Your Building Blog for the Rochester Area

How Much Should You Spend on Land for Your New Home in Rochester?

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 @ 20:09 PM

How much should you spend on land for your new homeOver the years, we’ve built a lot of homes in the Rochester area. Invariably, the question of budget comes up. People want to know how much they should spend for their new home.  They wonder “how much house” they can really afford, and which upgrades really make sense for them.

One element future homeowners sometimes overlook is how much they should spend on the land their house will sit on—particularly if they happen to be looking at a parcel of property that’s not part of an existing development. 

The answer to that question is like so many others associated with building a new home: It depends. There’s a kind of rule of thumb in the building industry that suggests that it’s generally a good idea not to spend more than 25 percent of your total budget on the property itself. That may be helpful in giving you a very general idea of what to spend, but here are a couple of things that may actually be more useful. 

How much land do you really need? People have different reasons for wanting larger lots. Some simply want more space around the home to ensure privacy and quiet. But solitude sometimes comes with a price—and it’s not just the cost of the lot. Remote parcels may cost extra in order to get services (electricity, water, sewage, etc.) connected. So you need to make sure you understand what your potential costs are before you make that purchase. 

Some people want to use the space for other purposes (perhaps for animals). But before you pursue that plot for that purpose, you may want to make sure it’s zoned for that use. Otherwise you can find yourself on a piece of property that you can’t use the way you planned. 

And no matter what your reason for wanting that piece of land, you need to keep resale in mind. Will the property you purchase now be desirable when it’s time for you to sell? If you buy a large parcel, will you be able to divide it up if you need to? What about access to roads if you do?

How much you spend on your property depends on what you can afford—both now and in the future. The bigger issue, is whether that piece of property is the right fit for you and whether or not you’ve thought through all the issues surrounding that purchase. 

Before you even purchase a home site, let Gerber Homes help you evaluate the land. There is no need to hire an outside consultant to help you find the right piece of land for your new home. Our NO FEE land consulting services include:

  • Locating the land
  • Site cost evaluation
  • Suitable floor plan recommendation
  • Septic or well requirements
  • And much more!

Contact us for more details on finding just the right piece of property for your new home!

Created on 05/18/12 at 13:26:28

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, purchasing property, property costs, property considerations

Living in the Finger Lakes Region: A Place for All Seasons

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 @ 20:09 PM

Living in the Finger Lakes Region a place for all seasonsWhat makes the Finger Lakes Region such a great place to live? For one thing, there’s plenty to do at any time of year. The area enjoys an abundance of natural beauty: whether it’s the pristine lakes, gorgeous waterfalls, or the magnificent parks. But there’s more than just natural beauty here.  The area is home to charming villages, one-of-a-kind museums, and unique shopping opportunities—not to mention more than 100 with award-winning wines—begging to be discovered.

And there’s plenty to do and see at any time of year. In the spring and summer you’ll have your choice from any the 11 lakes across the region. You can swim, boat and kayak, jet ski, wakeboard, or simply lounge lakeside and soak up the sun.

The fall season in the Finger Lakes area is simply breathtaking as the lakes reflect the blazing colors of the rich foliage that surrounds them. But the region offers more than just a feast for the eyes. You can enjoy delicious food and specialty drinks at Canandaigua's New York Wine & Culinary Center. 

And while our winters may frighten off the less hearty from other regions, those that live here enjoy 9,000 square miles of recreational lands, frozen lakes, and breathtaking outdoor scenery.

Of course there’s more to the area than recreation. It’s home to great communities—like Webster, Canandaigua, Perinton, Ontario, and more—with great homes for families to enjoy. We invite you to check out our communities—and take a look at some of the fantastic housing opportunities here.

Each of these communities is within easy reach of all there is to see and do in the Finger Lakes region. What better place could you call home?

Created on 05/18/12 at 13:26:28

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, Finger Lakes, Ontario, Perinton, Webster

Thinking of Building a Custom Home? Take Your Time!

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 @ 07:09 AM

Gerber-Homes-Custom-Home-Builder-in-Rochester-7If you’re considering building a custom home in the Ontario or Canandaigua area, you may be tempted to get going and move things along.

It may sound a bit strange to have a home builder tell you to slow down and take your time—but the fact is that building a home isn’t something you want to rush through. It’s really not an event—it’s a process. And the more you think through this process of building the home of your dreams, the happier you’ll be with the results.

Before you get too wrapped up and rush into decisions about color schemes, counter tops, flooring, and finishes, you’ll want to think through what it is you really want from your home. What’s your lifestyle? Will that be changing soon? How much space do you really need? How will you use the space available to you?

Once you answer some of those questions, you’ll be ready to start thinking about what kind of floor plan will deliver the results you want. When you do that, there’s a lot more involved in picking a floor plan than the exterior appearance of your home. You may want to look at several floor plans to see which one (or ones) best match the flow of traffic you expect in your home.

If you’re looking for help with that, we have a large selection of floor plans for different styles of homes: from Colonial to 1st Floor Masters, to Patio homes, Ranch homes, and Cape homes. You can check out those plans here for free!

One of the most critical steps in the whole homebuilding process is selecting the right builder. Even though it’s an important consideration, you don’t want to make your selection purely on price. And pretty pictures on a website aren’t the only thing you should look at either. Here’s a helpful post on how to choose the right homebuilding in the Rochester area.

Those things are just part of the process involved in building your custom home. If you’d like some more tips about what you should consider, download our free 17-page guide, Steps to Building Your Dream Home.

The thing to remember is that building your dream home isn’t a race. Don’t be in a hurry. And as much as we’d love to build your dream home for you, we know it’s important that you take the time you need to understand the process and make the decisions that are right for you. We’d love to help you do that!


Topics: floor plans, Rochester area custom homebuilding, homebuilding process, choosing right builder

Why Creating Your Dream Home is NOT Like a Box of Chocolates!

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Aug 28, 2014 @ 20:08 PM

Why creating your dream home is NOT like a box of chocolatesMost of us have seen Forrest Gump enough times to cite Forrest’s words of wisdom verbatim without batting an eye. Who can forget: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.”

Some people seem to take that approach when they try to create the home of their dreams. They have some ideas and wishes and preferences—but they really don’t know what they’re going to get. And sometimes they’re disappointed with the results. 

Sometimes the problem is that they don’t really know what they want. But it doesn’t have to be that way when you’re trying to create the “perfect” home. It starts with making sure you identify what’s really important to you—and defining your own sense of style.

You may be in a home that you really like—but you need to make some changes to turn it into a home that you love. Or it could be that your basic needs—and the style of home you really want–can’t be achieved where you are. You need to start from scratch. 

That’s the beauty of building a custom home or doing a custom remodel of the home you’re in. But it begins with being crystal clear about what it is you want.

That’s why we developed our Building a House Creating a Home eBook. It walks you through some of the essentials of creating the perfect home that’s customized for your needs, preferences, and lifestyle. It covers topics such as:

  • Deciding whether to build or remodel to get your dream home
  • The benefits of creating your perfect place
  • How to choose themes for each room that capture your home’s personality
  • Inspiration for your kitchen and bathroom designs
  • Great ideas on how to make the most of the space you have
  • How to work with layout logistics to get the amenities you want
  • Understanding the dynamic of color statements and how to use them to make your home warm and inviting
  • Finding a home building or remodeling contractor and applying for finance 

You can download this helpful eBook for free. It’s a great way to start pursuing the home you’ve always wanted. It’s a lot fewer calories than a box of chocolates—and a lot more rewarding!

Dream Home

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding

Purchasing Property: The Real Dirt on Buying Dirt

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Aug 20, 2014 @ 07:08 AM

Purchasing property the real dirt on buying dirtSometimes you’ll hear people in the homebuilding industry talk about “buying dirt.” But they’re not thinking of running down to the local home improvement store to pick up some landscaping soil—they’re talking about buying a parcel of land for building a home.

Some homeowners prefer to buy the property for their new home independently from the builder. As builders, we’re happy to build on a piece of property you purchase. But like many things in the homebuilding process, there’s more to buying the right piece of property than meets the eye. Here are a couple of pieces of “dirt” you’ll want to know about buying your own dirt. 

Location: The first thing most homeowners think about when choosing a lot is location. That’s a good start. You want to know how easy it will be to access things such as schools, shopping, work, and recreational activities. But there’s more to location than just those things. Will your land be in a location that allows you easy access to electricity and water hook-up? What about sewer access? Will you be able to tap in to city utilities or will you have to handle that on your own? What will it cost you to do that?

Views: Many homebuyers fall in love with a piece of property because of the beautiful views. That can be really important. As a matter of fact, for some people, what they see from their home is almost as important as what is inside the house. But sometimes what you can’t see is really critical in the homebuilding process. What’s under the surface of the parcel you’re looking at? Can you build on it “as is” or will you need to do preparation? Will the property drain properly? Will the existing soil support your home—or will you need pilings? Are there other obstacles buried in the dirt that could inhibit digging your foundation?

Again, we’re more than happy to build on property that you purchase—whether you buy it from us or on your own. But before you buy your dirt, make sure you have a reputable builder check it out. We’ll notice things that you may not be aware of and we can help you avoid a mistake that could cost you a lot of money!

Dream Home

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, land purchases in the Rochester area, avoiding mistakes in property purchases

Why Everybody Loves a Parade—of Homes

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 @ 20:08 PM

Why everybody loves a parade of homesI love a parade, the tramping of feet,
I love every beat I hear of a drum.
I love a parade, when I hear a band
I just want to stand and cheer as they come.

The song “I Love a Parade” was written for a musical film (Manhattan Parade) in 1931, but for a lot of us, the sentiment remains unchanged today. A parade is a great spectacle—a chance to see the kinds of things one doesn’t see everyday in a celebratory atmosphere.

It’s that same kind of atmosphere and collection of exciting elements that makes a Parade of Homes special today. Sure, it’s an opportunity for builders and designers to showcase their talents and parade some of their best work in front of the public. That’s why we love a parade of homes.

We’ve discovered, however, that potential homebuyers love a parade as well. It’s a chance to survey a number of different styles and approaches from a variety of different builders at one time in relatively close proximity. Homeowners can compare and make notes—not just from pictures or descriptions—but from up-close-and-personal viewing of actual homes.

That’s why we’re so pleased to be participating in this month’s Parade of Homes in the Rochester area. We invite you to come out and see our offerings that include our homes in:

Magnolia Manor in Perintondescribe the image

Located just three miles east of Fairport, this home features:

  • Dedicated open space
  • Gorgeous Hardwoods
  • 2395 sq ft, 4 bed, 3 bath
  • Fully Landscaped, New Patio
  • Gourmet Kitchen and Pantry
  • Energy Efficient Heat Pump
  • Central Air Conditioning
  • Luxurious Steam Shower
  • Gas Fireplace Granite Surround

describe the imageBriarwood Estates in Webster

This home will give you a great feel for the quality you can expect from Gerber, whether your build to this plan or one of your own—on one of our lots or one of your own where you’ll enjoy:

  • Webster Schools
  • Webster Forever Wild Space
  • Pedestrian Trail & Ponds
  • Close proximity to Webster Shopping
  • Variety of Home Sites


Come on out and enjoy the parade!

Dream Home

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, Rochester parade of homes, comparing multiple homes

Creating a Home You Can Stay in

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Aug 6, 2014 @ 07:08 AM

Creating a home you can stay inHow long do you plan to stay in your home? The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) did a bit of research fairly recently and found that nearly 90 percent of seniors want to stay in their own homes as they age. And 82 percent indicated that they wanted to remain in their own homes even if the require day-to-day assistance or ongoing health care during retirement. 

The seniors interviewed in the AARP research also identified a number of housing features that they consider particularly important if they are going to continue to live independently.


Those features include: 

  • Non-slip floor surfaces
  • Bathroom aides such as grab bars
  • Personal alert systems for emergencies
  • Entrances without steps
  • Wider doorways
  • Lever-handled doorknobs
  • Higher electrical outlets
  • Lower electrical switches

However, the AARP research also revealed that the majority of these features do not currently exist in most seniors’ homes. 

Of course wanting to stay in your own home and being able to do so can be two different things, and one of the keys to being able to stay in your own home is to get a jump on installing these features before they’re absolutely essential. In a lot of cases, making these changes involves a bit more than running down to the local Home Depot or Lowes and picking up parts. We’ve been building and remodeling homes in the Rochester area for more than 50 years. We can help you make the changes necessary that will enable you to stay comfortably and safely in the home you love.

Some people approaching their senior years, however, may want to make a more significant move. Even though they may not need some of these features yet, they want to build a new home that will be comfortable now—and will allow them to remain there as long as they want. 

If that’s your situation, you may want to start the building process by reviewing floor plans that deliver the comfort and style you want now—but will also provide safety and security years down the road. We invite you to check out our wide range of floor plans. And you may want to pay special attention to our 1st Floor Master Plans and our Patio Home plans. Both deliver great designs that are easily adaptable to future needs.


Whichever direction you take, it’s a great way to create a home you can stay in for years to come.

Dream Home

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, Rochester-area aging-in-place, floor plans for aging-in-place

Creating the Perfect Home Doesn’t Just Happen

Posted by John Graziose on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 @ 20:07 PM

Creating the=perfect home doesn't just happenPeople dream of finding the “perfect” home, but does it ever really happen? We’ve been building custom homes in the Rochester area since 1981, and I’d have to say that “just happening” to find the perfect home almost never happens. It takes some forethought and some effort to find the home that’s right for you and your family.

While it’s theoretically possible to discover just the right home in the MLS book or online, it’s pretty rare to walk into an existing house (whether it’s brand new or has been around for a while) and find exactly the features that meet your expectations. So how do you end up with your dream home? You really have two basic options: You build a (custom) home to your exact specifications, or you remodel an existing home. 

Naturally, there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution when it comes to deciding between the two. Both options have their advantages.  When you build a custom home from the ground up, you get to choose every aspect of your home—from the floor plan and how each room flows into the next, to the finishing touches such as molding, paint color, kitchen cabinets, hardware, and more. And you have the benefit of knowing that everything is brand new. Nobody else has ever used it.

Some homeowners, however, simply like the style, character, and feel that certain older homes offer. They may prefer a well-established neighborhood to a new development, or they may be attracted to a certain area of town. They know they are going to have to make some significant changes to the home to make it uniquely theirs—but it’s worth it to them. And in some cases, homeowners are already in a home they love—but they need to make some changes to meet the changing needs of their family. They don’t want to move, but their home doesn’t quite fit their needs anymore.

What’s the right choice for you? You’re the only one who can make that determination and create your own dream home. But we can help! I invite you to download our free Building a House Creating a Home eBook. It will help you evaluate whether building a new home or remodeling an existing home best suits your needs. And it provides plenty of inspirational ideas for key rooms in your home, such as your kitchen and master bathroom. Plus, there’s help to enable you to make the most out of the space you have available.

Creating the perfect home doesn’t just happen. It takes some time and effort. But this eBook can reduce some of the effort and help you end up with the home you’ve always dreamed of owning.

Dream Home

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, finding the perfect home, advantages of building new or remodeling an existi

Why Plans Matter When Building Your Dream Home

Posted by John Graziose on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 @ 07:07 AM

Why plans matter when building your dream homeBuilding a custom home in the Rochester area can be an exhilarating experience. You have the opportunity to turn your ideas, desires, and dreams for your ideal home into reality. But without a plan, it can be a frustrating experience.

Some people will tell you that if you can dream it, you can do it. It’s a nice sentiment, but when it comes to building a home, there are certain laws of physics that have to be observed. And even if your goal is to build a custom home that matches your needs, tastes, and personalities; unless you have a good plan, all you really have is a dream.

The good news is, that there really are a lot of good plans available. And a lot of them can be tweaked and modified to meet your expectations. That means that if you can dream it, you probably can build it.

Chances are that your idea of a dream house isn’t exactly like someone else’s concept of the perfect place to live. On the other hand, there are certain physical/structural characteristics that similar kinds of homes have in common. 

That’s why we offer an extensive collection of floor plans from which you can choose.  If you take a look at our floor plan options, you find everything from plans for estate-sized acreage home sites to smaller single story homes. You’ll also find a wide variety of styles that ranges from Colonial to Ranch style, Cape homes, to Patio homes.  And each floor plan we offer can be customized to give you the maximum number of options.

But what if you don’t find the plan that gives you the exact features and layout you’re looking for? No problem! Just bring in your plan and we can review it together with you and help make your dream home a reality.

Dreams are great, but having a plan for turning your dream into reality is even better! We’d love to help you do that!

Dream Home

Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, Custom home floor plans, variety in custom floor plans

Custom Home Quality Without the Wait?

Posted by John Graziose on Thu, Jul 10, 2014 @ 20:07 PM

Custom home quality without the wait1One of the best things about building a custom home is that you can expect quality construction that’s at least a notch or two above what you might find in standard housing in your community. The design is better. The quality of the finish is better. And the quality of construction is almost always superior to mass-constructed homes. For a lot of people, that’s something worth waiting for.

But what if you don’t have time to wait? Life is funny. Sometimes you have to move at inopportune times. And that may mean that you simply don’t have the time to go through the normal planning and construction involved in building a custom home. Does that mean you have to settle for less quality?

Not necessarily.

Right now you have the opportunity to move into a quality constructed Gerber home—without the wait normally associated with building your own home. As a matter of fact, we have two options available right now: A 1,571 square foot, 3 bedroom/2 Bath in Canandaigua, and a 1,707 square foot 3 bedroom/2 Bath home in Webster. You can check out both homes here and download a brochure or take a virtual tour. And if you like what you see, you can contact the local agent with just a click of your mouse! 

They say that good things come to those who wait. But sometimes you just don’t have the time to wait. That doesn’t have to be a problem. And it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality.


Topics: Rochester area custom homebuilding, advantages of purchasing a model home, move-in-ready custom homes

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