Design and build of a 2 storey rear extension, outbuilding  and loft conversion to a 3 bed semidetached property in the outskirts of London: modern Houses by Progressive Design London

Things to be considered before you book a home

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
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Shopping around for a home can be a great adventure, but it can also bring forth stress and troubles. And in your quest for a new house, you may discover that most homes on the market are re-sales. Yet, one out of four home buyers would rather purchase a new home. 

That is because a new home offers innovative use of space and style, greater energy efficiency, and a wider choice of options in terms of upgrades. Existing homes can be less expensive, true, and are also usually found in established neighbourhoods that stand less chance of offering up “surprises” like crime.  

So then, what do you do? Although the choice is yours, we’ve discovered some tips from expert builders that not all buyers are aware of…

1. You first need to determine a comfy price range

Riggsacre, Corbridge: modern Houses by MWE Architects
MWE Architects

Riggsacre, Corbridge

MWE Architects

Sit down with your agent and do your research before stepping into your first model home. If you own a home, you'll first need to know the net proceeds from its sale in order to determine how much cash you'll have to work with. 

Don't simply estimate this; carefully calculate every possible selling cost. If you're a first-time buyer, you'll need to first qualify your income.

Determine the size of your down payment, then work out a monthly debt load so you can determine a comfortable price range.

2. The sales agent represents the builder, not you

They are known as sellers' agents. As a buyer, you can work with a buyers' agent at no additional cost. It's his/her business to best represent your needs by being knowledgeable about all the relevant elements like home construction, warranties, financing, lot selection, etc. 

This will help them in their task to get you the best value for your money.

3. Builders vary in expertise

Like all tradesmen, builders vary in their fields of expertise. While some specialise in craftsmanship, others will be more known for their innovative use of space, for example.

First determine your own specific needs or preferences, then start looking around for a builder that will best address your requirements.

4. References matter

Don’t just pick that builder because you like his attitude. Do some background checking via customer reviews and references.

It is also wise to check out his reputation and financial strength. Get spec sheets on home features covering everything from floor plans to energy efficiency, including lot availability and delivery of your home.

5. You must know your neighbourhood

Your builder is simply there to construct your residence – you will have to live there. Therefore, learn as much as you can about the community. Discover what amenities are on offer and whether financial reserves have been set aside to build or replace major services like schools or community roads.

Research local land-use officials to find out what else is planned or could be constructed in the area, especially when it comes to vacant plots. And be sure to review the rules for the homeowner's association, or find out if one will be set up.

6. When it comes to options and upgrades

Bishops Park SW6: modern Kitchen by CATO creative
CATO creative

Bishops Park SW6

CATO creative

Options are items the builder installs during construction, such as adding usable space like a sunroom or a powder room. These features can add the most to the resale value of your home. 

Upgrading focuses on selecting quality above builder standard such as carpeting, ceramics, detailing, kitchen fixtures and appliances. 

And the less expensive the base price of the house is, the more options and upgrades you can add without overpricing the neighbourhood.  

homify hint: Take advantage of builder incentives that offer free upgrades or credit off the sale price. This might allow you to add a deck, wine cellar or landscaping later, possibly even for less money.

7. Negotiate!

Wickham House: modern Houses by C7 architects
C7 architects

Wickham House

C7 architects

Very few buyers realise that there might be room for negotiating the price, upgrades or options. For example, if the builder has completed a home that hasn’t been sold yet, you have some scope for negotiation. And some premium lots are priced higher and are sometimes saved to be sold last. 

Bear in mind that, typically, all lots cost the builder the same, so be sure to enquire about lot pricing. If it will help close a sale, a builder might just offer discounts or special financing.

8. Check that contract

Protect yourself by having safeguards added into the written contract, such as allowing you to access the construction site to check on progress, or a 30 day advance notice of the closing date.

If need be, have a lawyer take a look at the fine print.

9. Special financing packages are available

Modern double side dormer: modern Houses by A1 Lofts and Extensions
A1 Lofts and Extensions

Modern double side dormer

A1 Lofts and Extensions

Certain builders, especially the ones that operate in high-volume communities that place large numbers of loans, can offer special financing packages. However, bear in mind that because home loan lending is highly competitive, there are additional financing choices available other than those being offered by the builder. 

Take your time shopping around, as everything from inspections to closing fees can vary considerably.

10. “New” doesn’t mean “perfect”

La Falaise: rustic Houses by CCD Architects
CCD Architects

La Falaise

CCD Architects

Just because something has been built with modern materials that are durable and strong doesn’t make it perfect. That’s why you should still consider hiring a reputable, licensed home inspector. 

Consider budgeting for items to be modified or added later on. Many new home buyers use a real estate agent to help them negotiate the best price and terms with the builder. 

When it comes to successful home renovations, take a look at: This renovated two-bedroom home is flat out great.

Are you in the market for a new home?
Whitton Drive:  Terrace house by GK Architects Ltd

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