Things to Consider When Buying New Construction
Buying a newly built home presents exciting options that may not be available to you when purchasing an existing home, such as the ability to choose the exact kitchen cabinets, flooring and even floor plan you want. It also creates some challenges such as making sure you hire a reputable builder and guaranteeing the house will be ready when you need it to be.
You can buy a newly constructed home in one of three ways: buying a house already built on spec, having a semi-custom home built as part of a development (you can choose from a set palette of finishes and upgrades), or having a purely custom home designed and built to your specifications. To help navigate this decision, below are some things to consider when buying new construction.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
Nothing beats the feeling of knowing you’re the first person to live in a house, but before you get caught up in the fresh paint and glistening granite countertops, there are some things to consider… Will the cookie-cutter nature of a planned subdivision drive you crazy? Newer homes are typically further from the city center; are you ok with a longer commute? Are you willing to wait for a lush lawn and towering trees?
Understand Your Financing Options
Take time and understand the different loan options available to you - conventional, FHA, VA, etc... In a 2018 study, Freddie Mac found that borrowers could save an average of $3,000 over the life of a loan by getting five rate quotes.
Choose the Right Builder and Location
Start by researching reputable home builders and talking to previous buyers, if possible. In addition to researching a builder’s reputation, there are some other items to consider, such as customization options, builder insurance, a home warranty package and typical build time. Drive through different neighborhoods to see the examples of the builder’s homes in person and evaluate the quality of the homes and overall feel of the community.
Be Aware of the Timing of a New Build
The lead-time for a new build is usually 8-10 months, which could be a deal-breaker if you need to be out of your current home by a certain date. However, if you’re looking to move quickly, you can either buy a spec home or may find new construction homes that are further along in the build process. Some builders even have an inventory of quick-close homes that you can move into right away.
Know What’s Standard and What’s Extra
Ask your builder about home upgrades, added items you pay extra for to enhance your home, like certain types of flooring or appliances. Read the spec sheets carefully to compare standard features and upgrades, making certain to understand what comes with the base home price and what you’ll be required to pay for. Make sure to ask questions if you’re unsure; not knowing will cost you and can add up over the course of the build.
Repairs and Maintenance Aren’t an Issue
If the thought of repairing/replacing high ticket items makes you nervous, new construction might be the right choice for you. You won’t have to worry about the age of the HVAC unit or wonder if the roof has ever been replaced. When you purchase a newly built home, everything should be in superb working condition with any minor repairs or necessary maintenance costing much less.
Get an Inspection and Home Warranty
As with any home purchase, buyers should schedule a home inspection with a certified professional in case of any unexpected findings like leaky faucets, cracked windows or paint chips. Protect yourself and your new home with a home warranty stipulating that any major defect of the structural integrity of the home must be repaired. Also, consider asking for a builder's warranty for a period of time following move-in to cover defects in craftsmanship.
Contact Coldwell Banker Pryor Realty to Start Your Search
Whether you choose to be the first to leave your mark on a new house, or you decide the charm and uniqueness of an older home in an historic neighborhood better fits your personality, your REALTOR® can help you find and buy the house of your dreams. Contact us to start your home search.