Buying a home that is in new housing developments is a little bit different than if you were buying a home that was previously owned by someone. The first thing is that there are no previous owners so you won't be dealing with any of the seller's emotional attachment they might have with the home and this can sometimes influence any negotiating there might be. Then there is the fact that you only have to work with the builder when dealing with a home that is being constructed.
Just like with a previously owned home you still need to figure out what your budget will be, secure the financing prior to getting into a home in new housing developments, get pre-approved by a bank or a mortgage lender. Then decide how much you want to invest and don't forget the property taxes, insurance, possibly new furniture, window treatments, landscaping and maintenance, all of which are going to drain your bank account.
If you are considering buying a home in new housing developments you may want to take a look at these five tips to help guide you through the process.
Weigh the Pros and Cons
You can buy your brand new home in one of these three ways: Buy the house already built on spec; have a semi-custom built home built as part of a development plan or you can have it completely custom built to your specifications.
So before you make up your mind, make sure to see if the new construction is going to fit your personal lifestyle. Ask yourself the following questions:
Make sure to Research Neighborhoods and Builders
- Usually new housing developments are not close to the city center, will you mind the commute?
- Are you willing to take all the time it needs to help a new landscape grow and develop?
- Can you stand living in the “cookie-cutter” nature of a new housing development drive you nuts?
- New housing developments tend to build houses almost on top of each other, will you mind that kind of closeness and possible lack of privacy?
Make sure to do your research about the places around the new development and find out about the builders working on it.
- Understand that any listing agent you talk to is working for the builder and not for you. They are trying to get their quota they are not out to help you.
- If you have your own listing agent make sure they are in the loop of you being interested in looking at new housing developments so that they will help you find one and so that they will get the commission for any work they do for you, otherwise if the builders agent will get it.
- You can look online for your own listings for new home constructions.
- Take a drive out to the neighborhood and check them out yourself and look at the amenities and the quality of the homes.
- Walk through the community and ask current homeowners about any of their experiences.
- Make sure to go to model open houses and keep a journal and take photos.
- Make sure to ask the builder or developer if there are any homeowner fees and rules for the new development some homeowner fees are outrageous.
- Ask if cable and Internet are available in the area.
- Find out what the zoning laws are for the area.
- Go to the city planners office to see what might be planned for that area in the future.
To make sure that a builder is one that is financially sound, reliable and trustworthy you need to make sure that you do research on them as well. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against them. Ask local real estate agents if the builder has a good reputation within the community. Check out the builders previous homes that his company has built and see how their craftsmanship has stood up over time and the elements.
What's Standard and What's Extra
It's important to know what is considered standard and what is considered extra with the home. So make sure that you get yourself a feature sheet on the homes that you are interested in and read this very carefully and compare the features. You want to find out what comes with the base price of the home and what is considered an extra.
Get the Home Inspected and Get a Home Warranty
- If a stove is included check out the showroom to see the model, if it's a basic stove but you are a gourmet chef you'll want the upgrade for example.
- Make your decision on getting upgrades early in the negotiating process.
- Make sure that you have a good idea of what you want and need.
- The builder makes a ton of money on the upgrades so make sure whether or not you really need them.
- Builders however generally want to sell fast to make a quick profit so if you are haggling over the price then see if you can't get them to throw in the upgrades for free and then you'll agree to their price.
After you decide to buy the new home you need to get a final inspection done by a professional that you pay for. Don't assume that because the home is brand new that there isn't going to be anything wrong with it. It is probably a good idea that you have an inspection done at each phase of the building process because potential problems can be seen sooner.
Make sure to protect yourself with warranties. All new homes do come with an implied warranty from builders but you still should get a warranty from the builder that covers from the date of move in to at least a year after. They can vary from one year to ten years so make sure you know what you want and how long. Make sure the warranties cover what you want and need.
Closing the Deal
Often times the builders of new hosing developments will have in-house mortgage lenders or they have ties to outside lenders. You can use their lenders or you can find the financing on your own. Make sure to find out about any special funding programs that might be available if you are a first time buyer. Make sure to contact at least two different lenders so you can compare the terms, rates, fees and points.
You need to be comfortable with the lender because remember you could be committing up to 30 years of your life on this mortgage.