Buying a New Construction Home in the Tampa Area is an Exciting Prospect!
Everything is bright and shiny! You can often pick out the finishes and colors to suit your taste and there are no ‘honey do’ lists to contend with after closing. BUT… the number of decisions to be made and the number of details to be considered are complicated, intimidating, and often completely overwhelming. This is especially true if everyone involved in the building process is there to represent the builder’s best interests rather than your own.
There is a stress-free solution to this conundrum! Work with your own Realtor/Buyer’s Agent to represent you and guide you through the process.
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Here’s How I Can Help You Get the Best Deal When Buying New Construction…
1. Provide Buyer Representation to You at No Cost to You
Tampa area builders welcome & often encourage the representation of a Realtor/Buyer’s Agent and offer compensation for our time from their ‘marketing’ funds, so you don’t pay any upcharge for having buyer representation! It is very important that you have your Realtor/Buyer’s Agent with you the first time you enter the builder’s office or at least have your Realtor’s business card and tell the sales agent right up front you are working with your own Realtor. This happens every day as Realtors often direct buyers to reputable builders.
2. Research Neighborhoods and Builders
It is important to look beyond the shiny new neighborhood and be aware of what is around it. Is the wooded area beyond the neighborhood a ‘green zone’ or is it zoned for commercial development? Is the development built on land fill that might lead to settlement issues down the road? Is the property in a flood zone which will require additional insurance? Does the builder and/or developer have a good reputation? Does he have complaints filed against him for shoddy work? Does he meet deadlines? Does construction drag on beyond the projected closing dates? Does he have reliable subcontractors?
3. Negotiate Price and Extras
Most buyers think a builder’s price is set in stone and it is a ‘take it or leave it’ situation. Not necessarily so! Builders sometimes have incentives that Realtors are aware of that they don’t advertise. If you don’t ask—you don’t get! Having a Realtor with keen negotiating skills is the key. Are any of the upgrades you fell in love with price negotiable? Ninety percent of the finishes you see in a builder’s model are not standard features and require an additional cost above and beyond the quoted selling price. These additional costs are often negotiable as well.
4. Review the Contract
Builders will draw up a 40-50-page contract with lots of legalize and builder speak on it. Unless you have bought numerous brand-new homes in Florida in your lifetime, you may be confused by some of the language & deadlines in the contract. Your Realtor/Buyer’s Agent will review that contract with you page-by-page and make sure you understand exactly what you are agreeing to. Your Realtor/buyer’s agent will get your questions answered.
5. Recommend Financing
The builder may suggest a preferred lender and may offer you a portion of your closing costs for using their lender. This sounds like a great deal on the surface but if the interest rate or closing costs are higher for this lender than what other mortgage companies are offering, the deal may not be the best option for you. Comparison shopping is always a good idea -- you shouldn’t feel pressured into using a particular lender.
6. Home Inspection Savvy
The builder will offer a walk-thru ‘New Home Orientation’ prior to closing. The builder’s rep will tell about the workings of the new systems in your home. During this meeting, you can point out any cosmetic deficiencies you see. You may have heard horror stories of buyers that have had major problems after closing and wish they had had their own home inspector. If you have any concerns about the construction or systems of the new home you are about to purchase, an independent home inspection can be worth its weight. Your Realtor/buyer’s agent can recommend highly-qualified, local home inspectors should the need arise.
7. Review of Warranties
Not all builder warranties are made equal. Builders usually provide a 2/10 warranty. It is important to understand the fine print of builder’s warranties and know exactly what is covered and what is not.
The builder’s sales staff are highly trained professionals but keep in mind, they represent the builder. They are a good resource for community information & amenities, where the shopping, hospitals and schools are located. BUT they do work for the builder and their job is to look out for the best interests of the builder. Isn’t it a good idea to have a Realtor/buyer’s agent on your team looking out for your best interests?
Linda and Craig Nowicke with RE/MAX ACR ELITE
The Inside Tampa Homes Team is certified in New Home Construction and have helped many buyers choose a reputable builder in the right neighborhood. They themselves have built 3 custom homes and LOVE guiding people with the builder selection and negotiations and are by your side from start to finish! It would a pleasure to help you navigate through the new construction process. Call us to get started!