Thinking about Purchasing New Construction?
Why you need a Buyer’s Agent.
Every day home buyers head off to builders’ offices and model homes without a REALTOR® representing them as a Buyer’s Agent. Sure you can buy a home on your own, but aren’t you giving up a lot if you don’t use a REALTOR?
Before we talk about the advantages of having a REALTOR represent you when you purchase a new home from a builder, remember that this representation costs you nothing! According to the guidelines builders can not offer incentives to buyers in exchange for not using a REALTOR. Builders pay the REALTOR’s commission, and you get the benefits of representation!
When considering whether or not to use a REALTOR for your new home purchase, here are some things to consider:
An even playing field
The builder hires salespeople to protect THEIR interests, shouldn’t you have someone looking out for you? Neighborhood Knowledge
We are Real Estate Professionals. This is our full-time job, and we pride ourselves on our knowledge of the local real estate market. We can provide up-to-date market information on comparable new home listings and sales, as well as suggestions on options which you may or may not want to choose to enhance your new home’s value.
Buying a home requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page government-mandated settlement statements. Also, most builders use their own contract forms, written to protect THEIR rights! A knowledgeable guide through this complexity can help you avoid delays or costly mistakes.
We’ll keep an eye on your home throughout construction, helping to answer your questions and working with the builder’s staff to ensure your home is all you expect it to be. Have you ever ever done a Foundation inspection or Framing Walkthrough? We do them all the time with 3rd party Inspectors. We’ll be with you when you sign contracts, when you have construction meetings, and when you go to closing and get the keys to your new home!
And remember, you pay nothing to have us represent you!
Tips for Buying A New Construction Home
Buying a new construction home is a very different process from purchasing a previously owned home.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you consider new construction.
Most new construction homes offer one of the following customization options:
- Spec homes: The home is completed and can be purchased as is.
- Semi-Spec home: The structure is mostly built, but you can customize it in some ways.
- Full custom home: You have a say in everything and pick all options at the design center
When purchasing new construction, your earnest money deposit is usually 5% of the sales price. The builder typically mandates the amount as a part of their contract.
Choose your standard items for the home
After you choose the style of the home, you’ll get to pick out the finishing touches from the builder’s selection of standard options. This means you’ll be able to select the basics, such as paint color, flooring, countertops, cabinetry, light fixtures, appliances, and tiling.
Keep in mind that standard options typically mean the cheapest options. For example, paint colors will usually be on a neutral spectrum (shades of white, beige, and gray). Flooring will usually consist of builder-grade carpeting (which is not plush), and light fixtures aren’t going to be anything special.
Upgrades at the Design Center
If you aren’t fond of any of the standard options, or if you want to move into a home that shows a little bit of your personality, you can look at the various upgrades your builder offers. However, keep in mind that these upgrades are going to increase the sticker price on your home with additional Deposit. So you have to be mindful about what you’re choosing. This new construction deposit could range from 25%-100% of the option purchase price depending on when you are adding these options.
“A lot of items that are in the design center do not offer 100%-return value in a resale. For example, builders might have an extreme high-end cabinet line and rare granite that’s more expensive, but they do not equate to resale based on what the other homes sell for in the neighborhood. If the other homes don’t have these upgrades, you’re probably not going to get that return,” Anja explains.
Builders often have preferred lenders and give you incentives to use them, but it’s good to do your own research. A builder’s lender may offer you incentive money, but an outside lender may charge you less in points—which means bigger savings over the life of your loan. If you built from start, keep in mind that most lenders let you lock the rates only 30-50 days before the actual closing date.
Understand your warranty
Usually, warranties on new construction homes offer limited coverage on workmanship and materials. Some coverage is offered for just the first year (for siding, doors, and trim, for example); some for two years (often for HVAC, plumbing, and electrical), and some for 10 years for major structural defects.
We always advise to get another Home inspection before the first year warranty is over and send this report over to the builder.
Get a Home Inspection
Home inspections aren’t just for existing houses. In fact, when buying new construction homes, you should get three:
- Pre-Pour Foundation Inspection
- Pre-Drywall Inspection
- Final Inspection
The first inspection would be before the foundation concrete is poured. The second is after framing is completed, plumbing has been "roughed" in and electric wiring has been run, but before the walls have been covered. The third is the final, where everything should be in the right place and work correctly.
Try to hang out with the inspector while it happens. They’re often able to offer you maintenance tips and handy things to watch for in your new home.
Final Walk through
The walkthrough is done a few days before closing and a representative from the builder (and from our team) will attend the walkthrough with you to be sure the house is in good order. It’s important that you make a punch list of cosmetic items you would like corrected (nail pops, scuff marks on the walls, chips in cabinets, light fixtures, and more) and bring the last Inspection report to the meeting.
Closing day: Move-in date isn’t guaranteed
On average, building a home from start to finish will take approximately six months, but some things can hold up production, such as material shortage, bad weather, or issues with the crew. All of these things can stall your move-in date, which is problematic if you’re counting on moving within a particular timeframe.
Buying new construction home presents its own set of challenges, but you can make the right choices once you know what to expect.