Thinking about buying new construction? Excited about purchasing a home that no one has ever owned? As an agent who is certified in new home sales, I would like to offer some suggestions.
Hire a buyer's agent to represent and assist you. The site coordinator you meet at the new construction site is working for the builder (seller) and not for you! Be sure to ask the agent you hire if he or she is certified in new home sales.
Check out the builder's reputation. Ask for testimonials from people who live in the existing development or community. People are usually honest about their experience. Visit locations where the builder has completed a development and see how it looks a few years later. Ask the buyer's agent to give you some resale data to see if the homes held their value.
Choose your own lender or ask your buyer agent to make a few recommendations. Consider your credit union, the lender holding your current mortgage and perhaps another source. Don't get talked into using the lender sitting at the new construction site or the one the site coordinator recommends. Their rate may not be competitive or their terms may not be the best. Shop around before making a decision.
Look for an energy efficient or energy star rated home. Do your homework and read about that rating and how it may impact you. Also ask for warranties and deed restrictions. It is important to know what you can do once you move into your new development. For example....can you park an RV or boat in your driveway? Do you have a Home Owner's Association (HOA)? Is there a yearly or monthly fee? What does the fee cover? Do you have to get permission to erect a shed or change the color of your front door? If you need to sell that new home because of a job transfer, can you put a for sale sign on your front lawn? You may not want to move into a very restrictive neighborhood or you may like the idea of rules and regulations to protect the integrity of the development.
Remember, when building it is costly or not always possible afterwards to make structural changes. Spend your money wisely. Cosmetic features can usually be added when you have a little extra money and after closing. For example, if you can't afford a hardwood floor in the kitchen now, you can add it in a year or two. Adding an extra foot to the height of the basement has to be done when the home is being built. It cannot be done in a year or two. You might be thinking that at some point you would like a nice finished basement to be used as a media room with a home theater. That extra foot to the ceiling in the basement would make sense to add during the building process...always think ahead.
Building is an exciting process...floor plans, color and cabinet selections, the front elevation and perhaps most importantly...the lot! So much to think about If you have never built before, it can be quite overwhelming. With the assistance of a qualified buyer's agent with new construction experience, the process should be fun!
Submitted by Dede Olds, Associate Broker, Coldwell Banker Prime Properties, Clifton Park, NY 12065