Are you overwhelmed and don’t know what to ask the builder to make sure you don’t miss an important detail for your new construction home purchase? Well, I’m going to walk you through some of the most important questions to ask a builder before making the biggest purchase of your life.
1) Deposits. The 1st question you want to ask is “What is the required down payment and when is it due?” All real estate transactions require an earnest money deposit. For most builders, this will be $1,000 – $5,000. If you’re building a house from scratch, most builders will also require a construction deposit. The construction deposit can vary significantly from builder to builder, ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 or more.
2) The Timeline. You will want to ask the builder, “How long is it going to take to build my house?” This question causes a lot of confusion at times.
For instance, the builder might tell you that it takes approximately three months for them to build a house. Three months is only talking about the actual time it takes to construct the house, not including the weeks or months before they can start construction while you’re going through the design & option selection process for your house. So keep that in mind.
3) Changes. Ask the builder, “Can I make changes during the construction process?” Most builders do NOT allow you to change things once construction has started, especially structurally because that will mostly likely have major impact to the budget as well as timeline. Find out the builder’s timeline and what date is the last date they will allow you to make a change without a charge.
4) Change Order fees. If the builder does allow you to make changes, “Will there be a fee for making changes? After selections have been made and deposits given, most builders will charge a fee. This is usually $250-$500.
5) Warranty. Make sure to ask, “What type of warranty do you provide?” Most builders offer at least a 1-year warranty on workmanship. This warranty should cover anything that goes wrong due to poor installation, malfunctioning parts or just general damage from the house settling.
6) Included features. Most builders will have a list of the included features for each home that they build. If not, you’ll want to ask, “What comes standard in your homes?” You will want to have a complete understanding of what features are included in the base price of the home. Some national builders that I have worked with include granite countertops, subway tile, landscaping, etc.
7) Upgrade and option selection process. Next, you’ll want to ask, “How does the options selection process work?” Most builders allow a limited amount of time to make your structural & design center selections. Know the dates and write them down so you don’t miss any deadlines.
8) Homesites and lot premiums. You’ll want to ask, “How many homesites are available & what are the lot premiums?” They should have a plat map of the community that they can give to you. Find out where any amenities may be so you can pick the best home site for you. There are a lot of things to consider when picking a lot so you want to do your research on that.
9) The final walk-through. Do they want to deliver a high-quality home? Do you get the sense that they REALLY care about you, their client? You can find out by asking, “What is your final walk through process?” How does that work?
10) The Preferred lender. Most builders offer what they call a preferred lender incentive. You will want to ask, “Do you offer any incentives?” Some builders will consider an incentive if you use their preferred lender. If you agree to use this lender the builder will often offer to pay a portion, or all of your closing costs depending on the inventory, time of the year and construction phase the builder is in.
Since we’re nearing the end of the year and there is a lot of new construction inventory available, now is a good time to get a really good deal. Builders want to get rid of their inventory so they are willing to offer discounts and i am able to negotiate more things on your behalf. Also, due to inflation and high mortgage rates builders are offering incentives like up to 3% of purchase price to be used towards closing costs, downpayments, upgrades, buydown rates.
To make sure that you are protected while going through the building process, choose a realtor who can advise and guide you. The builder pays the buyer agent’s commission so this is at no cost to you. Please call me with any questions you may have. I love walking my clients through the home building process!