Home Price Reality Check

April 5, 2016 | Newsletter

Consulting with a builder before drawing the plans will save expense and headaches.

Most custom builders have had clients show up at their office with a set of finished plans that, in reality, will cost 25% to 30% more than the clients’ target budget. Fortunately, this problem is easily avoided. Working with the builder on a pre-budget can eliminate unpleasant surprises and help the clients get the home they want at a price they can manage.

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The Problem with Competitive Bidding

March 1, 2016 | Newsletter

Some big obstacles stand in the way of the three-bid advice.

Folk wisdom, online articles, and basic instincts advise homeowners to solicit bids from several qualified contractors. But three major obstacles get in the way of making those bids realistic and useful: the need for detailed plans and job specifications, the need for comparable bidders, and the need to structure the bids for easy comparisons. Getting all three right is rare.

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Controlling Allowances

February 2, 2016 | Newsletter

Strict allowance policies benefit homeowners as much as builders.

Why does the Merlin Contracting team and other builders prefer that the homeowners choose every single item that will go into the house before they break ground? It’s not just for the builder’s convenience. A choice postponed may end up being made at a time when the homeowners are feeling a lot of construction stress. Decisions made under stress raise the chance of buyer’s remorse.

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The New Science of Building

January 5, 2016 | Newsletter

Creating a durable and efficient Las Vegas home is no job for amateurs.

In 1985 Las Vegas was home to 562,280 Southern Nevadans. In that ancient time—30 years ago—someone with basic construction knowledge could build a serviceable home. No more. Today, the combination of contemporary building materials and code-mandated construction practices have made homes more complex with less margin for error.

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Why Builders Must Be Learners

December 1, 2015 | Newsletter

Continuing education is no longer optional.

What do today’s best builders have in common? Although the answer includes many items, there’s a common thread running through each of them: a commitment to ongoing learning. The know-how needed to build high-performance, durable homes is evolving faster than ever. That’s why top builders commit to continuing education in a variety of disciplines, including architecture, engineering, law, materials science, and management.

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The Value of Trusted Associations

November 17, 2015 | Newsletter

You can tell a lot about someone by his or her associates, and that’s as true for businesses as it is for individuals. Every successful business understands the value of ongoing trust-based relationships with other industry professionals.

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What Makes a Project a Success?

October 6, 2015 | Newsletter

It’s as much about the experience as the result.

Some homeowners have asked: How does a builder know when a project has been a success? Well, there’s good news—the answer to this question is one of the things that defines a great builder.

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How Long Have You Been in Business?

September 1, 2015 | Newsletter

Why this is a great question to ask a builder.

The National Association of Homebuilders estimates that it takes at least 3 to 5 years to create a sustainable building business. Most builders never get there: residential contractors have a failure rate higher than nearly every other business type, surpassed only by restaurants.

Only the strongest competitors survive this winnowing.

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The Connected Home

July 7, 2015 | Newsletter

New technologies put the smart home within reach of any homebuyer.

Connected home technology in the early 2000s was a costly proposition. In most cases, high-priced “structured wiring” linked a central server to the devices it managed and also to proprietary, hardwired keypads and control screens.

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What is Customer Satisfaction?

May 5, 2015 | Newsletter

Steve and I were born and raised in Las Vegas. It was a small town then and, in many ways, it is a small town today. Then and now – reputation is everything and reputations are built on experiences. Merlin’s company culture is based on giving our homeowners a positive and fulfilling experience during the creation of their homes.

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Managing Change

April 7, 2015 | Newsletter

Building a new home is a dynamic and exciting process. As professional homebuilders, Merlin Contracting’s goal is to make the process smooth and transparent for our clients. Once the job is underway, things happen quickly, so we work with clients to make decisions well ahead of time to help ensure they get their new home on schedule and within budget.

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Keeping Projects on Track

March 17, 2015 | Newsletter

Failure to make timely decisions is the number one culprit behind schedule and cost overruns. Homeowners play a key role in preventing these problems.

Some homeowners find it a challenge to make their final selection of products and materials. It’s easy to see why—with practically limitless choices in countertops, fixtures, tiles, windows, and other products, it can be difficult to settle on one model, style, or color.

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