The 411 on New Construction

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Of all of the dream houses I might have, the one type of property that’s never really on my wish list is new construction. It’s not because there’s anything wrong with new construction, it can be a great option, I’m just the type of person who will always want to be doing the updating myself. I’m pretty particular for one, and I just love the design process, and to be the one transforming a space. It’s a thrill and complete joy for me.

But what’s the 411 on new construction? What are the pro’s, what are the cons, and what should you expect if you want this type of property? It’s a great option for many people, and there are some great perks to going this route. So let’s break it down!

There’s a lot to love with new construction. . . it’s like a shiny new car, but you can live in it! No one has lived there before, and everything is brand. spanking. new. You can just move in and enjoy… aaahhhhh.

Mostly…

Yes, everything is new and yes, that’s amazing. But the biggest misconception about any building but especially new construction is that, because it’s new, it should be ‘perfect’ and there should never be any ‘problems’.

Just get that idea out of your head. Now.

You guys. We are all just humans, building houses and doing everything else we flawed humans do, and nothing is perfect. There are better and worse of everything, and that same thing applies to construction. Some houses are built better than others, some builders and developers are better than others, but even with the best team and the best construction, there is no such thing as a perfect house from the perspective that nothing ever goes wrong and nothing will ever need maintenance, repairs or adjustments.

With a new building, it takes about a year after construction is complete for the house to ‘cure’… for all of those materials to settle in and get used to being a house. You’ve just put all of these raw materials that have just been sitting in a warehouse as individual things together…so wood planks, insulation, drywall, flooring, paint are all together and connected and are walls and ceilings and floors and rooms… they have to settle in and breathe and work together as one system, and that’s an actual process. So when you buy new construction you are the lucky person that gets to live through that ~ yay!

As that’s happening you are living in the space and getting to know it, and small little things come up that need to be fixed or adjusted from construction… because without using the space some things are hard to know, or just don’t show up. Maybe doors need adjusting, maybe fixtures need repairing.. it could be anything, but as the first owner, you should be expecting this and not perceive it as things being wrong with the house. It’s normal!

But let’s rewind and start at the beginning.

Some new construction houses are sold when they are complete, but many are on the market while they are still under construction. One great thing about this is that sometimes you can select finishes and make your own imprint on the home. Of course you have to stick to a budget given to you by the developer, or you can choose to pay additional for upgrades, but this gives you a bit more of a custom home feel, which can be fun and you can create more of your exact dream home ~ yay!

You’ll pretty much always pay a premium for new construction. You’re getting something brand spanking new, and that’s always considered the most valuable. There often isn’t a lot of room for negotiation in the pricing either, so you can forget about lowballing to see if you can get a better deal. {also, maybe just don’t low-ball ever… just sayin’}. Whether it’s in a prime location or an up and coming neighborhood, new construction is the most expensive.

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You’ll also get what’s trendy at that moment. Developers play it safe, they standardize a lot of things, and you’ll get finishes that are the most popular. Because they want their project to sell quickly and why spend a lot of time thinking up a new design for every project when you can just do what’s popular and know people will want it.

You don’t always get high end design. What I mean by that is that developers aren’t going to do a lot of custom things like built-in storage, etc. The formula for a developer is to spend the least money possible and make the most money possible. Not to be cheap and cut corners, but there is an equation of investment in and return out, and they won’t spend more or build more than they feel they can make back on a project. I actually feel like they try to build as few walls as possible, because that’s less expensive. This is something I don’t love about new construction, because I like to really make the most out of a space and I love built-in storage and uber-usable spaces like mudrooms and pantries.

Delivery dates are ‘expected’ and not promised. When you buy a house that is finished, you agree on a close date and you get the house on that date. When a house is new construction, if it isn’t completed, the seller is estimating a completion date. Most of the time they have a very good idea of when they will be done and all goes as planned. But the reality is that construction can be affected by weather or a myriad of other delays like inspections and permitting… you need to be aware of this so that you aren’t totally surprised if there is a delay and you have to move back the close date. This is a normal part of construction, and the delivery date is just when they expect they’ll be done, not when they promise or know for sure they’ll be done.

With new construction you have an inspection just like with any other house. But you have it just before closing {because the building isn’t complete until just before closing}, and instead of putting together a list of requests that are negotiated between you and the seller, you make a ‘punch list’ of all outstanding items to be completed by the seller and they take care of them all. There is no such thing as a construction project with no ‘loose-ends’ that need to be taken care of, so you put together this list and they wrap it all up. Sometimes you make requests that they will say no to because they aren’t required by code, but this isn’t negotiated the same way as a house that’s already been built and lived in.

Once you move in, a good developer will be around to help you with the building over the year as it settles in and cures… you’ll be in communication with them to have things adjusted and repaired as needed, and when all goes well, it’s a fairly smooth process.

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While I wouldn’t buy new construction that someone else built, I would totally build my own house and that is for sure a dream of mine…just a bit further down the road. And I must say I am definitely looking forward to that day, where you move in and everything is brand spanking new. Did you know that new houses have a ‘new house’ smell just like cars have that ‘new car’ smell? It’s true! What’s your dream house, are you more of a vintage lover, or is new construction more your style??

 

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