Questions to Ask Your Builder
1. Do you have a long-term structural warranty?
Costa Homebuilders insures the homes that we build through a third-party warranty company for a period of 12 years. This warranty remains in effect during those 12 years, whether or not Costa is actively building homes at the time.
Since it is in the best financial interests of the warranty company to insure a superior product, they have a rigorous application and approval process to ensure that only high-quality construction materials and techniques are being used when building a home. This, of course, works to the home buyers’ advantage: they are purchasing a very high-quality product that is also warranted for over a decade.
2. Do I pick my house from models or can I create a new, custom design?
Costa Homebuilders offers its clients a complete custom home-buying experience. We believe that you should design the house that best fits your family to ensure that you are pleased with every aspect of your home and that you are effectively using all the space in your home.
If you’d like to look at different options, we invite you to look at some of the “model” homes on our website. These are homes that our clients have designed and that Costa then constructed according to each owner’s specifications. Our pictures allow you to see different floor plans and architectural styles so that you can get an idea of what you may like to include—or exclude—in the model for your own home. If you create a model (or two), you can even name your design.
After you’ve decided on a floor plan, you’ll meet with our architect to discuss the exterior look of your home. He can help you decide how to best blend the exterior with the interior floor plan that you’ve designed.
These services are included in Costa Homebuilder’s custom design program and are at NO extra cost to you after you decide to build.
3. What benefits are there to hiring Costa Homebuilders to guide me through the home-buying process and to then construct my home?
As a 4th generation builder, Costa Homebuilders believes in constructing our houses to exceed the minimum building code set by law. Since we have been in business for decades, we have tried-and-tested products and methods that we use, because we know what works best.
We are a family owned and operated builder, so there is no red tape involved in your home building process. If we see any problems during the construction of your home, we will investigate it and decide on the best solution so that work can continue in a timely manner.
Here are a few instances where Costa Homebuilders goes above and beyond what the building code requires:
- Costa pours 9 feet of concrete for foundation walls. Most other builders use concrete blocks, and some builders only use the blocks on three sides of the house, leaving the fourth (if there’s a walk-out-basement, as is common in Pittsburgh) framed only in lumber.
- Engineered vs. dimensional floor joist systems. Costa uses engineered floors in all of our homes. They offer more consistency and stability, which results in flatter floors, little movement, and less squeaking. Since these joists are stronger, it results in fewer posts in the basement and wider rooms with more open spaces.
- Costa uses both closed cell foam and batt insulation—instead of just batt insulation—because it increases a home’s energy efficiency by eliminating most air leakage, plus it will not sag or shrink.
- Tile and wide-plank hardwood flooring are available with no additional upgrade.
- A poured concrete patio or deck is included in the price of each home.
- Each house includes a concrete sidewalk and driveway.
- High-quality Pella brand windows are standard in each home, instead of less energy-efficient builder-grade contractor windows.
4. What items are included in the price of a Costa Homebuilders home that other building companies normally charge extra for? What items are not included in the price of the home?
Since most builders follow minimum building code for their homes to reduce costs, many items are not included because the code doesn’t require them—and so, builders don’t include them in their costs. Here are a few common items that are not included in other builders’ construction programs but are included with a Costa home. If you are considering using another builder, be sure to ask if these items are included in the price of your home:
- 80-90% brick exteriors
- Ceiling lights in all bedrooms
- Concrete sidewalk and driveway
- Deck or Patio
- Laundry tub
- Floor drains in basement and garage
- Basement rough-ins for future bathroom
- Exterior hose bibs
- Garage door openers
- Separate tub and shower in master bathroom
- Exterior spot lights
- Spray foam insulation
- Engineered lumber
- Large concrete footers for a more stable structure
At Costa, we go above the minimum building code to provide these items at no additional cost to you so that your home is move-in ready. The only items we don’t price in are appliances and landscaping/lawn. We find that most homeowners don’t want to mortgage these into the price of their home.
5. Has your construction crew been working with Costa Homebuilders for a long-time? Are they reliable?
Yes, absolutely. Costa uses the same group of contractors to work on each house. We don’t put our work out to bid and then pick the lowest-priced contractor. This way, not only can we ensure the same quality in each house, we can confidently set a timeline for construction and completion of your home.
6. When do products and colors get chosen?
We have a process in place that allows customers to make their selections over a four-month period. This eliminates the stress of having to pick all of these items at once, which can be difficult for home buyers who would like time to choose products. Our clients appreciate having this longer period of time to decide.
7. Can we make changes during construction, and how are the costs charged?
Costa Homebuilders understands that you could change your mind or would like to make additions. We’re very flexible and are happy to help you as you make changes. Changes can be made up until the dates that are noted on the selection form. After that date has passed, major changes could mean that extra costs are incurred. No fees are charged for change orders—you only pay the cost of product and labor with the new selection.