By Rob Williams
If you’re in the market for a new construction home, the process is a little bit different than when you’re buying a resale home. Navigating the new home market can be a little tricky, so here’s my top 5 tips for buying a new construction home!
Research the builder.
The Raleigh area has many prestigious new home builders constantly opening communities, so there’s many to consider when making your new home choice. If you’ve decided on the area or community that you want to buy in, check out the builders in the community. Each new home builder has a different style, so taking a look at their floor plans and models will help you decide who to pick. Also, take a look at testimonials and reviews online for the builders. Take these reviews with a grain of salt, however – most people who write reviews online are either extremely unhappy, or extremely happy with their purchase. Many people who make a purchase never write a review, so be sure to keep an open mind when checking out what’s being said. To check out one of the Triangle’s top builders, Beazer Homes, click here.
Get an agent.
The amount of help that a real estate professional can give when you’re searching for a new construction home is priceless. You’ll definitely want to choose someone who has experience in new construction home sales, because they’ll represent your best interests and they understand how the process works. Another factor that’s helpful is if the agent is familiar with the builder. That way, they know the process well, they know how to get you a deal that works in your favor, and they know the ins and outs of the builder’s negotiating style. A lot of buyers believe that they can work directly with the builder and then save the commission that hiring an agent would have cost. This is not necessarily true, as the agent comes to the buyer with research, data, and the ability to identify what homes have been selling for, and can potentially leverage their knowledge into a better price. With an agent by their side, the buyer will have someone looking out for your best interests in case something goes wrong.
Know the difference between your upgrades and included features.
New homes are so tempting because they’re brand new, shiny, and have so many great features that you can only hope for in a resale home. Of course you want those granite countertops, hardwood floors, and 3-car garage! But is it included, or is it extra? Comb through the list of included features and then go through the upgrades in order to find out what you’re really getting. The model homes tend to have a lot of upgrades on display – don’t fall in love with a feature until you know if you’re going to have to pay extra for it!
Know the ins and outs of the community.
If you’ve fallen in love with a new home, take the time to get to know the community better. If it’s in the early stages of construction, the noise level will probably be pretty high for a while until the homes around you are completed. Find out when the amenities will be finished – will it be within the year you move in, or will it be another two years? What are the schools nearby, and what’s the drive time? How close are you to major highways? The description of the community says there’s shopping and dining nearby, but how close is “nearby?” You can ask neighbors, the onsite agent, or take walks and drives and do the research yourself. All of these are questions you should be asking when you’re making your new home purchase decision.
Sit down with your lender.
Whether you choose to use your builder’s preferred lender or hire your own, you want the lender involved in the process and you can even sit down with the agent and lender together and go over what you’re able to afford and what you’re getting out of your purchase. Sometimes there are first-time homebuyer programs that will help you save, and there are mortgage calculators online that make knowing what you can afford an easy task. You want to be as knowledgeable as you possibly can be about your investment and having a lender you can trust is vital. Jean Hedges of PrimeLending is an experienced Senior Loan Officer who can help you navigate your home buying process with ease.