Buying a new home is a big decision, and buying brand new construction can make a buyer even more nervous. The biggest challenge with new home construction is fear of the unknown. You don’t know exactly how your house will look on that block until it’s built. You’ll pick out carpet, tile, paint, and other features without really seeing the whole package. Beyond the house, you will need to wonder if the schools to be built will actually be as good as they say they will. Will the amenity center really meet your needs? Will you like the community less if the new Whole Foods supermarket down the street never gets built? Here are some things to think about before you even get into your car to tour new home communities.
In 2016 data showed that the average time people live in a home is 8.7 years – If you’re going to wait 6-9 months to have your home built and then move in, you will probably be on the higher end of this average. Many people look at building a new home as their forever home, but jobs and family needs do change. At a minimum you should ask yourself if the home you’re building will suit your needs 6-8 years from now.
Before even looking at new construction, ask yourself if you can really afford it. It is not uncommon for new homes to have a 10-20% premium over existing homes of the same square footage. Also, keep in mind, if you need to sell your existing home, it can cost you as much as 10% of the sales price between commissions and closing fees. Do you know how much it will cost you to insure a new home in an area that gets bad hail? Use a Texas service like HelpInsure.com to get free home insurance estimates.
Of the things people regret when buying a home many people wish they would have opted for a larger house. This goes back to the prior point of affordability. If you can’t afford what you really need, does it make sense to wait a year to save up more money. If you do this, be realistic with how much you can save and how much more you can buy, especially in a hot market where homes may be going up 8% per year in value.
Remember that many things in new construction are negotiable and much easier to add into a home before foundation is poured. If you want extra space with a 3rd car garage (many do in Texas) – it may bring you $10,000 in additional home value while the builder may only charge you $6,000 for the option.
The model homes sells 40% of the time, because people can walk through the plan. If you really like a floorplan, make sure there is a model being built or one in another area that you can go tour. Also, be careful about flipping your house (mirror-image). Sometimes the lot location will require your home to be a mirror image of the model you walk through due to the garage swing. Not all buyers will be happy with having the plan reversed once they are in it.
While most homes can be built in a year, sometimes external factors can cause a delay for up to 2 years. This is perfectly legal if it’s in the contract, so be prepared to ask your builder what is the maximum time they can take to build your home.
If you’re working with a real estate agent (like us – smile), it is critical you tell the home sales rep on your first visit. The services offered to you by your agent may be compromised if the builder doesn’t recognize your agent as referring you.
The blog for everything about buying new home construction in Texas (and a little about resale homes too). Brought to you by the founder of RebateMyHome.