Making the choice to buy a house can seem overwhelming at times. While some might be drawn towards finding a home with history or character, others want a blank slate on which they can work their own magic. If you are in the market for a new house, you might be thinking about new home construction. Buying something totally new can be very different than buying a house that’s already on the market, so it may be helpful for you to have a solid guide before you make your decision. Fortunately for you, we’ve crafted this handy guide to help answer your questions about buying a brand new home and how the process can be a little different from buying a previously owned one.
Table of contents
- New home construction: Pros and cons
- Buying new home construction in the Phoenix Area
- Top questions to ask when buying new home construction
- The new home construction buying process
- Buying a model home
New home construction: Pros and cons
As always, there are pros and cons to consider when buying any kind of new home. If you’re looking at new construction, you should be aware of the very specific benefits and drawbacks that come with that kind of purchase. Below are some of the most common, a few of which might make your ultimate decision just a little easier.
Pro: A brand new home is a blank slate
One of the most common reasons people consider new construction is because the house really will be… well…new.
Every decision on building the home, from the style, to the landscaping, to the features are ones that you’ll get to make. So, you can choose all of the best features and have the chance to make your mark with the new property.
New construction is one of the few chances you’ll get to ensure that everything in a home is to your liking from the moment the house is built. It is literally constructed around your tastes and preferences. Quite simply, you can’t get that choice with a previously owned home.
Con: Construction time
A common issue with buying a newly-constructed home is the timing. These homes take a fair amount of time to build and you’ll have to look for accommodations elsewhere for up to half a year. If you’re in the market for something soon, waiting on construction may not be for you. Even worse, delays in construction can leave you waiting even longer than expected, increasing your costs over time.
Pro: Fewer hidden problems
A major issue that tends to present itself with older homes is the fact that sellers may be overly motivated to sell. This means that they might hide flaws, leaving them for you to find on your own. If you choose new construction, you won’t have to worry about the problems that the old owners have left behind. We do recommend getting a home inspection done, even for brand new homes. No builder is perfect, and there may have been something that was missed during construction.
Con: New problems
While older homes certainly have their problems, you’ll at least be able to rest easily knowing that they have been disclosed. No one really knows what the problems will be in a newly-built home, which means that you’ll have to be the unfortunate person who finds out first-hand. As previously mentioned, having a home inspection completed prior to move in is a great way to hold the builder accountable for any mistakes and foresee any problems that may arise in the future.
Pro: Easy buying
Buying new construction is relatively easy, at least compared to buying from a typical seller. There won’t be any kind of emotional issues tied to the house, for example, so you won’t have to worry about a seller pulling out at the last moment. At the same time, you also won’t have to deal with major surprises that will lead to problems with your loan or even with liens put on the property that the current owners may have not disclosed.
Con: Sales issues
If you buy from a new home builder, you’re not going to get the same kind of negotiating power that you get from a private seller. The price of new construction probably isn’t going to go down very much, even if you are a great negotiator. This means that you’re generally going to end up paying more for one of these homes than you’d pay for an older home that has comparable amenities or even comparable space.
Pro: A single cost
For many, the best part of moving into a newly constructed home is the fact that in most cases, nothing else has to be done to the property. There should be minimal to no modifications you have to make, so the price you pay for the house will probably be all that you have to worry about in the near future. If you’re willing to go with new construction, you’ll get a house that is move-in ready on the day you get your keys.
Con: Unsure investment
If you buy an older home, you’ll generally know a bit about the sales history in the neighborhood. In new construction, though, you’ll be setting the tone for what comes next. If you’re looking for something that’s short-term, this means that you won’t have much of an idea of how well your house will sell and what kind of turnaround you could be looking at when you put your house on the market. As such, newer homes can be problematic for some buyers.
Pro: Choosing a spot
Another great benefit of getting new construction is that you usually get to pick your lot. Want something that’s facing away from the sun at dinner time? It’s as easy as picking the right spot and the right orientation. There’s something amazing to be said for picking out every aspect of your new home.
Con: Neighborhood woes
Buying new also means that you will be an early adopter in the community. While this might be good for some, others might miss out on having a tight-knit neighborhood. This is really more of an issue with new construction in growing neighborhoods rather than those projects that are part of a more-established community, but it’s something for which you should be on the lookout.
Buying new home construction in the Phoenix area
New Home Construction in the Phoenix Area is fairly popular option for home buyers. Phoenix is a growing area, and there are plenty of new homes and new communities going up all the time. The more you know about the region, the better the chance you’ll have to choose the kind of house that you really want. Below are a few facts you need to know.
Types of new home construction
There are several types of newly-built homes in Phoenix. Many homes being built in planned communities, for example, that bridge the gap between what one would consider to be 55+ communities and more traditional neighborhoods. New developments are also popping up in outlying areas as the Phoenix metro area continues to expand. The new construction here generally has single families in mind, with a focus on both the first-time buyer and retirees.
Cities with new home construction developments
A number of cities in Maricopa County have new construction developments. Phoenix is obvious, but some of the suburban areas have plenty of construction going on as well. There are many areas of new construction in Peoria, for example, as well as in Casa Grande and Maricopa. Any community that is seeing an influx of new residents is likely to see new construction in the future.
Popular new home builders in the Phoenix area
The Phoenix Area is home to a few different award-winning homebuilders that set a high standard for quality construction. Knowing who you want to work with is an important part of the the new construction home buying process, so make sure that you do some light reading on what each has to offer. Some of the best new home builders in the area include:
Self described as “America’s largest homebuilder”, D.R. Horton’s core philosophy is to create value every step of the way. They have been ranked America’s Best Homebuilder by Builder Magazine since 2002 and are building new homes in communities all over Maricopa County.
If you’re a tech-minded person who is interested in smart homes, then Lennar Homes may be the right builder for you. Lennar Homes has partnered with Amazon to deliver a truly automated and interactive experience. They one of the top luxury, modern, and energy efficient home builders in Arizona.
K. Hovnanian Homes offers homes crafted with a legacy of quality. Believing your home should reflect your individual style, they provide a diverse range of home designs for you to choose from. K. Hovnanian also specializes in building active adult communities which offer its residents a “resort – at – home” lifestyle.
Shea Homes prides itself on being a family owned builder, so they claim to share a personal commitment to their customers’ experience in the homes they build. Thoughtful design and quality are the hallmarks that shape their foundational principles. From master planned family communities to apartment living, Shea offers housing options that fit your stage of life.
For those who value energy efficiency as a priority, Meritage Homes would be a great builder to consider. Here, Meritage Homes claims to set the standard. Their intentional designs offer home owners a chance to live with more savings, better health, real comfort, and peace of mind.
Top questions to ask when buying new home construction
Knowing the right questions to ask when buying new home construction will not only help you to figure out whether you should buy new construction, but it will also help you to figure out exactly whom you should be working with. Below are some of the more common questions about buying newly-constructed homes.
Who is doing the building?
This is actually a question that you should ask about any construction project. Don’t just assume that the builder you are working with will actually be building your house. These companies often use a number of contracters during the different phases of construction. Take a look at the contracts and make sure that your new property won’t be built by the lowest bidder. The more you know about the process, the better it will be for you.
When you go see a model home, you’re seeing a showcase home with all the bells and whistles. This is not, however, going to be included in the price quoted to you by the builder’s agent. Take a few moments to ask about what’s actually included in the advertised price, as well as what all the upgrades will cost. What you think might look like a great investment may end up being a purchase that’s just out of your price range.
How long can you wait?
Finally, make sure you know a little bit about timetables. Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself:
- How long can you realistically wait for the home to be built?
- Do you have a plan for what you’ll do if it takes a month or two longer than you’ve been quoted?
- Do you know how you’ll deal with your pets, or how a delay might impact the education of your children?
You need to be sure that you’ll be able to deal with any issues that come up with construction and that might impact how long you’ll have to wait on the house being built.
The new construction home buying process
If you’re set on buying a newly-constructed home, it’s a good idea to take a look at what needs to be done next. This is not as simple as just walking up to a construction company and signing a contract, especially if you want to get a reasonable deal that will keep your interests in mind. Below is a brief walk-through of what you need to do to be a successful buyer of a newly-built home.
1. Hire a buyer’s agent to represent your best interests
Start by hiring an experienced real estate agent. While many construction companies will try to convince you that you can do it all on your own, working with an agent will be the best way to protect your interests. Agents know the ins and outs, and most importantly they know when the builders are making claims that can’t be backed up. Never go into this process without a good agent on your side.
2. Shop around for different lenders
Next, start looking at lenders. The builder will certainly have a lender, but don’t just stick with one company. Get quotes from a variety of different lenders and pick the one that will give you the best rate and with whom it is easiest to work. Remember, you might be dealing with this company for thirty years so you might as well get off to a good start.
3. Compare different builders
Once you have the pre-approval of a loan, and a real estate agent on your side, you can start looking at builders. Figure out who has a good reputation, who can build the house you want, and who is going to make your purchase easy. Don’t be afraid to schedule several meetings and to walk away if you don’t feel impressed. This is a major purchase and you must remember that they should be selling you on the product.
4. Determine the options and features you want
Do a little research to figure out what kind of features you want. Since you’re building from the ground up, you will have room for virtually anything you may need. Try to reconcile the features you love with the budget that makes the most sense for you.
5. Prepare for unexpected costs and delays
Don’t expect things to go smoothly. Make sure you have someplace to live while the new house is being built. You should also have extra money put away for the inevitable construction problems. If you pay attention to your documents, you’ll learn that certain issues might be your responsibility even while the house is being built.
6. Before signing the contract have a real estate lawyer review it
Never sign a contract without consulting a lawyer. Talk to your agent and have them recommend a neutral third party. This lawyer will let you know about any future issues that might occur due to the contract’s language. If everything is above board, you can move on.
7. Hire your own home inspector
Always get an inspection done. Even though the home is new, there might be construction issues that were covered up, ignored, or missed. Your inspector will give you a rundown of the problems that the construction company needs to address before you can move into the home.
Buying a model home
One good way to get the advantage of buying a new home without some of the most obvious drawbacks is to invest in a model home. Model homes aren’t perfect, though, and they have their own advantages and disadvantages. Below are a few things that you will be able to expect if you’re looking into buying a model home.
The advantages of buying a model home
Buying a model home is a great way to get all of the top-tier upgrades without paying a premium price. You’ll also get to move into a virtually-new home without having to wait on construction time – sign on the dotted line and you’ll be able start moving in your things. It’s a great way to get the benefits of something new without the drawbacks.
The pitfalls of buying a model home
A model home will not, however, be easy to customize. If you want to make changes, you’ll have to pay for them. Model homes also tend to be built more for looks than for utility, so you won’t necessarily get the best features – just those that are the most aesthetically pleasing. This is more like buying a new-ish home on the market than buying something that was just built.
How to negotiate on a model home
Negotiate on a model home from a place of strength. Remind the builder that you can get the precise features you want by buying something newly built, so taking the model is a bit of a step-down. You should never expect to pay as much for the model as you would for a new home that has all the same features.
Buying new construction might be the best choice for your needs. Before you do anything, though, you should make sure to talk to an agent who really has your best interests at heart. When you’re ready to start looking, make sure to visit CENTURY21 Northwest and to take a look our home affordability calculator. Once you know what you can afford, you’ll be able to make the right choice when it comes to finding your new home.