As the real estate market cools, individuals and families considering buying a new home must evaluate many factors. Every search of homes for sale has common elements: location, proximity to good schools and employment, area attractions and distance to family and friends. Some evaluating the market may wish for an older home while others who want to buy a new house prefer the modern amenities common to most new homes offered by various new home builders.
It is a buyer’s market and every new home builder is competing for a shrinking pool of customers. Every home buyer is unique yet each will come across dozens of names when researching the homebuilder industry. The competition is fierce and home builders are outdoing each other with incentives and freebies all designed to bring new home buyers into the sales office. The potential new home buyer is advised to look underneath the noisy sales pitches and marketing efforts and evaluate new home builders based on competence, relevance to individual needs and reputation.
This article will offer 5 tips for success for finding the ideal home builder.
1. Solicit Referrals from Family and Friends
Your friends and family know you best. If they have bought a new home from a homebuilder, ask them how they found the home builder and who they recommend (and indeed, who they would avoid). If you have been inside their home, ask yourself if you like it and ask them if they are having problems. Remember, a referral from friends and family is more valuable than one from a stranger – or a marketing pitch.
2. Research Area Home Builders
87% of future home buyers begin their search online for the simple reason that, because a new home purchase is the biggest purchase of a lifetime, it is best to know your options. But there are a lot of new home builders out there. In busy markets like North Carolina, there are literally dozens all competing for business. Visit their websites. If they invest in a good website with valuable information, it shows they care about demonstrating professionalism and integrity. If they speak to your needs (upmarket, first time home buyer, large family, etc.), it suggests they have worked with people like you. If a website is all glitz and little substance, do not call. If the site has valuable information, interactive floor plans, new house plans, sample photos and the functionality to print plans and brochures, this demonstrates competence. So if you like the site – and like the information it contains – sign up for information. You may be given special promotions and will be the first to hear of new offerings.
3. Research the Experience of Previous Customers
It is extremely unlikely that you will be the first person to buy a home from a prospective homebuilder. Because the internet offers such a diversity of voices and opinions, if you do not know anyone who has worked with a considered homebuilder before, see what the online community has to say about the home builder. Some homebuilders have inspired such contempt that websites exist to showcase reasons to avoid them while others have created incredible loyalty. A little research may save you hours of pain and thousands of dollars.
4. Tour Model Homes and Ask Questions
When a home builder unveils a community of new homes for sale, there will be a model home open for public tours. Take one. Some “tip of the iceberg” questions to ask include: How often will access to the new home be given during building; Are there any fees required that need to be paid upon closing; How many times has a given plan been built; Is there a premium on the home site; What will be built on adjoining properties; What are area zoning laws; and How is code-compliance guaranteed?
5. Read the Paperwork
The new home purchase is a major decision so take the time to read all documents thoroughly. If something is unclear, ask questions. Everybody says “read the fine print” but in this case, perhaps more than any other, this is crucial.