When in the market to buy a home, you may want to check out new construction homes. New homes range in many price points for those looking to move up to first time homebuyers, from both large national builders to small local builders. To find out if new construction is the right fit for you, here are a few pointers to keep in mind.
How to find a new home
Unlike resale, new homes usually are not listed on MLS. To cut down cost of sales, homebuilders hire on-site sales agents instead of local realtors. This means the sales agent may not be a member of the local MLS.
So how do you find new home construction? Homebuilders advertise their new communities online as well as billboards and street signs. Make sure if you are working with a realtor, you inform them you are interested in buying a new construction home, or search online for new homes in your area.
If you search for a new home online, you can take out most of the leg work by narrowing down the homes that fit your criteria before even stepping in a community sales office. You can search by price, square footage and bed and bathroom counts. Once you find a new home which fits your needs, you can fill out an interest request form right on the builder’s website, or print driving directions to visit the community.
Homebuilders may sell you a home before it’s built
Homebuilders often sell a new home before construction on the home starts. There are two reasons for this. The first is so the homebuyer can customize the home with the options they would like. Usually, as a new homebuyer, you will be able to pick out your cabinets, fixtures, appliances, and flooring, as well as other structural options such as taller ceilings, separate shower and tub and added den/guest room.
The second reason is the builder sets up a financial plan for how many homes they believe they will sell in a particular market before they break ground. This means they will need to sell as many homes as quickly as possible to make their financial goal.
How do you buy a home you have never even seen? The builder will build model homes of the floor plans they offer in that community. This allows you to walk through each floor plan and see the options that are offered to you. This allows you to get a feel of what your new home will look like. Once you pick a floor plan, you may be able to pick the lot you would like your home to be built. Most communities have certain models on certain lots in the community plan. This ensures that no two models are right next to each other and maintains the esthetics of the neighborhood.
Once you pick your floor plan and location within the community, the sales agent at that time will ask for a deposit. The deposit to hold the lot could be as little as a couple thousand dollars up to 10% of the purchase price.
New homes are sold in phases
Communities release homes available for purchase in phases. Although a home builder may build a total of 100 homes in a community, not all of the homes will be available at once.
Buying a home in the first phase can possibly save you money. If the first phase of homes sell quickly at their asking price and the real estate market is doing well, the builder may raise the price on the next phase of homes. Being the first buyers of a new community may get you the best discounts. A community may take years to sell out and the last phases of homes for sale are usually 10% more than the first phase.
Builders need to get the first set of homes under contract as quickly as possible so their community seems desirable for the next round of buyers. Plus, the quicker the first phase of homes sell, the better the community’s outcome looks for the builder’s investment.
Buying a new home in the first phase of sales does has some disadvantages. Being one of the first home buyers, you are committed to the success of the community. If the community struggles to sell and you choose not to continue with the purchase of the new home, you may lose your deposit. During the housing bubble burst in the early 2000’s, many buyers were stuck in communities that had stalled in sales.
You may be able to get discounts for upgrades
Say you missed the first phase of home sales and a community is coming to a close with only a few homes left. The builder may be more willing to negotiate to close out the community. These negotiations are not on the price, but on the upgrades. The builder will not want to have public record that they sold the last few homes at a reduced price so instead they offer the buyer upgraded packages, such as hardwood or tiled flooring or higher-end appliances. This could add up to thousands of dollars in upgrades, making it a better deal for the buyer.
Buying new construction has many perks; not only being the first person to live in a home, but having flexibility to pick your options and the peace of mind in knowing your new investment has a warranty that will keep you relatively worry free for quite some time. All in all, a wonderful option when looking to purchase your new home.