What I Wish I Knew: 7 Tips From Buyers Of New Construction

by | July 6, 2017

When nothing but new will do, it’s time to take a look at buying new construction. And there’s a lot to fall in love with: designing a floor plan that works for your family; picking finishes that match your tastes; and creating a home that’s all yours from top to bottom. And perhaps the best part? Not a renovation project in sight. But, as recent buyers of new construction will tell you, you’ll enjoy the whole process a lot more if you’re organized, prepared and plan ahead.

1. Choose wisely.

“It’s easy to fall in love with a lot, a location, even the initial plans for a home. But make sure your builder is reputable. Do your homework. Call the Better Business Bureau—remember most builders use multiple company names, so make sure you’re checking as many as you can find. Google to find any negative press or pending or former lawsuits. Ask in advance to take a look at the builder warranty. Talk to others who have built homes with him or her. Don’t be afraid to even write a letter or stop by a home. My husband and I got a lot of good advice from our builder’s previous clients about how best to work with them.” – Andrea M., Pennsylvania

2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

“My family and I turned to new construction after being outbid on several houses we’d fallen in love with. I’m very happy with the way things turned out, but I wish I had asked more questions and pushed more for what I wanted. It’s easy to be intimidated by your builder and his subcontractors…but ultimately, they work for you, and this is your house, and your money. I wish I had pushed more for things that were important to me, but easy for them to put off until a “later” that never happened, especially with the little things, like getting dimmers on my light switches.”   – Kathleen W., Massachusetts

3. Plan for the future.

“When I bought my house, I was moving from the city to a semi-rural area, and I wish I had planned ahead for things I didn’t know I needed. For instance, my builder gave me a great price on a detached extra garage and I didn’t take him up on it–I wasn’t thinking about all the equipment I’d need to store to take care of all that property. I also realized too late a few things that became major projects later—installing irrigation for the full lawn and installing gas lines to run a full-house generator and my grill. “ – Mark A. New York

4. Read the fine print.

“Soon after I moved into my house, my basement, which was half-finished, started leaking, and never stopped. Thankfully, my attorney negotiated a detailed builder warranty that guaranteed a dry basement, and I’d hired a reputable builder. He installed a French drain and re-graded my lawn. When that didn’t work, he ended up digging up the basement floor–all at no cost to me. Ultimately, I have a dry basement, and an a lot of respect for both the builder and the attorney that helped me with the deal. It didn’t come to litigation, but if it had, I had the agreement on my side.” – Tom W., New Jersey

5. Think about resale.

“I didn’t need cable outlets because I don’t watch TV. I didn’t go for a finished basement because I don’t have kids. And I don’t cook so I didn’t spend a ton on my kitchen. And then my job was transferred just a couple years after I bought my beautiful, newly built home. My advice? Even if you don’t think you’re moving anytime soon, think about resale, and what the next owners will want to see in a house.” – Christine J., Illinois

6. Get organized.

“I found that being hyper-organized helped keep our project on track, and forced my builder to be accountable and stick to deadlines. I used shared documents to keep track of everything from approved additions to paint colors (noting room and code number) to our punch list. If everything is written down and accessible to everyone, no one can say they ‘didn’t know’ or ‘weren’t told.’ Take pictures. Write it down. Take notes on every conversation. It’s more work upfront, but it will be worth it in the end. I actually think even my builder ended up finding it helpful.” – Kathleen W., Massachusetts

7. Assemble a team.

“I had bought a home before, so I thought I knew the ropes, but buying new construction was a different animal. Thankfully, I had good people around me who really helped me feel confident about my purchase, and supported us all the way through—my realtor, my lender and my attorney. They really worked together to negotiate a great deal, make it all run smoothly and make my life easier.” – Mark A., New York

Are you buying new construction?  We’ve been there, and we can help. Legalty Services offers flat-fee legal plans that will cover you from ground-breaking to closing, and everything in between.