Buying a new construction property can be a daunting task. There are so many decisions to make, all without seeing the final product. With that in mind, you’ll want to make sure that you go into this process armed with as much information as possible. To that end, we’ve brought you five questions that you should ask before buying a new construction property. Read them over to familiarize yourself with them before the big day.
Where can I see past samples of your work?
One of buyers’ biggest concerns when it comes to purchasing new construction is that it’s difficult for them to visualize the final product until well after they’ve signed on the dotted line. While there is, unfortunately, no way to solve this exact problem, you can come pretty close by asking to view samples of the builder’s prior work.
Taking the time to look at some of the builder’s other projects has a dual purpose. On the one hand, it will give you a sense of the style of work that the builder prefers, as well as the quality and how it holds up over time. However, it will also give you the opportunity to get references. If you can, take the opportunity to talk to the homeowners to see what they liked and didn’t like about working with the builder.
Which features come standard? Which are upgrades?
When you initially look at a new construction home, you’re given a base price for your unit. That base price includes all standard finishes, which are usually builder-grade in quality. You’re then given the option to upgrade certain features. However, this comes at an additional cost. Before you can begin to estimate the true cost of your property, it’s imperative to know which features are included in the base price and which you’ll want to upgrade to something different.
To do this, your best bet is to walk through the model home with an agent who works for the builder (and your agent, if you have one). Have the builder’s agent point out which features in the model home come standard and which count as upgrades. This will give you an idea of how many upgrades you’re looking towards before it’s time to sit down and make your final decisions.
How often will I be able to see the property during construction?
As the homeowner, you should be able to tour the home periodically during its construction. However, many buyers are surprised to find that this doesn’t mean that you’ll have the ability to ask for a tour whenever you’d like. Most builders have set times that they allow the buyers to come and view their progress and some can, unfortunately, be quite restrictive.
Only you know how often you’ll need to view the home in order to feel comfortable. However, you won’t know if the builder’s schedule matches up with yours unless you take the initiative and ask. If you feel that the builder is being too restrictive, you’re well within your rights to ask if an exception can be made for extra visits. That said, you need to be aware that your request may be declined and, in that case, it may behoove you to look elsewhere.
What warranties do you provide? Can I still conduct inspections?
Just because a house is brand new doesn’t mean that nothing will go wrong with it. Fortunately, most builders provide warranties in the event that some unexpected problem occurs. You’ll want to ask the builder what warranties are available to you, as well as what is and is not covered under each warranty. Ideally, you’ll be covered for at least the first few years that you own the home.
Along those same lines, you should also ask the builder if you’re allowed to perform inspections. Although the home is new, it’s a good idea to have a home inspection done. Sometimes even the best builders make mistakes and, if there are any in your home, it’s best to find them before you sit down at the settlement table. That way, fixing them is undeniably the builder’s responsibility and there’s no confusion.
Who do I contact during the building process?
Though you may talk to the builder when initially purchasing your home, it’s unlikely that you’ll have direct contact with them during the building process. Instead, you’ll probably have to go through either a real estate agent or building supervisor. Whoever this individual ends up being, you’ll want to get their contact information and, if possible, arrange a meeting with them.
Building a home is a very involved process that includes making hundreds of small decisions. When you have questions, it’s best to know who you can contact directly for your own peace of mind.