Looking to buy a new construction home? Whether you are considering purchasing a lot and starting from scratch or buying a brand-new home from a builder, there are several factors you should consider first. The homebuying process of a new construction home is much different than the homebuying process of a resale home. Here are some important tips from a few Long & Foster professionals about buying a new construction home.
Hire an experienced real estate agent who specializes in new construction homes. Because the process is drastically different, it is important to work alongside an agent who has experience in new construction, explains Abby Trimborn, a Long & Foster real estate agent in the Wayne office in Devon, Pennsylvania. If you are buying a lot of land to build on, a Realtor with experience in the process of acquiring land to build a home is critical, adds John Jorgenson, a Long & Foster real estate agent in the McLean, Virginia, office. Avoid the disastrous mistake of buying a lot that you can’t build a home on due to factors, such as zoning issues with the city, county or state.
Hiring an experienced mortgage lender is just as important because loans for a new construction home can differ than a loan for a presale home, explains Bob Kiziroglou, a Long & Foster real estate agent in the Wayne office in Devon, Pennsylvania. If the home is still being built or there is an unforeseen delay, your rate could expire and you will be responsible for rate extension fees.
Determine what you’re looking for ahead of time. What are your exact wants and needs in a home? Be sure to consider important factors, such as the type, size, amenities and lifestyle when determining what kind of house you want to buy and in what neighborhood. “When a new building comes on the market, that’s the best opportunity to buy because you are more likely to get what you want with more customization options potentially for a lower price,” said Pam Zandy, vice president of marketing at Urban Pace, a Long & Foster company that specializes in development real estate services. An experienced real estate agent can help you find a new construction home that meets your requirements, or they can connect you with a builder who can build just what you’re looking for.
Do your research before selecting a builder. “Not all builders are created equal,” said Trimborn. Don’t hire a builder merely based on cost. Do your research to ensure the builder is certified and has experience with good reviews from past clients. It is important to make sure the builder is credible because you will have a long-term relationship with them during the home-building process and beyond. Ask your builder if they have a home warranty and if so, how long do they cover the home and what does it include?
When you are shopping for a builder, there are four main factors to consider, suggests Jorgenson. How long have the employees been with the organization? What is their home-building process? What is the product? What is the price? Finding a reputable builder is essential. Review the stability of the company and the turnover rate of the people that work there to ensure the builder is established and reliable.
Be flexible and have realistic expectations. What is your timeline? Be sure to plan for extra time, suggests Zandy. Get a good understanding of when the home will be move-in ready, but be flexible because there are frequently delays with new home construction due to unexpected factors, such as weather. Don’t get yourself into a position where you don’t have a place to live because you’ve moved out of your existing home too soon.
Get a home inspection. An inspection is always recommended even for brand-new homes. Kiziroglou suggests having an independent third-party home inspector come in to reassure you of the quality of the home and how it was built. A home inspector will make sure the home was built to code.
Read construction specification details before committing. It is important to read and understand the specification details, so your expectations align with your builder’s plan, recommends Trimborn. From lights to flooring, make sure everything you want is included in the specification details. Typically, upgrades are an additional cost to the purchase price.
If you’re considering purchasing a new construction home, contact your local real estate agent for help with the home-building and home-buying process. An experienced Realtor can help you every step of the way.