Buying a new construction home is exciting, especially if you’re able to take part in the planning or customizing stage. Knowing you’ll be the first person to live in a brand new, sparkling clean home with all the latest amenities and finishes is really something special.
But it’s a big project, and if you’ve never bought a new construction home before, there’s a lot you don’t know. Here are some things you can do to help the process go more smoothly from start to finish.
Research 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.
Research 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 because the builder has a lot of margin built into upgrades, and they may want to preserve final sales prices in the new addition so lower comps don’t drive down the prices of other new homes the builder is working on in the area.
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 (different from a home 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 get everything in writing.
Work with an experienced real estate agent
Many new home construction developments have a service center with a friendly sales agent who can help you buy a home without using an outside real estate agent. But the sales agent 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 another lender), help with home inspections, contracts, and warranties, and more. 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 William Means Real Estate, 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.