Buying New? Here’s What You Need to Know

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The idea of a new house, built from scratch, can be enticing. And for a good reason: it’s a home that’s entirely yours, created just for you. These tend to be the custom-built homes in the most desirable neighborhoods, built with the most modern, energy-efficient features and possessing a healthy dollop of curb appeal. Living the new construction retirement lifestyle sure sounds glamorous enough.

There’s a certain sense of pride that comes with owning a house that no one else has ever lived in before. The appliances are sparkling, and the carpet is pristine; there are no nicks, dents, or scratches anywhere. It smells new. It feels new. And it’s yours.

But the truth is that buying a brand-new home isn’t for everyone. If you’re thinking about investing in new construction real estate, there are some questions you should give some serious consideration before you pull the trigger.

Talk to a Real Estate Professional

Get yourself a realtor. It may seem like an additional, unnecessary expense, but it is a realtor’s job to know everything about the property you’re considering. They’ll be able to tell you about the perks and pitfalls of a new construction home. Best of all, realtors can—and will—leverage their negotiation expertise to help you get the best price on your future home.

While there isn’t a ton of latitude for price bargaining when it comes to a new home, you can trust that an experienced realtor will find at least a few areas of negotiation. A final word on realtors; be sure to find one that isn’t affiliated with the home builder. They’ll give you the best objective opinion, without the pressure of selling the home to benefit their bottom line.

Scope Out Model Homes

Buying a new construction home means that you’re buying into the vision of the designers and contractors. You’re effectively investing in something you can’t see or touch—well, sort of. You can see and experience model homes, but those are only a facsimile of your future home. Still, it’s a good idea to do this. Take note of the features, the building materials, the quality of construction, and the teams who worked on them. 

Do the Research

You’ll need to ask a few questions before you decide to invest. Here are a few you can pose to the designers and builders of your prospective home.

  1. Where have you built previous homes/communities? Do you have references from your past buyers? If they’ve built model homes, it’s clear that they already have practical experience, but it’s still worth asking for references. Think of it as a job interview, and you’re the employer!
  2. Do you offer a warranty? If so, can you explain the details? Most home builders issue a warranty, and in some places, it’s even part of state law. These warranties often cover materials and defects to the home’s systems of structures. Have an attorney look over the agreements with you, so you know exactly what you’re dealing with.
  3. What adjustments am I allowed to make before closing on the home? When you buy a new construction home, you want to ensure everything is to your liking before signing off on the final paperwork. Take advantage and make sure every custom item is perfect before you seal the deal.
  4. Can we get an inspection before closing? An inspection is a critical part of buying a home new or already lived in, so don’t skip it here.
  5. Am I allowed to back out of the contract? You won’t want to do this right as the builder is putting the finishing touches on, but if it’s early enough in the project and things start going wrong, it’s nice to be able to bow out gracefully.

Building a house in retirement shouldn’t be stressful. After all, these are your golden years, and you should be enjoying a laid-back, low-stakes retirement experience. 

If you’re in the market for a custom home, you should also be hunting for the perfect builder to get the job done. Real Estate Scorecard has curated an extensive database of custom home builders. Check out the ‘library section’ of the Scorecard website for full details. Fill out the form below to gain access to our network of builders. Your new home is closer than you think.  

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
General Price Range*

Request Free Real Estate Information

Timeframe for Purchase*
General Price Range*
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