In the last few days, we’ve had a lot of progress on the selling and buying front. We’re pretty sure we’ve figured out where we want to live (Jefferson Hills), in new construction. I’m testing the drive into work tomorrow to confirm if the commute is OK. I got myself a parking pass – it’s in one of the more expensive areas ($121.50/mth) because that’s all that’s left, but it is a garage. After the bus passed by 3 days in a row without stopping at my stop for me to get on – resulting in me taking 1.5hrs to get home each time – I’m done with the bus for actual commuting.
We also got an offer on our house in VA tonight. Almost exactly what we were asking for – they offered list price with 10k in closing cost assistance. We’re countering with list price and 5k in closing cost assistance. They want to close while we’ll be in Europe, so we told our Realtor that we need to close before we leave (preferable) or after we get back. So, our closing date may be Sept 30. Not so far away! Fingers crossed that we get to closing with this first one!
We’ve never dealt with new construction, but we *really* liked the model house and the available lots. The model was within our price range, and there were some options that we would do without to make it even more affordable – but we’d finally have our “dream” kitchen! They want 8k down before we can get on the construction schedule, and then we’d complete the financing when the house was finished. We’re looking at 5-6 months at least – during which time, we’d be living at my mom’s and saving money (almost 3k/month) to buy the “upgrades” we want that aren’t offered as part of the package – like a specific range or custom paint colors. We’re trying to do our research about the builder through Angie’s List and BBB, but this is new territory for us.
Has anyone bought new construction? Anything we should specifically ask or research about the builder or the process? Or anything else that would be useful for us to know about buying a new construction home?
I unfortunately don’t have any experience with new construction. My only advice is to take advantage of the opportunity to negotiate. The party who has less time pressures usually wins: not the side who’s a more experienced negotiator.
We have a little bit of a time pressure because we’d like to move out of my mom’s house, but otherwise, we can wait another month or two if it would save us money. I’ve been told that the negotiating isn’t very easy with homebuilders – at least not on price, but they may be willing to do some of the options and optional upgrades for less.
Jefferson Hills is awesome, too! I’m not sure that the commute would be any better, honestly. Those roads out south weren’t built for the population we have now. 279 is probably the best in terms of density of traffic. But there are great schools and a good community in Jefferson Hills, too. My brother in law grew up there.
Congrats on the offer! Crossing my fingers that it’s before Europe for you!
Hopefully, the offer turns into a contract! The buyer’s Realtor isn’t the brightest bulb in the box, and sent the offer to us with outdated forms, etc. He *finally* got a hold of the agent this afternoon to get that sorted. I’m not signing a single page that’s incorrect!
I don’t have new construction experience but we did a total renovation two years which consisted of taking the second floor off and bumping out the back. Basically we have a new house. Two suggestions-talk to several customers of the builder-are they still happy with the house? What was the building process like? Also, get the warranties in writing. What will the builder fix post construction?
Good luck with the offer!
Thanks for the tips. That seems to be what we’re hearing from everyone. Stuff goes wrong and they try to cut corners, we just have to basically be our own project manager and stop by every week or so to check on things and hold them to the contract. We’re going to hire our own inspector to come by several times during construction to make sure that everything is going according to code.
I believe you will want to get a home inspection before you move in, and make sure the builder completes their punchlist (the list of all the things they should have done before, but didn’t) before you give them the final check. Make sure all systems are connected! Oh the horror stories you can find online about builders who didn’t do everything they said they would… Make sure the builder has a good reputation. One bad review isn’t the end of the world, but multiple bad reviews should have you running in the other direction. Take your time now so you don’t have the hassles later. Good luck!
They’re A+ rated with the BBB and B with Angie’s List – which is pretty darn good for a builder. There are complaints (and I expect those), but they did address every one to the homeowner’s satisfaction. We’ll have the luxury of delaying closing as many times as we need to to get things done right, and I plan on using that hammer if I need to.
Budgeting In The Fun Stuff bought new build construction a couple of years ago. She had a bunch of posts on it and might be a good resource. I think the only thing I remember her complaining about is the HOA after moving in, which brings up a good point. A lot of the new build communities have very “involved” HOAs. For us, that’s an absolute deal breaker. We’re not paying someone in order to give our neighbors the right to snoop into our business. YMMV, but that’s our line in the sand.
The HOA seems to be kinda hands off – it’s really just there to cover snow removal and a shared sewer line to the public sewer. The builder turns over the HOA to the residents when all phases are completed (we’d be phase 3 of 12), and then it’s up to the residents. From the summary document I read, it’s really don’t do anything stupid and it’ll be OK, it’s mostly “follow the borough’s rules”. HOAs aren’t very popular in the area, so it’s very likely that the HOA will be mostly hands off. It wouldn’t be the first time we’ve lived in a busy-body HOA, and we can deal with it, but it is something to watch for.