TIPS FOR BUYING A NEW HOME
Tips to help you when buying a new home
|New home communities are more popular than ever. Everybody loves a new home - and with good reason. New homes offer exciting open floor plans, luxury appliances, fine wood cabinets and amenities that are often missing in older homes. Plus, buying a new home is so much fun that touring model homes has become a popular American pastime.
Although new homes usually cost more than existing homes, they may be less expensive in the long run. That's because they require less maintenance and are more energy efficient. New homes can also be easier to live in because of the convenient, modern floor plans. Most existing homes, on the other hand, have some deferred maintenance that can be expensive and take a lot of time to repair.
But, living in a new housing development isn't for everybody. Some people complain that new developments lack architectural style and mature landscaping. For others, new homes are less convenient because they are often located away from the city center. Then, there's the noise, dust and traffic while the construction is in progress. Not to mention that bad weather and construction delays may cause your brand new home to be finished late.
Builders pre-sell new homes from furnished models of the various floor plans. The model homes are highly upgraded and don't depict the standard finishes (floor coverings, countertops, appliances, fixtures, etc.) that are included in the base price. So, the crown molding, stainless appliances and marble flooring you fall in love with are not included in the base price of the house. You'll have to pay for these and other extras.
Many people think they don't need the services of a real estate advisor when buying a new home. This can be a big mistake. The builder's representative is just that - he represents the builder. Who is going to look out you? Find an agent who has new home experience to represent you when buying a new home. He understands the process of buying a new home and will protect you along the way.
- When buying a new home, take a look at a basic production models to see the standard finishes that are included in the base price.
- Compare the prices charged for upgrades. You may be better off installing them at your own expense after closing (especially flooring.)
- Don't sign any paperwork to buy a new home until you have worked out and fully understand every detail of the transaction.
- Research the builder. Do they limit the number of investor purchases? Do they build comparable value homes in the area to protect your investment? Do they stand behind their homes?
- Reserve the right to rent back your existing home after closing. That way you won't have to move twice if your new home is not delivered on time.
- Make your construction changes early when buying a new home because it's more expensive after the builder's cutoff date.
- Even new homes have construction problems. So, talk with other owners about how responsive the developer is on customer complaints.
- When buying a new home, it's wise to have a termite inspection. Beetles and termites may infect framing lumber before it is cut and milled.
- Be sure to talk with an outside lender before making a commitment to use the builder's lender.
- Chose you own appraiser. Ask for a copy of it. Call the appraiser with any questions you have.
- If you're buying a new home, have a home inspection to catch things that are missed by the contractor and building inspector.
- In a strong real estate market the price of a new home is not negotiable. In a softer market, you'll be able to get concessions toward closing costs and upgrades when buying a new home.
- If you're buying a new home, pick your upgrades wisely with resale in mind.
- Keep your new home finishes light and neutral because dark colors may limit the buyers at resale time.
- The best upgrade investments when buying a new home include: a fireplace, French doors, security system, fans, an extra garage and bonus rooms.
- Floor plans with a bedroom and bath on the main level are very good for resale.
- Upgrading the kitchen almost always pay off. A a gas range, better cabinets and granite counter-tops are a wise investment when buying a new home.
- When it comes to flooring, wood and tile floors will usually pay for themselves at the time of resale.
- Options that usually don't pay off include: air conditioning, a pool or spa, dark colored flooring or cabinets.
- Choose conventional window coverings such as wood blinds. Shutters are popular but usually will not pay back. Expensive draperies and other custom window treatments will not pay for themselves at resale time.
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