Hey guys, this is a blog I have wanted to write for quite some time. If you are in the market for a home and are considering new construction, this is a must read. I worked for a builder for two years in a very high volume community. My community last year closed 150 homes. I have seen the ways it can be a really great experience or one you will never want to go through again.
TIP 1: Make sure you have a realtor.
I do not just say this because I am a realtor, now. I used to tell every single client I worked with, when I was working with a builder, to get a realtor if they felt like they wanted someone to represent their sole interests. It is of no cost to you AND you make sure you have someone who only cares about making you happy. You may feel like the builder only cares about you but the truth is they have shareholders to make happy. They care about you to a point but their bottom line always comes first. Realtors can make sure you understand contracts, talk to sales agents about issues if they arise, negotiate pricing, and be there at walk throughs to ask questions you may not know to ask. The key here is to get a realtor who wants to work along side the sales agent for the builder as a team and not one that is combative. I saw many realtors come in combative trying to represent their client and all it did was make the transaction harder on the client.
TIP 2: Shop the lender.
This one is equally as important. Builders have preferred lenders which are sometimes the better deal and other times not. It is important to realize you have options. Get a few good faith estimates and go with the one that is the best deal for you. That can definitely be the builders lender or it could be another lender but just do your homework. Tip within a tip also make sure you go over numbers and payments etc. before you go under contract with a builder so you aren’t locked into a payment you are not comfortable with.
TIP 3: Buy an already built “spec” home.
There are a few reasons I say this. For those of you who are not familiar with the term “spec” is a home that has already had all it’s finishes selected and is already in the process of being built or close to done. Already built homes from builders are still brand new and have warranties, BUT you don’t have to wait 9 to 12 months for it to be built where you may endure delays or problems. Plus many times they are discounted or negotiable because the builder no longer wants to carry the cost of the home once it is finished. The more finished the home, the better your shot at negotiating a better deal. These were always our best bang for the buck in our neighborhood and had the same high end finishes as every other house in the neighborhood.
TIP 4: Ask the neighbors.
The truth is, I tell my clients this new build or not. When I was working in new construction I wanted to do my best to make sure everyone was happy not just because that is how it should be but also cause neighbors talk. The best way to get the “dirt” on neighborhood is to talk to the neighbors. They will tell you how they feel. Many times it can be dramatized out of emotions but it is good info. My neighborhood people would come out of their homes, if they saw me touring clients, to tell my new clients how happy they were. That says ALOT.
TIP 5: Don’t buy the fridge.
Many new construction homes don’t come with fridges or washer and dryers or garage door openers. They always come with at least a range, dishwasher and microwave. Don’t buy the appliances they don’t come with from the builder; they will be overpriced. Buy them from home depot or Lowe’s on one of their big sales. You will get more bang for your buck. The only exception would be if you do not have the cash to purchase after. Then go ahead and buy them from the builder so it can be wrapped into your mortgage.
New construction can be a fantastic purchase. My husband and I bought one and it has been an overall good experience. If you are going to shop new construction, please use a realtor who knows it well so they can make sure it is a good experience for you. I hope these tips help anyone considering buying new. I have many more but I can’t tell all my secrets :).
As always thanks for reading!