If you’ve been in the market for a new home, you’re probably feeling the heat with the low inventory and high demand. As soon as one home hits, it’s under contract the very next day. Frustrating for something that’s being built every day, right? Especially here in Morgantown, where we have a couple of corporate builders actively building up new developments, and quite a few local builders doing the same. You may see their homes listed as “proposed builds” but have you ever considered purchasing one? The process is like purchasing a previously built home, but there are important differences you will want to consider and steps you will want to take.
Just as it is with any other home, the first thing you want to do is get pre-approved. Builders have to accept your offer just as homeowners do and they will want to know the financing is there before doing anything else. Some builders may offer their own mortgage financing exclusively to their customers at preferred rates, but it’s always a good idea to shop around.
As always, you will want to hire a REALTOR® to represent YOU. Buying a newly constructed home isn’t as simple as choosing a floor plan or model home and signing off on it. There will still be items to negotiate such as financial details, timelines, and contractual issues. If you are purchasing a semi-custom home, you will be negotiating with a sales representative. This is when having a REALTOR® in your corner is most valuable.
Be sure to know your timeline. The more custom your home is, the less likely of a dependable completion date. This can get dicey if you’re trying to sell your current home and need a place to live in between that sale and your new build. It’s important to get with your builder, REALTOR®, and lender to discuss your options on how to manage the situation as you can’t close on the loan until the home is move-in ready.
Once you have your timeline nailed down, you will want to review and negotiate all your options before settling on a final sales price. Your options will be a little more limited when purchasing a semi-custom home, but these choices will still affect your final sales price. Examples include type of siding and roof, kitchen finishes, floor type, finished basement, etc..
Finally, before you close on anything, it is always recommended to hire your own home inspector to ensure everything has been done correctly. Depending on how many phases you want inspected, you may want to hire one early in the process. It’s typical to have your inspector go in twice throughout the building process. The first time will be before the drywall is complete, allowing them to see everything that the drywall hides, like plumbing and electric. The second, will be the final inspection ensuring everything is in working order and has been done correctly. Even if you choose to have just one inspection at the end, it’s best to get this scheduled at least two weeks in advance.
Buying a newly constructed home can be exciting, and you should allow it to be! Let your REALTOR® do the leg work and enjoy the fun that rest of the process brings. Until next week!
Eve Leombruno, 2023 MBOR President