Whether to buy a brand-new or resale home is one of the first decisions you’ll have to make in your purchase process. The new construction home-buying process is a little different from that of a resale home (we think it’s more fun!), and it’s helpful to get as much information as possible so you know what to expect along the way.
Understand the types of new construction homes available
There are a few different kinds of new construction homes, each with varying levels of personalization and customization available and build times. A spec home is one that is already built with everything pre-installed, while a semi-custom home can be part of a subdivision or larger master-planned community or on a piece of land, will allow you to make minor structural changes and pick out design features like flooring, cabinets, countertops, tile, and more. If you opt for an all-custom home, you’ll be working closely with an architect and builder to design and build to your exact specifications. Another option is a build-on-your-lot program where you select and customize an existing floor plan from a builder that will build on your piece of land. Home buyers choose our Renaissance on Your Land program because it offers them a one-stop-shop for a custom-style home without the stress and higher price tag of a typical custom build. Learn more about ROYL HERE.
Weigh the pros and cons
Is there anything more alluring than being the first to live in a new home with everything sparkling, shiny, and new? But before you start dreaming of your new kitchen countertops and picking out paint colors, be sure a new construction home is the best fit for you and your family. Consider your lifestyle preferences and the type of architecture and layout you’re looking for.
Most new homes feature more modern floor plans with open-concept layouts, larger great rooms or family rooms, and higher ceilings. Of course, one of the best benefits of a new home is the ability to personalize and make it your own. As experienced home builders, we’ve seen the look of joy on peoples’ faces when their new home perfectly reflects their personality and preferences. And if you also desire a home with the latest in energy efficiencies and smart home technology with little-to-no upfront maintenance and repairs, a new construction home is a great way to get all of your must-haves included and ready to enjoy at move-in.
On the other side, are you drawn to the charm and uniqueness of historic homes? Do you prefer a more established neighborhood with mature yards and trees? If you’re looking for a home with the personality of times gone by and don’t mind the potential for costly renovations and upfront maintenance and repairs, a resale home might be a better choice.
Research builders and neighborhoods
Not all builders are created equal, so before you start home shopping and fall in love with a model, it will pay to do your research. Read everything you can about the builders you are interested in, including reviews and online forums. Most importantly, try talking to recent home buyers! They will be able to offer you candid information about their purchase experience and customer service after closing.
It’s also a good idea to check your local Better Business Bureau for any complaints and to see how the company resolved disputes. Like with any business, sometimes issues arise, so it’s important to learn how the company handles complaints. How long did it take them to respond, how transparent were they in their communication, how long did it take to resolve the issue, and was it done right the first time — all of these things will provide a better idea of a builder’s service, values, and commitment to its customers.
When researching neighborhoods, pay close attention to the kind of lifestyle you’ll have living there. Are grocery stores, necessities, and other services conveniently located? How will your work commute be affected? If you have children, how are the schools in the area? Spend some time in each neighborhood, shop there, dine there, and talk to residents to learn more about their likes and dislikes.
Pick your plan
Think about your lifestyle needs now and how they may change in the years ahead. Are you planning to have more children, or do you anticipate caring for an aging family member? If you have older children, do you wish to downsize when they leave for college? These types of questions address square footage and room count needs, but don’t stop there. Think about how you live your life now — if you enjoy entertaining, consider a formal dining room, larger great room, or whole-house speaker system; if you’re a movie buff, how about designating a media room with pre-installed audio visual technology? Now’s the time to indulge and accommodate your lifestyle preferences. Why not make your home the perfect place to enjoy your interests, hobbies, and pastimes?
Know what’s included
Get a list of standard features from your builder and read through it thoroughly. Builders design their model homes with many upgrades and features, and home buyers who haven’t done their homework may be unpleasantly surprised when their finished home doesn’t look like the model, a surefire recipe for disappointment. A builder will be happy to provide a complete list of the products and design features that come standard as well as options and upgrades that are available so you are better equipped to evaluate the additional costs and how they work within your budget.
Read your warranty
One of the many benefits to purchasing a new home is the warranty that comes along with it, adding increased peace of mind to your investment. Warranties, what they cover, and for how long vary from builder to builder, however most will cover structural defects, major home system failures, and workmanship issues for a determined amount of time. A reputable builder will provide homeowner services well beyond closing and move-in and will have a quality assurance process in place to work with homeowners on issues and repairs as they arise.
Once you’ve done the homework and research, our most important advice is to enjoy the process! There’s nothing quite like building a brand-new home, and a good builder will help guide you every step of the way to bring your vision to life.