How is buying new construction different than buying an existing home? For starters, new construction likely includes modern design, the latest construction and safety standards and new appliances. And since many new construction homes are sold before they are finished, you may have the opportunity to make some design choices, things like choosing the flooring, cabinets, and paint colors. You won’t be moving into a home with a honey-do list of projects and repairs.
Watch Jess’s interview with Amanda from Atlantic Builders and keep reading for tips to help you shop for and buy new construction.
Finding a New Home
Where to start your search for a newly built or under-construction home? A good first step is always to find a real estate agent who has experience with the process of new construction and buying homes for sale in Fredericksburg VA. They will likely want you to get prequalified for a loan to see what price range you can truly afford. Top agents also have connections to local builders and will have the most up to date information on where new homes are being built.
Build Your Own Team
Builders of larger developments often have a sales force that works directly for them, bypassing traditional real estate agents. Other times they have a real estate agent who handles their listings. This one stop shop may seem ideal but, in most instances, you will want your own agent to represent your interests.
Do Your Research
You want to know who you’re putting your money behind, so go online to read reviews of builders. Do they have a reputation for quality work they stand behind? Or are they better known for putting up shoddy homes that look nice but quickly fall apart? Homes take a couple years to settle, you want to know how their work will hold up.
Know What You’re Buying
When buying new construction, you may be purchasing your home before building is completed. It can be hard to visualize end results of a home when you’re surrounded by just framing. So how do you know what it looks like? You’ll tour model homes, or under contract homes, with the same floorplan in the development. These homes will give you a feel for the floorplan and display finish options. But beware! Oftentimes model homes have “custom” or “premium” finishes that are not standard. You don’t want to fall in love with the granite in the model only to find out later that it’s a pricey add-on. Ask for a list of standard and upgraded features, including their costs.
Price Negotiations? Not So Fast…
Builders aren’t emotionally attached to the homes they construct. It’s their business and they usually aren’t keen on negotiating price. For one thing, if they cut the price for you, the next buyer is going to expect a similar discount. For another, they need to show their own lender that homes are selling for the prices they expected to.
So what can you negotiate? Everything else. Upgraded cabinets or flooring? Negotiable. Closing costs? Negotiable. Anything that isn’t going to show up in the county records to lower the sales price can be negotiated.
Deposits and Contracts
Your new home may still be under construction when you sign the contract. You’ll likely need to provide a deposit (from a few thousand dollars to 10 percent of the home’s price) so make sure your agent explains the contract. You will need to know if and when you can get your deposit refunded; your agent can make sure a review period is written into the contract. The contract should include a specific completion date, but know that many builders have provisions that allow for some wiggle room in case materials or permits cause delays.
Don’t Skip the Inspection
Just because your home is brand new doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a home inspection. For a few hundred bucks, you get an unbiased and trained set of eyes making sure things are in order and up to code. A good inspection gives you the opportunity to work with the builder to correct problems before you close. Make sure your agent explains your rights. Most times, the builder will fix any code issues, but you aren’t able to simply walk away based on inspection results.
In addition to manufacturer warranties for new appliances, new homes may include a builder warranty, often through a third-party warranty company. Your agent can explain what the builder’s warranty covers and for how long. You’ll want to make sure you understand the details before signing your contract.
Save Some Cushion
While it may be tempting to spend extra money on upgrades and change orders, make sure you leave a little behind. Most new construction homes don’t come with all the finishes. You’ll likely have to buy window treatments, new furniture to fit the home, and possibly fencing in the yard.
If you have any questions about new construction or buying homes for sale in Fredericksburg VA, talk to an agent today!