Purchasing a New Construction Home
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage offers the following recommendations for home buyers who are interested in purchasing a brand new residence from a builder or developer.
Select a Geographic Area
Determine what is a reasonable commute to work and what the means of transportation will be — interstate or mass transit. Schools will be of great interest if you have children.
Select a geographic area that is suitable for your individual lifestyle. Today, lifestyle is the key determinant in making an informed home buying decision.
If seeking a pre-retirement or retirement home, determine the desired proximity to family, friends and your current home.
Locate necessary consumer goods and medical services.
Affordability is a key factor in any home buying decision. Knowing whether you are interested in a move-up in home value, or a lateral or downward move, will accelerate and streamline the decision making process.
Once your lifestyle issues have been determined, your search can be narrowed to several qualifying locations.
Select a Builder
Once location has been selected and a sales associate affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage has shown you several new home sites, 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 your future comfort and happiness.
Not all new home communities are the same. Each one carries the distinctive mark of the builder, whether that happens to be innovative floor plans, distinctive craftsmanship, bold architectural statements or just great value. Each builder also has a different personal style and way of communicating with his or her clients.
Consider references of past clients. Drive through one of the builder’s previous subdivisions on a Saturday morning and try to get a random sample of opinions. Ask questions like: "Are you happy with your home?" People are usually willing to share their opinions.
Determine the Amount of Deposit
Now that the right location and the right builder have been selected, it is appropriate to go to contract. Most builders require from 10% to 25% down 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.
Before the closing, a home inspection tour will be conducted. During the tour, 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.
Manufacturers provide warranties that are covered by the manufacturer, not the builder. The builder is responsible for any building code violations that occurred. However, in the unlikely event that there has been a violation (because builder research was conducted), the responsibility becomes the builder’s.
During the inspection, you should look for scratches in the countertops 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 the buyer 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 you see 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.
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