It’s that time of year–buying season for homes! During my time of searching, there was a common theme: new construction homes. There were few older homes scattered among the listings. If an older home was on the market, it didn’t take long for it already to be under contract. It was not shocking when it actually came time to look in our price range that we were going to be looking at some new construction homes. With mortgage rates increasing, my husband and I wanted to get locked into a good rate before rates continued to increase as predicted.
After a weekend of looking between both types of houses, my husband and I chose to put in an offer on a new construction home. Here I thought the hard part of “adulting” was already done. Silly me–the “adulting” was just beginning.
Here are my top 5 must-know tips when purchasing a new construction home:
1. Choose a familiar realtor who has dealt regularly with new construction homes.
New construction homes come with a lot of headaches. My advice is find a realtor who is comfortable and has been around the block with other clients purchasing new construction homes. You will thank yourself when it comes down to the wire and you’re wanting to throw in the towel. Your realtor can help counsel you and direct you to the right approach.
2. Double check your closing date timeline.
Have a clear timeline of when your financing will be released. This could dictate when construction can continue on the house, depending on what phase you are buying at. Then understand when the closing date is. As a buyer you don’t want to lose out on your interest lock! Just knowing the specific dates and how the seller handles completion of the project can help eliminate any unnecessary headaches.
Knowing dates will also be important if the option of customizing the interior of the house is allowed. This will help set a deadline for meeting with each vendor to approve or make changes to the selected items for your home.
3. Come prepared to every walk-through.
On a new construction home I recommend treating every walk-through as a final walk-through. Be sure to come prepared with a checklist, specifications sheet, any change order invoices, camera, sticky notes, level, and flashlights in tow to every meeting.
Being able to go off a sheet will help keep your focus. It can easily be overwhelming, so this can eliminate any anxious feelings of trying to not miss anything. Having my checklist helped us create a punch list of things that needed to be fixed prior to closing.
After a not-so-great experience from our walk-through, I received advice from my dear friend, Sherri, to leave sticky notes where there was damage. Then my husband and I made sure to take pictures and point out obvious damages to the contractor through email.
4. Regular documentation
It is a must to keep every single voicemail and email throughout the buying process. There is a lot of money at stake, and to ensure that you receive what you paid for is a necessity! There were two instances that having an email and voicemail helped make sure that errors were fixed for us when there was push back from the seller.
Another recommendation is after each phone call, send an email to follow up on what was discussed. Leave a paper trail for documentation.
Lastly make sure to copy (CC) everyone necessary on any email involved with buying the house. This will help make sure everyone is in the loop of what is happening or if changes are being made.
5. Home Inspection
Without question, don’t forget to have your realtor include having a home inspection written into the offer. Then reach out to your realtor about setting it up prior to closing.
There were so many emotions prior to closing about how our process went when buying our home that this was almost forgotten. After having the home inspector come out it really eased our minds knowing that the bones of the house were structurally sound. Overall we were assured we were receiving a well-built home compared to other new construction that our inspector had seen.
With everything being said, it was not all roses from beginning to end. I hope that through my five recommendations, your buying process goes smoothly and easily. Overall, I could not be happier with my family’s new home and can not wait to fill our home with laughter and memories to come.
Now bring on the home décor decisions!