New Construction

Are you looking to build a home?  A new home comes with many benefits, such as energy efficiency and no worn-down parts in need of repair, as well as the option to customize it.

A buyer may purchase their own plot of land and contract with everyone needed to build a custom home, including an architect and builder. On the other end of the spectrum, a buyer may purchase a completely built home and the property it’s on from a developer. The home buying process can fall somewhere in between as well.

Here are some other things to consider when deciding if building your next home is right for you.

Decide which building option you’re most comfortable. Most new construction homes offer one of the following customization options:

  • Built on spec: The home is completed and can be purchased as is.
  • Semi-custom: The structure is mostly built, but you can customize it in some ways.
  • Full custom: You have a say in everything.

Choose the build option that fits with your current living situation. If it’s flexible enough to allow for a lengthy—and potentially unpredictable—lead time, building from the ground up might be for you. If not, a semi-custom or built-on-spec home could be a better choice.

Consider costs. Make sure you know what comes standard with the home and what costs extra. Stick to a smart budget. When you pick a semi- or full-custom new construction home, it’s easy to accidentally spend too much, one customization option at a time. Be realistic about how much house you can afford, and take into consideration costs that are easy to overlook:

If you build in some neighborhoods, homeowner’s association fees will be part of your homeownership costs—and you could be bound by their policies to meet certain property standards, which could make those costs go up.

Factor in timing. Overall, the timeline for building a home can be unpredictable because of weather, vendor delays, and waiting for logistics like permit approvals to happen. On average, building a home can take from three to seven months, depending on size, but it’s not uncommon for it to take nearly a year if any delays happen along the way.

Research, interview, and hire your own real estate agent and apply to several mortgage lenders to find the best deal. Buying new construction is like any home purchase: you need a team with your own interests at heart. Builders often have an agent on site and preferred lenders, and it’s not uncommon for them to suggest buyers just use their team. But it’s good to do your own research. The agent that is onsite represents the builder, not you. 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.

Research your builder and their reputation. Check out your local home builders’ association (you can find listings through the National Association of Home Builders) to find builders in your area. Find a neighborhood with several new homes and drive by. Check out the quality and style you like best.
Look at their reviews and any feedback from the Better Business Bureau. Also, check out their websites and social media pages for information, photos, and interviews with staff and clients.

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 a decade for major structural defects. Know exactly what is included and what is not, and don’t be afraid to ask for changes or concessions if you’re not comfortable with the language.

Always get a home inspection. Home inspections aren’t just for existing houses. In fact, when buying new construction homes, you should get two: one before the walls are closed, and one after. It’s much cheaper to fix issues like electrical or plumbing before the drywall goes up. Your second home inspection should come before your final walk-through with the builder. 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.

As your agent, we will walk you through all of these guidelines which will reduce the stress and the uncertainty of building a new home.


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