Buying a Lot? Talk to Your Builder First


If you’ve decided to invest in a custom built home, you have the advantage of having a home constructed to your exact specifications. However, you may be faced with the dilemma of whether to choose the lot first, or select a builder? In reality, there are advantages to both approaches, and considerations to take into account in either case.

If You’ve Already Selected a Lot

If you have already selected the plot for your home – or if you have obtained or inherited land from your family, it’s a good idea to have a builder inspect the property. A qualified builder or home construction company can help you determine what part of your lot is best suited for building your new home. A builder can also help in developing a style for your home that will work well with your selected lot.

If You Hire a Builder First

Hiring a builder before selecting your lot can be very advantageous in ensuring that your home has every feature that you want. Ask the builder to come along when you’re inspecting potential locations for your new home. A professional builder knows what to look for in a plot of land, and can spot potential problems that you might miss. If you have a particular home style in mind, having a builder help in the process can ensure that building the home you want is possible on a particular lot.

Communication is Key

Regardless of whether you select the lot or the builder first, maintaining open communication is essential. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or request more detailed explanations from the builder about his or her recommendations concerning a particular plot of land. Whether you select a lot first or hire a builder before choosing a lot, the right builder can help ensure that you make the right choices for your land and your home.

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.

Top 7 Countertop Materials

Counter Top Images

Many people understandably focus a lot of time and attention on kitchen décor, and choosing the right kitchen countertops can be overwhelming. The following list of seven countertops represents some familiar and unusual choices, along with pros and cons associated with each type of countertop.

Natural Stone

Natural stone surfaces such as granite, soapstone, and limestone are durable and never look dated. However, natural stone is expensive, and must be treated to stand up to the demands of food prep.

Natural stone countertop


Marble is beautiful and elegant, lending a high-end look to any kitchen. However, marble is brittle and prone to cracking. Marble must also be sealed regularly to prevent staining or scratching.

Marble countertop

Cultured Stone

Cultured stone blends quartz and pigments to give the look of natural stone. Cultured stone is nearly maintenance free and easy to clean. However, it is almost as expensive as natural stone.

cultured stone countertops

Eco-Friendly Countertops

Materials like bamboo, recycled glass, and paper composites are beautiful and eco-friendly. However, eco-friendly countertops can be difficult to find (or replace) and subject to damage from everyday use.

Glass countertop


Butcher block countertops add rustic charm to your kitchen. Wood is durable but also porous. Wood countertops must be treated and sealed to be suitable for food prep.

Wood countertop


Stainless steel countertops give kitchens a modern, industrial vibe and coordinate well with stainless steel appliances. Copper and pewter are other popular choices. Metal countertops are antibacterial and stain resistant. However, if scratches bother you, then metal countertops are not for you.

Metal Countertop


Concrete is durable and looks great alongside natural materials such as wood. Concrete is heat and stain resistant, but also heavy and requires regular sealing to prevent food stains and damage from liquids.

Concrete Countertop

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.

When to Worry About Cracks

JMC - Cracked Wall

"Cracks happen in a variety of home building materials (stucco, drywall, mortar, concrete, etc.) and most cracks are simply a natural part of the expansion, contraction, and settling of the home."

However, there are times when a crack requires a more extensive evaluation. Before you start to worry, read the article, "Cracks? No Worries." from the Home Buyers Warranty Risk Manager Walt Keaveney to understand when cosmetic repairs will suffice and when you need to call in an expert.

Ready to create your dream home?

At John Mark Custom Homes, we’d love to show you how we can help.