Often the idea of building a new home rather than purchase an existing home sounds appealing to buyers. Their notion is that they can get ‘exactly’ what they want and possibly save money in the process. Some of that is true. But it takes a lot of decisions, evaluation, and flexibility to make the new home construction period successful. Let’s break it into stages of decisions.
WHERE WILL I BUILD MY NEW HOME?
Sometimes buyers can simply find a neighborhood or subdivision that suits their needs. That subdivision may have one… or several … builders who already have built homes there. The builders may offer several floor plans and they may already have a variety of lots available for the construction. They may also have some new homes that are almost completely built, which allows you to select the final finish choices. At the other end of the spectrum, some buyers prefer to shop for a vacant lot or acreage where they will build. In that case, they might already have a floor plan or blueprints for their new home. Or they might utilize the services of an architect who can design custom spaces and materials for a totally unique home. In Central VA, our clients range from those who prefer the neighborhood builder choices, to the adventurous souls who shop for a mountain view or estate acreage. As your realtor, I’m prepared to introduce you to the best real estate for your own needs.
I WANT TO SEE EXISTING NEW HOMES FOR SALE.
Before we go further, here are some links that can take you to Charlottesville and Central VA county new homes for sale. You can buy a brand new home and in some cases you can make some of the final decisions about interior finishes.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW BEFORE I DECIDE TO BUILD A HOME?
Every buyer has some kind of budget in mind. A general rule of thumb is that building a new home will exceed that budget estimate. It’s not intentional, it just happens. And it happens in minute-to-minute decisions in which each decision is small but the total result can be significant. Let’s take door hinges and hardware as an example. Do you want brass or nickel? Stainless or bronzed? For our example, let’s say that the lowest-priced hardware is $10 and the highest priced is $18. That can sound like an insignificant decision, a mere $8 per fixture. Now let’s consider that each door has 3 hinges plus a knob/lockset and your dream home has 30 doors altogether. At the low end your decision could cost $900 but the slightly-more-expensive hardware selection could cost $1620…. for just one decision, the door hardware. Oh by the way, the $8 hardware design could require more time to install, thus increasing the labor cost. Every small decision is multiplied and often buyers become so enthralled in the construction decisions that they don’t realize they are exceeding their final budget estimates. It’s fun to shop for hardware. Or shop for lighting. Or tile. Or whatever.
So it’s a good idea to have a firm grip on your financial status and to anticipate that there will be cost overruns and unforeseen expenses at every step of the process. Try to harness your Inner Shopper.
HOW DO I BEGIN TO BUILD A NEW HOME?
Your first step may be your most important step: Hire a good realtor. Certainly you should hire a realtor to guide you through these decisions and to connect you to the other services that you will need at each step of the construction process…. lender options, architects, attorneys, zoning information, land for sale, and construction decisions. Your best bet is to hire a realtor who specializes in new construction (like I do), because we have experience with the various builder contracts and procedures. We not only help you find the best location and the best builder or architect, we also prepare you for each step of the decision process. We will connect you to possible lenders and we can assist with the details of your construction selections.
KNOW YOUR WANTS AND NEEDS
The most successful construction projects are the ones where the buyer has a good sense of his or her Wish List. It’s important to know what is important and necessary…. and what is optional or negotiable. Do you want that soaking tub or do you need that soaking tub? It’s important for you to know how you actually live, not how the ads portray you. Do you eat in front of the tv? Do you need a first floor master bedroom? Where do you bathe your pets? All of the habits that make us individuals can be addressed to some extent during the construction process and it’s not unusual for couples to discover that they each have differing priorities. Good communication helps a lot while building a home and as realtors we are trained to promote good communication between all parties. During construction you might be forced to address tiny details that you would otherwise never evaluate. I once negotiated an agreement for a couple’s dispute regarding a sock drawer layout.
WHAT DOES IT COST TO HIRE A REALTOR? HOW CAN A REALTOR HELP ME TO BUILD A NEW HOME?
Sometimes we need to remind buyers that your realtor typically does not get paid until you have a closing settlement on your home… whether the home is new or not. In some neighborhoods, a builder is represented by a realtor who works directly for the builder, in which case that realtor may have a salary plus commissions or incentives. But I can introduce you to any neighborhood, any lot or acreage, and my compensation arrives only after you have completed your purchase process. My compensation to be your own Buyer Agent has already been offered by the seller and is already included in the price of new homes on our MLS. If you purchase land first and then build at a future date, my compensation still occurs at a closing and can be negotiated into the price of an architecturally designed custom home too. I advocate for your own advantages to assist in decisions and negotiations. So the short answer is: it doesn’t cost you anything extra to utilize the experience of a realtor during your construction process.