5 Questions to Ask Home Builders When Buying New

April 23, 2019

Late last year, Zillow reported that 38 percent of active home buyers consider new construction when they’re searching for their next home. And while building new can seem like a daunting process – (there’s that six-to-eight month wait, and all!) it can be the best choice for many home buyers. Forbes Magazine offered plenty of advice for anyone looking into new construction for their next home, and we pulled the top five questions to ask builders and builders’ sales associates to help you navigate the journey to new home construction!

Standard vs. Upgrade

When you start your search, you’ll find a base price for each home which includes everything that “comes standard” with the home. That’s the rub when walking through a model home – most are tricked out with lots of upgrades because builders want to put their best foot forward and show you everything that’s possible. But, walking through a model home also triggers a superlative sensory experience that can be misleading. 

To find out the true cost of what you want, what you need and what you can’t live without, Forbes recommends walking through the home with the builder’s rep or sales associate and asking what’s standard and what’s extra. Ask the builder’s rep if there’s a list of common upgrades and the associated costs so you can use it as a checklist. And remember that costs can change from the time you do a model home tour, to the time you decide to buy – so request updates before signing a purchase agreement.

Examples of Craftsmanship

If there’s not a model home for the floor plan that you want, find out if there’s a community you can drive to that has the specific model – so you can walk through it. Not everybody can visualize a floor plan in 3D – how a home will look when it’s finished, what the flow through the living areas will be, and how rooms connect, or don’t. If there are homes identical to your choice as a work-in-progress, ask to tour them – hard hats mandatory. Taking the time to explore the examples of the builder’s work is valuable to inform you about the quality of the builder’s construction projects and sense of style. 

References, Please?

There’s really no better judge of a builder’s work and how they follow up and follow through than talking to satisfied customers. While some builders have policies about releasing personal contact information to people outside their organization, others have recruited happy homeowners who willingly sing their praises, knowing that a genuinely favorable, unrehearsed testimony is often the only thing a potential buyer needs to move them from maybe to SOLD.

Visiting the Construction Site

As the home buyer of a new build, you should be able to tour your new home during various phases of the construction process. It’s part of the anticipation and excitement that every home buyer feels as they prepare to make a move of this magnitude. Ask the builder about a timeline and how often you’ll be able to visit your home as it’s being built. Builders generally have visitation schedules that may or may not match up with yours. Find out what the restrictions are — and if you think you’re going to need one, ask for an exception.

Warranties on New Builds

Most builders provide warranties in case some unexpected catastrophe befalls the build. Just because a house is brand new, doesn’t mean that nothing can go wrong in the construction process. Find out what warranties are available and what is and is not covered – and for how long. Also ask if you can have inspections performed. Forbes recommends an inspection even when the home is new. While most builders catch and remedy mistakes before the closing takes place or soon after, it’s not a bad idea to make sure everything’s been finished to your satisfaction.

Satisfied in Southshore

The home builders in the master-planned community of Southshore are some of the most reputable in the state and welcome your questions and your scrutiny! Check out all that Life at the Lake offers, in a location convenient to dining, shopping and a variety of recreation. Tour the model homes from Century Communities, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers, available in ranch and two-story designs, and priced between the $400s and the $700s.