Frequently asked questions regarding home building.
Q: What should I know before building a home?
A: Before embarking on building a home, it is important to have your credit and finances in order. Before building can begin, you will have to put down a deposit and if you are looking for loans, custom homes are considered risky so your credit will need to be good. Next, be prepared for a wait-custom homes are not built overnight and can take up to six months depending on many factors.
Q: Are custom homes more expensive?
A: Not necessarily. The average cost to build a new house is about $140 to $150 per square foot. This means if you're building a 2000 square foot home it can end up costing as much as $300,000. Many homes can be purchased for this price so why not spend that money on a home tailored to your every need?
Q: What is the difference between a general contractor and subcontractor?
A: A general contractor manages the build team. They use their knowledge of the industry to choose the right people and schedule them appropriately to get the job done. Subcontractors are specialized workers such as brick layers who partake in one aspect of building a house.
Q: Why should I hire a contractor?
A: Unless you yourself are a contractor, it is important to delegate this job to someone with the knowledge required to get the job done properly. While you can oversee the building of your home, it is not recommended as issues you could not possibly plan for are likely to crop up at any moment throughout the process. Contractors are able to catch mistakes before they happen or fix them quickly when they do!
Frequently asked questions regarding home ownership.
Q: Why did my electric plug quit working?
A: Most electric outlets are linked together in groups or circuits ...ie. Kitchen plugs all together, living room plugs all together, master bedroom plugs all together etc. Sometimes there may be more than one bathroom per circuit, and sometimes all outside receptacles are on one circuit. There will be at least one outlet in the circuit that looks different from the rest it has the GFI protected outlet that will trip and effect all on the same circuit. Simply press the reset button on the outlet to reset the rest of the outlets on that circuit. If this doesn't reset, look in the electric panel (typically in the garage) there will be breakers labeled on the inside of the door. Physically look at them before changing anything first. There could be one for that circuit that is tripped it will look like it is in a different position than the others. Switch it to the off position first then back on. This should correct the problem. If not, then contact us via the website.
Q: How do I light my pilot light on the gas log set?
A: Turn the gas dial on the log set itself to the "off" position for at least one minute if it is in the "on" position (this will be on the log set itself in the fire box). Make sure the main gas shut off valve (that would be located on the wall near the fire box), is in the fully open position (turn fully counter clockwise with the silver key then back ¼ turn). Turn the gas dial at the log set to the "pilot" area and twist the striker to ignite the flame while holding down the gas dial in the pilot position. HOLD this position for several seconds to insure the pilot stays lit after you release it. Once you see the pilot flame burning steady then turn the gas dial to "on" position and it should be ready to control by the wall toggle switch. The pilot flame should burn all the time during the season, the main shut off should remain on during the season. Then by switching the wall toggle switch on and off to control the desired setting. There won't be an adjustment to turn up or down the log flames just on full or off.
Q: When I turn my gas log set on for the first time during the season I smell a funny smell is this normal?
A: Yes, it is normal to have ceramic type smell the first time especially and sometimes each year early in the season there is a smell as soon as the log set is lit. This generally goes away quickly. It's actually best to run the log set for at least a couple hours with the windows open when it's used for the first time to burn off some of the "new" smell of the log set and burner.
Q: When and How should I change my furnace filters?
A: The furnace filters are located behind the return air grill typically in the hallway(s), there may be more than one. These should be changed monthly. Simply slide the grill release levers to the open position and the grill will hang from the hinge side while you simply replace the filter element, be sure to look on the new filter element's edge to determine which direction the filter is to be placed, the arrow should point into the return air inlet. The better the system will work with clean filters. Most filters generally only last a month or so until they start restricting airflow.
Q: How often should I water my landscaping, grass, and trees?
A: Many homes come with an underground irrigation system that can be set to water the grass and flower beds at certain times on certain days and for a predetermined length of time. During the spring and fall months the timer can be set to water generally 3 days per week for about 15-20 minutes per zone. During the summer months (late May to early September) the watering will need to be done more. During these hot dry times set the timer to water 5 days a week for 20-25 minutes per zone. Watering should be done in the very late evening or overnight for best results. TREES MUST BE WATERED by hand until well established (first year at least) the proper way is to lay a garden hose in each black root pipe around the base of each tree and a very slow trickle for at least 4 hours each tree 3 - 4 days per week is best. These trees will need some water during the winter months as well until established. The lawn sprinklers will not be sufficient during the first full year. The trees, landscape, and grass are not covered under our warranty.
Q: Why are there some small gaps at the joints of my inside trim and countertops?
A: During the winter months one of the jobs for the furnace is to pull moisture out of the air and the wood can sometimes shrink at right angles. Ie. Corners in the crown molding and window trim, cabinet / countertops at the back splash joints. Generally the first winter is the worst. Easy fix for this is to re-caulk the joints to fill the small gap. Our painter will do this for you after the first winter during the warranty period.
Q: Why do I have some small cracks in my driveway, garage floor, and patio?
A: All slabs and driveways will have this issue. There are expansion joints, sometimes called control joints, to hopefully control the cracks. These are done by saw cutting or using some treated lumber at certain places during the pouring process to allow the concrete flex/crack to follow these areas. These are typical and should never cause any future issue. There is some DIY crack sealer sold at Lowe's and Home Depot to simply apply to these areas. They may help conceal the crack but possibly will be more of an eyesore after the sealer is applied.
Q: Does the subdivision POA board have control over my yard maintenance and parking at my house?
A: Yes, by buying a home in a subdivision with protective covenants all home owners and tenants are required to keep their lawn and landscape beds in top condition as well as no unauthorized vehicle parking in the driveways or lawns (no overnight parking of campers, boats and trailers in front of the fence). The city also has authority over street parking, lawn maintenance, fence maintenance, and general property upkeep. These protective covenants and city ordinances help keep the property values up and the appearance and demand of the neighborhood to look appealing for all current and future property owners. A list of covenants is generally posted on line to see.
Q: What if I want to add a shed, pool, or addition to my home, if I live in a subdivision?
A: It's required to reach out the POA board in writing with a proposed plan for the architectural committee to make sure that the proposed project would meet the outline of the covenants. Generally, these items will be listed in the covenants as to what's available to do and the size requirements. Many times, these things will require a permit from the City as well once the process is approved by the architectural committee.
Q: Can I cut down my trees in my front yard, if I live in a subdivision?
A: No, any trees that die or need to be removed must be replaced by a new tree similar in size and species as was there before. Most builders don't include as many trees or as much landscaping as Dream Structures includes, this is done for the beauty to be enjoyed by all.
Q: What do I do if I have a warranty type issue right after I move into my new home?
A: Keep a tablet and jot down any issue you may have for the first few weeks, (all homes will have something to ask about as they are constructed by human hands with man made materials). Reach out to us via email direct or thru the website to express the issue / concern or question. Generally, it will be an easy fix for it and the appropriate subcontractor or person can stop by during the work day and rectify the issue.
Q: What do I do if I have a warranty type issue After I've lived in my home for several months?
A: There is a list of most suppliers and subcontractors to contact directly, you know your schedule better than anybody, keep in mind most of these people will only be available during the work week. On rare occasion some of them may be available evenings or weekends but don't count on it. Reach out to them during your warranty period and they should follow up shortly to determine what will be needed to rectify the issue / concern. A copy of the contacts and the warranty coverage will be supplied in your closing packet. It is beneficial to also reach out to us thru the website as well so we can keep in the loop and step in to help expedite the repairs if necessary.
Q: What if one of my toilets is running constantly when remaining idle? Can I fix this myself?
A: Generally, Yes, sometimes the "float bulb" sticks in the fill position. Simply remove the tank lid and lift the bulb arm, (the bulb is the 6" round plastic ball shaped part attached to the end of the threaded metal shaft), turn the bulb counter clockwise to lengthen the shaft and this should cause the fill to stop once filled. Test the repair by a couple of flushes and if this doesn't correct the issue then the bulb arm can be bent down slightly by hand to make the bulb close off the fill process as soon as it reaches the fill mark.
Q: What if my hot water is just not hot enough?
A: This is easily adjusted... simply remove the adjustment door near the bottom of the water heater, pull the foam back and there you will see an adjustment knob with temp settings on it. Turn that up to a hotter setting. There is two of these adjustment doors on each water heater, one towards the top and one towards the bottom. These are located on the side of the tank closest to the water heater closet door. BE CAREFUL not to let small children get burned by too hot of water coming out of the faucet. It's best to try these adjustments a little at a time. Turn it up 15 degrees or so at a time. Be sure to adjust both adjustments each time you make an adjustment. Adjusting these to a higher temperature can make the water seem to get warmer faster to the tap as well. There is also a hot water heater reset button in the upper adjustment compartment as well. Sometimes the water heater will trip this button and may have to be reset from time to time.
Q: What if my dryer seems to be slower getting my clothes dry?
A: The dryer vent pipe generally goes up thru the roof. Lint can get attached to the inside of the pipe and over time cause this pipe to either be partially clogged or completely clogged thus negatively impacting the dryer's performance. This is the number one cause of house fires as well. This can be easily cleaned out. It is recommended to have a chimney sweep come once a year as routing maintenance to clean this out. This is not a great DIY project, however, it is recommended to at least pull the dryer vent hose loose from both ends and simply clean out what can be reached by hand once in a while.
Q: If I put an additional freezer or refrigerator in the garage will the GFCI receptacle work ok?
A: Generally, No, that is not recommended. The freezer has a big draw on power when it cycles on and starts the compressor and sometimes the GFCI receptacles are too sensitive for this process. Ideally if there is attic access it would be best to have a professional electrical contractor add a dedicated circuit with a non GFCI receptacle just for the freezer or additional refrigerator. By using a non GFCI protected plug dedicated specifically for the freezer may eliminate the accidental tripping and causing the food to spoil due to the freezer stopping working. The current building code only allows a non GFCI plug to be used for a dedicated freezer / refrigerator circuit.