How Do You Do New Construction?

I’ve had some great questions lately about new home construction lately.   These are a few of my favorites. 

First question…

Customer:  We are first time homebuyers considering buying new vs. pre-owned.  My husband is freaking out about buying new, while I love the idea of being able to make it my own and move into a new neighborhood.

Steve:  That’s a great question. Flexibility is key when buying a new home, especially when ground has not been broken.  First, you are at the mercy of the builder’s schedule.  At this time of year, it is not unusual to get weather delays from rain or cold temperatures.  Second, you need to have some flexibility in your price.  Changes or upgrades can be very expensive and easily put you over  budget.  Building a home can be a time-consuming, emotional roller coaster ride.  Make sure you are strapped in and ready for adventure. 

Next…

Customer: What do you look for in a builder?

Steve:  You are on the right track with that question.  First, I want to work with an experienced builder who has a good reputation in this area.  This is paramount to long term happiness.  The worst feeling in the world is discovering too late in the game that your builder is sub-par. 

Second, I prefer a builder that offers the most popular features as part of the base package.  When every little thing is an upgrade, it feels like you are being nickeled and dimed.  

Third, a quality builder should have a warranty to match.  If the warranty offered seems less than desirable, consider that your signal to move on.   You should review the items covered, the coverage term and the party responsible for the repair. 

Fourth, review the quality of materials that they plan to use in your home.  If the materials seem cheap or non-standard, that is another sign that this is not the right builder. 

Last, review the contract that the builder requires you to use for the home.  If the contract is state approved, that is a good sign.  Builder contracts are notoriously one-sided.  They always favor the builder, and that’s not a good way to start a partnership.  Even a temporary one.

We have time for one more…

Customer:  I’ve been told that builders will throw in free upgrades or reduce their prices.  Is this true?

Steve:  This was true 7 years ago, when it was difficult to sell a home during the housing crisis.  These days most buyers are lucky to get some of their closing costs paid.  Builders will say that they do this to protect the previous buyers.  The truth is that they do not have to resort to price reductions or free upgrades to sell homes today.  Most homes are sold faster than they can be built.  If you are not willing to pay the price, someone else will pay it or even more.  Nashville is a seller’s market.

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