When buying a new home from a builder advice should make it clear that at this time it is very much a buyers market. There are plenty of homes available, and plenty of contractors and home builders eager to build your custom home. Therefore it is a good idea to shop around and learn exactly what is available and how much it typically costs in your area. It is also a good idea to strike a hard bargain with the builder. He’s likely very eager to make a sale, and might offer you quite a bargain especially if you easily qualify for the loan, and are able to close quickly.
The first step to buying a new home is shopping. Whether you intend to build a custom home, buy a brand new tract home, or prefer an older home, but especially if you are not sure what you want, it pays to shop, to study home construction, and to do some window shopping before you sign anything.
Spend some time looking at homes, kitchen designs, floor plans and as many photos of interiors and exteriors of homes as you can find in order to get a clear idea of what you want. Then shop for homes that are similar.
Gather as much information as you can on local home builders and contractors. Ask for recommendations from the home builder’s association, building inspectors, realtors, various types of sub contractors, and home owners in the area. Check out the builder’s work on line, and look for any type of complaints about them aired on the internet before you select a builder.
• When you see a home you like, don’t just look at the décor. Look under the house, and in the attic. Examine timber used, and compare what you see in different homes you look at.
• Check the floors when you walk on them for squeaks and boards that seem to sink when you step on them.
• Go to the kitchen and open and close the cabinet doors and drawers. Inspect the overall quality of the cabinetry.
• Open room doors to a 45 degree angle so that it is just as open as it is closed. Then just watch to see if the door moves to close or open by itself. This is a sign either something isn’t level and plumb, or the door itself is haphazardly hung.
• A rubber ball test is also good, but it might offend the builder. Place a ball on the floor and see if it rolls in one direction or another. This is more likely to happen in an older home which has settled, but if you suspect the floor isn’t quite level this is a good way to test.
• If it is a new house, ask questions about the plywood sheeting thicknesses used on the walls, and roof. Determine if the home is sturdy or thrown together. Make sure the home has a foundation, and isn’t built on a slab.
• Make sure that walls have plywood at least under vinyl siding, and not just foam core insulation, or some sort of fiberboard.
There is no sense in paying the asking price in this market. Make a reasonable offer, based on other homes which have closed recently, and see what the builder says. You could save thousands.
Buying a home is like making any other important purchase. It is all about product knowledge, knowing exactly what you want, and getting a good price. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment when you are under the spell of a beautiful house, but don’t be taken in by fluff and shiny new paint. Look deeper and make sure you are getting enough house for the money, and that this house is truly what you want. My buying a new home from a builder advice is to shop extensively and knowledgably before you buy.