The Ultimate Guide to Buying New Construction Homes


New homebuyers looking to move into a new area or upgrade their living situation face the question of whether to focus on a new home site or look at more established homes. It's an important factor that buyers need to decide early on in their search, which is why we've developed a guide with everything you should know about how to buy a new construction home.

Should You Buy a New Construction Home?

One of the oldest sayings about shopping for a home is "location, location, location." Location is king when deciding which home to buy, from proximity to work to what school your children will be attending. But a new-build home offers an alternative: Picking out a residential location that's only recently come into being, like a new neighborhood with new options. This can be an ideal solution in growing areas since new home developments are on the rise and buyers have a number of new locations to look at – locations that may fit their plans or budgets better than existing areas.

But buying new construction also includes different risks from buying an existing home, so it's important to understand that your research will also need to adapt to this possibility. Let's take a closer look at what to do.

Tips for Buying New Construction Homes

Focus on the builder's history and reputation.

Not all new home developments are made equal – don't just search "new construction homes near me" and pick an area at random! Builders can vary greatly in quality, which contractors they hire and other important factors. When looking at a home or lot under construction, always check who is building those homes and their history of work. Many builders will also have other finished developments in the area you can drive through to check out their work. If hiring a builder, ask for references first.

Start meeting with lenders for a mortgage.

You cannot start this process too early, especially if you want to purchase one of the best homes in the new development. Arranging a loan can take months even if everything goes smoothly. Fortunately, most lenders will offer pre-approval and other options to lock in good interest rates for a period and make it easier to move quickly on purchase.

You should still look for a realtor.

Realtors can still play an important role in helping you find the right home, setting up meetings with the builder or owner and helping prepare all documentation. Builders will also have realtors working for them to represent their developments. Finding a lender of your own can also be a good idea.

Some negotiation is still involved.

When purchasing a privately-owned home, there may be plenty of back-and-forth for negotiations and counteroffers. Builders tend to be less flexible when it comes to the actual amount they are asking for the home, but there are also additional negotiation options, including future upgrades as they build the house. Always get everything in a contract when negotiating.

Know that the model home will be different than your home.

The model home is usually an early version of the homes in the neighborhood that's quickly constructed up first so that potential buyers know what it will look like. But the model home is not an exact representation of every home in the development, so use the floor plans or ask your realtor to draw up what your specific home will look like. At Lancia Homes, you’ll be able to use our virtual design studio to see in 3D what your home would look like.

You should still use a home inspector.

Just because a home is new doesn't mean you shouldn't arrange for a thorough home inspection before finalizing the purchase. This isn’t necessarily because a builder may have made mistakes, but because of other concerns like radon.

Benefits of Buying or Building a New Home

It's reasonable for buyers to want to learn all the pros and cons of buying a new construction house. Some buyers are interested in buying a "fixer-upper" and investing more in renovation or have their eyes on an established neighborhood with certain amenities. That's a valid choice, too – but here are the top reasons we think homebuyers should consider new construction as well.

1. New homes have the latest tech and equipment.

New construction is much more likely to include the latest smart security and safety technology. They will also have the latest and most efficient HVAC units, which makes it easier to save money on energy bills.

2. There are more choices for neighborhood location.

If you act quickly, you can have a range of home lots to choose from in a new development. This makes it easier to pick a lot with better views, or one that's closer to the entrance to the development, for instance.

3. There are fewer issues with wear or maintenance to worry about.

A new home won't have as much existing maintenance that needs to be done upon moving in. This maintenance could include aesthetic changes, such as worn paint or carpet that needs to be replaced, or more severe changes, such as a broken furnaced, surprise electrical issue or a half-finished renovation project. Long-term issues like rot or pest infestations also aren't an issue in newly built homes.

4. Custom home construction allows for more personalization.

For the average development, a certain amount of extra customization is available since lots are still open or in the middle of construction. Buyers may be able to upgrade materials and fixtures or arrange for certain expansions. There are still limitations as options can vary based on the builder, but you will usually have far more choices than with an established home.

5. You’ll have more warranty options.

High-quality builders will provide warranties to cover their work in case something goes wrong or does not match the contract.

6. There’s more time to plan moving and arrange employment.

New construction takes time, and that can be an advantage. Those relocating to the area may appreciate the extra months to make plans, find a job, and move all their belongings.

Those considering buying a new construction home in Fort Wayne, IN, should connect with us to talk about the pros and cons as well as whether customization is the right option for them!