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The process of buying a new home from a home builder

The decision to buy a new home is one of the biggest decisions most people will ever make. Growing families and first time home buyers alike must consider multiple factors when considering the most prudent house purchase – and indeed in what type of residential community to purchase it. And while many people continue to work in urban centers, the lure of open space away from city life is appealing. Some choose to leave cities to grow a family while others are willing to commute in exchange for a reduced cost of buying a home.

As you browse real estate for sale, whether looking for a first home or fifth, everyone has a vision of what they want in a new home. Perhaps they want space, or a modern kitchen, or two-sink bathrooms. Those that want to bring their unique dream of a new home to life often choose to work with a new home builder. Working with a new home builder has many unique benefits: playing a role in the conceptualization of a home, participating in the new home building, choosing what features a new home should and should not have and indeed being the first to own the house. So when the decision to use a new home builder is reached, what should one expect?

This article details what to expect when choosing and working with a new home builder – and what to avoid.

Researching Home Builders
Some people choose a new home builder based on feedback and referrals from friends and families. Others search online directories of home builders and of single family homes for sale. If using a new home builder is the path chosen, it is crucial to visit the homebuilder website. A home builder website should be interactive, should include detailed new house plans, should offer the option of printing floor plans and photos, and overall should instill confidence. A professional website reflects highly upon the company (and a shabby website may mean shabby building).

Make a list of several possible builders and fill out an online form to request additional information. The online form will likely result in special offers and invitations to VIP events plus, when you are contacted, you will be able to evaluate the company based on the quality of response. If you like what you hear, the next step is to make an appointment to meet with the home builder.

The First Meeting with a New Home Builder
The real estate market is calming down – it’s no secret. So naturally homebuilders are all competing to attract potential new home buyers. This works to your advantage. So make several appointments with potential builders and go into the office. Undoubtedly, there will be a sales pitch and you should be prepared for it. Know your budget, know what you are looking for, and know neighborhoods of interest. When the sales pitch comes, you will know the right questions and, rather than resisting the pitch, you can welcome the opportunity to evaluate your options. During your first appointment you may be invited to tour a model home on the spot or you may be invited to return at a later date for a model home tour. Either way, after meeting with several home builders the next thing you will want to do is consider which builders appeal and to tour model home sites.

Touring Model Homes
Just as there are nearly infinite types of homes, there are many types of new home builders. Some specialize in luxury homes while others orient themselves to first time home buyers. One commonality to all home builders is a precise calculation of cost. Before new home construction begins – indeed before a new home community is conceived – a ratio is calculated to determine precisely how much people will spend based on distance to urban center, number of bathrooms, size of garage, amount of open space, and so on. As previously stated, a good home builder website will show a fairly precise price range based on desired amenities and community. In fact, many home builder websites will have a mortgage calculator . Keep this in mind because the model home you tour will have all the “bells and whistles” and these will cost extra. So while golden bath faucets may be nice, they may also cost extra. As you tour the model home, find out what is standard with the new home price and what is additional.

There are many other factors to keep in mind as you tour model homes. You should determine how often access is given to the new home during the home building process. You should be aware of all fees that will be required upon closing. You should know how many homes will be built in the new neighborhood and if there is any screening process of potential new home buyers. You should figure out if your model home plan has been built before and indeed if you may contact owners of similar homes. Finally, you should understand the nature of relevant zoning laws because if you are attracted to nearby green space, you need to know how “permanent” the open space will be.

The Home Buying Process
After touring several model homes and exploring various communities, you will decide if the time is right to purchase a new home. If you make the decision to move forward, the first step is to work out payment details. The following is a concise breakdown of the process of buying a new home (paraphrased from the website of New Home Builder Orleans Homes.

Non-Binding Reservation Deposit
A non-binding deposit will reserve and hold a new homesite as well as lock in the price of a new home. The price will be locked in for seven days.

Agreement of Sale
An agreement of sale will be signed within seven days of reserving a homesite. A deposit will be required and a downpayment will be reviewed.

Structural Options
Structural options will be reviewed.

Mortgage Financing
You and a representative from a mortgage company, either of your choosing or based on recommendation from the home builder, will arrange financing options. The mortgage application will be due at the signing of the agreement of sale.

Decorator Options
A homebuilder will offer decorative options available and some homebuilders, Orleans Homes, for example, will have a decorative team on staff for a new community. When the agreement of sale is complete, you will begin working on customizing your brand new home.

After You Sign on the Dotted Line

You’ve researched quality new home builders, you’ve contacted several new home builders and toured model homes, you’ve gone through the funding process and have signed on the dotted line. Then what?

With the help of design consultants, you can explore options for enhancing your new home with a variety of pre-priced features from trim and crown moldings to flooring and carpeting to lighting and audio systems. By personalizing your home during the home building process, you can finance all the upgrades as part of the mortgage.

Moving In – Before, During, After

Before moving in, you will be able to visit the home during the home building process. While each homebuilder has different visiting procedures, you will be able to monitor the process and indeed you should to ensure everything is as agreed. You will know the move-in date well ahead of time and should make proper preparations for the big day – your home builder may be able to help and, if that is the case, will be on-hand during the move.

After moving in, some general home care tips should be followed and examples of these tips can be found on this home care tips PDF.

The process of selecting a new home builder – from initial research to after moving in – is exciting and, with a little bit of knowledge, need not be intimidating. Yes, the process of buying a new home is rather involved but it is the hope of this writer that it also be enjoyed.

* You may republish this article provided you retain the active hyperlinks in the body of the article and below. Copyright 2006, Robert O’Shaughnessy.

* Article written as a community service on behalf of New Home Builder Orleans Homes

About the Author: Robert O'Shaughnessy is the Online Marketing Manager for Graphic Language in San Francisco. Graphic Language provides results-driven online solutions to businesses, primarily in the home builder industry. Robert welcomes the opportunity to help Graphic Language build their reputation as a "one stop shop" for businesses seeking to develop and maintain a web presence.

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