4 Tips to Help you Stay on Track When Building a Home

Stay on track building a home with these 4 tips

It sounds as fun as decorating your childhood dollhouse or constructing a mansion out of building blocks, but the decision to build a home is just the first decision of many. And the questions when dealing with new construction go far beyond which color of siding is your favorite or whether or not you can afford those stainless steel appliances. But don’t let that deter you, we have a few helpful hints to keep you on the right track and get you one step closer to breaking ground on your new home.

Choose your Partners:

Step one is choosing your dream team. A real estate agent will help guide you all over town as you search for your perfect piece of land. They will answer all of your questions ranging from topography, to school districts, and negotiating price. They can also help you choose a builder with plenty of experience. With so many builders to choose from, consider this advice from newhomesource.com: “Pick a builder that will stand behind and service the home. Make sure the builder has a good warranty program, which typically should include a 10-year warranty on certain aspects of the structural integrity of the home.”

Want to learn more? Save big on new construction: secrets your buyers should know.


Tame Expectations:

It’s easy to let your imagination run wild, but contrary to that building blocks mansion, you likely have a budget, and if you want to really enjoy your new home, you’ll have to keep  those numbers in check. As one Realtor explains: “Many times buyers think the greatest advantage of building is getting everything they ever wanted in a home. This is only 100 percent true if you have an unlimited budget. For most buyers, they’ll still need to make sacrifices to accommodate their budget.” Just like purchasing a pre-existing home, when considering new construction, start with a list of “needs” and “wants.” Then, for the sake of your wallet, consider which areas you’re willing to compromise.


Do you need to be close to work? The airport? Are you in love with the thought of country living? Wherever it is you dream of building, make sure you pick a lot that suits the type of home you want. A Realtor and experienced builder will guide you to the best options for your needs. If you’re head over heels for a lot that requires too much work to lodge your dream house, go back to your budget—and a map—to  consider if there’s a more money-friendly choice.

Wondering if moving closer to work is worth it? Check out this article from The Simple Dollar blog.

Wasted Space:

Building a home is a lot more than just paint colors. The right floor plan matters in a big way, not just for your enjoyment, but also if you’re considering resale value. A house full of rooms sounds enticing, but don’t go overboard. FreshHome.com says: “The addition of a playroom, game room or multipurpose room sounds enticing, but only plan to build a room that will actually get used. What good is a wasted home gym where the treadmill is used to hold clothes from last season?”  Instead focus on square footage and functional spaces – like the kitchen.

Check this out:  5 Modern Ways to Reduce Wasted Space in Your Floor Plan from DesignBasics.

Building a home can be an exciting journey.  Keep these tips in mind and enjoy your new adventure and house!

Reynolds named ‘Honorary Life Member’ of Home Builders Association

Roger Reynolds
Roger Reynolds receives the official resolution from 2015 HBAL President Mike May.

Roger Reynolds of the Woods Bros Realty Country Club Plaza office was recently established as an “Honorary Life Member” of the Home Builders Association of Lincoln (HBAL).

Reynolds was a longtime home remodeler and has been a member of HBAL since 1986 and has remained very involved over the years, serving in every leadership position the organization has including President … twice.

The HBAL Board of Directors declared by unanimous action that Reynolds be recognized for his hard work and dedication to the association as an “Honorary Life Member.” This distinction is one that only eight other people have received in the history of the organization, which has been around since 1951.

Reynolds’ love and dedication to his craft and his unwavering integrity are what lead to this well deserved distinction. Through the years, he has passed on the importance of maintaining this same level of excellence to his son and now real estate partner, Tyler. Together they carry that commitment into every real estate transaction they are involved in.

For more information about Reynolds, visit Reynolds Home Solutions website.

4 factors to consider before building a home

Female-Hands-Framing-House-Drawing-and-House-Above-Grass-webIf you’re in love with details and have always dreamed about designing your own home, building a new house can be an incredibly rewarding experience. But you can also feel bogged down with questions and overwhelmed by the choices available to you. Ease some of that tension with these tips before you embark on your building journey.

Choose Your Professionals:

With all the decisions you’ll have to make, you’ll start with choosing a Realtor and a builder. Your Realtor will help navigate you through all of the lots and areas of town you’re interested in, offering advice about the topography of a piece of land and negotiating price. If you’re unsure where to turn for a builder, your agent will be a wealth of information as well.

Newhomesource.com offers this advice when deciding on a builder: “Choose a builder with strong experience in building on a customer’s land. Many builders specialize in building on improved lots in master-planned communities that already have the infrastructure in place (water, gas, electrical, sewer, etc.). Other builders specialize in building on land that requires improvement. Some builders do both. Make sure your builder has strong build-on-your-lot expertise.”

Location, Location, Location:

Purchasing a lot is just as big of a decision as buying a pre-existing home. Maybe school districts are the driving force behind your choice, or the bright stars of country living are calling your name. Wherever it is you dream of breaking ground, you’ll want to make sure the land suits the type of home you want to build without breaking the bank. Having the right professionals on your team will help guide you to perfect lot for your plans.

Manage Expectations:

A Lincoln Realtor sums up this tip well: “Many times buyers think the greatest advantage of building is getting everything they ever wanted in a home. This is only 100 percent true if you have an unlimited budget. For most buyers, they’ll still need to make sacrifices to accommodate their budget.” Create a “want” list and a “must have” list and be willing to bend a little if it’s in your budget’s best interest.

The Right Space:

Building as many rooms as possible may sound enticing, but to really make your budget stretch, don’t add wasted space to your floor plan.
FreshHome.com says, “The addition of a playroom, game room or multipurpose room sounds enticing, but only plan to build a room that will actually get used. What good is a wasted home gym where the treadmill is used to hold clothes from last season?” And they’re right. Use that money on details you know you’ll appreciate every day.

Once you get the big decisions under control, you can finally get to the fun part. Get out those paint samples, agonize over carpet or wood floors, and enjoy your home building experience!

Can’t find that perfect home? Build your own!

Today’s low inventory of existing homes for sale is a challenge for home buyers. Building a new home can be a good solution for a home that meets your needs.

Low Existing Home Inventory

Buyers shopping for a home today are finding selection limited due to an extremely low inventory of homes for sale. Plus, homes in good condition are selling quickly, which can be frustrating for a buyer.

This makes it an even better time for home buyers to buy a new home or build a custom a home to meet their lifestyle and needs.

Low Interest Rates

Today’s interest rates are still low, hovering between four and five percent. Low rates mean a home buyer can afford more home than they could a few years ago. A reputable mortgage company can offer a wide range of financing programs to make it even easier to get into the home of your dreams.

Choose Your Neighborhood

There are a variety of areas in and around Lincoln with available lots for sale. A real estate agent specializing in new construction can help buyers find a lot in the location that fits their needs. Interested buyers can drive through some of the new neighborhoods to see which areas of growth appeal to them most.

Energy Efficiency

Today’s new homes save home buyers money on heating and cooling costs, as the efficiency standards have increased over time.

Some builders go above and beyond when considering energy efficiency. Compared with standard homes, Energy Starc homes meet strict energy efficiency guidelines, delivering hundreds of dollars in annual savings on heating, cooling and water bills. These guidelines also help protect the environment, creating less air pollution, and the Energy Star rating is becoming an important quality when considering resale value.

Spring Jubilee & Parade of Homes

With the Woods Bros Realty Spring Jubilee of Homes (April 27 and May 4), and the Home Builders Association of Lincoln’s Parade of Homes (May 11-18), the new construction season is getting under way.

Home buyers can tour brand-new homes throughout the area in all different styles and price ranges. They can then select from finished model homes and move right in or select a lot and floor plan and build a new home from the ground up.

Preview the Spring Jubilee of Homes here:

Top 10 features in new homes

CB028928New construction is hot in Lincoln. People looking for new construction typically have some features in mind that they want in a new house. Here are the top 10:

  1. An open floor plan. Most people just seem to love going into a new house and seeing the living room and the kitchen as one big area. Most seem to want the ability to be in the kitchen and visit with someone in the great room at the same time.
  2. A large kitchen with a walk-in pantry and granite countertops. The kitchen is often the focal point of the entire house and new home buyers want their kitchen to stand out. Granite countertops are wildly popular as they make kitchens look richer. A walk-in pantry provides sufficient space for items that won’t fit in the kitchen cabinets.
  3. A mud room. Most new construction homes are built with a mud room. Typically this is the first room you enter when walking into the home through the garage. Also called a “drop zone,” it is a great place to leave coats, shoes and other items carried into the house. Most have cubby holes or lockers for coats or at least coat hooks. That makes it easy to grab your coat and run when you leave the house. Many times this room also doubles as the laundry room.
  4. A master suite. This consists of a large master bedroom with a master bath that includes a walk-in tiled shower, a jetted or soaker tub and a double sink vanity. The walk-in master closet can either be off the bedroom itself or the bathroom.
  5. A large rec-room in the finished basement. A finished rec-room gives a family double the living space and serves as a place to kick back and relax. It’s a great place for a large flat screen television and casual and comfy furniture.
  6. Plenty of storage. Let’s face it – people have “stuff” and they need places to put it. Much new construction today leaves large unfinished spaces – usually where the furnace and water heater are – for storage.
  7. Great floors – wood, tile – anything but vinyl. Wood flooring in the kitchen and dining area is fairly standard today in most new construction. Many people are even eschewing carpet in the great room in favor of wood floors. Wood colors range from light to dark and all provide a look of richness. Tile is demanded in bathrooms, laundry rooms and entry ways where wood is not present.
  8. Well-placed laundry rooms. Laundry rooms no longer are relegated to the basement. In newer homes, they are expected to be on the main level or even on the upper level by the bedrooms in two-story houses. It’s a convenience thing – people just don’t want to carry laundry to and from the basement anymore.
  9. Three-car (and even bigger) garages. You will notice that the majority of newly-built homes today have three car garages. Builders understand that families have multiple cars today and single and double garages just aren’t big enough.
  10. Covered deck. Who doesn’t like a deck in their back yard – even more so when it has a roof over it. A covered deck gives people a great outdoor living space.

Woods Bros Realty and NEBCO team up in Fallbrook

Woods Bros Realty announces a partnership with NEBCO, Inc., for residential sales in its Northwest Lincoln Fallbrook community.

The two companies each have over a century of experience building in Lincoln and both support the sustainability and new urbanism concepts that Fallbrook embodies, where people can live, work and shop within their neighborhood.

“There is a lot of positive growth happening out in Fallbrook, and we are thrilled to be a part of marketing such an exciting concept,” said Gene Brake, CEO of Woods Bros Realty.

Woods Bros Wilderness Hills sales professionals Jayne Debus and Karalyn Hoefer will be focusing on residential sales at Fallbrook out of an onsite sales office at 570 Fallbrook Blvd., Suite 110.

Debus, originally from Wyoming, was a real estate broker in Hastings, Neb., for 30 years. She moved to Lincoln seven years ago, where she and her husband, Bruce, have enjoyed living in the Fallbrook area. She was the residential broker for NEBCO Realty Group in the Fallbrook Development, and she will continue to use her expertise of the area.

Debus has been very active in her local, state and National REALTORS® Associations and is currently serving as chairperson of the Governmental Affairs committee at the REALTORS® Association of Lincoln, where she was named 2011 REALTOR® of the Year.

“I’m excited to continue specializing in Fallbrook while also having access to the tools and network of agents at Woods Bros Realty,” Debus said.

Karalyn Hoefer has been a REALTOR® with Woods Bros. Realty for 13 years. She is an associate broker and has earned both the Graduate, REALTOR® Institute (GRI) and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designations. She has served on the Woods Bros Advisory Board, REALTORS® Association of Lincoln and is past president of the Lincoln Chapter of the Women’s Council of REALTORS®. She currently serves as Secretary for the State Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists®.

When not specializing in residential real estate, Hoefer is an active volunteer with the American Heart Association and Miss Nebraska Scholarship Pageant. Hoefer and her husband, Brian, have two daughters.

“I have been impressed with the Fallbrook area since the first time I toured it. I am looking forward to living and working in such a great community and being able to share that with others,” Hoefer said.

For more information on Fallbrook residential sales, visit www.WoodsBros.com/Fallbrook or call Debus at 402-432-9555 or Hoefer at 402-450-1355.

Woods Bros Realty

Woods Bros Realty, an affiliate of HomeServices of America, is a full-service company offering over 120 years of expertise in real estate as well as experience in mortgage, title, closing, and insurance services. Providing an easier way to buy and sell, more than 200 sales associates work with clients in Lincoln, Seward, Beatrice, York, Wahoo, Grand Island and surrounding areas. For more information about Woods Bros Realty, visit www.WoodsBros.com.


Fallbrook is the Midwest’s Premier Mixed-Use Sustainable Community. The almost 800 acre development in Northwest Lincoln blends the focus of Natural Resource Stewardship, Economic Development and Social Networks to create a Sustainable Community. Fallbrook affords residents and customers the convenient lifestyle opportunity of living, working, shopping, dining and playing in their own neighborhood. For more information visit www.FallbrookUSA.com or call 402.434.1212.

Can you guess Lincoln’s hottest subdivision?

According to the city Building & Safety office, permits were pulled in 78 Lincoln subdivisions. Twenty-five percent of these subdivisions accounted for 77% of all permits pulled last year. Our mystery area had nearly three times more construction than the second most active area, accounting for 42 of the 370 total permits pulled for new construction. The next most active development had just 15.

This mystery area encompasses more than 500 Acres of residential and 130 acres of commercial properties with plans for parks, trails, premier shopping and more. The development is now moving forward with opening its fourth addition, offering 110 premium home sites. This area touts “Distinctive Living Where Dreams Come Alive.”

If you guessed an area in South Lincoln, you would be right! The Wilderness Hills development is one of Lincoln’s newest and finest additions, nestled in a prime location in South Lincoln, located one-half mile south of S. 27th Street and Yankee Hill Road, close to SouthPointe.

Make plans to see this new development at this year’s Spring Parade of Homes. There are seven featured homes in the Wilderness Hills area, with an opening Celebration for everyone on Sunday, May 8th. The Celebration includes roses for the first 250 moms in attendance along with inflatable games for the kids, a Grand Prize Drawing, LIVE Radio Remote from 2-4pm, prize drawings at the featured homes, and food & beverages.

If you have been considering building a new home in Lincoln, take a look a Wilderness Hills.

Woods Bros Realtor Vladimir Oulianov represents several builders who have constructed the majority of homes built at Wilderness Hills. Each of these builders is Energy Star Certified, meaning they build healthy and efficient homes to reduce impact on the environment as well as save the home owner money on utilities.

To learn more about Wilderness Hills and new energy efficient homes, visit www.NewEfficientHomes.com.

Hartzell named first female president of local Home Builders Association

Lois Hartzell
Lois Hartzell

Woods Bros Realtor Lois Hartzell was installed Jan. 17 as the first female president of the Home Builders Association of Lincoln (HBAL).

Hartzell, an agent with the Lincolnshire Square office, has been in the home building industry for 14 years and has been a member of HBAL since 2002. She owns Vistar Homes, which was formed January of 2004 to bring in a line of affordable homes to the housing market.

Hartzell is active with HBAL, having supplied, cooked and served lunch to volunteers for the organization’s Santa Cop charity each year since 2000. She has served on numerous committees including, the Parade of Homes and the HBAL golf fundraiser committee. She received her Graduate Master Builder designation in 2009 and her Certified New Home Sales Professional designation in 2010.

She was on the Board of Directors for Northeast Family Center from 2002 – 2005. She is an active member of local and state REALTOR associations, as chair of the State Equal Opportunity Committee and  a member of the Affordable Housing Committee locally. Hartzell is also a member of  Remodelers Council, the Nebraska Thoroughbred  Association. National Association of Home Builders Women’s Council and is active in her church, along with being very involved with a clothing giveaway project for those in need.

Also at the HBAL Installation, Woods Bros Realty was recognized for being a member of HBAL for 55 years.

Woods Bros Realtors earn new construction designation

Woods Bros Realty professionals Bob Danley, Vladimir Oulianov and Jennifer Schuller of the Country Club Plaza office and Jon Rademacher and Lois Hartzell of the Lincolnshire Square office recently earned their CSP (Certified New Home Sales Professional) Designation from the National Association of Home Builders.

The CSP Designation recognizes those who specialize in new home sales who have completed the three-day Certified New Home Sales Professional course. This course, offered locally by the Home Builders Association of Lincoln, gives a broad understanding of the home building business, consumer psychology and the advanced techniques used by real estate veterans for greeting, closing and overcoming objections.

For more information about the CSP designation, visit www.nahb.org/CSPinfo.

Real estate officials reflect on great first half, uncertain second

By MATT OLBERDING / Lincoln Journal Star

The federal homebuyer tax credits helped propel local home sales in the first half of the year to their highest level in three years.

According to figures released last week from the Realtors Association of Lincoln, there had been 2,001 home sales through the local Multiple Listing System as of June 30.

That’s a more than 13 percent increase over the same period in 2009 and the most since there were more than 2,100 sales in the first half of 2007.

Sales of new homes, which have been a drag on the market for several years, were up even more.

For the year, sales of new homes are up more than 40 percent after increasing nearly 150 percent in June.

Despite the good news, most signs point to a slowdown in the second half of the year.

For the second straight month in June, pending sales – sales that are under contract but have not yet closed – were way down compared with last year.

“As expected, there was a reduction in the number of pending home sales in June, compared to those in June of 2009, due to the April 30 Homebuyer’s Tax Credit deadline,” said Nicole Jensen, executive vice president of the Realtors Association.

The tax credit, which offered $8,000 to new buyers and $6,500 to repeat buyers, expired at the end of April.

Despite continuing closings of sales related to the tax credits, sales of existing homes in June were actually down compared with June of last year – 370 to 396.

“We definitely foresee that the volume of home sales are going to curtail and are going to curtail pretty quickly,” said Kent Thompson, the elected president of the Realtors Association.

Still, Thompson stands by an earlier prediction he made that home sales will be up overall for the year.

“I think that Realtors, as a whole, will have a good year this year,” he said.

Mike Rezac, owner of Rezac Construction and president of the Homebuilders Association of Lincoln, is not as optimistic.

Despite the spike in sales of new homes, permits so far this year are down slightly compared with where they were at this time last year.

While that may not sound so bad, Rezac points out that last year was a 29-year low.

“I don’t see this being a terribly strong year,” he said. “We’re really holding out for next year.”

Not everybody is looking at the market with skpticism, though.

Rita Dinger, a real estate agent for Woods Bros. Realty, says she’s been plenty busy since the tax credits expired.

“I’m having one of the busiest Julys I’ve ever had,” she said.

Dinger said she thinks that all the incentives did was push people to buy a home earlier than they would have otherwise.

And she’s not convinced yet that the slowdown is anything more than typical late summer seasonal drop-off.

There are plenty of people still considering buying a home, Dinger said.

“They’re looking for all the reasons that people have always looked.”

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