Buying a home under construction can be thrilling. The knowledge that no one has lived in it yet, everything top to bottom is brand new, the ability to customize paint colors and flooring, and let’s not forget that "new house” smell -- these are compelling reasons to buy new construction.
Another bonus is that you’re in touch with the person who built it. They can let you know all about the home, from the type of flooring chosen and the way to care for it, to the source of plumbing and lighting fixtures, in case you need to match them years later. From the roof to the foundation, they were involved in every step.
With the high volume of new construction happening in Southwest Louisiana, many home buyers are finding great homes while still in the building stage. Utilizing the skill of a qualified realtor can ensure the end result is good for the buyer. "Your realtor can advise you on making the offer so that it is appealing to the builder,” said Jade Miles, Realtor with Century 21 Bessette Realty. "Also, if the home is bought in the early stages of building and the homeowner has input on the paint colors and flooring, for example, the realtor can offer suggestions to help in resale value later on.”
One of the surprising things for homeowners to face is that, for the most part, a builder looking to sell a home in a developing neighborhood is not likely to drop the price. "A builder who is building several homes within the neighborhood knows that if he drops it for one, future buyers in the area will expect similar discounts,” explained Miles. Instead, the realtor can negotiate with the builder on other options, such as having the builder pay closing costs or perform upgrades at no additional charge. "This is a less obvious way to sweeten the deal,” she said.
Construction is almost synonymous with delays. Even though the builder projects the home to be finished by a certain date, it most likely won’t be ready. Weather, permits, changes to the house plans, and delays from vendors all affect the home’s progress; many of these things are outside of the builder’s control. Because of this, it’s best to get everything in writing.
"If you’re considering purchasing a home that is not yet complete, it’s important to spell out the agreed upon finishes in the home, such as granite countertops or real wood floors. It’s also a good idea to include the deadlines for when decisions need to be made on the house, so that everyone knows the timeline,” said Miles.
It’s also smart to address what will happen if construction is not completed on time. If the builder agrees to a bigger percentage of the closing cost if construction is delayed, it’s more of an incentive for him to stay within the agreed upon timeframe.
"Verbal agreements are not binding; therefore, it’s best to get everything in writing and signed by all parties,” Miles explained.
Using a realtor to negotiate a new construction purchase will keep your best interest as their priority so that you end up with a fair deal.