Buying a new construction home is a bit different from buying a home that has already been lived in by one or more people. You'll find this out firsthand as soon as you start shopping for new construction! So how do you navigate this unique purchasing process? Here are a few tips.
1. Plan on it taking longer than stated.
When you do find a new construction home to buy, the builder will probably provide a target or planned completion date. You need to understand that this is just a projection, and it is usually a best-case scenario projection. Make sure you plan for the building to take longer than stated so that you're not without a place to live. For example, if the builder projects the home will be completed on May 1st, make sure you have somewhere to live until at least June 1st, if not July 1st, in case the construction falls behind. All it takes is for one contractor to finish late or one load of materials to be delivered late, and the home will fall behind schedule.
2. Have an inspection.
You might assume there's no reason to have the home inspected if it is new, but actually, hiring an inspector is still important. Make sure that your purchase contract includes a stipulation for an inspection. Your inspector can detect mistakes that were made during building that you may want to have corrected before you move in. Pipes that were not connected properly, missing smoke detectors, flooring that the builder forgot to glue down — these are little issues that might pop up.
3. Don't be afraid to negotiate.
It's harder to negotiate a price on a new construction home than on an older home, but that does not mean you should not try! The listing price is still not a hard-and-fast price. Offer a little less — about 5% less is standard — and see if the builder is willing to come down. They will often make a counter-offer between your offer and the asking price, so you'll save! There's not as much competition for new homes as you might think, and many other buyers will also be negotiating, so you don't have to worry that your offer will make the seller less interested in selling to you.
With the tips above, you can have a better experience when buying a new home. Enjoy your new space!