Ideally, we would love for you to use us when purchasing your new home in the Dallas Fort-Worth area, but if you are not purchasing in Texas or choose to go it alone for whatever reason, here are five questions you should ask your builder.
Q: What is the current build time once we sign a contract?
Make sure you understand the time required for permitting, plus the actual construction time of your new home. Average estimates around Dallas are between 6-9 months, but most builders can take over a year are not be in default of their contract.
Q: Do I have to be approved by your lender to buy one of your homes? Are incentives tied to using your lender?
Builders take on a good amount of risk building a house and customizing it to your liking. If the deal falls through because you can’t get funding, they are stuck with a home that they might not be able to easily sell to another buyer. For this reason, many builders want you to use their lender. Their lender’s sole priority is being absolutely sure you can qualify for the loan – double and triple checking. Even if you can use your own lender, some may not give you certain upgrades or incentives. Furthermore, you may still have to prequalify with them even if you go with another lender, so be sure to ask these questions.
Q: Do you have a published option price list?
It’s easy to be wow’d by all the features in the model home which may be heavily upgraded. It may be easier to have a list in hand if you can get it, on how much certain options costs.
Q: Can I use my own home inspector? What happens if he/she finds things?
Most builders have their own inspection process. Nonetheless, spending an extra $500 on a $500,000 home may not be a bad idea if you want a second opinion. The bigger question is whether the builder will fix the things your inspector finds. You should expect your inspector to find some things – and you should expect your builder to not fix every single item. Building codes and construction processes are unfortunately like getting an opinion from two NASA engineers, you sometimes get three answers on the best way to do something.
Q: What is your home warranty?
Builders will often have warranties on various components of the home that last 1, 2, or 10 years. Almost everything is covered in the first year, with things more likely to get wear and tear to fall out of warranty after the first year. Ask about the roof especially; North Texas gets tornadoes and baseball size hail. Are they using shingles that will last? What happens if you get roof damage 6 months after you close on the house from a hail storm?
The best home builders welcome your questions and welcome you having a Realtor. It helps them set expectations and deliver on what they said.
The blog for everything about buying new home construction (and resale homes).