What is a base price and what do I get at the base price?

A base price gives you a completed, ready to live in home, built according to our standard specifications in our home base location(Merrillville). It doesn't include the lot. Base prices also do not include those things that not everyone wants in a home, such as: Fireplaces, vaulted ceilings, skylights etc. They also don't include some things that everyone wants or must eventually have, but not everyone wants us to do, such as: sundecks(Sundecks are included on Bi-Level plans because of the height), drapery rods, shower or tub enclosures etc.

Why don't you include everything in your base prices?

Our objectives are to offer the most competitive possible prices and the greatest flexibility to our buyers. We think it is more sensible to start with a lower price and not include everything that a buyer could possibly want. We know from experience that not all buyers want certain things and not all buyers want the most expensive of everything. For those who do, we offer options and upgrades. In other words, our base prices don't include those things that not everyone wants .... such as fireplaces and vaulted ceilings. We also don't include those things that everyone wants but not everyone wants us to do such as sundecks.

Our base prices include what we have found, by experience with hundreds of buyers, to be widely acceptable amenities. We also offer, optionally, to provide whatever level of amenities your desire and can afford. For example, our Classic Series kitchen cabinets are a nice oak cabinet with flush panel doors. We are happy to offer hickory or cherry or birch cabinets with the most elaborate doors made. Likewise, with any other item, you can upgrade to anything your desires and budget allow. We also offer prices for finishing areas that may not be included in our base prices.

What is a "Location Adjustment?"

Our base prices include the permit fees, utility tap fees etc. for our base location which is Merrillville, where our office is located. These fees vary greatly from town to town. The “Location Adjustment” is a factor to adjust the price to allow for the additional cost in the particular town or jusisdiction where you want to build.

Does the model base price include landscaping?

Our base prices include “Erosion Control Grade and Seed “ which many of our customers have nurtured into a nice stand of grass. We have developed some landscape package options that can be added in much the same way as any other options into your price workup. For example, we now have an option where, for $3000(on the average lot)you can have the front yard seeded, install the two trees required by most towns and communities and seed the back. We can also get pricing for sodding the entire lot. Other optional landscape package options include hydroseeding and mat seeding.

Can I add options and pay for them separately.

Yes, you can, but that may not be in your best interests. When you pay for things outside the official transaction it is like paying more down payment and not getting credit for it in terms of your loan-to-value ratio. This may not matter to you, but, the better your LTV ratio, the better you look to your lender.

How much money do I have to put down to get started building?

We need 100% coverage of the sales price between your loan commitment and your cash deposits. In other words, if you get a commitment from a lender for a 90% loan, you would need a total of 10% of the contract sales price to be deposited with us before we start construction. When you sign your Agreement to Purchase you make an Earnest Money deposit of $1000.00. The balance of the down payment is normally paid after the selection process has been completed, plans have been revised and approved, and the loan commitment delivered. After final plans and selection sheets are signed and the balance of deposits paid the building permit process is started.

The initial deposit is one that can be refundable if the contingencies in the agreement cannot be satisfied. The most common contingency is: being able to obtain a commitment for financing. If you make a good faith effort to obtain the financing commitment and you can’t get approved, the agreement becomes void and the earnest money returned.

Do I have to get a construction loan?

We normally provide all construction financing needed. The only exception is when we are building on land that you previously owned and want to keep title in your name during building.

If I decide to add options during the building process is that possible?

It is sometimes possible but always expensive and usually disruptive to the timely progress on your new home. It is much better to decide on all the options you want before we start the building permit process. When we start the building permit process we also start ordering all the items we will need for the house and sending out the plans to the subcontractors and suppliers who will be involved so that they can be prepared when it is time to do their job. If you make a change after that point we must cancel or change orders, stop shipment of ordered items and then make sure that the change got made. We often have to redraw plans. There is a lot of administrative time and work involved in the change order process so that we charge an change order fee of $250.00 to cover these administrative costs plus the actual costs of the change.

I want to paint colors. Is that possible?

Yes, it is possible but we don’t recommend it. A new home will settle and the lumber may cure a bit during the first year or two and as a result it is normal for most houses to get a screw pop or a settlement crack in the drywall. Our policy is to schedule what we call "Drywall Service" near the end of the 2 year workmanship warrantee period. Color paint will fade somewhat during the 2 years and touch-up painting will be difficult to match.

What about semi-gloss paint?

Semi-gloss paint, because of it’s shiny nature, called "telescoping." In other words it will magnify any imperfection in the drywall surface. The regular surfaces of drywall consist of a somewhat coarse paper surface. The seams are taped, mudded and sanded to a very smooth finish which is very different from the paper surface. It takes coverage by several coats of primer and paint to get the entire surface consistent enough to assure that telescoping effect will not show the tape seams. For these reasons flat latex paint is more practical to use.

What are allowances and how do they work?

An allowance is a fund of your money that built into the price workup for your home to cover items that you want to finance in your mortgage but that we don't have an exact for or can't reliably predict the cost for. An example would be an allowance for a whirlpool tub upgrade. We may not have exact pricing and have available all the choices that would be available to you so we would estimate a figure and build it in as an allowance. Another example would be if you want to build on a lot that requires septic and well. Many factors come into play to determine the final costs so we have to use an allowance. We reconcile allowances and actual costs just prior to closing. If the final costs come in at less than the allowance, you have funds that can apply to other items that you may have added or upgraded after the original agreement. If the final costs are more than the allowance, obviously, you have to pay in the overage.

There are a couple of base price included items that are on allowance because of the wide variety of choices and cost ranges that exist. Those are floor covering and brick. The carpeting allowance is $14.50 per yard. Carpeting prices can range from about $11.00 per yard to more than $50.00 per yard. The brick allowance is $325.00 per M(thousand). Prices range from $310.00 to $550.00 per M.

Are your model homes exactly what I get when I buy.

We try to make our models as much as possible "what you see is what you get," however, we must do some optional things in some model homes, such as landscaping, and we chose to do a few others so that visitors can see what some popular options look like. Most of the things you see in our model homes are the standard items that are included at our base prices. These things include the cabinets, floor coverings, plumbing fixtures, siding, roofing, windows etc. The optional items shown include: vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, upgraded floor covering, and finishing of areas that aren’t finished at the base price.

How does it work if I have a house to sell?

We are willing to work with contingency agreements using certain parameters. Currently we will accept a 60 day contingency on a lot in a community where we are not in jeopardy of running out of lots within that time period. We normally do not start the house until the contingency has been removed. The contract with contingency agreement locks in the price and holds the lot for that period.

Can modifications be made to the floor plans?

There are many minor changes that can be made to the plans that involve either minor or no cost. Some desired changes prove to be infeasible. We allow up to 30 minutes of CAD time for floor plan changes without extra charge. Changes and modifications that require more design time than that will be charged $30.00 per hour of design time required. Many of the changes that people want have already been designed and we try to offer them as standardized options. Please review these standardized options thoroughly before finalizing your plans.

What do I get in an unfinished area?

An unfinished area is completely unfinished except for those things that must be there. Unfinished areas are usually in the lower level of a Bi-Level or Tri-Level style home. If you are standing in an unfinished area you will see the studs and insulation of the above grade kneewalls and you will see the insulation blanketed over the foundation wall. There will be no electrical outlets or stud walls for the future rooms that might be finished in the future. We do include the "ground rough-ins" for any future bathrooms in Bi-Level and some Tri-Level plans. That means that the rough plumbing that goes under the concrete is installed so you won’t have to break up concrete to install the bathroom. Ranch and Two Story plans with basements don't have future bath roughins included in base prices but they are available as an option.

What if I want a different style home than your model and would like to see one?

We can’t maintain a model home for each of the more than 40 different plans that we offer so we will try to find a home of the type you are considering that is under construction. It usually won’t be an ideal situation and the home will often be only partially completed and it may not even be able to find one at all, but, we will try to find some way to show you what you need to see to be able to make a decision. Additionally, we have started making videos of our various plans as we are finishing them for customers. We have those videos posted on YOUTUBE and have established a channel: ACCENTHOMESNWI. Many of our web pages have links to their relevant videos. You can either use those links or just find them directly on YOUTUBE.COM.

Can I do my own floor covering or have a floor covering vendor of my choice do it?

Yes, our program gives you an allowance which represents what it would cost to do the floor covering according to the specifications for the HOME SERIES that you are having built. The contractor must furnish us with Certificates of Insurance and Licensing(where needed) and sign a subcontractor agreement and must agree to our normal terms of payment. If you are doing it yourself you will need to buy and pay for the materiel and be reimbursed for it up to the amount of your allowance at the time of completion.

I would like to do ceramic tile and/or wood floors in some areas. How does that work?

Our base prices include an overall floor covering allowance of per square yard to cover material and labor. The price also includes $1.25 per square foot for underlayment to be installed in the areas our standard plans designate as hard surface areas. You will be given a lump sum figure which represents the total floor covering allowance including allowed underlayment. You will work with your selected floor covering vendor to chose the flooring products you would like. It will be your responsibility to pay the amount billed by your vendor that exceeds your allowance. If you know in advance that you are going to want products that will exceed the standard allowance by a great deal and you want the extra cost to be financed on your mortgage, you may want to have us build in an extra allowance for floor covering overages. For example, if you think you will be going to spend $1,000.00 extra, we can add that amount to your price work-up so that it will be included in the final price that will be the basis of your financing.

Can paddle fans be installed in some locations?

Absolutely. There is a cost involved. The installation of a ceiling fan is quite a bit more time consuming than installation of a regular light fixture. The electrical contractor charges $50.00 per fan to cover these extra services. You can either add the cost of the fan charges for the number of fans you expect to have installed into your price work-up or you can pay these charges outside the basic contract. You will also be getting a credit for the cost of the standard fixture that would have been scheduled to be in the location where you are having the fan installed. We don't handle fans so you will need to shop around and buy the fans you like. When it is time for them to go in you will need to take them to the house and the electrician will install them.

What is an allowance and how does it work?

An allowance is a fund of your money that is built into the price of your new home package for an item or items that the price can't be determined ahead of time. An example might be a whirlpool allowance. At the time of setting up your agreement you may not have decided on the exact unit you want or the type of faucets. We estimate the approximate range that we think it will come in at and enter that figure as the allowance. After you have picked out the unit and other items that are covered by the allowance the actual cost is determined and applied towards the allowance. If the actual cost is less than the allowance, you have extra money that can apply towards other items. If the actual cost is more than the allowance, you must pay in more money to cover the total actual cost.