Buying a home is not only one of the largest monetary and long-term investments that a person is likely to make in their lifetime, it is also a sizeable commitment of time and resources in order to find the right fit for your needs, desires and lifestyle.  There are many considerations that go into the process of buying a home, and the more you know the more likely you are to have a successful experience and purchase a home you are completely satisfied with and can take pride in.

Finding the home that is right for you and your family can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. As you begin the search to find your new home, make a list of the things that are important to you to have in your new home as a guide. Building a home allows the homebuyer to design the home to be uniquely theirs and ensures that they get everything they are looking for in their new home.   Oakwood Homes has been helping homeowners build the home of their dreams for over 20 years. They have recently entered the Omaha market, bringing a fresh new look.  With homes that feature four sided architecture, ceiling detail, clerestory windows and kitchens perfect for entertaining, Oakwood Homes works to appeal to what buyers are looking for in their new home at a price that will fit any buyers’ budget. Oakwood Homes is currently building in several areas within the Omaha Metro and will soon be building in Gretna.

Chad-Herbolsheimer-Oakwood-HomesThe construction of each home is held to the highest standard with Oakwood leading the way in building technology that will save the homeowner money and improve comfort. Chad Herbolsheimer, Regional Vice President for Oakwood Homes stresses that it is wise to make an investment in a builder that is using top-of-the-line techniques and products because it will help lower ownership costs.  As part of the Oakwood Energy Smart program, they are able to provide homeowners with savings and comfort by constructing all homes with 2×6 exterior walls, a 95% efficient furnace, and Energy Star North rated windows to achieve an even temperature throughout the house while using less energy. To ensure the home meets or exceeds national code, Oakwood Homes has a third party test the home before buyers move in and they offer a guarantee on energy bills.

Beyond building homes that help buyers feel good about the quality, their design features are stunning and are sure to impress all home visitors. Buyers have the opportunity to visit Oakwood’s New Home Center where they can personalize their home so it fits their family’s needs and personality. The New Home Center displays all the interior finish selections for the homeowner, providing an experience that is easy and truly enjoyable.  Herbolsheimer adds that regardless of whether the buyer’s working budget is $150,000 or a million dollars, it’s important to work with someone you can trust.  As a home buyer, making sure the builder understands what is important to you, your lifestyle, and your budget allows for the builder to help with tough decisions on what to include in your dream home.  Oakwood Homes provides luxury at every level, no matter the budget, as they believe building a new home is meant to be a unique and memorable experience.

Dynasty Homes also offers great options for home buyers, as a new home builder who offers high-quality and affordable custom homes in Nebraska.  Their philosophy is that every client is as unique as the home built for them.  Dynasty Homes strives to be the highest quality, most innovative, custom new home builder in the Omaha metro area, taking all of the strengths of over 50 years of building and product knowledge and putting it to use in a challenging housing market to offer new home owners the building experience they expect and desire.  Whether you are a first time home buyer ready to build your first new home, a growing family in need of a larger home, or an empty-nester ready to finally build your dream custom home, they can create a home that fits your exact wants and needs.  Building a new home is a challenging process, but it can be very rewarding.  Jon McCormick of Dynasty Homes advises, “While it is important that you choose an experienced custom home builder, it is most important that you choose a builder with whom you will enjoy working with and one who will work hard for you.  Dynasty Home’s values are based on an overall building experience with attention to detail for new home construction, products, warranty, and services after the closing of your new home, while integrating forward thinking, environmentally friendly products and technologies. When you work with Dynasty Homes, you are working with professionals who know their business.  This is where you feel right at home!”  Dynasty Homes is an Energy Star certified high performance energy efficient builder, and stands by their work with a variety of warranties ranging from 2-10 years.  Their concern is that your new home functions and flows properly for everyday life while also maintaining its aesthetic quality, and they have priced their homes to ensure that the standard rates include features the custom home buyers actually want or request. Additionally, they have flexible plans that allow the buyer to make it their custom home unlike anyone else’s—you will always be a part of the building process and included in any decisions that need to be made.  McCormick adds, “My suggestion to home buyers is to have a plan, prioritize wants and needs in your new home and put it in writing, prepare financially for the expenses of buying and moving by consulting with experts, don’t forget about taxes, and to buy a house with the long term in mind.”

Derek-LeibertWhen buying a home you should always have professionals inspect the aspects related to their area of expertise.  In the case of attics, you can rely on the experts at Attic Solutions to provide you with an accurate idea of what works well in the home and what could or will need to be improved or replaced before you make a huge investment in a that property.  Attic Solutions is a local, family owned business that specializes in attic ventilation, roofing and insulation.  They have more than twelve years of experience in this area, and offer home buyers and sellers free attic inspections and consultation on the best course of action prior to the sale.  During an analysis, they can identify and recommend solutions for the root source of many common problems that home buyers would otherwise likely not discover until after they purchase a home.  Derek Leibert, President of Attic Solutions, says the when experiencing problems related to improper attic ventilation after they’ve closed on their new home, the most common response he hears from the homeowner is “Why weren’t these things on the inspector’s report?”  He encourages home buyers to be proactive, and to have a full inspection and consultation completed by a professional prior to closing to ensure that the necessary adjustments will be made.  Leibert explains, “The attic has a significant effect on the durability, performance and comfort of the entire home. Without adequate attic ventilation, homes are at risk for hot upper levels, reduced insulation R-Value, ice dams, mold, damaged roof decking, voided shingle warranties, higher than necessary utility bills, mysterious spots on ceilings, and premature aging of HVAC systems, to name a few. Our exclusive HomeFIT Approach is based on the science of thermodynamics and requires expertise in ventilation, insulation, roofing and more. Basically, a FIT home is properly equipped to manage the excess heat and moisture that, left unchecked, create significant issues. We pride ourselves on results with the goal being to maximize your home’s comfort and efficiency. After all, our homes are our castles.”  He adds, “The Omaha Metro was hit with golf-ball-sized hail back in April of this year. Many homes currently for sale were damaged by the storm and may need replacement or repairs to the roof, gutters, siding, windows and more. Many sellers may not be aware they have damage and buyers should be aware of the location of the home in relation to the storm. We provide Hail Restoration Inspections at no charge and work with your insurance company to see the entire project through to completion.”  Attic Solutions also offers a Lifetime Workmanship Warranty on all projects, and consider the relationship between all the trades on a restoration project to ensure everything is completed with the highest standards and quality possible.

When it comes to inspecting or installing your heating and cooling systems, Ideal Heating & Air Conditioning offers a variety of services and equipment to best fit your specific wants and needs.  They can do a heat combustion analysis to ensure your furnace is operating safely and efficiently, and can inspect the air conditioner to ensure its reliability and efficiency prior to purchasing the home.  Corwin Keller, Sr., owner of Ideal Heating & Air Conditioning, advises that you should always have a professional test and inspect the HVAC system on your behalf before you purchase a home—never take some else’s word for it.  The HVAC system is the most important factor in the home for comfort, and should be treated as such when evaluating its quality and performance.

When it comes to what most people dread about buying a new home, often it is the moving process that poses the most obstacles and hassle.

Tom Friedman copyAdditionally, home sellers many times need to move some of their possessions from crowded garages or basements to help their homes show better. Strong Box Storage can help alleviate potential problems by providing a wide array of resources for moving vehicles, supplies and storage if necessary. Their office is open six days a week, and they offer a dozen different sizes of moving boxes, packing peanuts and wrapping paper, tape, and many other items that are essential for moving. Strong Box Storage is also an independent U-Haul dealer. This means that they can go through the U-Haul system on the Internet and make, change or finalize any truck or trailer rentals, in addition to having direct contact with U-Haul by phone. Their customers also have the option to visit the office, or if that is not feasible, Strong Box Storage can make reservations for their customers from wherever they are currently at to wherever their destination may be. Tom Friedman of Strong Box Storage emphasizes that they pride themselves on this type of personal service for their customers. They have been awarded a TOP One Hundred award of achievement for their commitment to this objective. With over 15,000 independent U-Haul dealers across the country, this is truly an honor and an exclusive designation. Friedman says, “We off a variety of sizes of storage for the home buyer (and seller)—we are the transitional service that they need. Many times a buyer needs to move out of their current residence by a specific date and needs a place to store their belongings in the meantime.  We offer sizes from 5×5, mainly for record or tool storage for example, to 10×40 that can hold larger household items such as furniture and clothing. We take great care in finding out the sizes that each customer needs. For additional convenience, we accept a wide range of payment types including cash, check, credit and debit cards. We can also set up auto payments to avoid late fees, and we have discounts for active military or prepaid months.  Our unique keypad codes ensure that our customers have access to their belongings 365 days a year.  Concrete roads and a manager who lives on site help our customers feel comfortable and at home.” Strong Box Storage is locally owned and a member of the Better Business Bureau Honor Roll and the Self Storage Association, which is a testament to what a great, trustworthy option they are for the storage of your most dear home furnishings and possessions.

Eileen-MorrisonIf you don’t have the time or manpower to move your belongings yourself, you can trust the moving professionals at Two Men and a Truck to get your household from one home to the next on schedule and with great care. In fact, using a full service professional moving company will usually cost you less than 1% of your homes’ value, while preserving the value of your belongings and providing you more time to focus on other aspects of your life during the moving process. In line with the advice from many other professionals, Eileen Marrison of Two Men and a Truck suggests that when selecting a moving company you should always check out their rating with the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are reputable. She also suggests that moving is a great time to go through your possessions and donate any items will no longer use to a good cause. Two Men and a Truck provides full relocation services, which includes moving locally, intra and interstate moves, packing, unpacking, and they also sell a complete line of boxes and packing supplies. They will work around your budget, including options from completing your full move with packing and unpacking or simply moving your larger items.

It is highly likely that you know at least one person who has recently gone through the process of purchasing a home, so take advantage of the opportunity to pick their brain before you enter into your own personal endeavor.  Even our President, Paige Zutavern, recently bought a home and offered some great advice based on her experiences.  First and foremost, she will be the first to tell you that having a great Realtor that you trust and communicate well with is a must.  Choosing the right fit for a Realtor was a primary objective in her search for her new home, as she had a good idea of what she wanted but as a business professional with an incessantly hectic schedule, she certainly did not have the time or resources to devote to seeking this out on her own.  Paige explained, “My family lived in our starter home for over 20 years, so I had plenty of ideas regarding what I wanted in my new home.  I was definitely a picky buyer, and I changed my mind on what I wanted a lot.  My Realtor had the utmost patience with my search, and when it was all said and done it took me to over 125 houses before I finally found my perfect home.  This dedication really meant a lot to me personally, and was worth every penny of the commission she earned as a result of my purchase.  Not only did my Realtor invest her time in my search for the ideal home, she invested her own gas and wear and tear on her vehicle to chauffer me around. Looking at homes is not a hobby for most people—it happens out of necessity.  My Realtor was someone I liked and trusted, so I simply told her my wishes and desires and she did the rest of the work!  As the expert, she knew just about everything on the current market and was an incredible resource in every aspect of my home buying experience.  Many people are under the impression that they can manage all the aspects of buying a home on their own and will save money in this way.  I respectfully disagree, and in fact, URGE anyone in the market to buy a home to utilize the services of a great Realtor.  Unless you understand the market or know construction, there are so many things that you will miss the mark on from the overall price and value of the home to knowledge of regulations, updates, systems and appliances, and possible points of negotiation.  I looked at several older homes, and what appeared to be really great finds to me were, in actuality, money pits that needed significant work that I had absolutely no time for.  On the other hand, most buyers also don’t have the vision to see past things that may only require minor adjustments.  A Realtor can help you see the whole picture, and give you an accurate evaluation of what exactly you are investing in and what you will be looking at in the future.”  She adds, “When you are looking for a Realtor, it is always a good idea to interview several and go with the one you trust. In this scenario you may not have the luxury of really getting to know them at length before you work with them, so choose someone you have an instant rapport with as you will be spending so much time with them that you can’t ignore something like personality even though it seems trivial.   This person should be a good listener who is attentive to your need and shares a similar style of communication.  After you have chosen this individual, loyalty is crucial as they will not get paid until the process is complete.  This means during the whole process they are investing in you, even when you haven’t made a tangible investment in them yet.  So once you choose your Realtor, stay committed to them and understand and respect the work that is being done on your behalf.  This relationship, as many others in the business community, will last much longer than just one buying experience and can also be mutually beneficial in the future.”

 Jenn Hellman Bennett, Residential Specialist with the Omaha Real Estate Group of Prudential, offers unparalleled service to all of her clients in the Omaha real estate market.  With over 12 years of experience, Jenn has the knowledge and expertise to guide you through building a home, selling your existing home or buying a new home.  Jenn has experience in selling all types of residential properties, such as new construction, historic homes, acreages, lofts, condos, and townhomes.  There are so many moving parts to a real estate transaction.  With Jenn’s specialized team of transaction processors and listing coordinators, you can be assured everything is being handled and front covernothing falls through the cracks, as well as maximizing your bottom dollar.  Jenn uses a progressive marketing program that has proven to be successful for her clients.  This proven program includes cutting edge technology such as social media marketing and utilizing sites such as Trulia and Zillow, as well as traditional marketing methods such as Omaha World Herald advertisements and open houses.  Jenn is focused on maintaining comprehensive knowledge of the many options available in the current market through her extensive reach utilizing these different avenues.  Visit to see what their team of real estate experts can do to get you into your perfect new home.

There are a multitude of factors that go into finding the perfect fit, and the successful purchase, of a new home.  We encourage you to do your homework before you enter into this endeavor, and to partner with local professionals to evaluate each candidate.  When it comes to making one of your biggest financial decisions and investments, and one that will significantly impact just about every other aspect of your life, you should be confident in your determination that the house you choose is “the one.” And don’t forget to enjoy your new surroundings and