New Construction Homes
Energy Efficiency, Builders, Homes, and Floor Plans
New Construction Home Builders
New construction homes are built by 22 national builders and private contractors in In Las Vegas. We have home builders offering every type of home imaginable. There are over 800 floorplans in 220 +/- neighborhoods from local and national builders on our new construction home search. Then there are numerous custom home builders for the over $1 million price range. Whether you are looking for an expensive or an affordable home, Las Vegas sells it brand new.
To us, what makes a new construction home builder different is the quality of their home construction, if they build energy efficient homes, and what their HERS home rating is. (Home Energy Rating System) When a builder designs energy efficient features into their standard home, their homes are built for sustainability. Their homes are good for the planet and they will cost you less to operate.
As Realtors, we try to save you money, so we take you to a builder who includes energy-efficient features and smart technology as part of their base price first. Builders without these features may build homes that cost you less, but do they really cost you less? Energy-efficient home upgrades will cost more purchased after-market or as a builder option.
Try to buy a home in a neighborhood where every home is built with the energy-saving features you want. It’s especially important when you sell your home in the future that your comparable properties were built the same as your home. Often when energy efficient features are an upgrade, buyers and appraisers don’t know this and don’t add them to the value of your home.
Energy-Efficient Home Certifications
When people buy brand new construction homes in America, they help the planet in many ways. The number one way is that they are energy-efficient, which lowers the carbon footprint we each produce. Every year home building technology and materials change, so when brand new construction homes are sold, everyone wins. Especially the homeowner.
A brand new home may seem more expensive, but weigh your costs before deciding against one. Brand new construction homes require very little maintenance for the first 10 years or so, and utility bills will be lower. Warranties come with brand new homes, and the builder covers most home systems for at least 2 years. Our planet needs you to consider a new home.
brand Some builders offer additional energy-saving features that you might want to consider. In Las Vegas, very few builders offer solar as a standard feature at this time. We are in the desert, so a solar system equals savings in the long run. Solar screens block a lot of the sun’s heat. Extra insulation is put in 2X6 construction vs. 2X4 construction. Window coverings and upgraded appliances will also save on your utility bills.
Green Home Energy Saving Certification
There are different energy-efficient home certifications in the United States. The basic is an Energy-Star Home. A home with Energy-Star standards can add additional energy-saving features to become a National Green Building Standard home, LEEDS certified, and ultimately a Zero Certified Home. Below we will explain each one.
Certified Energy Star Homes
The standard for home energy efficiency in new construction homes is using the Energy Star criteria. All other certifications are based on an Energy Star Certification which is outlined and issued by the EPA. Energy Star means that your home builder submitted a model and it has passed testing and is certified to have:
- Fewer leaks and drafts
- More consistent room temperatures
- Better durability
- Improved air quality
Peace of mind is the 5th feature the EPA says an Energy Star Home will give you, but I’m sure there’s no warranty on that. Keep in mind that the HVAC systems and appliances in an Energy Star Home are Energy Star rated too. All Energy Star ratings are not equal – there is an acceptable range that is used.
The EPA says to expect up to a 30% energy bill savings when you live in a Certified Energy Star home. You’ll also save an average of 3700 lbs. of greenhouse gases (GHG) which is equivalent to having planted 43 trees a year.
NGBS – National Green Building Standard (NGBS) is a higher building standard than Energy Star. It was specifically designed for residential houses. ASHRAE, ICC, and the National Association of Home Builders created this certification to give you- the homebuyer confidence. Homes receiving an NGBS Certification mean that they have gone above and beyond Energy Star Certification standards.
Standards for this certification were decided by consensus within their committee. The committee was made up of representatives from ASHRAE, the ICC, and the National Association of Home Builders. Criteria designed by the building code people, contractors, and national home builders means more to me than the EPA. However, I may be biased as a former Nevada building engineer turned new construction home Realtor.
NGBS testers give points to the builders in each category, and there are 4 levels of certification. Homes are rated from the following categories: lot design, preparation, and development; resource efficiency; energy efficiency; water efficiency; indoor environmental quality; and operation, maintenance, and building owner education. And the NGBS Certification is not the best standard possible.
Expect an energy savings of up to 45% with a NGBS Certification, plus keep in mind that the builder went above and beyond during the build process to protect the environment. You’ll receive a healthier home, lower operating costs, and a sustainable lifestyle.
LEEDS Certified Homes
A LEED Certification is a worldwide title earned by conscientious developers and building owners. Everything about a building must be good for the environment. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Enviormental Design.
A LEED certification is applicable for commercial and residential, new construction, and rehabilitation. To be LEED Certified means that the building features both energy-saving materials and design.
LEED homes are designed to maximize health with maximum indoor fresh air and minimal exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. They will use less energy and water, lowering utility usage. LEED Certified Homes will save 30-60% on utilities compared to non-green homes.
ZERH stands for Zero Homes. A Zero Energy Home Certification is typically not achievable with a production home builder because of the extra cost involved. Some refer to a ZERH Certification an Energy Star Certification on crack. The Department of Energy initiated this program and set the standard. A ZERH certification requires a HERS Score of 50. Compare that to an Energy Star Certification, which has a minimum standard in the low 80’s. With HERS scoring, low is good- think golf.
The DOE’s criteria is for a home built to this standard to be sustainable energy ready. The goal is for a builder to make it possible for the homeowner to easily eliminate or seriously minimize all public utility energy usage. Zero Energy homes must also meet Energy Star criteria, WaterSense requirements, and the Indoor AirPlus standard, plus others.
Your home building costs will be more, but the DOE estimates that a Certified ZERH Home will save you $450-$1200 a year just on electricity. Those figures are a national average and without converting to solar energy.
Energy-Efficient Homes Save Money
Our home is a NGBS National Green Building Standard certified home that is about 2 years old. We get statements each month from the power company telling us that our bill is up to half as much as the rest of the zip code. Water and gas bills are also the lowest we’ve ever had. Our estimated savings last year was over $1200 compared to our last home that was similar-sized. Saving money and the planet at the same time works for me!
Energy-saving features in our NGBS Certified home include a multi-zoned energy-saving HVAC system. The system was balanced and engineered to create maximum airflow, which minimizes the HVAC unit’s operating time. With 2-year-old appliances, every one of them had a high energy star rating. A smart thermostat with room sensors adds further savings.
We also have a space-saving tankless water heater and Low-E windows. As a standard feature, the builder put a small covered patio to block the sun from shining on the sliding glass door. There are smaller windows in this house, but more of them. This also makes it so that the temperatures in a room are more uniform. With a Las Vegas summer, we noticed that this helped a lot.
The home builder that we chose builds with 2 X 6 construction, which allows additional insulation in the walls. There is a radiant barrier on the attic ceiling. Stuccoed eaves add more heat protection (and less maintenance), and VOC and elastomeric paint help as well.
Lower ceiling heights of 9 and 10 feet still give the house a spacious feel. However, the thing I like best about this house? I can adjust the thermostat and lock all windows and doors on my phone when leaving the house and unlock them coming home.
New Construction Homes In Las Vegas
With so many new construction homes to choose from, it can seem daunting to choose which home is for you. Some people cannot read floorplans, and the first thing you need to do is eliminate some homes by their floorplan. If this is you, call me and let me find you homes with the features you like.
Then you’ll want to decide if you want a one or two-story home. Wait! There are 3 story homes in Las Vegas! Land is expensive and a one-story home requires more land for its footprint than a two or three-story home. A one-story home will always cost more to build.
Another great way to eliminate choices is to decide if you want a formal living room or a great room. Do you want a formal or separate dining room? Do you want your bedroom near the secondary bedrooms? If you choose a two or three-story home, do you want a bedroom with a full bath downstairs? Will a 2 car garage work for you or do you need a 3? Once you find floorplans that work for your lifestyle choice, we go looking at homes. Never view homes without a Realtor- read why below.
Choosing A Brand New Construction Home
Once you have chosen your price range and a type of floorplan, you need to know which area you want to live in. If you don’t know areas, let us take you on a “3-hour tour.” That’s when we look at areas, and from there you’ll choose a home and lot that you like.
Each community will usually offer various sized lots. Most lots have “Lot Premiums.” The lowest I am seeing these days is $5000. Lots with just a little more depth or on the perimeter have premiums of at least $10,000. It’s important to factor that in when deciding which homes to look at. A corner lot or a cul-de-sac lot will cost more. Homes backing to green belts, parks, mountains, or that offer a view will also have lot premiums. Some builders have larger lots that fit swimming pools as standard, and others charge for them.
Brand New Home Buyer Representation
Builders – The first thing you should know is that the salesperson at every brand new construction model home that you view works for the builder. Period. They do not represent you and never will represent you. They are nice and offer you drinks and cookies so you will buy their builder’s home. The builder’s contract will be in the builder’s favor, and in Las Vegas, a sales price is not negotiable. Some offer incentives to use their lender. Shop rates and fees and decide on a lender at a future point in time. Remember, their “deal” may not be a good deal – for you…
In Southern Nevada, brand new construction home builders will pay for you to have buyer representation- because they give you none. This is a great benefit to you because the price you pay for the home doesn’t change whether you have a Realtor representing you or if you do all the work yourself. Of course, they’ve made things a little tricky because if you don’t have an agent on your team, their job gets easier- yours isn’t.
How To Assure That You Have Buyer Representation
- Do not give your name on a builder website. Sometimes they are sticklers. Give your best friend’s name if you can’t resist. Better yet, if you want something a builder offers, ask us to get it for you.
- Go with us when you look at new homes for the first time. Our registration is good for 3-6 months, so go back as many times as you want before contract signing.
- Do not sign a registration form and minimize conversation if you look on your own. Tell the onsite sales agent you work with a Realtor. If you want additional information, let us get it for you.
- Go into a contract with us there protecting you. Once you are in contract, most Realtors stop working for you until signing. This is when WE help you the most.
Do not gamble and assume your house is built correctly!
In Nevada, brand new construction home builders pay for you to have a Realtor represent you if we go with you on your first visit to their community. Thankfully, whether or not you have a Realtor does not affect the price of the home. With my team representing you, you also have brand new home experts and a former Nevada Building Engineer (PE, CE). Consequently, we are your FREE new construction home protectors!
A normal Las Vegas Real Estate Buyer’s Agent helps you find the communities that fill your needs and they will go there with you. Agents should be at the contract signing. Some agents may advise you on options and upgrades. Very few will go to a framing walk-thru with you and fewer have anything to add. Many will go to your final walk-thru and some will go to your signing. We do those things AND so much more. WE PROTECT YOU with our building and real estate knowledge and expertise.
PROTECTION AND REPRESENTATION:
How We Represent And Protect You:
- Our principal Realtor, Kurt Grosse, was a Nevada Building Engineer who told Las Vegas’s Largest Builders how to build their houses for over a decade. He knows what it takes to build a house correctly.
- We’ve sold hundreds of new homes in the last 25+ years and know the system and builders.
- A unique service we provide to our clients is: while your new home is under construction, Kurt goes to your homesite weekly to monitor the progress for you. Link to our New Construction Monitoring Page.
- You receive pictures and videos of the house before the drywall gets installed so you have them for your records.
- Kurt does the framing walk-thru with you or for you. He also verifies that your chosen options are installed.
- We attend your home orientation final walk-thru with you.
- Kurt examines financial worksheets closely before you sign loan and title docs
- If you sign in town we go to your title and escrow signing in case questions arise.
- As a gift, our New Construction Home Inspector spends 2-3 hours testing things that people cannot see. He verifies that your new home functions correctly, which may save you thousands. See our blog on Getting a New Construction Home Inspection.
- All of our knowledge and experience are yours forever.
This website and information are made available for you to explore by Kurt Grosse with Realty One Group. Kurt is a Las Vegas Top-Producing Realtor since 1996 and a former Nevada Building Engineer (P.E., C.E.). His goal with both buyers and sellers is to use his skills and knowledge to protect them in this ever-changing Las Vegas Real Estate Market. With how quickly homes are built in Southern Nevada, his skills are invaluable.
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