1. How to find a place to build
It’s important to note new homes may not be listed on your local MLS. Homebuilders tend to use their own realtors/sales employees that work with them on site – this helps them have more control and cuts down their real estate costs. Because of this some builders will only use online or local advertising. If you’re interested in a newly built home, make sure you let your agent know so they can help you identify all possibilities in the area.
2. New homes are often sold before they’re built
Before a builder gets started, they tend to get everything lined up – financing, construction plan, and sales. This means they start selling homes before they’re even built. Buyers are typically able to view a model home, review floor plans, and pick out the finishes of the home.
As a buyer, you’ll more than likely need to put down a deposit varying on what the builder requires.
Sometimes being one of the first buyers in the community will allow you to negotiate the sales price down because builders want to get buyers under contract quickly. This will make the project appear more desirable to their investors and future buyers.
Building quality homes takes time. Sometimes up to three months. If you hop on board before the train starts rolling, you’ll get to pick out your finishes and have a hand in the construction process, but you will also need to exercise patience.
When purchasing a home from a typical seller, there can be more of an attachment to the home which can bring up issues, questions and uncertainties that can come out in the negotiation and purchase process.
A builder is not personally attached to the home. They are more interested in turning a profit and making sure their buyers are qualified for a loan.
A builder uses construction drawings to build a new home. This maps out the details of how the home will be built and finished. Pay attention to it and study it. If you’d like to change something, speak up early in the process so you can ensure your home is built just how you want it.
Consider the floor plan, storage closets, cabinetry, and even where electrical outlets and light switches are located. Is the layout livable and functional for your family? You may even want to consider hallway width – can you maneuver your furniture through it or is the hallway too narrow? Are the ceilings tall enough? Do the doors swing the right way? Are there enough closets for your coats and linens and are they practically located? Think of where you’ll put your Christmas tree or whether or not you’ll mount your TV? These electrical changes need to be mapped out early on.
Research the design, ask questions, and get as much clarification as you can so you’ll know what you can expect on move in day.
5. Storage, Storage, Storage.
Whether you are using a builder or acting as the general contractor, storage is definitely not something you want to skimp on. Consider all the places you need storage – front door closet, mud room, linen closets, cabinetry in the kitchen, built-ins in the den, the spare bedroom closets. Make sure the storage in your home provides ample space for all of your things.
One of the perks of building a home, is the amount of inspections the home receives. At times this might seem like another headache, but being able to inspect the home with wires, plumbing, and structure exposed, you can save yourself from much larger problems down the road.
7. Consider what you can/will do by yourself
Are you able to install a backsplash on your own? Probably. Will you actually do it? Well, now that depends. If you are certain you’ll get it done yourself, consider saving a few DIY projects for after you move in. Decide what is a must-have, what you really want, and what you can live without for a while. Be careful when splurging on upgrades if it’s something you can do without or do yourself later.
8. Pick a lot
Are you able to choose which lot you want to build on? If so, there are few things to consider. Lots that back up to a green belt provide extra privacy and a great view but it’s typically considered safer to back up to another house (to avoid backyard break-ins). Corner lots tend to be larger but can also have more traffic pass by. Do you want to be in the back of the neighborhood or the front? How close is your lot to the kids’ bus stop? Consider construction noise – are the surrounding lots at the same stages of building or will they be finished much later?
This can fall under the “things you are willing to do yourself” category. However, many new builds have HOAs that will either take care of the front lawn or have regulations on what the landscape can look like. If you build on an un-level lot, consider leveling it before adding grass seed or sod. Go to a local nursery and discuss what types of plants you’d like, especially if you’re not a knowledgeable gardener. What type of maintenance are you looking for? How much pruning are you willing to do? How will certain shrubs and plants look in the winter?
10. Stick to Your Budget
Don’t go house poor while building. The base model you’re having built might be well within your budget, but consider what’s not included in that price tag. Once you add the real wood floors, upgraded appliances, quartz countertops, tile work, and wainscoting, your budget may start to explode. Consider what is a must-have, what’s not and be sure to dream up your brand new home both practically and beautifully.
Interested in building? Contact a realtor today.