More and more homebuyers are considering new construction homes over existing homes. 

Whether that means buying a complete and fully finished new home or working with a builder from the plans through construction, the idea of being the first family to live in a brand-new home is exciting. 

But before you jump right in, here are some pros and cons of buying a new construction home to consider. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of New Construction Homes 

If you’re considering a new construction home, it’s important to be aware of both the upsides and the downsides. 

Pros of a New Construction Home:

  • The home is new and clean and you’ll be the first family to ever live there
  • You can work with the builder to customize the home to your liking (if it’s early enough in the process)
  • Maintenance and repair costs are low in the first few years compared to existing houses because everything is new 
  • New home plans suit modern tastes (i.e., open concept, kitchen island, etc.) 
  • New home plans are more energy efficient, which can save you on utilities 
  • The builder pays the real estate agent’s commission 

Cons of a New Construction Home:

  • If yours is one of the first homes in a development, you could face months or years of construction happening around you
  • New home developments tend towards smaller lots with homes close to each other, which may not suit your tastes 
  • It’s generally more expensive than buying an existing home
  • Price is generally not as negotiable as with existing homes
  • Move-in date isn’t guaranteed, and delays can happen, which can make planning difficult
  • You won’t know exactly what you’re buying until it’s completed

Tips when Building and Buying a New Construction Home

If you do decide to move forward with a new construction home, there are some things you should do to help the process go more smoothly. 

Know the quality of the builder’s past projects. Look at the builder’s past projects in the area and talk to people who worked with them and live in one of their houses to find out if they’re happy with their home. You can also look online for reviews but take these with a grain of salt, as unhappy customers are much more likely to leave a review than are happy customers. 

Know the reputation of the project. If the home you have your eye on is part of a large development project, find out more about it. Talk to real estate agents and other experts in the industry to see what they think of it. Look for coverage in local newspapers; is it positive or negative? Has there been pushback from neighbors or others in the community? This information may not sway you but it’s best to be informed.  

Find out the percentage of homes in the development sold. Ask how many of the other homes or lots have been sold in the development you’re considering buying in. While getting in early often means getting a great deal, it also means you’ll have to endure construction nearby for many months.  

Ask exactly what is included and what’s not included in the purchase price. Remember: You are not buying the model home! The finishes, fixtures, and extra details you fell in love with in the model home could very well be upgrades that cost a premium if you want to include them in your home. Speak with the builder and/or design team so you know exactly what you’ll be getting in your home, and how much it will cost if you want to make changes. 

Negotiate for upgrades rather than for price reductions. With inventory low in the Charleston market and elsewhere, new home builders have no incentive to lower the cost to get you to buy. So ask for upgrades instead. You’ll have better luck getting more of what you want for the same price than getting the builder to lower the bottom-line cost. 

Get a home inspection done upon completion. New construction homebuyers can opt out of the home inspection step, but don’t do it! Don’t assume that just because the construction is new, it’s perfect. Problems can still occur. The relatively small out-of-pocket cost can uncover serious problems that could cost you significant money and time down the road to fix. If nothing is uncovered, then you have peace of mind.

Get a builder warranty from the builder. A builder warranty usually comes with new construction and is provided by the builder. It can protect you in case there turns out to be problems with the foundation, roof, electrical system, or some other structural element or system that’s included. Make sure you understand exactly what’s in the builder warranty and make sure you get everything in writing. 

Work with an experienced real estate agent. Many new home construction developments have a service center with a friendly sales associate who can help you buy a home without using an agent. But the sales associate represents the builder’s interests, not yours. A real estate agent who represents you can help in negotiate upgrades (as mentioned above), secure financing (whether that’s with the builder’s preferred lender or not), and help with home inspections, contracts, and warranties. And remember, in most cases the builder pays for the agent’s commission, meaning that you get the agent’s expertise and advice and you don’t pay a dime!

Interested in New Construction Homes in the Charleston Area? Call Me 

New home construction is going on all over the greater Charleston, SC area, so if you’re looking for a brand new home, call me. I’m Kenton Selvey, a Realtor® with Keller Williams, and I help people buy and sell homes in Charleston, Daniel Island, Mount Pleasant, James Island, West Ashley, and the greater area. For help buying your dream new construction home, call me at 843-806-7222 or email me here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Work With Kenton

Work With Kenton

I know what it means to call the Lowcountry home. And it’s my mission to help you call it home too. It’s why we work so hard to make your real estate dreams come true. It’s why we build relationships, not databases. It’s why we treat everyone like a neighbor, because it’s our intention that one day you will be.

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