Buying a New Home
You already made up your mind, and you are going to buy a NEW HOME!!! And not new as in “new to you”, no!, new as in “brand spanking new!” Nobody has ever sat on that toilet, new! And you may think, “This is a new home, I go in, they have a sales center, they have a sales staff, they have the nice print outs and mock ups, they gave me a tour, they are looking out for me!” But are they really? They work for the developer, developers make their money on the velocity of turning around and selling out the project, and they try and squeeze out the most amount of money where they can (including from you) to deliver their product. You should definitely work with a licensed full time real estate agent to help guide you through the process, because the questions and answers you go through with the developer agents are more based on where you want the home, the upgrades you want, your flooring and bathroom selections, but you won’t go into the details that can really affect your future ownership.
Below are some of the questions you should be asking:
Warranties & Punchouts What warranties are included with the purchase? You should have the manufacturer warranties for all of the new appliances. What warranties does the developer/builder offer on their construction? On the roof? Are warranties through a bonded builder program? Who do you contact? When does it commence? How many walk throughs do you get? How many times can you add items to the punch list(Items to be fixed in a new home)? What happens if you discover items after moving in?
Pace of Sales/Construction What is the anticipated pace of construction and sales? Have an idea of when the community is supposed to be finished, when common areas can be used, how long will construction be going on for, what are their hours?
•Associations: Will there be an association? Dues? Will the home have a homeowner’s or condo association? If the home is a condo, the answer is yes, with single family homes and townhomes you always have to ask.
You need to find out how many associations there are? (Some communities have a homeowner’s association and a master association to cover other common areas.)
What is included in the fee? Some associations include water, trash, sewer, cable, internet, public facilities, and some just cover street and landscape maintenance.
Rules & Regulations: What are the by laws, rules and regulations that govern the association. What controls and powers do they have? Do they have an architectural review board? Can they tell you what colors you can or cannot paint your house, a specific fence type. Some associations are very hands on and strict, some are lenient, some only have minimal rules, some have a detailed list of do’s and do not’s. What type of community do you want to live in? Make sure it is a situation that suits your needs.
Other Memberships: Do you need to be a member of another association or club in order to live in the community? Is there an initiation fee? Annual Dues? Make sure there are no additional surprise fees.
How long does the developer expect to be in control of the association? When will there be home owner representation?
CDD’s (Community Development Districts)/Special Tax Districts Is the home in a special taxing district? If so, how much is it annually and what are the expected annual increases/decreases? How long is it for? These district were set up by developers in communities built since 2000. Instead of conveying the streets and lights to the cities or associations, the developers, through property tax bonds (The taxes paid annually by homeowners that live in the district), would get payments through bonds for the construction of the district, and the homeowners would in turn pay those bonds back over the years.
Property Taxes What are the anticipated property taxes?
Deposit Schedule What is the preconstruction deposit schedule for the home?
Milestones When are the milestone dates for your home, how long will it take to construct and be completed? What are the milestones along the way to know we are on pace?
I would love to help you with any questions you might have. Be sure to contact me for help.