New construction homes have a certain appeal that existing homes don’t. They’ve never been lived in so you won’t have to wonder about the home’s history. You’ll have the opportunity to customize your home from the ground up, rather than trying to modify what’s already there. And you won’t have to deal with an emotional seller.
But if you’ve decided to purchase a brand new home in San Diego, there are a few things you shouldn’t forget to do:
- Hire Your Own Agent
Many buyers of new construction don’t think to hire their own real estate agent – but they really should. The sales agent is being paid to represent the builder’s interests, not yours. Plus, since you’re buying the home (not selling) the builder will most likely pay your agent’s commission. So it’s really a no-brainer to hire your own agent to represent you and negotiate on your behalf!
- Ask About Extras
Don’t assume that what you see in the model home comes standard. Ask about what’s included and not included in the advertised purchase price. If you want to pay for additional upgrades, prioritize those things you can’t easily change about the home, like square footage and lot location. You can always install different flooring or repaint later and it may be cheaper to hire your own contractor to do the work anyway. Builders often mark up the prices on upgrades. You can ask your agent to give you a ballpark estimate of what a particular update might cost. Or they can refer you to a trusted vendor who can give you an estimate.
- Research the Community
Depending on where the builder is in construction, you may not have a clear picture of what the community will be like when it’s finished. Make sure to ask how many total homes will be built and what community amenities will be offered. You should also find out about plans for the land outside the community. If there’s empty space now, what will be there in the future? Find out if any new schools will be built and if there are plans to modify the existing roadways to accommodate the increase in traffic.
While most builders do not want to compromise on price, they may be willing to throw in some extras or make concessions in other ways. It never hurts to ask. Your agent will be instrumental during this negotiation phase.
- Ask About Warranties
Don’t forget to ask about warranties for the things that will be installed in the home. You can’t assume because something is new that you won’t have a problem with it. Make sure you understand what’s covered and what’s not and if there’s any special process you need to follow to get repairs done in the future.
- Get Everything in Writing
Just as you would if you were purchasing an existing home, get everything you’ve negotiated and agreed upon in writing. Since the home may not be built yet, it’s important that the contract explicitly spells out how the home will be completed and what will happen if the home is not finished on time.
If you don’t understand what you’re signing, this is another area where it pays to have your own agent. Your agent will be able to help explain the contract to you and if there’s anything that stands out as a red flag, they should be able identify it for you.
- Shop Lenders
Builders often prefer to use their own lender, but that lender may not be the best choice for you. You should find out if there’s any incentive to use the builder’s lender and meet with them, but you should also talk to one or two other lenders to help you make a decision. Though there may be an incentive now to use the builder’s lender, if you can get a better rate elsewhere that might make better financial sense for your family in the long run.
- Get a Home Inspection
Getting an independent inspection of your new home before closing is always a good idea. After all, you want to know what you’re buying and ensure that the work was done properly and up to code. Workers can make mistakes so it never hurts to hire a professional to double-check. You will want to make the time to be there for the inspection so you can hear what the home inspector has to say first-hand.
If you’re thinking of buying a brand new home in San Diego, I would love to tell you about the great new communities that are being built and take you to tour the model homes. And if you find one you like, I’d be happy to represent you on your purchase. Give me a call at (858) 735-5767!