Key Questions to Ask When Buying a New Construction Home
Have you been dreaming about a new home for a long time? It is always hard to make a decision since it requires lots of effort, attention, and time. If you want to build new construction from scratch and control the process from the foundation, it is even more painstaking. Instead of buying a finished product, you can choose all the details, from the location to the layout, by yourself.
A pre-built house is always a lottery. You cannot know what the previous homeowners left behind if it has been in operation before. There may be problems with water supply, electricity, etc. And if you decide to buy a brand new ready house, think about the process of construction. You don’t know which materials were used, who worked on the project, and if the quality is good enough.
A new construction home purchase is a different process than buying a pre-built house. It requires even more knowledge of the process. You should learn to communicate with the developer. To make sure of the professionalism of the company, it is better to conduct an interview in advance and ask right questions. The final result depends on how good you and the developer understand each other.
In this article, we have collected the questions that will help you to make the best decision and be satisfied with your new home. They will help you avoid misunderstandings with the developers and problems that may cost you quite a bit.
TOP 15 Questions for Buying a New Construction
Let’s start with the most significant questions that will help you bring scammers into the open and let you check the competence of the developers.
Does the company have a warranty?
Even buying a new build, you can face problems. Nowadays, many developers provide a warranty for their services. It is prescribed in the contract or given as a separate paper. To be sure about the professionalism of the company and the quality of its work, it is better to clarify this in advance. It is also a good idea to ask about the duration of the warranty. For example, the warranty time for materials and defects in the systems (heating, plumbing) are different. And some of the aspects, like the landscaping, may not be covered at all.
Don’t forget to make sure that you have enough time to report any issues. And find out how you can inform the company. Two weeks are a standard condition.
In no case should you sign the papers until you read them through. Pay particular attention to the small print. Otherwise, eventually, you may find yourself in a situation when nobody is responsible for a breakdown.
How long has the company been operating?
The time that the company has spent in the market is very important. It shows that they already have experienced, professional workers who know all the rules and requirements. Besides, you can see examples of their real estate. Such companies inspire confidence and reliability, and that’s why they will try their best not to put a mark on their reputation. Still, do not immediately dismiss newcomers. If you are satisfied with their offer and the price is acceptable, consider it. They can pleasantly surprise you because they are aiming to win customers’ trust.
Who will be working on the object and controlling the process?
Many companies do not have a large team and often use hired help. Don’t let this scare you off if the developer controls the process and checks the work performed. You should also be allowed to call or come at any time to monitor the progress. Thus, you will know that the construction workers are competent in their field and the company is responsible for their actions.
How long will the home construction take?
This question is also very important, since many unscrupulous companies name one deadline in the beginning and end up making the future homeowners wait a lot longer. The terms depend on the complexity of the project, its size, types of work (exterior decoration, interior decoration, landscape, etc). No developer can answer this with 100% accuracy, but a good one will try to give you approximate completion dates. They will also explain which stages take the most time and why they need this much timed. The process can also be delayed because of paperwork, delivery of materials, and even weather. Thus, you should be prepared for it to take a little more time than initially discussed. If you worry about the reliability of the company, ask them to write the terms and conditions into the contract.
Can you contact previous customers?
If you want to hear a true opinion on a company, the best option is getting feedback from their past customers. They don’t need to hide the truth or those details that the company does not want to reveal. Besides, you can ask about the current condition of their house and if they have encountered any problems since moving in. Take interest in how the developer responded to breakdowns, whether there were conflicts during the partnership. See if they were able to reach a compromise in controversial situations and if the company respected all the requirements. Ideally, you could visit one of the previously built homes and make sure of its quality.
Can you invite a specialist for a home inspection?
Although you are buying a completely new build, a home inspector is an extra level of control that will help you identify even small defects and details that can be fixed. If everything is done properly, the developer should not be opposed to an inspection. It is better to invite a specialist a couple of weeks before the end of the construction so that the workers have time to eliminate any possible flaws.
The next group of questions to ask is related to costs and your preferences. You may want to change some details in the layout or design, but not every company provides this option. That’s why it is worth clarifying these nuances.
Can you buy household appliances and materials on your own?
Before the construction starts, you already have an idea of how it should look both outside and inside. But sometimes the developer does not cooperate with the companies that provide the exact products you wanted to use. This issue will be resolved if you can buy or order this product or material from other companies and ask the builders to install it. This can apply to construction materials, furniture or household appliances. The shade of paint on your walls, the specific wallpapers and flooring – everything matters when it comes to the home where you are going to spend most of your time. Some developers let clients choose materials, some give you complete freedom, and some dislike any intervention into the work. That is why it is important to ask right questions.
Can you bring your own appliances and furniture?
We are talking about the things you have already purchased. For example, you want to transport a sofa from your old apartment that has a special place in your heart. There aren’t many reasons to refuse, but there are companies that strictly follow a plan. If you take a loan from the developer, it can be hard to make changes. In such a case, there is a “basic package” that includes a number of things that the house will contain. Another reason to refuse is the inability to place the element in the house. The sink may be too big for the bathroom and the sofa too long for the living room. If you want to save some money and transport some furniture and household appliances from your old place, make sure it is possible.
Can you make changes during construction?
At the stage of negotiations and the beginning of construction, you can express any wishes, starting from the flooring, and finishing with the color of light bulbs in the kitchen. The developer will try to fulfill all your requirements. But after the start of construction, many companies are skeptical about customers’ changing wishes. You can make some non-global changes, but you need to previously clarify what the developer will allow you to change. Find out if this is possible before purchasing the materials. And if they are already purchased, if there is a possibility of paying extra to make the change.
Does the company provide landscape design services?
When you are buying a home, this is an important question since nobody wants to have an untidy backyard or front lawn. The cost of such work can be very expensive, especially if you need to hire a separate service. Find out in advance if the developer provides this service to understand whether it is included in the price. Also, be sure to ask what is included in the service. You can get a beautiful backyard with several flowerbeds, or just a yard with grass.
How does the standard finish look?
Sometimes the price that the developer offers seems too good to be true. Do not rush to celebrate. This is probably because their offer is a basic finish. If you want to change the layout, use different materials and furniture, you can get a much more expensive check in the end. Clarify what the standard includes and what is considered to be an upgrade. This will help you avoid unexpected expenses and make it clear whether this option is suitable for you.
What houses does the company make?
Most developers offer standard houses with 3-4 rooms, but if you need a two or three-story home or a huge cottage, it is better to clarify if the company can make it. To build new construction like this, they need to have more skills and experience in this area. Do not trust your home in the hands of those who have never dealt with such projects. If you need luxury housing, look for other candidates.
How are they different from other companies?
Most companies have this information on their websites, but it is always better to ask what they are proud of. Perhaps they have very complex projects, the highest quality materials on the market, the most affordable prices, or have worked with celebrities. In this way, you can figure out the main priorities of the company. If you want a quality product, choose a developer who is very thorough about work, employees, and materials.
Another important point is the cost. Sometimes, you start with negotiating one price and then it increases several times at the stage of construction. If you do not want to overpay for what you did not expect, talk this over with developers in advance.
Does the contract include a point about an increase in the cost?
The cost of construction can get several times higher because of small details. A contract that includes a possible increase in the final cost of the object during construction is not beneficial for you. The developer will be able to charge an extra fee for any unexpected expenses. As a result, you can get into an unpleasant situation when all your decisions will lead to an increase in the costs. Or the increase can be caused by factors that do not depend on you at all (like a delay in materials’ shipping). To avoid this situation, make sure the price is fixed in the contract without any chances to change it.
Is the lot cost included?
Some companies may not clarify that the lot is not included in the development price to get an extra pay from unaware customers. That is why this question can help you avoid unexpected expenses at the stage of negotiations. Often the price that the developer offers happens to be the base. It includes the design, standard exterior and interior finishes. Also clarify what options the company can offer. The price can vary depending on the size of the lot, the area where it is located, neighbors, etc.
If you have been dreaming about your own real estate for a long time, think over this question as seriously as possible. Decide what you want from the developer and how your future housing should look like. Feel free to ask all the questions that interest you and clarify all the details in advance, as a home purchase is a very big step. The better you work out all the nuances, the fewer unpleasant surprises you will get in the end.
Be sure to consult a lawyer before signing the contract. Documentation requires a painstaking analysis and your full attention. Just one or two missed points can cost you a pretty penny at the end. If you are not sure that you can control the process on your own, then hire an agent. But a realtor does not play a very important role in the process. In the era of the internet, you can find experienced developers and consult an agent directly online. For example, Inew-homes is a great choice. The website offers a huge selection of real estate, from condominiums and small family houses to expensive mansions and villas. You can find the location of the object and see what is located nearby. Besides, on the same website you can see the finished projects of all developers and their buildings under construction.