Becky Ashby your Las Vegas Realtor® has a message for buyers considering new home construction. What you need to know before walking into the new model home. Remember that the agent behind the desk has the builders best interest at heart. Buying a new home is one of the largest purchases you will ever make and let's not forget a legal contract. Buyers need to be represented by someone looking out for them.
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Here are 10 things to do when you buy new construction:
Use a real estate agent if you can. Since the seller typically pays the commission, it costs a buyer nothing to be represented by a real estate agent, and many builders are happy to work with agents. An agent who regularly deals with builders and knows the local communities will provide lots of helpful information.
Check out the builder. Many home builders have been in the business for years and produce a quality product. However, a few do not. Check review sites, state licensing boards and the local court records to see whether the builder you're considering has run into any trouble, including lawsuits, complaints with licensing agencies and disciplinary actions by state and local agencies. This is also a good time to talk to previous customers.
Research the community. Before you buy, find out as much as you can both about the area and the subdivision or condo itself. Visit at different times of day, and talk to residents about what they do and don't like.
Choose square footage and location over upgrades. Think about how you want to spend your limited budget. You can never change your home's location, for example, but you can upgrade flooring later. Apply that logic to other choices as well. If you're choosing between a fourth bedroom and granite countertops, you probably should choose the extra bedroom, which is much more expensive to add later.
Don't over improve. Choose a home size and options comparable to those of your neighbors. You want to keep up with the Joneses but not get too far ahead of them. You don't want to price yourself out of the neighborhood with things that no one else has, but you also don't want to be the only house on the block with linoleum if everyone else has gone hardwood.
Understand your floor plan. Most floor plans include room sizes, and if you don't understand those, take a measuring tape to your current home. Many builders offer virtual reality technology that lets you see what's going to be built, but a better option is to visit a home with the floor plan you want, even if it's still under construction or in a different community.
Have a lawyer vet the contracts. Contracts for new construction are complex. As with all legal affairs, it makes sense to have an expert look them over before your sign.
Ask about warranties. Most builders offer warranties on materials and workmanship. Pulte and its companies Centex and Del Webb, for example, offer a one-year warranty on workmanship, a two-year warranty on mechanical and electrical elements, five years on water leaks and 10 years on structure. Make sure you understand what is and isn't covered and what process you need to follow to get something fixed.
Get a home inspection. You may think you don't need to have a newly built home inspected. But getting an independent inspection before closing is always a good idea, and you want to be there so you can learn more about the home. "Newer homes can have just as many problems as older homes, and it's always better to know what you don't know before the last piece of paper is signed," Hicks says. "In the case of a newly built home, a good home inspector can help identify problems before a builder's warranty expires."
Get multiple bids from lenders and closing agents. Your builder may have a preferred lender and a preferred closing agent, and you may be offered discounts and other incentives to use those professionals. They may or may not be your best choice. Get quotes from additional lenders and closing agents, and then decide which is the best option for you.