If you’re like many of people who want to build a new home, you have questions! And with almost 40 years of experience, we have answers! Listed below are our most frequently asked questions with answers to help you along the way.
Q – I see you have over 50 standard house plans on your web site. But, can Heritage Homes build a custom plan to my specifications?
A – We are not able to give custom quotes at this time. However, most of our Clients build from our standard plans sometimes with modifications for a lower square footage price than a custom design. We can mail you a package of “More House Plans” that are not on our website.
Q – What is included in the prices of your homes?
A – Heritage Homes standard prices include a monolithic concrete slab, wood framing, brick exterior, painted sheetrock walls and ceilings, painted wood baseboards and door casings, carpet in the dry areas and ceramic tile in the wet areas of your home. We install a 50 gallon water heater, heat pump, cabinets, lighting fixtures, wall outlets, plumbing fixtures, and interior piping.
Q – Do you have upgrade items I can add to my new home?
A – Yes. We can add individual item prices to your contract. Plus, we have a Deluxe Upgrade Package where we offer a bundle of upgrades for a discounted price.
Q – Does Heritage Homes allow plan changes?
A – Yes. Joe Houk or Mike Houk can give you a written quote based on your plan changes. Call us at (800)489-1014 to schedule your plan estimate meeting at either of our offices.
Q – Where are Heritage Homes’ Subdivisions?
A – Heritage Homes does not pre-build homes in subdivisions. We are a “build on your lot” homebuilder. You can find the lot you like, and we can lead you to one of our preferred lenders to get a construction loan to purchase your lot, home, and other amenities as a package.
Q – Does Heritage Homes have Home & Land Packages?
A – We do not offer home & land packages. Heritage Homes is a build on your lot homebuilder. However, you can finance your land in your construction loan. We have a Financial Checklist that can help you create your construction budget.
Q – What type of loans does Heritage Homes require?
A – Heritage Homes asks Clients to finance using Construction Loans that will later be converted to a conventional mortgage once your home is built. If you own a lot without a balance owed on it, Heritage Homes will consider building without a construction loan for a small additional charge. To build without a construction loan you would have to deed your lot to us during construction and obtain a permanent loan through a preferred lender that has been fully processed and ready to close (appraised, underwritten, and only standard exceptions, clear title) that is acceptable to Heritage Homes.
Q – I’ve been preapproved for a conventional mortgage. Can I use that preapproval for a construction loan?
A – You will need to discuss that with your lender. Construction loans usually have slightly higher credit rating requirements. (See previous question for additional details)
Q – Are there particular lenders Heritage Homes works with?
A – Yes. Heritage Homes has a “Preferred Lenders List” you can use to apply for your construction loan. We do work with other lenders; however you will find it easier to work with a lender familiar with these type of loans. Contact us for help finding a loan officer that is experienced with this type of loan.
Q – How long does it take Heritage Homes to build our new home?
A – For many years it took us 4 months to build a house. In today’s market, with a shrinking pool of qualified labor, high regulatory burdens, and recovery from the recession, it now takes us about 8 months to build a home. At times, weather and other factors have pushed this timeline out even further. However, when you include the financing time with your lender (usually 4 to 6 weeks) our current backlog, and the time it takes for building permit approval, you should expect approximately 14 to 16 months from contract signing to moving into your new home if you are financing the home. Backlogs and permit times vary in different areas, hence the difference in time to complete homes.
(We can never give you a fully correct estimate of how long it will take to build – we can only tell you how fast the current ones are building. By the time we start on your home and other factors may make it take more time or it could make it take less time. We can only give you our best guess of how long it will take.)
Q – Does Heritage Homes include lot clearing in the cost of our new home?
A – Lot preparation is not a part of the Heritage Homes price to build your new home. However, we can help you find someone to clear and level your lot and you can usually add it into the construction loan. If your lot is just grassed over, our company that brings in the dirt for construction can scrape off the grass for you for around $150.00. If your lot is not level to within the 1 foot allowed in our standard construction cost you would be responsible for the additional dirt cost to level it. If your lot has a good bit of fall you may need to add a floating slab sometimes called a chain wall type foundation at an additional cost.
Q – I need Lot Preparation advice; can someone from your office look at my lot to help me know what I need to do to my property so Heritage Homes can build on it?
A – Yes. Heritage Homes can schedule your Early Lot Inspection. We can even take a look at a piece of property you are thinking about buying (limited to one free trip). Heritage Homes offers Early Lot Inspections as a free service. We do, however, require that you meet with us ahead of time, pick out the home you want to build and bring us the information on the lot.
Q – I’ve found one of your model homes I like. Can you tell me if it will fit on our property?
A – Often we can. But first, we will need to get a copy of your survey and know which home you want Heritage Homes to build for your family. You may also need to find out the subdivision restrictions and city or county required setbacks on your lot.
Q – What does my credit score need to be to buy a Heritage Home?
A – Credit rating requirements vary with each lender. But we’re hearing many lenders want you to have a credit rating in the mid-600s for a permanent loan and some require higher for construction loans. Check with your lender because we do not offer loans and they vary with different lenders.
Q – Does Heritage Homes offer FHA or VA Financing?
A – Heritage Homes does not offer financing, but our Preferred Lenders do. Heritage Homes builds to FHA and VA specifications.
Q – Does Heritage Homes build using USDA Financing?
A – We do not currently build using USDA Financing.
Q - Does Heritage Homes pay any closing costs?
A – No. Heritage Homes does not include closing costs in our new home prices. If your bank needs to have your closing cost added to the price of the home and deducted at closing we can work with you to help you and your lender in this process.
Q –Does Heritage Homes pay Real Estate Agent commissions?
A – No. Real estate agent fees are not included in our home costs. You may work with a Real estate agent and pay the fees yourself if you’d like
Q – Are appliances included in your home prices?
A – No. Some families already have appliances so we do not add them to the standard price. However, Heritage Homes can add stainless steel, white or black kitchen appliances to your new home estimate. We also offer a package of upgrades called the deluxe package which includes the range, dishwasher and microwave.
Q – How much does Heritage Homes charge to build per square foot?
A – Heritage Homes’ square footage prices vary with each home, but in general our homes range from $75 to $85 per square foot. This is easy to determine if you take the cost of the home plan you like and divide it by the square footage of the home. That will be the cost per square foot. This is a little tricky sometimes because covered porches and garages may be in the home price, and you are only using the home square footage to calculate the cost.
Q – Where does Heritage Homes build?
A – Heritage Homes builds in the Southern counties of Alabama, Mississippi, and in the Northwestern Panhandle of Florida. Alabama counties include: Mobile, Baldwin, Washington, Clarke, Monroe, and Escambia Counties. Mississippi counties include: Jackson, Harrison, Hancock, Pearl River, Stone, George, and Greene Counties. Florida counties include: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton Counties.
Travel charges and other fees may apply in your county or municipality.
Q – Does Heritage Homes’ prices include driveways, sidewalks, and septic systems?
A – Heritage Homes’ prices are for us to build your home and do not include external things to the home. We have a “Financial Checklist” you can use to remind you of the additional things you need to figure for in your budget, such as lot clearing and leveling, the driveway, sidewalks, landscaping, water and sewer systems and their lines from your home to your appliances, unless you added them in your home price. Heritage Homes does offer adding driveways, sidewalks, and running water and sewer lines to the price of the home if you like.
Q – Can your homes be built to Gold Fortified standards?
A – Yes, our homes can be built to Gold Fortified standards. It’s very affordable to add, and your sales consultant can give you information on pricing.
Q – How much will I need to spend besides the price of the home?
A – We will need for you to furnish the Survey, Perc Test and a copy of your deed to the lot. So if you do not have these you will want to get a cost for them. You can add appliances with us or furnish your own. There will also be a $500.00 deposit to pay down toward the purchase of your home at contract time before we will order your home plans. You will also have to purchase builder’s risk insurance on the home before the construction commences.
Lots have different requirements, so Heritage cannot give you a clear estimate on your lot clearing. Some lots are already cleared off and level and only require grass being scraped off for around $150. Other lots are un-level or have 50 trees that have to be removed. You would have to get an estimate for clearing and leveling your particular lot to within 12 inches of fall over the area of the home. You may need additional dirt to raise the home higher in some cases.
In order to get an estimate on a septic tank, you need to get a Perc Test prepared for your lot. Standard septic tanks can run as low as $3,000 to $3,500, and systems that require added field lines, sprinkler systems, or mounds can cost substantially more. For city sewer you need to request the cost of the tap fees to hook on to your sewer system from your municipality. Also ask whether it will be gravity flow to the sewer or if it require a grinder pump. You will also need to run the lines from the home to the street and hook them up. This cost is normally around $1,500 to $1,800 for up to 60 feet gravity flow hookup and about $5,950 if a grinder pump needs to be installed (plus whatever the cost of your tap fees were).
If you need or want a driveway, we do offer installing concrete driveways and sidewalks for $4.30 to $4.50 sq. ft., depending on the location plus $750 for tractor work to prepare for the driveway. We do not offer landscaping but you can normally get an estimate and have the bank add it to your construction loan if you so desire.
Every lot is unique, and this question cannot easily be answered without knowing what your specific lot will require. For a more customized answer, please contact us.
Q – Is your Live Chat Feature a computer bot or am I chatting with a real live person?
A – When you use our Live Chat feature, you are initially speaking with a bot. However, you can ask for a live person at any time. When you do, you will be chatting with a real live employee of Heritage Homes who works in our sales office. We do our best to answer the chat even at nights and on weekends. There are times when we may miss a chat. If we do, please leave your name and email address and we will reply to you within 24 hours.
Q –What are your office hours?
A – Heritage Homes’s Mobile, AL office hours are 8:00am – 5:30pm Monday – Friday and Saturday from 9:00am – 5:30pm. The Pensacola, FL office is open Monday – Friday from 8:00am – 5:00pm.
Q –Where are your offices located?
A – Heritage Homes’s main office is in Mobile, Alabama at 5191 Highway 90 W. Our Florida office is at 390 Hannah Road close to Walmart in Ensley on Highway 29 in Pensacola (next to the fire station).
Q –What model homes can we visit to see the quality work that Heritage Homes offers?
A – Two of Heritage Homes’s offices are model homes. We have the Canterbury model on display in Mobile, Alabama and the Bradford model on display in Pensacola, Florida.
Q –Can I cut costs by doing some of the construction myself?
A – Not normally. Heritage Homes’s prices are some of the lowest construction prices in our build area. Our insurance and 2-10 warranty program requires all of our contractors to be licensed and also have workers comp and liability insurance. If you are in business for yourself and in the trade you want to provide in your home, have your license and required insurance, we will consider letting you perform this service. You must be able to perform this service at the time allotted for this trade.