Have you fallen in love with one of those perfect model homes in a new construction neighborhood? I love them, too. In this edition of Melanie Loves Tampa Bay, I’m sharing tips on how to be a smart buyer for new houses. Buying a resale house versus new construction are very different processes.
#1 – WORK WITH A REALTOR
Yes, real estate agents represent buyers all the time on new construction purchases. It can be confusing for you when you go into a model home and sales representatives provide all of the information and answer your questions, but they work for the builder and you should want someone representing you. Many Realtors like myself are familiar and specialize in new construction, and our input is valuable.
#2 – UNDERSTANDING THE DIFFERENT COSTS OF NEW CONSTRUCTION
You may see that roadside sign that says “Houses Start in the 200s!” Then when you go into the model home, everything available is priced closer to 0,000? That’s because the advertised price is for the cheapest model, with no upgrades or lot premium.
CONSTRUCTION OPTIONS – Does your builder offer a bonus room option or the option to change a living room to a den, or that extended master bathroom?
COSMETIC OPTIONS – These are the fun ones! Going to that design center to pick out your floors and cabinets can be the highlight of the building process, but you can also get a big dose of sticker shock.
#3 – NEGOTIATING WITH BUILDERS
Builders don’t like to negotiate their base prices, they have to keep them similar because they are selling lots of the same models. As long as people are buying their homes, they have no reason to negotiate the price. However, builders are more receptive to negotiating “things” or “credits.” Instead of asking for a ,000 reduction in the price of the house, have your agent ask for a ,000 credit at the design center that you can use for picking out that gorgeous kitchen. You can also ask for a closing cost contribution. Not every builder is going to give you credits. It depends on how popular their product is, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.
#4 – CLOSING COSTS
Every builder is different, but no matter which one you go with – pay very close attention to the closing costs. Most large builders in Florida push all of the closing costs (except for the real estate fees and a few others) over to the buyer’s side. This can be thousands of dollars in extra closing costs that you wouldn’t be paying if you were purchasing a resale house.
#5 – CONSTRUCTION TIME EXPECTATIONS
Say your builder estimates that it will take four months to build your house. That is their goal, but in reality, they can never be entirely sure when that house will be completed. Builders have to deal with weather issues, materials being supplied in a timely manner, contractors doing work correctly, permits, inspections, and so much more. It is a lot to manage and everything doesn’t always move along smoothly.
I hope this information helps all of you out there thinking about buying a new construction home. Give me a call if you’re in the Tampa Bay area, and I’d love to help you!
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Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate.
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