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        What Are You Waiting For?

Despite what you hear day in and day out from the media, the world has not stopped turning, at least in the Greater Des Moines area. People are still putting one foot in front of the other. The sun comes up and goes down everyday. Lenders are still lending, and yes, builders are still building!
Our local economy has not seen the extreme highs in housing prices that have occurred in some other parts of the country. It follows that we will not likely see extreme lows either. If our Des Moines area housing prices could be represented by my neighbors backyard slide, the market in say, Miami, might be better represented by the Super Slide at the Iowa State Fair.

Lenders are still lending; that is how they make money. They may be a little pickier than in the recent past, but if you are a qualified applicant, you will be granted a mortgage. Construction loans are being made on tighter standards these days as well, but a qualified builder with a qualified custom home buyer will be able to meet
those standards. It is to the advantage of qualified builders to have stricter standards in the industry.

A recent cursory look at building permits in our local market reveals that there are many custom built homes about to start the construction process. That means somebody qualified for a mortgage, somebody qualified for a construction loan, somebody will be providing subs and local suppliers with business, and some employees of the local subs and suppliers will be buying
groceries locally, and probably even going out for pizza. That is just what the doctor ordered, and says more about local consumer confidence than you will hear in the national media!

There are so many options for homeowners and potential homeowners. A home that is built to your specifications by a company small enough to give you very personal attention will provide you with exactly what you want. Buying an existing home and remodeling it to suit your needs may be the ticket. Or, you may love your location and need more room or usable space, and just need to remodel your current home.

Whether you want to build, remodel, or renovate your home, seek out a reputable and trustworthy contractor. Check with the Better Business Bureau (, and Iowa Courts ( to see if complaints or lawsuits have been filed against the contractor.

Information courtesy of Mark Parlee, Parlee Builders. Mark has been building and consulting for other builders for over 32 years. Mark can be reached at 515-334-0197,,
TIPS: How to Choose A Builder
1. Make A List of Possible Builders
    -    Contact your local home builders' association to obtain a list of builders.
    -     Look in local real estate publications to learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building, and the price range.
    -     Ask: Local real estate agents, friends and relatives for recommendations.

2. Do Your Homework
The best way to learn about builders is to visit homes they have built and talk with the owners.
    -    Ask builders on your list for the addresses of their recently built homes. Builders may even provide names of homeowners who would be willing to talk with you.
    -     Talk to several owners, and try to get a random sample of opinions. The more people you talk with, the more accurate an impression you are likely to get.
    -    Some questions you can ask people include:
Are you happy with your home?
If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder?

3. Shop For Quality and Value
Look at new homes whenever you can. Home shows and open houses sponsored by builders are good opportunities to look at homes.

When examining a home, look at the quality of the construction features. Inspect the quality of the cabinetry, carpeting, trimwork, and paint. Ask the builder or the builder's representative a lot of questions. Get as many specifics as possible. If you receive the answers verbally rather than in writing, take notes. Never hesitate to ask a question. What seems like an insignificant question might yield an important answer.