Tips for Buying a New Construction Home

The prospect of buying a new home that’s “shiny” and brand new is certainly an exciting one, unless you’ve got a soft spot for old, historic homes. However, buying a new construction home takes a little know-how that probably doesn’t come to mind right at first. If you’ve got your eye on a new construction home or community, you’ll want to check out these tips before you get too swept up in all that “new home” glory!

Have a buyer’s agent by your side

When buying a new construction home, you don’t have to worry about dealing with negotiating with a previous owner who might have emotional attachment swaying their decision making—which is perfectly natural. However, what you will have to deal with is the listing or selling agent for this new home, and they can be very good at creating a lot of excitement while glossing over the finer details. No matter how sweet their deal sounds, never forget that they are there solely to get the best deal for the builder, not you. That’s why it is so important to enlist the help of your own buyer’s agent, who can provide a neutral perspective for you and really wants to see you get the best deal possible.

Important: Always have your buyer’s agent with you every time you visit a new construction home for the first time. Always! Oftentimes, if your agent doesn’t accompany you, then the listing agent will get the full commission on the sale of the home should you choose to buy it.

Research the builder

It doesn’t matter how spic and span a new home might look when you look at first glance. You want to make sure that the builder for your new home is reputable and has a good standing based on prior construction projects. Make sure there are no Better Business Bureau complaints that have been filed or are still outstanding with the builder. Talk to your agent and other local agents to see if the builder does, in fact, have a good reputation. See if you can’t find out if homeowners in the builder’s previously constructed homes are happy with their purchase. Has the home aged well? Were there construction flaws? Have they had to do a lot of repairs and maintenance? Look for online reviews, testimonials or news about the builder’s previous construction projects.

Make sure you know what you’re getting

While the model home you’re shown might be brimming with fine finishes and features, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your home will have the same hardwood floors or granite countertops. Make sure you know what’s standard and included in the base home price, and what the extra amenities and upgrades consist of. You should request a feature sheet so that you can begin deciding what upgrades you might want versus what standard features you’d prefer to keep. Try to do this early on the process because those upgrades add up. It’s very important that you know how much house you can really afford and that your upgrades don’t push you past that. It’s also not a bad idea to do a little research on what it would cost you to have the upgrades made to your home after purchase. You might be able to get a better deal, and you’ll also be able to focus on things like the actual square footage of the house or the location of it within the neighborhood — two aspects that are far more important than cosmetic upgrades that you can do later.

Keep up with the Joneses

Since we’re on the topic of upgrades, whether you decide to keep your upgrade list lean or go all out, it’s important that you fall in sync with what the rest of the neighborhood has done, simply to ensure that your house is supported by the immediate market. So, if the neighborhood has been pretty well established to this point, find out what the most common upgrades were. Did most homeowners spring for hardwood floors? Then you’ll probably want to as well. You’ll probably want to steer clear of implementing every upgrade possible, since you’ll also run the risk of pricing yourself out of the neighborhood. On the other hand, if you’re one of the first ones on the scene in an entirely new development, you’ll largely get to make those decisions without having to worry about what others before you have done.

Don’t waive your home inspection

You might be thinking that, since the home is a new construction, a home inspection isn’t important. That’s wrong. It’s very wrong. Every home, whether brand new or 100 years old, is prone to problems. Regardless of its new construction status, it’s important that you make sure your new home is safe and up to code. Your agent should handle all of this for you, which is just another very important reason for you to have one. Never forget that they are on your side. They’ll be able to handle tasks like scheduling a home inspection, having contracts reviewed by a lawyer, or making sure that you have a guaranteed timeline for the completion of the house in writing if it’s still under construction.

Don’t think you can’t negotiate

Granted, with a new construction home, you’re going to have a hard time driving the price down. Builders don’t generally like to go down on price. However, you might be able to negotiate in other ways. For instance, you could ask for the builder to pay for closing costs or throw in upgrades at a reduced cost or for free. This way, the builder isn’t setting a precedent of lower prices for newcomers to the neighborhood, but you have the opportunity to save money. It might be a good idea to reach out to your agent on this, once again, to see if they can’t dig up any info on the builder’s negotiating style and find out where they’ll be most willing to budge. You should also ask about a home warranty, and what that includes. This is important, as it could influence any offers you make on the house.

Is buying a new home exciting? Yes! It’s also very easy to get carried away or swayed by sweet-talking listing agents. So, before you even take one step into your potential new home, make sure you take a look at this list and start your new home journey prepared. Looking for an agent to help you navigate the waters? We’d be happy to assist. Give us a call at 1-800-533-1840 or drop us a line at info@intracoastalrealty.com.

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