As you may have heard, most of the country is experiencing a very tight real estate market at the moment. Inventory levels are historically low, as after spending so much time at home (we will not miss you lockdowns and quarantines!), home owners have been able to focus on their property and how it fits into their lifestyle, emphasizing the need to right-size their environment. So much for the “oh, well, I don’t really spend a lot of time at home anyway …” way of thinking.
With properly-priced homes moving quickly off the market, homebuyers are frustrated. However, you don’t need to be! For those who can be flexible with their timing, new construction offers an appealing alternative to the resale market.
Get exactly what you want, without having to shop around — no need to envision how those puce colored walls will look when repainted! New construction offers the buyer a fresh, blank canvas on which to create their perfect home. So. much. yes! In any market, this can be appealing, but when resale inventory is low, this is even more attractive.
Yet, new construction is more than modern floor plans and beautiful finishes. Before buying new construction, it’s important to ask a few questions first:
- How long will the property take to build, and what possible delays could affect that timeframe? How does that timeline fit in with selling your current home or finding interim housing? Selling your home immediately and living in an RV with your three kids while you await your new home may seem like a good idea, but if there are delays things are sure to get tense.
- Is your completion date affected by the sale or occupancy of other units or phases? Having to wait for anything is difficult (remember Christmas as a child?), but even more so if it depends on the actions of other people you don’t know. Double check the completion date to manage expectations.
- What is included in the base unit and what are the additional costs for custom add-on options? You know what you want — the Architectural Digest home of your dreams obviously — but many features or adjustments are considered customizations and can incur an additional cost. Be clear about what these are and if the price is subject to change as the home is built.
- What are the HOA (homeowner’s association) fees and what do they cover? Contrary to depictions on popular TV shows, Homeowner’s Associations are not evil or creepy. If there is an HOA connected to your build, be clear about what it involves and the costs.
In addition, it’s important to understand the exact location of the new home and any planned developments or improvements which could affect the home in the future – road noise, parking or traffic congestion, view, etc.
For those trying to compete in this resale seller’s market, it could be time to buy new. Developers are offering some great incentives in this climate, and it can be a great alternative for those with a little time to wait.