Wouldn’t it be great if someone had a magical cheat sheet that told you exactly what you need to know when you’re buying new construction? Your wish is our command, that cheat sheet now exists! The real estate process is no joke. There’s lots of jargon and hidden information. It’s easy to get lost, frustrated, upset, and all of the above. In this blog, we’ve summarized the top 6 things we think you should know when you’re buying new construction.
6 Things to Know When Buying New Construction
There are so many things to know about the new construction homebuying process, but here are 6 key things to remember.
1. Research builders and ask a lot of questions.
You’re making a big purchase, so you want to make sure you understand everything, including the builders you’re interested in. You want to have some background knowledge of your builders. Are they quick to help you solve problems, and what kind of reputation do they have? Don’t be afraid to ask your future neighbors or do a little digging online. It is also completely reasonable to ask your builder rep a bunch of questions. For instance, what’s the warranty, who should be your point of contact, which features are included, and when can you have inspections?
2. Model homes are meant to ‘wow’ you.
First impressions matter and that model home you walk through is probably going to look way more luxurious than what your new home is going to look like. A builder’s model home is going to have all the best upgrades and professional staging to grab your attention. It’s supposed to wow you and make you go “I want a home just like this.”
But take a step back and remember that you’re buying your own home, not the model home. Make notes about details that you like and at the end of the walkthrough, talk to the builder and figure out whether or not certain upgrades are included and whether or not you think they’re worth it. Small things like certain hardware on cabinets can be upgraded yourself later on and will be much cheaper.
3. Youl will pay closing costs.
As we’ve discussed in our previous blog, there are many “hidden” costs to owning a home that may not be top of mind when you have bigger things to worry about (the big mortgage). At closing, you will be expected to pay a little more than just your down payment. Closings costs is an umbrella term for everything you could be expected to pay when you close. These can include mortgage origination fees, escrow or settlement fees, prorated property taxes, government recording fees, and broker commissions just to name a few.
Some of these costs are flat fees, and you’ll know what they are up-front when you apply for your mortgage. Your lender will provide you with this information. Other costs can vary depending on when you close.
When you’re buying a new build, there may be some additional fees that usually would be covered by the seller if you were buying an existing home, such as title insurance and transfer fees. However, builders will sometimes cover these costs along with your realtor’s commission fees.
4. New construction homes also need inspections.
Yes! People make mistakes, including the builders and construction workers, so you want to enact your due diligence rights. Have your own private or independent inspections routinely to make sure things are going according to plan. Ideally, you want to have your new construction home inspected twice.
First, just before the drywall is hung so your professional inspector can examine the framing and electrical wiring, essentially the bones of your home. The second time you want to make sure you get an inspection is right before you move in, just to make sure things are in order and work properly.
5. You can customize them and negotiate upgrades.
Just like when you’re buying an existing home, you can negotiate with the builders on your new construction. However, you will most likely be unable to negotiate on the actual purchase price, but instead, you can ask for certain upgrades or other incentives like closing costs and extended warranties. Selling homes at a lower purchase price may affect the selling prices for their future builds.
6. You get the most when you work with a realtor who knows new construction.
A lot of people aren’t comfortable with negotiating the price or asking for certain upgrades when they’re buying their home. That’s ok, you don’t have to be comfortable, because that’s our job. A realtor who specializes in new construction (us!) is going to be able to help you manage and traverse your homebuying process and help you negotiate the best deals so you can get into a home you love.
6 Things to Know Before Buying New Construction
Buying a home is not an easy process. There are a lot of moving parts. And, when you’re buying new construction, it adds a whole lot of new layers to an already complicated and frustrating process.
Whether you’re buying a new home or an existing home, you will have to do your due diligence and make sure that you’re getting what you’re looking for and that you understand what you’re getting. It can be a strenuous and time-consuming process to research builders, read the fine lines, figure out answers to all your questions. But that’s where we can come in to do all of those things for you plus more.
Serena Yan worked as a digital content producer at Marketplace Homes in 2021 and contributed many insightful pieces of content to the MPH blog. During her time at Marketplace Homes, she researched the real estate market, analyzed trends to streamline Marketplace Home’s marketing strategy, and found ways to best engage target audiences. Through writing blogs with topics ranging from market trends to home living, she contributed a lot to the early stages of this blog. Thank you, Serena!