Before your first trip to a new construction site, read these insider tips from an experienced builder.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Reserve the right homesite: Choose a homesite based on more than just good looks - the slope, where the sun will rise and fall, and street location all make a difference. If you have a pool or back deck, a flat plot and direct sunlight would be a bonus in the backyard. Large windows in your bedroom? Avoid waking up with the sunrise every morning by making sure the sun doesn’t rise into your bedroom windows. Maybe you’re looking for more privacy or a bit more peace and quiet – make sure your homesite is tucked away from the clubhouse and main roads.
MAKE YOUR DOLLAR GO FURTHER
1. Buy pre-construction or first release: Opt for a pre-construction site or a community in the first release to maximize your negotiation potential, before builders are certain of how the market will respond or increase the price due to demand. You can get the inside scoop from a real estate agent that works specifically with New Construction or from a site like New Home Search. Keep an eye on your local news, too – they’ll sometimes announce when a new community is coming to town or first breaks ground.
2. Hire a realtor: Choose a realtor that is familiar with new construction. A buyer’s agent will cost you little to nothing, and will help you avoid pitfalls and negotiate with your best interest in mind.
4. Look for better standard features: When you tour the model home, you’re typically looking at the highest-end finishes to showcase the best of the builder’s project. Choose a builder that provides standard features that are anything but standard – you shouldn’t have to “upgrade” for high quality construction or energy efficiency.
Save on closing costs and upgrades: It’s unlikely that a builder will negotiate on the base price of your new home, but they’re not entirely unflexible – here are some places you and your realtor may be able to negotiate:
Closing costs – some builders and their affiliated lenders can provide incentives and credits to save you money on closing costs, meaning more cash in your pocket for making your new home yours!
Upgrades – it’s going to be much less expensive to select upgraded electrical features, recessed lighting, or the perfect kitchen layout before construction than it would be to add them in after building is complete. You and your agent can negotiate for the best prices for these added features.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
1. Research your builder’s reputation: Start by talking to your agent and asking homeowners in other communities built by the same builder. Look at online reviews, news articles, the Better Business Bureau, and local licensing boards to ensure that there are no complaints or liens against them, which could potentially cost you time and money down the road.
2. Review HOA documents: Get familiar with more than just the amenities. Review the Convenants, Conditions, and Restrictions to find out if there are pet restrictions, guest parking rules, and what maintenance is included. And don’t forget to ask when the HOA dues will be due – some builders will cover the fees until 50% of the project is complete, offering another reason to get in early.
3. Ask about inspections and warranties: Before you drive a brand new car off the lot, it’s gone through a quality control inspection and you’ve signed a warranty. A new home is much the same. The best builders will stand by their work and offer inspections before closing and after you've moved in. And a home warranty offers an added level of protection, financial security, and peace of mind.
Interested in learning more? Contact a local new construction expert now!
Pauletta Caldwell, REALTOR®