Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where do you build?
With a central location in Raleigh, we can build homes anywhere within a reasonable drive of Raleigh. Some of our most popular areas are Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Pittsboro and Fuquay-Varina. You can also see a map of where we have been building recently on our Contact Page. If you’re unsure about whether we can build in your location, please contact us.
2. How much are your homes?
We get this question a lot and it is always a difficult one to answer because we are a custom builder and each home is different, but custom does not mean it costs more. We build everything from starter homes for new couples, retirement homes for our “baby boomers,” and estate homes that can exceed a million or more. With our background in design and construction, we are able to build the most home for the money for you. We spend an extensive amount of time meeting with you prior to the contract, making sure we understand exactly what you want and need in your new home so we can provide you with a price that is the greatest value to you.
3. Can I make changes to the plan I have?
Many customers come to us with a plan picked out but with several changes to the original design. This is where we shine as a custom builder. We spend time getting an understanding of what you want and the best way to design and build it for you.
4. Are you a licensed contractor?
Yes, MorningStar Homes has an “unlimited” General Contractor’s license with the state of North Carolina.
5. I don’t have a plan that I like. Can you design one for me?
Yes, we offer design/build service using one of two local architects that we have found to be extremely competent and practical. We also work extensively with plans that our clients bring us and can make modifications to suit your needs.
6. I don’t have a lot. Can you help me find one?
We have several realtors around the area that we can call on to help you find a lot or parcel of land, and we can provide information about available lots surrounding our active construction areas.
7. How long does it take to build a home?
Most homes take nine months from the time we dig the footing or pour the basement. There are instances where it can take longer, especially if it is an extremely large home with many custom features. One important thing to keep in mind is that the time prior to the start of construction needs to be factored into your plans. It can take as long as three months to finalize your design, get it drawn and engineered, and to obtain a building permit. If you need to be in by a certain time, remember to add this “forward planning” time to the overall schedule.
8. Do you finance your homes?
If you want us to, we can. There is a cost associated with this, and it is almost always in your best interests financially for you to obtain a “construction to perm” loan. We work with several lending institutions that have competitive rates and flexible programs and will be happy to refer you to them. Contact us for more information if you have any questions!
9. Will I need to make a down payment?
A down payment is a function of the type of financing that you obtain to build your new home, and we generally ask for some type of down payment at the time of final contract. The amount varies based on each client’s circumstances.
10. Do you do “cost plus” contracts?
We can do a cost plus contract but generally discourage it because it may cost you more to build your home if you go this route. Additionally, many of our customers want to know exactly what their home will cost from day one with no surprises along the way. At MorningStar Homes, we will estimate your home and give you a fixed price contract. The only way the price will change after the start of construction is if you want to add something to the home in the form of a change order or if you exceed an “allowance”.
11. How much experience do you have?
We have a lot of experience: John has been in construction for the last 30 years in many different facets of homebuilding and land development. Find out more About Us!
12. Can I make changes after the home is started?
As a rule, yes. If the change you desire is something that is affected by the current stage of construction, however, it may be difficult or costly. For example, if you want to change your cabinet colors before the cabinets have been ordered, there is generally no problem. If they have been ordered, there may be an additional cost associated with this change. We spend a lot of time working with customers, communicating with them on the progress of their home, and checking to make sure that all changes or selections have been made and that there are no potential changes that may be affected by the stage of construction.
13. Do you accommodate needs and designs for disabilities or Aging In Place??
Absolutely! Working with our interior designer, Barbara Lile, an ASID certified interior designer, we can design for those with disabilities, as well as your “aging in place” needs. Barbara is a formerly certified “CAPS” designer(Certified Aging in Place Specialist) and has knowledge of how to accommodate a current or future disability. Barbara continues to attend continuing education classes for Universal Design/Aging in Place to stay up to date with all of the new options for those building for a current or possible future disability. Read more about CAPS
14. How many homes do you build?
Currently, we only build as many as we can personally oversee and manage. This generally means that we have 2-3 homes under construction at any one time and that we will complete 3-5 in a year. We are a very hands on company and won’t take on more then we can build correctly for our clients. It is not unusual for us to have a waiting list for a home to be built. Please don’t hesitate to contact us about your project and your timing. Many times we can fit a home into the schedule if it is near another build.
15. My child has allergies. Can you help me build a home that doesn’t aggravate their condition?
Yes. Working with our interior designer, we will spend the time up front to understand your needs and then find the best solution for you. There are many new products on the market (and more coming out each day) that are more “green,” or environmentally friendly. These products generally provide a healthier living environment for those with special medical needs. Read more about our Green Building techniques.
16. Do you have completed homes available?
Since we are a custom builder, most of our homes are what is known as “pre-sale” and are sold prior to the start of construction. We do occasionally have homes that are not pre-sold and built on speculation. It is best to contact us to see what is available.
17. Can I use my own subcontractors?
This is a tricky question for us. The answer is almost always no. For MorningStar Homes to ensure and deliver a quality product for you, and one that we can stand behind, we use a trade base with which we have many years’ experience. Using a subcontractor with whom we have no experience means that we cannot be certain that they will do the type of work that we require.
18. Can I do my own work on the home?
We occasionally get customers who want to do some of their own work in order to build some sweat equity in the home. This may take longer, and, much of the time, the perceived savings from doing their own work is offset by the increased interest cost you will incur resulting from the delay in construction. If you are a qualified, licensed and properly insured tradesperson, we will consider using you for your qualified work component. In all other cases, we have to respectfully decline.
19. Do you build detached garages and workshops?
We will build detached garages and workshops as part of a new home construction project. We don’t build these as standalone projects.
20. Do you do remodeling?
At this time we do not do remodeling. That is not to say that if the right project came along (especially inside the Beltline, where there are many historic homes) we would not consider it. We have a love of historic architecture and would consider the right opportunity to remodel a home of this nature.
21. Do you have any homes that I can see?
As a rule, we generally have homes in various stages of construction that we are more then happy to show to you. Additionally, many of our customers for whom we have completed homes are happy to let you view their home with enough notice. Contact us for more information regarding this.
22. Do you build GREEN or ENERGY STAR homes?
We have been building ENERGY STAR homes for several years now and most recently have been building EcoSelect and Duke Hero+ as certified by Southern Energy Management. John and Justin Lile, are Certified Green Professionals (as certified by the NAHB) and can assist you with designing and building your green home. Read more about Green building and ecoSelect Certification.
23. Does building a GREEN or ENERGY STAR home cost more?
This is a more difficult question to answer. There are different levels of both programs (ENERGY STAR vs. Green), and, as you might suspect, the higher the level the potential to increase your cost goes up. The important thing is to balance your needs against the cost to insure that you are spending your money wisely.
We spend a lot of time with our clients trying to understand what is important to them and making recommendations as to what level they may want to achieve in their home. The balance is to spend your money so that the initial outlay for either ENERGY STAR or Green certification is offset over time by the savings resulting from a high-performance home.
Aside from building higher performance homes, we also work towards being better stewards of our environment. For many of our clients, this is more important then the initial cost to upgrade. This is also one of the reasons that we committed to building 100% of our homes to and Energy Certification Standard.