Updated: Aug 18, 2020
New construction homes come with a set of unique benefits. You’re moving into a new space that hasn’t been lived in by anyone else, everything is clean and unused. Also, you’ve probably got some new, modern features that your friends in older homes don’t have. Just these benefits alone might have you convinced that living in a new build is the way to go, which is great! If that’s what you’ve decided, there’s a lot that you want to be aware of when looking at new construction homes.
While some developers may work with local realtors, buyers, or renters to align on expectations and finishes, there are significant questions one must pose before taking on the intricacies and nuances of a new-build. Keeping these imperative points front of mind will assure you get what you need and the developer is able to accommodate accordingly. Below you’ll find a few summarized questions and a quick answer to recall when you’re ready for new construction!
Who is the developer?
You know the name of the developer, it’s usually on banners and signs surrounding the new build you’re interested in. But do you know the developer’s reputation? What other projects has your developer spearheaded (and completed)? Has the developer completed other residential buildings in your area – if so, are tenants in that building satisfied? Knowing more about the developer can give you a sense of trust and what to expect when the building is completed.
How long will building take?
While the building process is prone to delays, you want to be able to get a general idea of what you can expect. Additionally, be sure to ask what the plan is if your move-in date is pushed back – will your rent, fees, or mortgages be prorated? Understanding when you can expect to move-in is crucial, especially if you’re renting elsewhere or are planning to sell your current home.
Is there a cost escalation clause?
When signing a lease for or buying a new build, there’s always the possibility of some last-minute, surprise costs. A cost escalation clause allows the developer to charge you, the buyer, or future tenant, for these unanticipated costs. If you’d rather not deal with this unpredictability, consider finding a developer that does not include a cost escalation clause in the contract.
What changes or modifications can you make before closing?
While there’s time, it’s worth asking if you can make any special requests. While some modifications might mean additional costs, this is an opportunity for you to swap out fixtures, appliances, or make a minor change to the floorplan if the developer allows.
What warranties are provided with the house?
New construction doesn’t mean that no problems will arise. Fortunately, many developers will provide one or more warranties that will protect you in the event that there is a mishap early on. While you can purchase your own home warranty, you should expect that the developer will provide some coverage for the first few years.
Asking these questions will not only show developers that you’ve done your homework but should also give you some peace of mind and allow you to plan ahead better.