The process of purchasing a home can be a bit daunting when you’re first getting started. New construction purchases can feel even more overwhelming because of all the seemingly “perfect” options available.
The truth is, there really is a lot to consider when going in on your first new home purchase. Finding a realtor you trust, comparing builders, and getting prequalified through a lender is just the beginning. The following is a guide to help you with what we believe are the essential first steps to buying new construction.
Research home builders and their communities
The obvious first step is to decide where you want to buy. At this point you’ve probably already got that figured out. Take a look at new communities you like in those areas and find out who the builders are. Are you interested in the 22903 ZIP code of Charlottesville, Virginia? There are currently at least six different new communities under construction by four builders in just this one area. Take a look at the four builders: Stanley Martin Homes, Christopher Companies, Ryan Homes, and Craig Builders.
Before racing out to see these new communities and visiting the sales person, do a little independent research. Find reviews of these builders online and ask your realtor to look up older communities constructed by the same builder—this is a good way to see how the properties they build appreciate over time compared to other homes in the area. You can also scan social media and ask your friends if they’ve had any experience with this particular builder.
Find a realtor you trust
This is important and we stress “realtor” because there’s a big difference between a real estate agent and a realtor. Realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors and are required to abide by a strict code of ethics which protects you as their client. Having a realtor on your side throughout this transaction is important and totally free to you. Sellers pay real estate commissions to the listing agent and buyer’s agent and you get the service at no cost. Your realtor will take a lot of the stress off your shoulders and get the big questions answered for you.
In Considering New Construction? we reviewed financing options for new homes and how most new home builders offer incentives if you use their lender.
Incentives like those offered by Van Metre Homes and Richmond American Homes can be hard to pass up. Usually these lenders will cover at least half of your closing costs (up to 2.5% of purchase price). However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence on these lenders. Make sure they have a solid reputation and are offering competitive rates and loan products. Ask you realtor if they have ever done business with the lender. Using your own lender or the one your realtor recommends is a totally viable option as well. After completing the previous tasks, you should be ready to get out in the “field” and start previewing new communities and lots. Ask your realtor to schedule community and model home tours for you—your realtor will want to be a part of the entire process, and it’s their job to do so while offering advice along the way. In future articles in our Process of Purchasing a New Construction series we will discuss more on the topics of choosing a lot, separating wants versus needs, and getting to the closing table. Happy hunting!