Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Questions to ask your Builder

Q. How many years have you been in business? How many homes have you built?
A. Johnson Homes has been in business continuously since 1973. Suffice it to say we are experienced builders but more importantly, since the home building recovery began in Florida about four years ago, we have built approximately 70 homes.

Q. Are you licensed and insured?
A. We are licensed to build statewide under State of Florida Certified Residential Contractor License # 1329164. All of our trades have the required workman’s comp and general liability insurance. Your home itself is protected during construction by a Builder’s risk insurance policy which is the responsibility of the customer.

Q. What are the major energy-saving features of homes you build?
A. Our windows and sliders are insulated, impact glass (hurricane) with a low-e radiant barrier. We use SolarPly plywood for our roof decking, though most customers are upgrading to polyurethane spray foam insulation for a nominal charge. Exterior walls are insulated with 3/4 inch styrofoam panels, we insulate hot water service with Armaflex under the slab, and our air handlers are located inside the home for greater operating efficiency. With the exception noted above, these are all standard features with no upgrade charge.

Q. Do you build only from home plans you supply? Or can I provide my own set of plans?
A. We are happy to build from a customers own set of plans. We have models of various size and layout which most of our customers pick from and then modify with our help to get exactly the plan they want. If a customer brings in their own set of plans that they still want to make modifications on, we are happy to help in that effort, and then have the plan drawn up by our architect.

Q. What standard features do your homes include? What options and upgrades can I select?
A. All our homes include high quality insulated, impact, low-e windows and sliders, granite countertops throughout, under-mount sinks, soft-close features on cabinet doors and drawers, SolarPly plywood (never chipboard) on the roof meaning that you get a radiant barrier as a standard feature. Our Platinum finish homes include eight-foot doors and arches, crown molding, and a number of recessed ceilings as standard features. As for upgrades, our customers can select any material or design features they desire, with the understanding they would need to pay an upgrade charge reflecting any additional cost to the builder from standard material or installation. Johnson Homes works with our customers to ensure they get the home they want. We believe this is the essence of custom home building.

Q. How and when can I make changes or upgrades before and during construction?
A. Choices for your home will be made during a color session with a Johnson Homes representative. After those choices have been made we are happy to make changes as desired by the customer as long as the price (if an upgrade) is agreeable and the construction timeline is not unduly affected.  When making changes, we ask that you use email for clarity. We understand that the choices involved in building can be overwhelming and want to work with our customers to ensure they get the home they want.

Q. Will I have access to my home during the building process? How often?
A. This is your home and you are welcome on the construction site. Safety is always a concern and there may be some times during construction that preclude visitors, but generally, the site is available and open to you.

Q. Icynene 101

Icynene, is the trademark name for an open cell, soft foam insulation and air barrier system. Icynene’s water-blown spray foam adheres to the attic roof creating both R-value and an air barrier for increased energy efficiency, a healthier indoor environment, and a reduction in airborne sounds. Icynene maintains its performance with no loss of R-value over time. It does not shrink, sag or settle. 

Icynene initially costs more than traditional insulation. Johnson Homes charges $2.00 per square foot of living space to upgrade to this product.  If you are financing your new home, you may be adding approximately $15-18 to your monthly payment for the upgraded spray foam insulation, but you can expect to save more than that on your utility bill and usually it’s significantly more. 

Energy Efficient Home:  Creating an air barrier with Icynene® spray foam is the smart solution for those concerned about energy efficiency or those tired of their cooling systems not keeping pace with Florida summer heat & humidity. Icynene effectively fights the largest source of energy loss in the average home – the 30 to 40% typically lost through air leakage. To compensate for the air that leaks out, HVAC professionals are forced to put in larger units which cost more to install and operate.
Quieter Home: Icynene’s air sealing qualities can help reduce the amount of airborne sound penetrating your home. If you live near a busy street or an airport, you know all about airborne sounds – the unwanted noises that can invade your living space, hindering your comfort and enjoyment. Icynene foam insulation is an effective barrier to airborne sounds. 

Healthier Home: Icynene, when used on the exterior walls and attic, seals the building envelope, controls condensation caused by infiltrating moist/humid air and the resulting molds and mildews. The air seal also prevents outside pollution, dust, and allergens from entering the building. (Note:  Johnson Homes uses 3/4 inch foam panels on the exterior walls)

Icynene contains no CFCs, no HCFCs, no HFAs, no formaldehyde, nor volatile organic compounds. 

Independent tests have confirmed that Icynene emits no harmful emissions.

Once installed, spray-foam insulation offers a constant payback of energy savings for the life of your home. It minimizes air leakage in the home, which can generate savings on initial HVAC equipment costs as well as ongoing utility costs. This will result in significant savings every month in energy costs versus conventional insulation.

Q. Why should I build? Are there still distress sale bargains on the market?

It is true that there are still a few homes on the market with prices designed to grab your attention. While it is possible that such a home can work out for a buyer, there are a number of factors to consider when purchasing a used home. Risks and considerations include: 
“As-is” condition, no warranty.
Lengthy delays/uncertainty of approval by lender. (in the case of a short sale)
Punitive contract addenda in the case of an REO. (Real Estate Owned)
Greater insurance expense. (dictated by the age of the home) 
Sacrificing building the home of your dreams in order to obtain a “bargain.”

A new home is yours and yours alone.  It is built on your timeline, with new materials, such as high-impact/ Lo-e, insulated windows, the latest technology, money-saving energy efficiency, and a warranty. You can have the home you always wanted, without compromise.

Thank you for visiting our website.  We appreciate your interest, and would like to leave you with the following thoughts:

We work to ensure there will be no surprises for our customers– that we will meet and exceed expectations.
Every one of our customers has the president’s personal cell phone number.

We strive to turn our customers into our friends.

If you have any questions, please call Dennis Johnson at: (941) 713-8375.  He will be happy to hear from you.

Thanks again for visiting Johnson Homes!
Sincerely,

The Johnson Family

Q. I am ready to build, what do I do next?

That depends on if you are going to pay cash, or finance the home. If you are going to finance, you will need to choose a lender and secure a construction loan. The most cost-effective package will be construction/perm financing implying there will be only one closing as the loan transitions from the construction phase to a permanent mortgage.  At this time we have relationships with several different lenders, and you can even take advantage of FHA and VA construction loan financing to get you into your new home with little cash outlay.  You can normally fill out an application on-line, over the phone, or in-person. Generally, your loan during the construction phase will be interest only, modifying to a fixed rate or ARM of your choice once the home is complete. You can expect an initial charge from the lender of $400-500 for a credit check and appraisal; once approved, there will be some additional costs for administering the loan and inspecting the home prior to the builder’s draws on the loan. By law, you will always receive a Good Faith Estimate from the lender in a format that makes your costs understandable, and allows for easy comparison between lenders. Closing a construction/perm loan takes between 30 to 45 days from application. 

Whether you are financing or paying cash, Johnson Homes charges a design deposit fee of $3,000 to have an architect draw up your initial floor plan and front elevation.  This fee represents our cost. The house plan becomes the property of the customer whether he/she pursues the building process or not.  If you are financing a home, a completed house plan is a must, because the home must be appraised before a loan committment can be made.

If you are paying cash, we normally request a deposit of 5% of the price of the home at contract signing. This amount includes the $3000 design deposit fee referred to above for house plans.  Approximately half of the deposit goes to pay for permitting and various pre-construction expenses incurred by the builder and is credited toward the contract price of the home as the project goes forward. The deposit remainder, and all further draws, go into bricks and mortar. The payment schedule for a cash customer follows closely to the “draw” schedule for a construction loan. At various milestone points in construction such as “slab pour”, “dry-in”, and completion of drywall, the builder is entitled to a draw representing a specified percentage of the contract value in order to pay his subcontractors for work performed.

Q. How much does building a home cost?

Pricing varies depending on the size and “finish” level of the home, whether or not it has a pool, and the amenities of the pool area. We have easy-to-read handouts containing specifications and prices of both our “Silver” and “Platinum” finish levels available at our model home in Twin Rivers that will help you estimate the cost of your new home. Our pricing sheets represent the cost of the home only; pool and building lot are additional. One of the most important elements of the building experience is that the customer understands exactly what the home will cost before signing the contract. Pricing can also be done by telephone or email.

Q. What is the difference between a custom home and a tract home?

Individuality  Custom homebuilder’s build homes that are unique.  The customer decides on variables for the home that will make it their own, and meet their specific needs. The home will be customized to the owners tastes and desires for amenities, features, size, creative touches, floor plan, etc.  A custom homebuilder is not locked into any subdivision.  Johnson Homes will build on your lot, or help you find a lot in a location that meets your needs.   
Tract Homes are built by home builders or developers who own a large piece (tract) of land divided into a number of building lots.  The tract home builder already has models chosen which will be the homes built on these lots. For example they may have chosen 4 floor plans of various sizes and shapes and will put 25 of each model on the 100 lots of a particular subdivision. 
 
Quality Construction  We can’t speak for all homebuilders, but here are a few details Johnson Homes believes are important, and are included in every home we build: 
 
Radiant barrier plywood in roof decking
Hot water service pipes insulated under the slab
High Impact, Insulated, Low-E windows
Thicker drywall on ceilings (5/8 inch) to prevent sagging
Insulated interior walls for energy efficiency and noise mitigation
You have the President’s cell number and he will personally answer your call 
 
So there are differences; the choice is yours and it is an important one.  Whoever builds your home, make certain you are comfortable, and dealing with people you trust.

Q. How long does the building process take?

Our current build time is approximately six months from the time we receive the building permit, depending on the size of the home. We cannot submit the home for permitting until we have the exact dimensions and layout on the lot.  Building a custom home means developing a plan that meets your specific needs. This process of finalizing the design before permit application is the biggest time consumer, but it is time well spent for the customer.