1. Find a great agent. Be sure it’s someone who has experience in new construction *ahem* as this type of sale is very different then a typical resale home sale.
2. Be creative during negotiations. Builders don’t like to drop their prices. Instead, consider asking for the builder to pay closing costs or perform upgrades at no additional charge
3. Get everything 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. Verbal conversations are not binding, so everything important must be put in writing and signed by all parties.
4. 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.
5. Do your research on the builder. Visit other developments and talk to homeowners. Search online for reviews, testimonials and news.
6. Get a guarantee. You’re often buying a home that is not completed. What guarantees do you have the home will be ready on time? Your purchase agreement documents should specify a completion date. However, many builders add provisions that make the completion date dependent on permit approvals from the municipality or availability of building materials from suppliers. There can also be additional charges if you’re unable to close on time if your lender isn’t ready.
7. Get the home inspected. New homes have problems too. Hire an inspector to make sure everything is safe and up to code.
8. 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.
9. Look to the future. Check with the city to see what is planned for the surrounding area. If you have a view, will it still be there in five years? Most builders put the responsibility on the buyer to be aware of neighborhood or community dynamics related to other development in the area like traffic planning, the development of neighboring parcels, etc. Many new communities also have homeowners associations that can impact your potential new home as well.
Got questions? We’ve got answers. Give us a call or shoot us an email if you’re looking to buy or sell today!