Tips For Buying a New Construction Home
Start With A Great Agent
Be sure it’s someone who has experience in new construction. Model homes are typically staffed by a real estate agent who has a relationship with the builder. It’s important for you to have an agent to represent your best interests, from advising you on how to structure your offer to be most appealing to the builder to making choices that can affect your home’s resale value. Some developments have site registration policies that require your agent to accompany you on one of your first few visits. Your agent will guide you throughout the build process and be an invaluable resource.
Get it in writing!
Don’t sign anything until everything has been negotiated, agreed upon and written into the contract. If you’re considering purchasing a home that is not yet complete, it’s very important to spell out how the home will be finished, what will happen if construction is not completed on time and the deadlines for decisions that will occur through the process. Put careful thought into the finishes you want, such as granite, sod , a fence , etc. Remember that nothing is "standard" when you are starting from scratch, so be sure to list your exact expectations in the contract. This will make expectations clear across the board , and leave no room for confusion. Verbal conversations are not binding, so everything important must be put in writing and signed by all parties.
What you see isn’t always what you get
The fit and finish of the model home doesn’t necessarily represent what comes standard. Often the model home reflects a mix of standard materials and fixtures, as well as a handful of upgrades. When touring the model home, make sure to find out which is which. The important thing is to know exactly what you’ll be getting, what’s available and, of course, what it will cost. Keep in mind that costs can change. The price quoted at the start may not be the same when you decide to move forward.
Get It Inspected
Even though most municipalities require new homes to pass permit inspections, an independent verification with a qualified inspector is money well spent. In many cases, the builder will allow buyers to conduct an independent inspection and agree to repair code compliance issues.
Find out what’s covered.
Many new homes come with a warranty from the builder, but not all warranties are created equal. Know what is and isn’t covered and for how long. Many builders use a third-party warranty company. In some cases, the manufacturer of certain products, like HVAC, may have a separate warranty or guarantee and the builder might refer all issues with those components to the manufacturer instead of handling any issues directly. The builder should be able to provide details on which part of the home is covered by which policy.
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