Are you looking to buy a home in a new real estate development? In the metro Atlanta area there are seemingly dozens of new homes popping up on virtually every street corner so the time to take advantage of these new construction communities is now, right? There are probably some things you haven’t considered that come with living in a new development community versus living in an existing home in an established neighborhood. Before you take the plunge into working with a developer, do your research so you know the variables that come along with these communities.
We have put together a list of items to help you know what you ask about your new development home:
What is the timeline for completion?
It’s crucial to understand that the projected occupancy date for your property will not always line up with the actual occupancy date of your new home. New home developers usually start presales on properties one to two years in advance of completion. If there are hiccups, like construction delays, you might be looking at a longer timeline. A good rule of thumb is to ask for regular construction updates when you are six months out from your scheduled close date so you can plan accordingly.
How long will you cover the work and materials on this home?
Unlike buying a new car, a new home isn’t automatically covered by a manufacturer’s warranty for several years. Some developers or builders will cover their work from construction defects for a time but not all do. Be sure to know what type of builder you are working with -- Do they have a solid reputation for quality homes or do other homes owners have horror stories of costly repairs being needed once they moved in and the builder refusing to fix?
Are these the same finishes that will be in my home?
It is very easy to get swept up in the beauty of the model home but it is crucial to ask what finishes will be in your exact floor plan. Even if you think you will be getting the same cabinet faces, will they be the same size? What about the appliances – the model fridge has a water and ice dispenser, will yours? If your home isn’t the same size as the model home, chances are the footprint of the kitchen, bathroom, closets, etc. will be quite different so spacing becomes an issue and light fixtures, appliances, window size, and cabinet height can greatly vary. Don’t be afraid to ask for details regarding something you cannot see in person.
Can I review the rules for the community and/or property before I commit?
Similar to moving into a condo community, a new development is going to be part of a Homeowners Association or HOA. This organization makes and enforces rules for the community and the properties within its jurisdiction. Not only will you be required to pay dues to be a member of this association but things like the exterior of your home, height of your grass, color of your shutters, breed of your dog, and volume of your vehicle exhaust could all be regulated as part of the HOAs rules. It’s important to know what these rules are and if you are willing to live with them prior to reserving a home in a new development.
The purchase of a new home can be incredibly exciting and also incredibly stressful. The more research you can do prior to starting your home search will help you to alleviate many concerns that might arise further down the road. There are many “what ifs” when it comes to buying a new development property but if you ask the right questions, you can truly find your perfect home.