Building your dream home from scratch can be very exciting, and stressful! There are many things to think about, decisions to make, and things to consider when taking on such a huge endeavor.
First thing's first - ask questions.
If you have chosen to build in a new unsettled area (as opposed to an existing neighborhood or subdivision), find out what the long term plans are for the area. Are there more homes to be built around you? How big will the neighborhood be? Who is the builder and what is his reputation?
Your best bet is to find a Buyer's Agent who knows the area to help you gather this information. He or she can be an invaluable resource by setting up home tours, defining the closing process for you, and finding out everything you want to know about the area and the builder.
Remember, that the property's listing agent works for the builder, not you. They are working for a commission and have the builder's best interests in mind. Be prepared and have your own team (agent) behind you!
If you are building in an established or existing neighborhood or subdivision, you might find yourself responsible for paying Homeowner's Association Dues. If this is the case, find out what this entails. HOAs set rules about what is allowed and what is not within a neighborhood. Some HOAs may not allow things such as sheds, certain exterior paint colors, or even vegetable gardens. And, dues can be expensive! Find out what is permitted, what is not, what penalties they can charge, and how much and how often the dues will be collected.
Does the builder offer a home warranty? Most builders will offer a workmanship or builders warranty as well as a structural warranty to their buyers. These are two different warranties that cover different things. A workmanship warranty will cover things such as windows, siding, roofs, doors, plumbing, electrical and HVAC for one to two years. Make sure that your builder offers this and find out the details of what is covered and to what extent. A structural warranty will cover any structural defects that may arise over a (usually) 10 year period. Know what warranties are available to you and what the details of those warranties are to put your mind at ease about the builders quality during building, and beyond.
You should also consider having an inspection performed by an independent inspector. Municipal inspections, which are required by law on new construction, are not as thorough as an independent inspection would be. An independent inspector can give you a good idea of the quality of work your builder has performed and what issues you might run across in the future.
Find out what is standard and what is extra when you are talking about your home's features. Ask for a feature sheet and compare prices on your own. Home builders make a huge profit on upgrades, so it might actually end up being more cost effective for you to upgrade certain appliances or fixtures after the move-in.
Home builders want to sell their homes quickly so they can move on to the next project and continue making money. Makes sense, right? This can work to your advantage. If you find yourself negotiating back and forth on price and are unable to come to an agreement, ask your builder to throw in any upgrades you want in your new home for free, or for a discounted price.
A couple of final thoughts...
Take a drive around the neighborhood you plan to build in, and check things out for yourself. Or, talk to neighbors and get their opinions. See for yourself what amenities are available to you as a homeowner, or even what community amenities are nearby. Lots of new construction housing areas are some distance from a town's or city's center. How will the commute be to grocery and retail stores, schools and work? How close are the existing homes to each other? Is there room to spread out and have a little privacy in your own backyard? Do all of the houses in the neighborhood look alike? Are these things okay with you and not going to drive you crazy over time?
You have decided to build your dream home. You love the neighborhood and the proximity to conveniences. You are comfortable with the quality your builder provides and he seems to have a good reputation. Next steps? Closing the loan. Be sure to ask your Buyer's agent about any special financing that might be available to you as a first-time home buyer. Also, you should contact at least a couple of different recommended lenders and compare the terms, fees, rates and points they offer their clients.
If in doubt, ask your agent. That's where we come in!
Call Team 2BeSellin today for all of your real estate needs.
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