle-Lodge Home here.

 


 

 

 

-Written by Our Project Manager in the Lake Charles Region, Ryan Cart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Most Commonly Asked Question

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: May 31, 2018

Every day, in each city that we serve, our building consultants field dozens of phone calls from potential homebuyers. What is the number one custom plan question we get?…

“How much do you charge per square foot?”

The answer … It’s a really big range! Our average square footage range is anywhere from $75-$140 per square foot depending on what size home you are looking to build and what features you are looking to put into it. Because of this, there are many factors that go into determining the overall price of your home. Below is a list of just a few:

  • Ceiling Heights (Range 8’ – 12’)
  • Exterior Veneer (Vinyl, Hardi, Stucco, Brick, Painted Brick)
  • Exterior style of the home (French, Heritage, Cottage, Farmhouse, etc.)
  • Square footage of home (Living, Covered, Garage and Storage)
  • Size of AC unit(s) and water heater(s) (Tonnage is calculated by your square footage)
  • Number of bathrooms in your home
  • Lot necessities (Sewer systems, Culverts, Driveways, Underground utilities, etc.)
  • Linear footage of cabinetry and countertops
  • Flooring type and locations
  • Appliances (Gas, Electric)

 

We are happy to share this range with you. However, to truly get an accurate cost of construction, you need to schedule your first consultation to discuss what specifics you are wanting in your new home.

We typically advise that you begin with our stock plans found online to determine square footage approximations before you come in. You can also send us a copy of your plans so that we can suggest a few of our similar layouts and assist you in ball parking your home price. The price of your home, just like the layout and style, will be customized to fit you and your family’s lifestyle!

Interested in getting those numbers? Call up one of our Building Consultants today @ 337-981-5315


 

-Written by our Building Consultant, Wendi Ritz

“When she’s not figuring out how to make the master closet bigger or if she can get that oversized tub to work in your layout, she’s chasing her trio of Ritz athletes from baseball to football to volleyball practice or hot gluing together whatever school project is due next week . . . occasionally burning a few fingers in the process!”

 

 

 

 

 

Path to Building on Your Land

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: February 9, 2018

When you think of building a home, you may have the thoughts like “that feels overwhelming” or “there’s no way I can get that done right.” And if you’re doing everything yourself; you’re running from one place to another and choosing everything on your own, it really can be!

What we do at Manuel Builders is we take all that complication & difficult decision making and simplify them by giving you your very own guide for every step of the process! In the flow chart above, we break down the steps of our building process from start to finish. We categorize these steps into 3 main phases: Customize Your Home, Finalize The Details and Construction.

Before beginning construction on your new home, we’ll work together to design a home that suits your needs and wants, build an itemized guaranteed bid for you, then draw up home plans for you to approve and finalize. When building on your own property, the world is your oyster! You have dozens of plan options & elevations to choose from for your future home. But before you get overwhelmed, our team is here to guide you every step of the way! In phase 2, we get very detailed as we finalize all the interior and exterior finishes like lighting, faucets, hardware and more. We’ll also map out exactly where your home will sit on your lot to then begin the dirt and foundation work. The last phase is the easiest phase for you! At this point, we’ve worked with you to check all the boxes off on the list and now you can sit back, relax and watch your vision come to life!

Are you interested in building your home on your land with Manuel Builders? We invite you to take a look through our plans to find the perfect one that will suit your family’s lifestyle! Begin your journey here.

Want to get an even better grasp of our build process straight from our team? Take a listen to our Regional Consultant Manager, Marie as she breaks it down for you in this video.

A Guide for Dirt Pads and Compaction Tests

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: December 8, 2017

In this video with Haleigh, our Permit Specialist, we talk about the importance of dirt pads for your home, how tall it needs to be and the explanation of compaction tests.

Why might I need a dirt pad?

There are four basic reasons why you may consider building a dirt pad for your new home.

  • The first and most common reason is that your property is in a flood zone.  If so, building your home up above the Base Flood Elevation, or BFE, is REQUIRED in all parishes in order to begin construction.
  • The second motivation would be if your property is not in a flood zone, but you’re still concerned about flooding.  At this point, no dirt pad is required, but it is MOST OFTEN the least expensive and most effective way to ensure your home will remain above any rising water in the case of flooding.
  • Another possibility would be if the ground where you want to build your home is not level.  A dirt pad can be used to level the property to ensure positive drainage away from the house.
  • Finally, a dirt pad can be built to achieve a certain home appearance.  If you want a “raised” look or brick steps leading up to your front porch, a dirt pad can be a great way to accomplish that.

How tall does my pad need to be?

The height of your pad will depend heavily on your property location and conditions.  Due to various parish and slab requirements, the minimum height for any dirt pad is 18” above undisturbed ground.  If you’re in a flood zone, most parishes require you to be at least 1’ above Base Flood Elevation.  Once you reach that minimum height, if you want your pad to be taller for either peace-of-mind or visual appeal, that’s entirely up to you!

What is a compaction test and why is it recommended?

A compaction test is used to verify that the pad upon which your home will be built is stable enough to bear the weight of your foundation.

It is mainly made up of three soil samples, one from the center and two from opposite corners of your pad. The soil samples are tested to determine the density, moisture and compaction levels.

A passing compaction test is 95% or greater on all three samples.  You will also want to have a compaction test completed for every 12” of dirt you build up.  This guarantees that each level of your dirt pad has been properly compacted to give your home the stability it needs.

Remember, the foundation may not be the prettiest part of your home, but it is the most important.

Path to Your Manuel Builders Presold Home

Categories: Building Process, FAQs, Other | Posted: October 7, 2017

One of the options we offer when building your home in one of our developments is a Presold Home, also known as “Pick Your Lot, Pick Your Plan.” You’re able to find a community in the area you’re looking to live in, select an available lot, then choose your favorite plan from our options on our website. Since you’re starting from scratch, you have the opportunity to make your future space unique to you by selecting paint colors, floors, lighting, granite, and many more finishes. It has many of the perks of a customized home without the hassle of finding and purchasing your own property!

In the flow chart above, we break down the steps of the building process from start to finish. We categorize these steps into 3 main phases: Pre-Construction, Construction and Almost Home.

In Pre-Construction, there are many tasks to complete before construction on your new home can begin. We work together during this stage to ensure that the building process goes smoothly once it starts. Now that selections have been made and paperwork has been finalized, you move into the construction phase, where your home begins to take shape. At this point, no additional changes can be made to your home. Once the plumbing fixtures and appliances are installed, you are moving into the final stretch! After your final orientation, where your project manager walks you through your home to familiarize yourself with the operations of the space, you’ll close on your loan and get the keys to your new home!

Are you interested in the Presold Home Process with Manuel Builders? We invite you to take a look at the communities we build in to find the perfect lot and plan that will suit your family’s lifestyle! Shop our communities here.

Building a Home by Yourself

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: July 20, 2017

 

The first question that comes to mind when you have your own property is whether to self-build or choose to go with a professional home builder. It’s possible to be your own contractor and save money, but you need to first evaluate if you have the time, organizational skills, business expertise, and technical knowledge to get the job done. Or you need to be able and willing to hire the people you need to fill in the gaps in your knowledge to have full confidence that the work is done correctly, the first time.

Pros of being your own contractor

+If all goes according to plan, it can save you money.
+You maintain full control of the project which gives you a better chance of achieving your vision.
+If you hire excellent subcontractors, overall job quality will be great even if you are relatively inexperienced in the field.
+You have pride and satisfaction of designing and building your own home.

Cons of being your own contractor

+Actual savings are usually less than expected due to unanticipated expenses and cost overruns.
+The project will probably take more time and energy than you expect.
+The job will likely have more unexpected problems due to lack of experience.
+Quality of construction may suffer.
+You will be absorbing most of the risk for cost overruns, and for construction problems that occur during the job and after you move in. (In most cases, there will be no one to blame but yourself).
+Obtaining a construction loan may be difficult. 

Interested in being your own contractor, visit here to better understand what it takes and professional advice to help guide you through the process.

What are your hidden costs to build?

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: July 14, 2017

The “hidden costs to build a new home can be broken down into three basic categories: lot, loan, and living expenses.

The primary hidden costs when building your home come from lot situations or circumstances…How much driveway you need? How much underground utilities? Do you need a sewer plant, culvert, or dirt pad? Things like that. A site evaluation  by your builder can generally clear up a lot of the guesswork on these things!

For financing, most people know about closing costs (which will include things like your appraisal fee, an origination fee, filing expenses, inspection fees, title searches and examinations & a No Work Affidavit). this is the bulk of expenses for both mortgage and construction loans, but there are a few other costs you might want to keep in mind. For construction loans, once you make your first draw you will need to begin making the “interest payment” on the amount you’ve used to dat. This means you will be paying a “mini-house note” during the actual construction. There’s also generally a smaller closing fee that needs to be paid in order to roll your construction loan into your permanent mortgage. Additionally, if you put down less than 20% on your home, you will have to pay PMI (private mortgage insurance) which protects your lender if you were to default on your payments.

After closing, aside from the basic set-up needs like blinds, furniture, and any moving expenses, i.e. truck rental, moving crew, etc.), you will also need to have all of your utilities set up and turned on. Water, electrical, gas and sewer companies all charge a “connection fee” and can even ask for your first month’s payment in advance. Depending on our home location and personal preferences, you might also need to arrange for trash service, alarm installation and landscaping.

Like with all big like changes, moving into a new home comes down to “wants” and “needs.” Just figure out what absolutely needs to be done and then add the rest gradually as you can! At the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, will you really mind waiting to get that perfect patio furniture for the first couple months when you’re in your brand new, gorgeous home??

Live in Laurel Grove!

Categories: Building Process, Community, Other | Posted: March 7, 2017

Discover what’s waiting for you in Laurel Grove!

Manuel Builders currently has 6 homes under construction with more to come in this beautiful community located in Youngsville, La. All homes in Laurel Grove qualify for 100% financing! When choosing our Preferred Lender and Preferred Title Company, you can save you up to $2,200 in closing cost fees.

“Located in the heart of it all, Laurel Grove is a livable community with a park and walking path. Alley garages bring the focus of its street fronts to the architecture, the people themselves and an engaging way of life.

The neighborhood provides easy access to the surrounding area schools, restaurants, boutiques, ice cream shops, fitness centers and even a European style grocery. Nearby festivals, concerts and holiday events make this a special place that will leave home buyers with lasting memories of Southern hospitality and a unique experience of small town life coupled with big city attributes.”

View the 6 Manuel Builders’ homes in construction below and follow the link here to check out the progress of each one. Find this article in the current magazine issue of The Real Estate Book of Acadiana and check out their Facebook page here. If you are interested in any of these homes in Laurel Grove or any of our communities, please call Tassie Fonseca at 337-501-5011


 

When Should We Meet With a Bank/Lender?

Categories: Building Process, FAQs | Posted: February 8, 2017

One of the many questions we get asked from customers who are ready to start the building process is when they should meet with a bank or lender.

Meeting with a bank or lender should be the first step on your homebuilding journey. There are multiple benefits to meeting with a lender before you go in for your first appointment with a builder.

A huge benefit would be knowing what price range you will be working within. Once you know that, selecting your floor plan and amenities will be much easier. Another advantage of meeting with a lender early on is that you give yourself the time to explore your lending and loan options. This allows you to make choices that work best for your particular situation.

You can also look into financing with one of your builder’s recommended lenders. There may be perks to financing with them such as their familiarity with the builder’s process and special incentives they can offer.


 

 

For more information on our Preferred Lender, give us a call today 337-981-5315