Maybe You Should Consider A New Build?

Ok, so you’ve been out looking at homes for a few months and you still can’t find anything you want to buy. It’s hard to believe that we are having this discussion today after the last four years of record high inventory. Since a greater selection of choice homes is not likely to hit the market soon, maybe it’s time to consider building. Before you do, there are some things you need to know.

Not every homebuilder is created equal. In the construction business, it really is “You get what you pay for!” Buyers beware: do you home work on the various builders that you are considering. If it’s a national homebuilder, there is a lot of information online about the quality of their homes, their reputation, warranty, service, and more. If you can’t find the info you are looking for, ask these questions from the sales center representative. Then follow up their answers by asking for references from satisfied customers. In some cases, you may find the quality and service to be better with a hands-on small to medium local builder.

Next, speak with your real estate agent. Many times, they have had experience with various builders that you are considering and have extensive knowledge about the developments you are considering building in. Have your agent call the sales center before you go out to see the models and find out if they have any spec homes built and ready for delivery in the next 30, 60, or 90 days. If the builder has none and only builds pre-sales (meaning you ordered it, pay for it and they build it), then ask them what is the range of build time. If it’s eight months or more, you can figure out quickly if that development is going to work with your plans.

When you go out to see the models, understand that those homes are fully upgraded with every bell and whistle a designer can add. Remember that the pricing on the sales sheet in most cases does not include any upgrades. It’s just a base price. Be sure to ask what kind of finishes and features are included in the base price. Then begin to understand how much more money it is going to cost to add the upgrades you want in your home. That will be the final price. You may find a small to medium size builder that adds a lot of upgrades to their home within the base price.

Finally, while some builders will tell you that their salespeople will help you from start to finish and it’s not necessary to use a Realtor in the transaction, I would guard against this. It’s always a good idea to have someone represent your best interests, bounce upgrade decisions off, and help in negotiations. If the builders offer special financing from their in-house mortgage lender, I would make sure that you get a second or even a third good faith estimate from an outside lender before making a decision.

Dan Polimino is an Owner/Broker with Keller Williams Realty DTC. He can be reached at

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