One of the first choices a prospective homeowner needs to make — besides saving money and securing preapproval — is to decide whether to buy an existing home or build a new one. In fact, 15% of home buyers in 2020 opted to build. If you want to build a new home, here’s what you need to keep in mind before, during and after the home building process.
BEFORE YOU BUILD
Consider these things before you start on the path to your new home. Selecting a lot and finding a builder that suits your needs are two of the most important decisions you’ll have to make. The first thing you need to decide is if a specific lot or builder is more important. Most lots are attached to a specific builder. However, some builders are willing to do lot trades or buy a lot from another builder.
Finding a lot
There are many things that go into selecting a lot. The slope and shape, the direction the front of your house will face, traffic flow around the house, HOA requirements, easements, future developments in the surrounding areas, etc. are all things you need to consider before committing to a lot. An experienced Realtor can provide valuable input on these items. He or she could tell you how the slope of the land will drain water off the property or how the size and shape of the lot will affect the look of your home. A Realtor could also tell you if future developments will affect traffic flow or impede your view.
Selecting a builder
Select a builder that can offer what you are looking for in terms of price, style, and features. Read reviews and see if you can interview a few past clients. Ask the builder about their processes and procedures. See what software they use to keep everyone on the same page. Make sure to check out their websites — be weary if they are out of date. Also be cautious if the builder tries to push you to decide quickly without being fully informed. Remember that you are partnering with your builder for the duration of the build and throughout the warranty period, so relationships are very important. With that said, they are also human, so mistakes can happen. What’s important is how they address those mistakes. If you have a Realtor, he or she will be able to provide helpful insight on the builders in your neighborhood.
DURING THE BUILD
On average, it takes about 7.7 months to build a new home. During this time, you can experience periods of elation and frustration — from choosing your floor plan and selecting your finishes to waiting for the foundation to get poured to the flurry of activity during the framing stage. Making sure to do your part in a timely manner, having a little patience and planning for unexpected costs can all help mitigate these emotions.
Do Your Part
The most important thing you can do is to have your selections done in a timely manner. New construction is already behind due to permits and inspections. To keep things moving smoothly, make sure you complete your part in a timely manner.
Patience is Key
Patience is huge in building process as well. There will be times when you won’t see any work getting completed. There are many important things that go on in the background that you will never see, such as the builder waiting on the city inspector to pass a certain part of the build before they can continue.
If your builder doesn’t give you a “worst-case scenario bid” then estimate high. When it comes to your budget, it’s always better to be over then under. One trend we are seeing is how lumber is affecting prices of new construction homes. Homes that were at one price towards the beginning of the contract, are now tens of thousands of dollars more expensive due to the lumber shortage. While this is a unique situation, it’s good to be aware and have a plan in place.
Another unexpected cost you should plan for is the taxes on your home. When you close, you are only paying taxes on the lot value. If you are escrowing, you will owe the difference of what is needed in escrow to account for the taxes once the home is assessed. Put that money away up front. Start saving an estimate of your monthly taxes, so it is ready when you need it. It could be three months when it gets assessed, or it could be 13 — it just depends on assessor’s office.
AFTER THE HOME IS COMPLETE
Write down anything and everything covered under the 45-day and 11-month walk through warranty process. Be organized on this — it’s important. Builders are experts at what they do, but there can be imperfections. Write EVERYTHING you think could be covered, or you have issue with. Hearing “no, it isn’t covered” is much better than not mentioning the concern and having it turn into an issue after the warranty expires. Address big ticket items addressed right away; however, the small issues that appear during the warranty period are very important. Nail pops, loose caulking around bathroom fixtures or cabinets, loose grout in your tile, loose handrails on stairs (deck included), bad or loose outlets, slow leaks (faucets or spigots), loose stone one exterior, etc. are all examples of items you should have them fix.
Building a new home can be a fun and exciting decision. Keeping these things in mind before, during and after the process will help you manage your expectations and any setbacks. Contact us today to get started.
The Blythe Real Estate team has helped people in the Omaha and surrounding areas buy, build and sell homes since 2000. Our team of leading real estate agents will provide accurate information, industry knowledge and expert real estate advice to ensure you understand the process — from start to finish.