Should buying a new home involve a Realtor?
It’s a great idea to involve a Realtor, for several reasons. A Realtor can connect you to a builder who is qualified to build the type of home you are looking for. The builder’s experience and strengths will impact not only the building process but also whether the final product matches your vision. For example, one builder might concentrate on larger and more expensive homes, while another might build more green homes and be more familiar with the products available and construction methods that make the home more environmentally friendly in the long term. We are very fortunate to have many excellent builders in this area who do quality work.
As a Realtor, I will work with the builder so the cost to the buyer will not reflect any additional charges to the buyer. I can also help with design features by knowing the buyer’s needs. Clients find it helpful when I show them a few newly constructed homes to brainstorm different floor plans. I am familiar with change orders that may arise during construction and can instruct the buyer in planning to eliminate as many change orders as possible.
Finally, it is very important to match the building lot to the home style, and a Realtor can be a big help in finding good lot locations and sizes. A Realtor is also familiar with all types of lenders for financing new home construction and knows how to handle payments during construction.
What kind of guarantees should buyers look for when building a new home?
Guarantees should include things like making sure the builder has a reputation for correcting anything that develops in the first year after construction. Cabinets, doors, flooring noises, lighting, and other materials should have a one-year warranty, and the builder should cover any problems. Major defects that develop after construction, such as foundation settling, large cracks developing in foundation walls, HVAC problems, or anything else that causes the home to decline in value should be covered by a warranty up to 10 years from date of the home’s completion.
Is it a buyer’s or a seller’s market?
Sellers have been reluctant to list their homes due to risks from the Covid pandemic, so the inventory of listings for most price points is down. With a lower inventory, we are seeing buyers offer list price and above, which causes home values to increase. At the same time, continued low-interest rates are allowing buyers to get more for their money. In addition, the cost of new construction materials has gone up due to increased demand for products after storm damage and because some manufacturing plants temporarily closed due to Covid. So we have a supply versus demand situation that generally favors sellers. In this kind of market, a Realtor can help a buyer submit a competitive offer and/or help a seller price their home accurately and navigate multiple-offer scenarios.