OK, you’re a new homebuyer ready to take the plunge. You may have figured out where you want to live, how much room you need, and how much you want to spend. But there’s an even more basic question you need to ask yourself, “Do I want a resale home or new construction?” This article is intended to help you with that big decision.
New Home or Resale?
Building a new home from the ground up can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. You begin with a blank slate and make it an extension of yourself and your lifestyle. You choose the location, the size, the design, the color palette, the lighting, and décor.
Of course, you may have some doubts about something that doesn’t exist yet. What about the builder, the materials they use, and their reputation? How do I know that the development I choose will be completed or that the neighboring lots will be sold and built out? If you see new construction as a risk, then purchasing a resale may be the way to go. But if your dream, as a new homebuyer, is to build your own space, then knowledge should be the foundation of a well-made decision.
Pillar #1: Know Who’s Building Your Home
Building a new home is not only the biggest investment you’ll make, it’s also an investment in the builder you choose. So here are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a builder:
- What’s the builder’s reputation? (Any Better Business Bureau complaints or lawsuits and how were they resolved?)
- Does the builder have experience in building where you want to live?
- What does the builder include in your new home purchase?
- Does the builder use the best materials or is cutting corners the norm?
- What kind of warranties does the builder offer? (For example, a 30-day and 11-month walk-through, structural warranty, and extended warranty.)
Pillar #2: Take a Field Trip
Doing your own due diligence should begin with a trip to a community that’s being built or has been built. If the builder allows you onsite (some have differing access policies), you’ll get an immediate feel for how the framing is done, the types of materials being used, etc. We also suggest the following:
- If there are already residents in the community, ask them what it was like to work with the builder. Get some tips from current owners on what they would have done differently.
- Visit the sales office to see how sales are going and what home designs are the most popular.
- Take a tour of the property. See what amenities (if any) have been built and which have been proposed. Ask about the builder’s vision and how it is exemplified in that particular community.
- While you’re there, make sure you understand the floor plan you prefer, and get a feel for what that looks like in a similar home under construction. It could guide you in determining your final floor plan.
Pillar #3: Prioritize Location and Square Footage Over Upgrades
One thing is certain about buying new construction; you can’t change the location. So make sure this is where you want to be in terms of having access to…
- major metropolitan areas, even if you want to escape to a natural environment.
- A-rated schools if you have kids or are planning to have them.
- nearby shopping, so even unscheduled trips aren’t a major inconvenience.
Get a good idea – prior to construction – how much square footage you can get for your money, and how you plan to break up the space. Remember, it’s going to cost you more to do an addition (provided you physically can), than doing some wise pre-planning.
Upgrades are great, and some builders provide more than others. Make sure you understand what upgrades are included. And speaking of upgrades, be careful about over-improving. As a homeowner, you should also think about reselling your home. If your home has way more or way less than other homes in the community, resale could be an issue.
Pillar #4: Arrange Your Own Inspection
Even builders with the highest standards should have their work monitored by a third party inspector. The inspection process itself will give you more insight into the quality of the home you’ve built. Your builder should have no problem with bringing in your inspection team prior to signing off.
There’s Nothing Like a MasterCraft Home
With deep roots in North Florida, Mastercraft Builder Group specializes in semi-custom homes that are built to a higher standard. But more than building homes where quality comes standard, we build Florida communities that accommodate all kinds of budgets and lifestyles. If you’re a new homebuyer, call us today at 904.274.2773.