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Old 2012-08-20, 08:05 PM
BurbsGuy BurbsGuy is offline
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Default New Home Buyer "Do's, Dont's, and Buyer Bewares"

Hi all,

As a new potential single home buyer, I'm sure there are tons of things to be on the lookout through the buying process. Any helpful advice and hints would help a lot of us avoid potentially costly mistakes when buying through a builder.

Thanks all!
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Old 2012-08-20, 08:13 PM
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good2know good2know is offline
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Don't believe anything you are told verbally. If its not in the sale agreement it doesn't exist.

Do get yourself an experienced real estate lawyer and sit down with him/her to go through the offer in detail, and explain all the potential issues.
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Old 2012-08-20, 08:26 PM
BurbsGuy BurbsGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by good2know View Post
Don't believe anything you are told verbally. If its not in the sale agreement it doesn't exist.

Do get yourself an experienced real estate lawyer and sit down with him/her to go through the offer in detail, and explain all the potential issues.
Great advice - lawyer is key....thanks!
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Old 2012-08-20, 09:32 PM
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Visit every model home you can possibly find to get an idea of what you like and what you don't. This will give you a good idea if you are looking at a floor plan with no model.

Look at the spec sheets for each builder and compare the standards vs. pricing.

Visit the design centres if you can and look at what the standards are (or check the spec sheets of the model homes)

If you think you found a model you like, but would like to make some structural modifications, ask the builder in writing if each of them is possible.
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Old 2012-08-20, 09:37 PM
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Couple of things to share

1. Do get a home inspector, preferably for 1 year. I think $400 or whatever it costs for home inspection these days is money well-spent in the grand scheme of things. A lot of us don't work in construction or familiar with building code and the 1-year period is pretty much your last chance to chase the builder to fix stuff and you certainly want to make sure no stone is left unturned.

2. Depending on your personal situation, it's typically better (more choices) and cheaper to do a lot of upgrades after moving in. This includes but is not limited to things such as hardwood flooring, countertops, A/C and dehumidifier, garage door openers etc
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Old 2012-08-20, 10:02 PM
foxborough foxborough is offline
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Don't believe a builder's own marketing. A builder who has different standards does not necessarily build a better house.

Standards are only valuable to you if it is what you want. If you don't want the standard, then it is irrelevant. If hardwood is standard, for instance, and it is the hardwood that you want then great. If it is not the hardwood that you want then having hardwood as a standard is irrelevant.

Take folks advice on good builders versus bad builders with a grain of salt. The tract builders are all tract builders and let's face it, they are all still in business so they must be doing something right. Research this forum and you will find good and bad comments about every builder. It is up to you to read them and see how you would feel if the same thing happens to you.

Learn as much as you can about the new home buying process and be prepared for things to go wrong.

Really appreciate the risk that is involved in buying any product that you cannot see, including a new house. The model home is no indication of what the build quality of your home will be. Selecting your lot from a piece of paper without being able to see it, walk around it and see what else is going to be around it is extremely risky. Not being able to see what will be built right beside you or behind you or how close to you is risky.

Pay attention to the current build state of the subdivision and try and estimate just how long you will be living in a construction zone. There will be more noise, traffic and empty lot could mean delays in installing fencing and landscaping.

When viewing model homes, try them out to how you actually live. This means make some noise, shut some doors (if they are installed, most are not) and try and "live" in it as much as possible. If you are looking at an attached town, have someone go next door and make some noise. See whether the sound of the door opening and closing travels.

Always drive around the area, or asa close as you can to the area, in the night. It's best to get a feel for the area when it is dark as you are going to live there when it is dark.

Try and find a model that you like and that doesn't need a lot of changes. Change is money.

I would recommend allocating at least 5% of your budget for after closing. This is for things like appliances, window treatments, decks, fences, central air, garage door opener, decorating....the list can get quite large.

And finally, make sure that you love the house that you are building.
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Old 2012-08-20, 11:28 PM
Cosmogrrl Cosmogrrl is offline
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Great advice from Foxborough! Could've taken some of that advice myself a couple of year back!
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Old 2012-08-20, 11:44 PM
BurbsGuy BurbsGuy is offline
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Agreed - great info from everyone so far, thank you
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Old 2012-08-22, 10:06 AM
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What foxborough said about the 5% is great advice. You'd be surprised how quickly that money can be used on set-up costs for your home.

If you're buying a model that has already been built in previous phases, do not be afraid to go ring the doorbell of someone to ask questions. There is no better advice/feedback than from someone who just went through the process.

Take your time and make sure to double/triple check what is written on your purchase agreement and your upgrades agreement. Mistakes can be made, and if they're missed, whatever is on the paper stands. I've overlooked one thing on each of my agreements, one was rectified by the builder without issue, another I didn't notice until the PDI, which was way too late.

Visualize how you would use the home. Easier said than done, but this is so important. Builders often put things (light switches, plugs) in areas that just don't make a lot of sense.

Don't be afraid to ask for a quote a second time if it doesn't make sense. I wish I had heeded this advice during our build, as certain sales staff give you ballpark quotes that aren't necessarily true to disuade you from making certain changes, esp. structural.

Don't believe their 'word'. If it isn't written down, it won't happen. Even if it is written down, read the fine print. In a lot of cases, the builder can swap an item for an item of equal quality...

If the builder has been building for a few years, go visit a few older home that they've build (one that is maybe 4-5 years old). While it is not an exact science, you can find out a lot from this process.
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Old 2012-08-27, 04:52 PM
BurbsGuy BurbsGuy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mc_ottawa View Post
What foxborough said about the 5% is great advice. You'd be surprised how quickly that money can be used on set-up costs for your home.

If you're buying a model that has already been built in previous phases, do not be afraid to go ring the doorbell of someone to ask questions. There is no better advice/feedback than from someone who just went through the process.

Take your time and make sure to double/triple check what is written on your purchase agreement and your upgrades agreement. Mistakes can be made, and if they're missed, whatever is on the paper stands. I've overlooked one thing on each of my agreements, one was rectified by the builder without issue, another I didn't notice until the PDI, which was way too late.

Visualize how you would use the home. Easier said than done, but this is so important. Builders often put things (light switches, plugs) in areas that just don't make a lot of sense.

Don't be afraid to ask for a quote a second time if it doesn't make sense. I wish I had heeded this advice during our build, as certain sales staff give you ballpark quotes that aren't necessarily true to disuade you from making certain changes, esp. structural.

Don't believe their 'word'. If it isn't written down, it won't happen. Even if it is written down, read the fine print. In a lot of cases, the builder can swap an item for an item of equal quality...

If the builder has been building for a few years, go visit a few older home that they've build (one that is maybe 4-5 years old). While it is not an exact science, you can find out a lot from this process.
Thanks MC. Everyone seems to be on the same page: check and recheck things again, get everything in writing. It's unfortunate that you'd have to keep such close tabs on the process, but it looks like you do. I'm going into the process with my back up, but I suppose that's the best way to assure the home is finished to your specifications.
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