Buying New Construction
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Buying New Construction

Where do you want to live? Select the location that is suitable for your household’s lifestyle. Today, lifestyles are the key determinant to making an informed home buying decision.

You should determine what is a reasonable commute to work and what the means of transportation will be…via interstate or mass transit. Check out the schools. If seeking a pre-retirement or retirement home, determine the proximity of family, friends, and existing home.

Affordability is a key factor in any home buying decision. Knowing if this is a move-up in home value, or a lateral or downward move, will move the decision making process right along. Once these lifestyle issues can be resolved, the search can be narrowed to several qualifying locations.

Choosing Your Builder

Once you have seen several new home sites in the location of your choice, the next step is to research the builders. A reputable homebuilder will belong to a local homebuilders’ association. Also, it is advisable to check with the local building inspector for an opinion on quality. Choosing a builder is just as important as choosing the style of the home. The builder not only has the responsibility for the largest investment you may ever make, but his or her skill and preferences can have a direct impact on future comfort and happiness. These are the questions we will ask:

Are you a member of any professional builders associations?

As a general rule, builders who are involved with a builder’s organization keep abreast of consumer trends and preferences. They know about relevant legislation and regulations. They are more comfortable with new technology and get innovative ideas from their builder colleagues.

Can you provide references?

Any reputable builder has previous clients to offer as references. The buyer can call them and ask how they liked their new home purchase experience. Ask if they would recommend the builder to a friend.

What else have you built?

Go to other communities the builder has built. If the buyer sees a resident of the community, ask if they like their house.

May I see a house under construction?

Take a look at the job site. A professional builder will have a well-organized operation, with tools and materials stored neatly, rubbish picked up regularly, and people working efficiently.

Do you offer a Homeowner’s Warranty?

Builders are required to provide a Homeowner’s Warranty on all newly constructed houses. The warranty protects a buyer from defects in workmanship and unexpected repairs to their new house.

How Much Should You Put Down?

Now that the right location and the right builder have been selected, it is appropriate to go to contract. Most builders require anywhere from 10% to 25% down in order to start a home. If the home is up and standing, the builder will accept 10%. If a custom home were to be created specifically for you, the builder would then expect a 25% deposit at contract.

Selections increase in proportion to the price tag of the home. Correspondingly, the time it takes to build the home increases with the size and the number of custom features selected.

Realistically, a home delivery date range, if started from scratch with an improved road to the home site, can take anywhere from 120 days to 18 months. Remember, the builder is anxious to keep the home delivery schedule on time. The builder does not get paid until closing.

Pre-closing Inspection

Before the closing, a home inspection tour will be conducted, during which the builder will point out all of the features and provide warranty information on each. Learning about maintenance and upkeep responsibilities is very important. Most new homes come with a one-year warranty on workmanship and materials. However, such warranties do not cover problems that develop because of failure to perform required maintenance. Many builders provide a booklet explaining common upkeep responsibilities and how to perform them.

During the inspection, look for scratches in the counter tops and flooring. Walls should not have gouges and the moldings and trim should be square. Take pictures before the title is taken, particularly if a problem is discovered.

The builder will prefer, under all circumstances, to conduct any and all repairs prior to you moving in because it is easier for them to work on repairs in an empty house.

There are over 30,000 parts in a new home. Therefore, the propensity to find a small imperfection is great. However, many builders conduct their own thorough inspection before the buyer sees it. Most builders employ a cleaning service to make sure the home is clean prior to the closing.

After the Closing

One year later, it’s not uncommon to find settlement cracks in the drywall or nail pops. These are easily remedied and are the responsibility of the builder. A call to the builder is recommended prior to the termination of the one-year warranty.