To build or not build??? That my friends, is only the first of many questions you need to consider before you walk in the door. Once you have decided to embark on the journey of new construction communities, the questions will just keep on coming. I am hoping I can answer a few for you here.
Location! Location!! Location!!!
One of the questions I often hear is where to find information on new communities being built. This can be tricky as some homes are listed in the MLS but most are not. There are hundreds of new home communities in the area and it seems like a new one pops up every day! Writing about every one would be daunting to say the least. I only write about neighborhoods I’ve personally visited and spoken to a sales representative about.
As time permits, I will be posting about various new build communities. In the interim, if there is a specific neighborhood you would like to know more about, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I have access to information and would be more than happy to assist you in finding the perfect community to fit your needs.
BEFORE walking into any office in a new build community, there’s a few things you should know.
• DO YOU HAVE A REAL ESTATE AGENT? Don’t let your curiosity kill your pocketbook. If you decide to stop by without your real estate agent present, then they will not allow any agent to help you negotiate your new home. Usually a phone call to your agent before walking inside will allow agents to register you to go in to communities with or without us, yet still allow your agent to help you navigate the process and negotiate for your best interests.
• New home prices show a base price. Much like car dealer… you see an advertisement on TV that looks amazing and a price flash on the screen with a little asterisk next to it with little tiny writing about that being the ‘base price’. Then you go to the dealership to drive the amazing car only to realize how much more all of those bells and whistles featured in the commercial are. Worse yet, you don’t even LIKE the base model of the car and don’t want to pay the asking price for all the whistles.
Remember when you are touring the model homes that they carry premium upgrades. It’s important to physically see a “base” house compared to the model. The upgrades you’re viewing in the model will cost tens of thousands more than the base model. It’s not unusual for someone to see the model and fall in love only to go into a “base” home and not even recognize it as the same plan.
Case in point: this weekend I showed clients through several model homes. The flooring that was in the great room and entry of the model cost $50,000. No, that is not a typo. Nor was that the flooring price for the whole house, just the entry and great room. We then looked at a base home of a different plan and they hated it. Later we went to another community from the same builder where they had the home they “hated” shown as a model. Guess, what? They LOVED it, only to suffer sticker shock when they saw how much upgrades were.
• Sticker shock doesn’t stop inside the house because you still need to pick out your lot. Each lot has a premium attached to it. Sometimes they have the lot price included in the base price, but more often they do not. If the builder has several lots available on which to build a plan, some may be more desirable than others based on N/S verses E/W exposure, lot size, location and other factors. The more desirable lots will have a larger “premium” to purchase them. The premium can be from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand dollars for a lot on a prime golf course, lake or with a view.
• The same “lot” premium also applies to what level floor you’re purchasing on in a condominium; the higher the floor or the better the view or exposure, the higher the premium. The penthouse unit may be exactly the same as one on the first floor, but will be much more expensive.
• Negotiating new builds has some intricacies. My recommendation is to have a clear understanding of what floor plan, lot and amenities you want before even thinking about writing an offer or discussing price with the sales people in the office. Offering too soon can leave you with a price tag much higher than originally intended. Before walking in the doors to negotiate, it’s important that you have a clear understanding of what you “need” vs. what you “want”. Make a list and shoot a copy to me. That gives us a starting and ensures you don’t later regret what is missing in your new home.