Shopping for a new home is both an exciting and stressful time as “Wish Lists” often evolve into “things we had to compromise on” lists. Realistically, the chances of finding an existing home that checks off all desired boxes, from floor plans to upgrades, are slim. To find all items on a Wish List at the exact moment that a buyer is ready to purchase is even rarer. The dream does not have to be discouraged, however.
An often-overlooked option for those entering the homebuying process is new home communities, an area in which JSJ Builders has thrived since 2003.
Of course, the first challenge in having a home built is deciding on which builder to use. By narrowing down your home preferences and, next, the field of builders, the process can be a positive one.
First, determine what type of new home construction category best fits your needs:
? What type of builder are you looking for?
- Tract: The builder provides clear floor plans with few options to vary. This is a great option for those with time constraints as the builder typically has a handful of homes already in progress. Prices are lower than fully customizable homes and many of the homes are staged to help visualize the final product. There tends to be a higher inventory of Tract homes than the other types.
- Spec: Spec builders are very similar to Tract builders, but are often located locally and with lower inventory available for immediate move-in. Spec builders, again, build prior to securing a buyer. While this does limit alterations, Spec builders rarely build the same home twice in a neighborhood - guaranteeing a house that is unique to the location.
- Custom: These homes are designed specifically for the buyer from the very start. Custom homes also require the purchase of a lot, which may leave buyers with a second item to research and buy. These homes do take the longest to complete and often cost much more than Tract or Spec homes.
Once you understand where your building needs land, look for builds in your area - whether in progress or complete.
? Take a tour
- There are open houses every weekend and many subdivisions have a least one model home open for viewing seven days a week.
- Visit a variety of newly constructed homes (by a variety of builders) and examine them closely. Do the cabinets and fixtures meet your expectations? How does the trim work look? What about the landscaping, is it complete?
- If the builder or a builder’s representative is on-site, do not be afraid to ask any questions you may have.
Finally, look long term by checking the status of previously built homes today. Take another tour, but this time stick to the neighborhoods where your top builders have already made an impact. You can even ask those top builders for guidance on where to see their work.
? Ask around!
- If you have friends or family that have built locally to you, ask them about their experiences. What would they have changed in the process? What went perfectly? This will give you an understanding of what to expect.
- Don’t discount those acquaintances who built but are not local to you. Many builders can make recommendations in other regions.
- Spend a Saturday touring neighborhoods where your top choices have already built homes. You may find a homeowner outside and have an opportunity to gather their opinions. Are they happy with their home? Were any issues addressed promptly? Would they buy again from the same builder?
- As you tour neighborhoods, write down what you like and what you don’t like. This will save time in the decision-making phase of your build and your builder will appreciate your attention to detail.
While home-building (or home-buying) is often focused on how much? and how soon? there are other important factors to weigh into your decision. Make sure your builder can fill in the details on some other necessities.
? Don’t forget the details
- Does the builder offer financing?
- Can Tract or Spec homes be altered at all (such as adding a sunroom or finishing a basement)?
- Are there options for upgrading appliances (or downgrading)?
- How long will the home warranty be applicable? Does it include major landscaping issues?
- Does the neighborhood have a Homeowner’s Association and, if so, what are those fees?
- What facilities are nearby? Schools? Hospitals? Shopping?
- Will there be any major road or development construction in the surrounding area in the near future?
As you begin the process of looking for a new home, make sure you consider a newly built home. The benefits are:
- Everything is new, so repairs are less likely.
- You are the first residents, so there are no surprises.
- You may have the opportunity to add custom touches.
- You can pick a plan best suited to your needs.
JSJ Builders would love to help your dream come true but, even more importantly, we’d love to help you enter the process well-educated.