Taking the Stress out of Building your Dream Home

Taking the Stress out of Building your Dream Home

Building a house is one of biggest and most rewarding projects that a consumer can undertake.

Where to build, the style of house, brick color, interior selections and costs are all part of the dozens of decisions that must be made.

Build Cincinnati at Coldwell Banker West Shell is where building a custom home starts.

Mike Hines, Build Cincinnati co-founder, says building a new house is "for somebody who likes making selections and likes creating something from nothing."

Hines and his father, Bill, a longtime Cincinnati developer, started Build Cincinnati in 2011 to provide critical advice to home buyers who want to build. 

When Hines finished college and began working in land development, the housing market began crashing. While their developments floundered, they realized that they’d need to adapt to a new normal during the recovery. That’s where Build Cincinnati was born. Hines says: "We knew buyers would be wary to build again. So, we changed gears from large-scale developments to infill, teardown properties and created an advisory group to walk buyers through the land acquisition and building process."

Build Cincinnati is a group within Coldwell Banker West Shell. Hines says it possibly is the first such group within a large real-estate sales company in the country. Build Cincinnati staff members must maintain certain licenses, much like regular real-estate agents, in order to represent builders and buyers.

The beauty of the relationship is that home buyers can shop for existing houses and get advice on building homes as well, Hines says.

"We have a team of agents that does resale as well, so you can look at both options," he says. "We can say, ‘OK, here are a couple of new-construction options, and here are a few resale options. What’s best for you?’"

Hines says about half of clients who are looking at building a home are also looking at existing houses. If they have been buying existing homes in the past, they might be thinking that it’s time to look at new-construction options that fit their lifestyle now.

Build Cincinnati works with almost all builders in the area, focusing on about a dozen – mostly custom to semi-custom – builders.   

"Essentially, Build Cincinnati is a one-stop shop building advisory group. We help you find a lot, find a builder, select an architect, basically walk you through the entire process to make sure you’re not overwhelmed and that no one is pulling the wool over your eyes," Hines says. "We don’t typically recommend just one builder. We always look at a number of builders for each client."

Build Cincinnati handles the communication between the customer and the builder, mainly in the beginning design and acquisition phases. Staff members can keep track of the process for buyers so that they don’t have to visit the building site every day. The firm runs interference if any issues arise.

The price of homes derives from the price of the land. If a lot is $200,000, then a custom-built house likely will be in the range of $700,000, depending on the neighborhood. Hines says $700,000 is typical in Montgomery or Hyde Park, for instance, while Madeira or Loveland might be $500,000.

Many areas are built-out, and some buyers will choose a lot with a house that’s falling apart and tear down the house to build a new one.

"We do more tear-downs in Cincinnati than any other group we know of," Hines says. But having said that, he adds: "If there’s redeeming value in a piece of property, we will try to find a way to utilize the structure that’s there. For instance, in Hyde Park, if the house is in decent shape, we bring that to a rehabber if the price is right. We look at the best use of each and every property." 

So where do you begin? Hines says they ask buyers: "Where would you like to be ideally? What community are you focusing on? Here are the options we have right now, or if we don’t have that option, let’s go find it for you."

A large percentage of Build Cincinnati’s business comes from out-of-towners moving here for a job, Hines says. It’s important for them to get unbiased information.

"When a buyer is even thinking about building, they need to call us first because we have the lots, we know what builders they need to go to, we know the price points of the kinds of houses they want," Hines says. "In the end, whether they become clients or not, we can point them in the right direction so they don’t waste any extra time or energy!"

Build Cincinnati is located at 11085 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45249. You can reach the company at 513.686.7676 or visit its website at www.buildcincinnati.com.

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