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Focus Homes blog

Company, area and industry news, along with other interesting info

May 16, 2017

Preparing for a custom home design consultation

Preparing for a custom home design consultation with Focus Homes

What should you do to prepare for a custom home design consultation with your builder? Good question. Here are some of the basics:

Have your financing in order

Firstly, will you be paying cash or getting financing? If you are planning on funding your custom home project with cash, decide your budget up front. This will help you and your builder establish design, finish levels and design perameters for your new home from the get go, which leads to a much more pleasant building experience.

When using financing make sure you have spoken to your loan officer before your design consultation. Determine your entire new custom home project budget by adding the desired loan amount to the dollar investment you will be making into the home. Decide which loan type is best for you – conventional, VA or FHA construction perm loans are available with the Focus Homes preferred lenders. It is almost impossible to have a meaningful, and realistic design consultation without knowing the budget numbers. Request a pre-qualification now.

Have your land ideas in order

If you already have the land on which you would like to build, bringing information about the parcel is extremely helpful. Bring a survey if you have one. A deed. A folio number and tax id number is useful. Bring information about site conditions and the types of utilities that will needed for your new home. Knowing how much of your project estimate will be going towards the land improvements will help you and your builder design an appropriate home within your desired budget.

If you don’t yet own a piece of land, don’t worry, that is totally fine. In this case, bring information about your desired land preferences to the design consultation. Details such as desired locations, acreage, lifestyle (rural, urban, maintenance-free, lakefront) and the like. The experts at Focus Homes can also help you find an excellent building lot.

Have your thoughts about floor plan designs in order

Finally, go ahead and bring floor plan and architectural design ideas with you to the consultation. These could include pictures, magazine clippings, floor plans you have printed from online sources, web sites to reference, an idea board from Houzz.com, sketches and the like. Most families bring four or five floor plans with them that contain design elements that they would like to see incorporated into their own custom home. One floor plan example may show a kitchen layout that you like. Another floor plan may have a master bedroom and bathroom that is to die for. Yet another home design may have a front elevation with a beautiful curb appeal. Having a selection of floor plan and architectural designs that you like on hand will help in the creative process.

Contact the experts at Focus Homes today to request a design consultation or ask more questions about the custom home design build process. You may also call or text 863-640-2246 now.

April 19, 2017

Search floor plans to build when you can’t find a used, resale home to buy in Lakeland

Build with Focus Homes, consider plan 2396

Have you ever been looking for a home to buy and you just can’t find the home that best fits your needs? Have you ever gone to an open house and loved almost everything about a house except one “deal breaker”? Have you ever looked for a home and there just wasn’t any available that excited you? You are not alone. The experts at Focus Realty Group, KW Lakeland, have a sister company that can help! It’s called Focus Homes. They design and build custom homes for people who can’t find a resale home that they like and that would rather not buy a cookie-cutter production home.

The process of building a custom home project is a different to finding and purchasing an older, resale home. People will consider seven areas before building a home, they are:

Today we are discussing floor plans and how to use online resources to help you design the perfect, dream home.

Ideas to help you design the ideal floor plan from scratch

At Focus Homes all of the custom home projects are designed and built from scratch to the specific needs and desires of each family and customer. Sometimes people find it hard to “come up” with a floor plan starting with a blank sheet of paper. We completely understand. Here are some helpful hints to help you in the creative floor plan process:

  • Think about and make a list of things that you currently enjoy about the home you are now living in, or homes where you have previously lived.
  • What don’t you like about your current homes, or other homes you have been in? What would you change or alter?
  • What are some design elements you would really like to include in your new custom home?
  • Why not search for floor plans online and collect different design elements from a number of different plans? You could find:
    • A master bathroom from one plan
    • A master bedroom or closet from another plan
    • A nice kitchen design from one plan
    • A great room and general bedroom layout from a different plan
    • Some outdoor living designs from a plan or two
    • You get the idea now, right?

When you collect a few design ideas together, things that you really like, the experts at Focus Homes will then help you take all of those elements and help you design your own, one-of-a-kind home that meets all of your needs. Sound good?

Floor plan resources

Here are some other online floor plan search tools for your convenience:

Get started on your own custom home project

If you are thinking about moving and building, definitely consider designing your custom home with Focus Homes, your local, hometown builder of choice. Start your home project today, call or text 863-640-2246, or contact us online now.

April 18, 2017

The seven areas to consider when building a custom home in Florida

Learn about the seven areas to discuss when building a custom home in FL with Focus Homes

There are seven areas most people like to consider before moving forward with their custom home project in Florida. They are:

  1. Home plans
  2. Home features
  3. Home sites
  4. The area
  5. The community
  6. The builder
  7. Financing

The experts at Focus Homes can help guide you every step of the way. Where would you like to begin?

Home plans
Most families find three or four floor plans that contain design elements that meet their needs. They may like a master bathroom from one plan, a kitchen from another, and an architectural style from another. We work with you to design the perfect home from your different plan ideas.

Home features
The features that are included in your custom home are very personal and reflect your lifestyle. At Focus Homes, “it’s all about you!” Your lifestyle. Your design tasted. Your individual needs. Let’s discuss your home features together soon.

Home site
Focus Homes can build on your land, or land you purchase. The experts can even help you locate a suitable piece of land on which to build. We are truly a one-stop-shop.

The area
William Webb, one of the Focus Homes partners, was born and raised in Plant City, FL. Jared Weggeland (me), the other partner in the business, has lived in Lakeland since 2006. We are local market experts and can help you design and build your home in many different areas throughout Central Florida. Where is your preferred location?

The community
Families that work with Focus Homes often choose to build in upscale, gated or lake front communities. We have excellent relationships with local land developers and often have exclusive, executive style home sites available to our customers that do not show up on the market anywhere else. In what communities might you like to live?

The builder
Since the 1990s the Focus Homes experts have been involved with the new home and finance industries. They have designed and built hundreds of homes and helped families successfully finance their homes. We invite you to meet with us to get to know us and to discuss your personal, custom home needs.

Financing
A construction-perm loan is a little bit different than a traditional purchase mortgage. The Focus Homes team members are experts at all forms of mortgage financing. We have multiple, one-time, construction-perm loan programs available through local mortgage institutions. These programs include:

  • Conventional construction loans
  • FHA construction loans
  • VA construction loans
  • HECM loans (see us for more details as these are age restricted loans)

That’s it in a nutshell. Call or text 863-640-2246 now to speak more about your dream home ideas, or contact us online today.

April 18, 2017

Construction loan approval process when you build a custom home in Florida

Get help obtaining a construction loan to build a custom home in Florida with Focus Homes

Did you know that there are two mortgage loan approvals that need to occur when you purchase a home in Lakeland? And there are three mortgage loans approvals that need to occur when you build a home in Central Florida? Well, there are! (And, they are really not that scary.)

Mortgage approval number one is for you the customer. How much is the bank or mortgage lender willing to give you to purchase a home, based on your income, debt and credit scores? You will hear all sorts of lingo, phrases and numbers being thrown around when it comes time to get pre-approved for a home loan. DTI (debt to income ratio), back end ratio, front end ratio, PITI and the list goes on. Basically the lender will let you borrow somewhere between 30% and 50% of your income to buy a home – it all depends. Everyone is different. Every borrower situation is unique. Some physicians can use up to 70% to 80% of their income to borrow (this includes real estate, student, and other loans typically). So, the bottom line is, get pre-approved sooner rather than later, then you know how much you can borrow and spend when buying or building your new home.

Mortgage approval number two is for the actual home you would like to buy. This applies to the purchase of a resale home and when you would like to build a custom home. The lender will give you a loan based upon the market value of the home. You will typically pay the lender for an appraisal to be completed on the home your are going to buy or build. The amount of loan will be determined by the loan program you and your lender agree to, and for which you qualify. Here are some examples:

  • Let’s say you are buying or building a home and the appraised value is $180,000
    • With a conventional loan of 90% LTV (loan to value), the lender will let you borrow $162,000
    • With an FHA loan of 96.5% LTV, the lender will let you borrow $173,700
    • With a VA or USDA loan of 100% LTV, the lender will let you borrow $180,000

Alright, this is a very simple explanation, and there are in fact a few other things that go into your actual mortgage loan amount, such as funding fees for government backed loans like FHA, VA and USDA, but I think these illustrations give you the idea, right?

Mortgage approval number three is the approval of the builder. This approval typically only takes place when you are designing and building a custom home using a construction to perm loan. Behind the scenes the custom builder, like Focus Homes, sends in their company financials, vendor and supplier contacts (so the bank can verify that the builder pays its bills on time), company history and more. Most of our customers use our preferred lenders to help speed up the process. In this case, a preferred lender means a lender that has already gone through the builder approval process – it can take some time to get through the red tape, and most customers want to get started building their dream home!

That’s it! Please don’t be scared about any of these loan approvals – they are very normal and customary. If you would like to learn more, please call or text 863-640-2246 for immediate assistance, contact us online, or learn more at our website today. Good luck getting pre-approved and making 2017 that you buy or build a great new home!

April 14, 2017

Custom home event during Lakeland Parade of Homes April 2017

Rendering of floor plan 1248 shared by Focus Homes

Come to this custom home event, hosted by Focus Homes at the Hallam Preserve clubhouse, during the Parade of Homes weekends in Lakeland, FL.

COME LEARN ABOUT:
Floor plan designs and one-of-a-kind solutions.
Financing options available for custom home projects.
Available building sites and larger land parcels for sale.
The custom home building process.

CATERING PROVIDED:
Thank you to Atlantic Bay Mortgage for providing the catering for this event.
Come enjoy delicious food and refreshements while you learn more about Focus Homes and custom homes.

EVENT DAYS AND TIMES:
Saturday 4/22 from 11 am – 5 pm.
Saturday 4/29 from 11 am – 5 pm.

EVENT LOCATION & PARKING:
Hallam Preserve Clubhouse main building.
There is parking on site in front of the building and to the side of the building just within the gates in Evergreen Park.

DIRECTIONS:
From Florida Ave, go east on CR 540A, pass Brewster’s ice cream shop, turn right into the Hallam Preserve community, the clubhouse is on the right.
From Hwy 98, go west on CR 540A, pass Publix at Lakeland Highlands Rd, turn left into the Hallam Preserve community, the clubhouse is on the right.

Visit the Facebook event page now to learn more details, get a map, see more floor plans and information. See you soon!

March 31, 2017

Why does the price per SF go up when the SF comes down?

Price per SF

Have you ever noticed that the smaller the new home floor plan, the more it costs per square foot (SF)? The cost difference per SF can sometimes be quite significant. When you break down the math a little it becomes easy to understand. Let me give you a couple of examples:

Here are some fees related to a 1,000 SF home (this isn’t everything and the numbers are exact but it will give you the idea):

  • $6,000 septic system
  • $6,000 well system
  • $5,000 clearing
  • $15,000 city impact fees
  • These fees add up to $32,000 in job costs
  • These fees add $32 per SF to the custom home project

Here are some fees related to a 3,000 SF home (this isn’t everything and the numbers are exact but it will give you the idea):

 

  • $6,000 septic system
  • $6,000 well system
  • $5,000 clearing
  • $15,000 city impact fees
  • These fees add up to $32,000 in job costs
  • These fees add only $10.66 per SF to the custom home project

It’s over $21 per SF more to build a smaller house in the example above – that’s a lot of cash!

If you are thinking about designing and building a custom home, please contact the experts at Focus Homes today!

 

 

November 15, 2016

Floor plans: Build when you can’t find a resale

9870 SF: Contact Focus Homes today and get started on your new custom home project sooner rather than later
9202 SF: Would you like Focus Homes to work with you in designing your own custom home?
9202 SF: This prestigious floor plan design features the gourmet kitchens of all kitchens. Did you notice the amazing master bathroom suite? Start your custom design today!

Have you ever been looking for a home to buy and you just can’t find the home that best fits your needs? Have you ever gone to an open house and loved almost everything about a house except one “deal breaker”? Have you ever looked for a home and there just wasn’t any available that excited you? You are not alone. The experts at Focus Realty Group, KW Lakeland, have a sister company that can help! It’s called Focus Homes. They design and build custom homes for people who can’t find a resale home that they like and that would rather not buy a cookie-cutter production home. 

The process of building a custom home project is a different to finding and purchasing an older, resale home. People will consider seven areas before building a home, they are:

Today we are discussing floor plans and how to use online resources to help you design the perfect, dream home.

 

Ideas to help you design the ideal floor plan from scratch

At Focus Homes all of the custom home projects are designed and built from scratch to the specific needs and desires of each family and customer. Sometimes people find it hard to “come up” with a floor plan starting with a blank sheet of paper. We completely understand. Here are some helpful hints to help you in the creative floor plan process:

  • Think about and make a list of things that you currently enjoy about the home you are now living in, or homes where you have previously lived.
  • What don’t you like about your current homes, or other homes you have been in? What would you change or alter?
  • What are some design elements you would really like to include in your new custom home?
  • Why not search for floor plans online and collect different design elements from a number of different plans? You could find:
    • A master bathroom from one plan
    • A master bedroom or closet from another plan
    • A nice kitchen design from one plan
    • great room and general bedroom layout from a different plan
    • Some outdoor living designs from a plan or two
    • You get the idea now, right?

When you collect a few design ideas together, things that you really like, the experts at Focus Homes will then help you take all of those elements and help you design your own, one-of-a-kind home that meets all of your needs. Sound good?

 

Floor plan resources

Here are some other online floor plan search tools for your convenience:

 

Get started on your own custom home project

If you are thinking about moving and building, definitely consider designing your custom home with Focus Homes, your local, hometown builder of choice. Start your home project today, call or text 863-640-2246, or contact us online now.

November 10, 2016

Buy or build with a veteran approved home loan

Happy Veterans Day
Happy Veterans Day
Focus Homes honors veterans on their special day

A Family History of Service

My Uncle Lewis served in World War I between 1914 and 1918 and was lost to us in the battle fields of France. My Grandpa Ambler served in World War II as a quarter master and in the military police in our local village. My Uncles Arthur and Ron also served during that war. My stepfather Dennis served in the jungles of Asia during the Korean war. My father served in the US army as a young man. My family has a long history of military service and I honor them for their dedication to liberty and freedom.

I am so very grateful for not only my veteran family members who have served and given their lives fighting for freedom, but also for all of the service men and women who have fought, died and continue to fight to defend me and my family (and yours).

 

Veteran Administration (VA) Home Loans

When it comes to housing, Veterans are blessed with special government backed loan programs. Mortgages and construction perm loans are available to veterans at 100% loan to value. That means that there is $0 in down payment required when purchasing an existing home or building a custom home. Veteran’s families save thousands in out of pocket expenses when using a VA Loan.

Veterans, if you are considering buying a home using your VA Loan benefit, please call or text 863-640-2246 and the experts at Focus Realty Group, KW Lakeland, will be more than able to assist you. You can also contact them online now.

If you are thinking about designing and building a custom home, please contact the experts at Focus Homes by calling or sending a text to 863-640-2246 or by contact them online today.

 

Custom Designed Housing For Disabled Veterans

Focus Homes can design and build new homes for veterans with disabilities. Custom homes can include some or all of the following lifestyle and design features:

  • Ramps into doorways from outside or from the garage.
  • Wider hallways and doorways for easier wheelchair or walker use.
  • Grab bars in bathrooms and showers.
  • Ramps into showers.
  • Removable shower heads.
  • Special cabinets that allow easy access to faucets and sinks.
  • And other features that will make day to day living more stress free.

 

When you are considering buying a home, building or home, or even selling your home, and would like help using your VA Loan benefits, the Focus Realty Group, KW Lakeland, and Focus Homes teams would love to help. Call or text or contact us online when the time is right.

A heartfelt “thank you” feels and sounds like a small gesture compared to the service that our veterans have provided and continue to provide. But thank you all the same. I appreciate you and your families willingness to serve and a wish you a good Veterans Day.

May 6, 2016

Visit Focus Homes at Lakeland First Friday May 6, 2016

Visit Focus Homes at First Friday in Lakeland
Come visit Focus Homes at First Friday in Downtown Lakeland, May 6, 2016

It’s that time of month when the shops stay open late, the streets around downtown Lakeland and Munn Park are buzzing and local families are enjoying an evening stroll while chatting with the local vendors about the products and services that can make their lives even better. Yep, it’s First Friday!

Focus Homes will be on site in force and have their tent located just outside of Harry’s, our favorite New Orlean’s restaurant!

Details:
Location – Munn Park and adjoining streets
Time – From 6 to 9 pm
Theme – Public Works (come see the huge trucks and more!)
Other – win loads of prizes from different vendors (including Focus Homes!)

Don’t know Focus Homes? Well, the experts at Focus Homes have been building top-quality homes for local families in Lakeland, Polk, Hillsborough County and beyond for over 35 years.

There are seven areas to consider before you build your next custom home with Focus Homes, they are:

  1. The home plan
  2. The home features
  3. The home site
  4. The area
  5. The community
  6. The builder
  7. The financing 

Where would you like to begin?

Call or text 863-640-2246 for more information about designing and building your dream, custom home today!

April 23, 2016

Come visit the Parade of Homes entry by Focus Homes

Come visit the parade of homes April 23, 24, 30 and May 1 by Focus Homes
Come visit the parade of homes April 23, 24, 30 and May 1 by Focus Homes
Come visit the Lamont III custom home floor plan by Focus Homes that is in the PCBA parade of homes April 23 – May 1

PARADE OF HOMES: Come out to Hallam Preserve souther Lakeland (third left into Hallam Park) this weekend and next:

Sat and Sun 11 am – 5 pm
April 23, 24, 30 and May 1

Download the free PARADE CRAZE app and look for lucky #13 (that’s the Focus Homes entry details). There are pics, DIRECTIONS, floor plans and more!

Here is a sneak peak photo album of the Parade of Homes entry by Focus Homes. It’s even better in person!

https://flic.kr/s/aHskyDrMKK

Here is a link to the Facebook event page – click here for more details

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