As January ends hopefully your New Year’s resolutions are still going strong. One resolution you may have is to build a new home this year. If you plan on building a new home from the ground up or buying a spec home already under construction, the process of buying a new home is different from buying a previously-owned house.
Here are some tips when considering building a new home.
1) Research the area
Search for new home communities, schools, parks, etc. in areas you’re considering.
Know what’s important to you in an area. Some things to consider could be:
- • school districts – what schools are zoned for that area?
- • proximity to work, grocery stores & shopping – is the area convenient enough for your day-to-day activities?
- • things to do – will you be satisfied with what’s available to do around your new home?
2) Research new home communities and builders
After determining what area best suits your lifestyle, the best way to get a feel for the area is to drive around new home communities to see which appeal to you.
Find information like:
- • total number of homes in the community when fully built
- • types of amenities
- • will it be gated?
- • what are the HOA fees and is there a CDD? These should be factored into your budget
Visit the community on a weekend to see a more active community. Don’t be shy about asking a neighbor how they like their neighborhood, homebuilder and home.
Go to open houses at model homes or schedule an appointment to discuss the community with a sales agent. Ask about future plans for the area. Make a list of pros and cons of each new home community you like to help narrow your search.
Consider asking a trusted real estate agent which new home builders have good reputations in the community.
3) Know the included features versus upgrades
Get a feature sheet on the line of homes from each home builder you’re interested in and compare them closely to see what is included with the base price of the home. If you’re not sure if something is included, ask the builder’s sales agent and take notes. Features included with a home can make a big difference in the final price; some builders start with few included features in order to have a lower base price.
Have a good idea of what you need and want – they are two different things when it comes to upgrades. How will these affect your final sales price. Be sure to plan accordingly for any desired upgrades early on in the process.
4) Compare floor plans
New home communities often offer a variety of floor plans and house styles. Aside from thinking about how may bedrooms and bathrooms you need, also consider the following:
- • Do you prefer a one or two story home?
- • Can the master suite be upstairs or do you prefer it downstairs?
- • How much cabinet & counter space is in the kitchen?
- • Is the laundry a stand-alone room or do you have to walk through it to get to the garage?
- • Is there plenty of closets for storage?
- • Is a covered porch included, and if so, is it large enough?
- • Can you ultimately see your family living in this home?
5) Explore available homesites
Do you want to live on a lack or do you prefer more privacy when in your back yard? Does a large corner lot appeal to you? How about a cul-de-sac? Do you want your home facing a certain direction?
Available homesites in new home communities can differ in size and price depending on location within the community. Discuss lot premiums of the homesites you’re interested in as that will affect the final sales price. It’s best to physically walk the homesite with the builder’s sales agent, if possible, so you get a better feel for the location of the home, yard space and even the trees.
6) Choose your builder
After taking all of these things into consideration, you should be able to make an easier decision and feel more confident about that decision. Building a new home is an exciting process that allows you to completely customize your new home to suit your needs. Every homebuilding company is different in how they communicate with customers, how much choice a customer has when planning the home, and the overall quality of homes being built. The homebuilding company you choose can be just as important as the community and home in which you build.
7) Secure Financing
Once you’ve chosen a builder, floor plan and homesite, it’s time to discuss financing. You can work with a lender of your choice or use the builder’s lender. Most builders have ongoing relationships with certain banks and it is common to offer a closing cost incentive if you finance with their preferred lender. Make sure to ask if the loan terms are at market rate.
Our friendly and knowledge sales team can help with any questions you have about the new home building process.
Contact us if you are interested in a new home in the Jacksonville/Northeast Florida area – we can take you on a tour of our current communities of Villages of Valencia and Oxford Estates, or we can build on your lot.