Five Tips for Buying a New Construction Home

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If you’ve driven through Waxhaw lately, you’ve noticed there is no shortage of new homes being built.  No matter where you go on Waxhaw-Marvin Road, there’s seemingly a new subdivision being built or an expansion of existing subdivisions.

Waxhaw is the second-fastest growing area in the Charlotte region, only behind Fort Mill, and builders are hustling to keep up with demand.  If you’re thinking about buying one of those beautiful new homes here in Waxhaw or elsewhere, here are a few tips to ensure a smoother real estate sales experience.

Research the builder.  Visit the model home.  Talk to the sales agent.  Take home an information package.  Get to know which models you like the best and what features you are looking for in your future home.  Researching before diving into the buying process will simplify many of your decisions later in the process.

Research the community.  Visit the community to see if it’s one you’d like to live in.  What are the demographics?  What kind of neighborhood amenities are important to you?  How do residents care for their properties?  Is it an HOA community?  Of course you can research online, but to really get a good feel for where you may want to live, visit the neighborhood in person at different times of day throughout the week and weekend and talk to residents.  Ask them about their experience living there.

Know what you can negotiate.  Depending on whether you are picking out your lot and building a home from scratch, choosing a house that is under construction, or buying one that’s already complete, there are different items you can negotiate in new construction home sales.  In my experience, a built from scratch home does not have much wiggle room in price, but you can often negotiate money for upgraded features, appliances and blinds.  If a home is in the process of being built when you go under contract, don’t be afraid to negotiate on price and to ask about deals like closing cost assistance.  If a home is complete and unoccupied, it’s likely priced higher than what the builder will sell it for.  This is when you have the best opportunity to haggle on price.

Get an independent, third party inspector.  Builders’ sales people will tell you you do not need to hire an inspector.  If you’re buying a new home in Waxhaw, the town inspector will visit your house more than 20 times during the course of construction to make sure the house is built to code.  But even he won’t catch every flaw with your brand new home and it’s not his job to do so.  If you want to know what you’re buying and you want the builders to fix their mistakes before you sign at the closing table, hire your own inspector who works for you.

Work with an agent who represents you.  New construction salespeople are wonderful citizens and great at their job.  They also care about you and your experience when you purchase a home in their community.  I truly believe that.  However, always remember this: the builder’s salespeople do not work for you.  They work for the builder.  It doesn’t cost you anything extra to work with a buyer’s agent who knows the terrain and knows what to look out for and what questions to ask when you’re buying a home, and who works for you.

If you’re thinking about buying a new construction home, I’d love to help.  About 1/4 of my business comes from new construction home sales and I am intimately familiar with the process.  Let’s talk!

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Jimmy Grappone
Jimmy Grappone is Team Leader with The CLT Life Home Team at Costello Real Estate & Investments. Grappone serves on Waxhaw's Main Street Advisory Board and Autism Strong Foundation's Leadership Team. He is a former president of Waxhaw Business Association and co-founder of Waxhaw's Pups n Pints festival to benefit SCDR. Grappone is an active member of St. Matthew Catholic Church. He and his wife are proud puppy parents to 4-legged son, Jack.