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Steps in Buying a New Home from a Home Builder

Updated on August 10, 2009
Photo by Bergeron Photography, New Orleans
Photo by Bergeron Photography, New Orleans

Location, Location, and Location. Those are just as important in buying a new home as an existing home. Find the community where you wish to live first. List your criteria in where you would like to live and research each community. Almost all will have some new home construction. Is the school district number one? Do you want convenient shopping? Do you want to work nearby? Are you looking for something other than a single family dwelling? Once you have your criteria in order, pick out the community.

Using a similar list, pick out the subdivision where you wish to live. Which subdivision in that community comes closest to your list in order of priorities?

If you are going to have the home built, find the actual site where you wish your home to be. Again, make a list of what is important. Do you want a large lot or a small lot? Do you want a corner lot? Do you want one that is already built around so you know what is next door and behind you? Are there children in the area? Order your priorities and pick the appropriate lot.

Evaluate the site for characteristics that may affect appreciation. What is the view from the front and the rear? Does it get sun? Is it private enough for you? If the site will make you happy, it likely will make someone else happy in the future.

You should use a good real estate agent to buy even a new house. That agent should direct you to a good appraiser. Get an appraisal even if the house not constructed. A top notch appraiser should tell you what the house will appraise for after completion. The appraisal may change after completion but you should be able to find out if the asking price will be close enough to make it a good deal.

You should get pre-qualified for a loan before you buy a house, even from a builder who offers financing. This will help you negotiate a better deal. Remember than financing is part of the overall deal and affects the total purchase price of the house. Don't get bad financing to get a better price on the house.

Make sure you see samples in a finished house of the decorative items that you are selecting. You should see installed cabinets, paint that is finished, flooring, and fixtures. This is where you can often deal because a good builder is going to try to upsell you on the final build out items. You may be able to bargain yourself to upscale quality at builder's quality prices, if it is a buyer's market.

If your house is under construction, follow the process. Meet with your agent and the building supervisor. Spot check the house for any building errors that can be fixed much easier early in the process. Don't wait until the house is finished to note mistakes and ask for correction.

If you want better landscaping and pool, buy it with the house. Don't wait. You may get it at a better price. Both could be part of the deal. The longer you wait, the more likely you are not to get what you want.

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