Buying a brand new home certainly has it’s appeal for many home buyers…. everything brand spanking new and having things just the way you like.
But buying a new construction is very different than buying an existing home, especially if the house is not anywhere near its completion. The difficulty in purchasing a new construction is understanding what you are actually getting and pre-visualizing the finished space.
The following are some tips if you are considering buying a new constrution:
The Model Home- Many new homes are built in a neighborhood with other new homes going up at the same time. If that is the case many times a builder will put up a model home to showcase what they can do. Realize, many times the model home has upgraded finishes and will not be the product you get at the base starting price. I can’t tell you how many times a prospective buyer gets excited when they see a model home and to learn what they viewed is not what they are getting at the advertised price.
Sometimes a sunroom or a third garage stall etc… are in a model home that will be an upgrade on the advertised price. Understand what you are actually receiving!
Understand the Floor Plan and Spec Sheet- Part of the marketing materials when you are buying a new home will be the floor plans, elevation plans and spec sheets. These will tell you exactly what you are getting. Make sure you fully understand the floor plans and the spec sheets. It will spell out the finishes and products you are receiving as well as any allowances.
Allowances- Often before a home is built a builder will give you allowances for kitchens, flooring and baths. The allowances are usually enough to complete the home, but it is probably not enough to finish the home the way you like. Again, if you are on a tight budget make sure the allowances are suitable for your tastes. Many times the allowances will not offer you a wide choice of finishes as the finishes will be on the lower end of what is available. Usually with the spec sheet the builder will provide a list of common upgrades and what each upgrade may cost.
Many inexperienced buyers of new construction can run up a wish list of items that can cost them a significant amount of money above and beyond the purchase price. Before getting involved in a contract make sure you are getting what you want and/or you can afford the upgrades you want.
Get everything in writing- If a builder promises you something as part of the standard package, make sure it is writing. If you are paying for an upgrade, make sure it is in writing. Make sure the contracts spell out what should happen if the home is not completed by its deadline or alternatively if your financing is not complete. Leave nothing to chance and hire a real estate attorney for the purchase and sale. In Massachusetts you do not need an attorney to represent you in a purchase and sale, but it is certainly a wise idea to retain one.
Hire a real estate agent– This is definitely the time to hire a buyer’s agent who knows what they are doing. A buyers agent experienced with new construction can help you navigate the buying of a new construction. As an agent I have helped purchase new construction as well as sold new construction for builders. I understand the process, the terms and where things can go wrong. You need to find an agent that is well versed in new construction.
Buying a new home is much like buying a new car. The builders will advertise the price of the “base” model to get you interested. Assume nothing. Do you research and read all of the fine printso you may understand what you are actually getting. Leave nothing to chance, if it is not spelled out get it in writing.
This article, Buying a New Construction, has been written by Kevin Vitali of EXIT Group One Real Estate. Whether you are looking to buy or sell I have the experience to help.