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New Home Contruction Buying Tips
Nothing beats the feeling of living in a new home. Everything is shiny and new and untouched. You can buy a brand-new home in one of three ways: buying a house already built on spec; having a semicustom home built as part of a development (you can choose from a set selection of finishes and upgrades); or having a purely custom home designed and built to your specifications. Before you get caught up in the sparkling new paint and granite countertops here are some of the pros and cons of new home construction and things to consider when determining whether or not new construction meets your lifestyle.
Many homebuilders allow buyers to help design the property, which helps create a living space tailored to your tastes. New-home buyers, for example, can often decide where their bathroom might go, choose their favorite flooring or pick the exterior paint color. Buyers moving into a subdivision can sometimes pick the lot they like best.
Newly constructed homes use energy more efficiently. First, they must follow current building codes and tend to be more tightly-sealed, this helps prevent conditioned air — cool air in the summer, warm air in the winter — from escaping. Features that create this include higher-efficiency insulation, doors and windows. Operating costs are also lower with newer homes since they are more likely to be energy efficient.
More energy-efficient mechanics of the house also help reduce utility bills for new-home buyers, New homes often include green systems and appliances — such as high-efficiency stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, water heaters, furnaces or air conditioning units — that homes built years ago might not.
Fewer repairs and less maintenance. New homes are engineered specifically to minimize maintenance requirements.
New homes come with a warranty. Builders often agree to take care of the necessary repair work in a new home for at least the first year. So if your roof starts leaking or the heater breaks during the warranty period, your builder will pick up the tab for the repairs.
New homes often include fire-safety features that may not be in properties built years ago. All new homes are required to include hard-wired smoke detectors. These devices can provide better protection than battery-operated smoke detectors, which can fail if their battery runs out.
New-home buyers can take advantage of mortgage-financing perks available through their builder. New-home builders — in many cases, the larger ones — have their own mortgage companies, or they will offer paying points or closing costs and buy down certain rates for you. It's important to know that builders can't require you to use their preferred lender. You still get to choose your home loan. But an offer from a builder's lender does give you another point of comparison to weigh as you choose the best mortgage for your financial needs.
Here's the best part. Many builders offer free upgrades or additional amenities depending on your situation. Working with a knowledgeable agent can help you negotiate through all the possibilities.
Don't let the lure of "new" sell you without hearing some possible downfalls. First and foremost, you can't assume that a new construction home is in perfect condition. You should still get the property inspected by a professional home inspector prior to purchase to make sure that everything is properly installed and in good working order.
Builders usually start communities where there's open land. So if you buy into a new suburban development, you'll likely find yourself further away from a city center. This could make your commute to activities or work much longer--and more expensive. The distance could also make the home harder to sell down the road, especially if the property is competing with newer houses with more updated amenities.
In this uncertain economy make certain the you choose a financially sound builder. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of construction and find out that the builder is either unwilling or unable to complete the construction.
You may want or need to spend more money on exterior projects, since there won't be mature landscaping. Are you willing to coax a new lawn into existence, and can you wait 20 years for sapling trees to mature?
If the home is in a new development you don't necessarily know what the character of the neighborhood will be, as opposed to an established area that already has a "personality."
Finally, since we can't control everything--especially Mother Nature--remember that any time there's construction involved, a home buyer needs to be prepared for delays. So don't be surprised if your move-in date gets pushed back.
So how do you get started? Here are a few suggestions and questions that you should ask yourself and the builder.
First, do your research! Research the neighborhoods and builders. When buying in a new subdivision, consider working with a buyer's agent who knows the area well, can set up home tours and walk you through the closing process. If you have your own agent, tell him/her up front that you're interested in looking at new homes. They must accompany you on your first visit to any new subdivision; if they don't, the builder's sales rep will get the full commission if you buy a home there.
When researching neighborhoods:
When researching builders:
Questions to ask:
Purchasing a new construction home can be an exciting and rewarding experience. With the knowledge above and your own research you'll be armed with the information you need to make informed decisions and enjoy a smooth process. Once you've completed your research you'll be ready to take a tour of model homes. Choosing the right professional to guide you through this process is critical to your success. At Century 21 Selling Paradise we have a group of professionals who have been through rigorous training and obtained the Southwest Florida New Home Construction certification. These individuals would be honored to help you through the process. Click the link below to engage your specialist today.