Thinking about purchasing a ‘New Construction’ Home? Here’s Some Buying Tips

Autumn is a great time to fall into the new home of your dreams.

by guest writer, Jackie Knecht, Site Manager of West Neck Commons

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Buying “new construction” is a little different than buying a previously-owned home. It is important to be familiar with how the process works. For one, because there is no previous homeowner, you don’t have to deal with a seller’s emotional ties to the property, which typically influences the negotiating process. Whether you’re designing and building a custom home or buying a home that’s built on spec in a new subdivision, you’ll only have to work with the builder.

Nothing beats the feeling of being the first person to live in a newly-built home. Everything is shiny and untouched.  You can buy a new construction home in one of three ways: buying a house already built on spec,  having a semi-custom home built as part of a development (you can choose from a set of finishes and upgrades), or having a purely custom home designed and built to your exact specifications.

Always ask the builder about amenities and upgrades. Amenities are features that benefit the entire community. Upgrades refer to added features or items you pay extra for to enhance your home, like certain types of flooring or appliances.  If you don’t understand exactly what the builder is offering, ask and take notes. Here are some things to keep in mind:

+  If the stove is included, visit the showroom to see the model. If you’re offered the basic stove and you’re a gourmet cook, it makes sense to buy the upgrade.
+  Make decisions on upgrades early in the process – every change costs money.
+  Have a good idea of what you need and want. They are two different things when it comes to upgrades.

You also have a few timelines to consider. If you’re buying a quick move-in or “spec” home – a new home that has been partially or fully completed by the builder – the time from contract to move-in might fit within that one-month (or slightly longer) span.

When it comes to negotiation options, builders typically do not like to drop prices. This is so that future buyers in the development don’t expect similar discounts or that the value of homes in the neighborhood don’t decrease. As an alternative, think about asking the builder to pay some closing costs or perform upgrades.

A good rule of thumb is to presume that unforeseen delays could occur. If the builder says it’s going to take three months to build, plan for four just in case.  Know that changes can and will likely happen.  Also, the fit and finish of the model home doesn’t necessarily represent what comes standard.  The model home usually reflects a mix of standard materials and fixtures, along with many different upgrades. While taking a tour of the model home, be sure to find out which is which. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting, what’s available, and most importantly, what the cost will be.

If you’re interested in finding out even more about new construction or spec homes, feel free to contact the writer, Jackie Knecht at 757-639-7753 or via email at jknecht@millergrpva.com. Don’t forget to check out our newest development, West Neck Commons, where you could find the new construction home of your dreams!