Building a New Construction Home – A Buyer’s Perspective

    When we started our home search early this year, we began the process by looking at preowned homes…a lot of preowned homes!  We found quite a few homes that WOULD work, but nothing that we fell in love with in the preowned market at the time.  We decided to expand our horizons and started visiting new construction communities in our desired locations.

    Our search area included Coppell, Flower Mound and Lantana, each offering unique features and amenities which we carefully considered when making our ultimate purchasing decision.

    We were currently living in Coppell and loved the centralized location in the DFW Metroplex.  We were comfortable with the tax rate of 2.8% because we know how much the city does for the community and we always participated in those events.  Ultimately, the lot sizes in Coppell were too small for what we wanted which is what ended pushing us further north.

    Flower Mound offered quite a few new construction opportunities and we were really interested in the Lakeside development specifically.  It’s a beautiful community with unsurpassed convenience to Grapevine Lake and the DFW International Airport.  Multiple positives placed Lakeside in a firm position toward the top of our list.

    Then we drove a tad further north to Lantana and found our dream floor plan built by one of the most highly regarded builders in the Metroplex, Highland Homes.  In addition, we were able to select a stunning greenbelt lot and it was here that we found our forever home.  We quickly came to an agreement with Highland Homes and started our journey in building new construction.

    Since I’ve been in real estate for over a decade and worked hand-in-hand with many clients and builders, I was confident I knew what to expect.  I was excited to learn a lot throughout this process and know that this first-hand knowledge will only help us provide an even higher level of service to our clients going forward.

    Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

    How naive we were to think selecting the city was the hard part!  The decisions you are about to make when starting the process of building your home can quickly become overwhelming.  Luckily, Highland Homes walked us thru step-by-step and made the process as simple as possible for us.

    Our first decision was selecting the brick and stone for the home’s exterior.  It’s interesting, when you are purchasing a preowned home, the brick doesn’t matter as much.  As long as it’s aesthetically pleasing, you quickly look past the brick and look at the interior features and floor plan of a prospective home.  Rarely will a homebuyer rule out a preowned home because of the color of the brick.  When given a plethora of choices, it took us hours to select our favorite brick and stone combination.  We decided on Hickory Trail (Hanson Brick) & Desert Brown Blend for the stone.  I think the hours of deliberation paid off, we love the finished product!

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    Our next stop was the Highland Homes design center.  Before our design center appointment, we took a weekend and drove around to almost every Highland Home model in the Metroplex to get ideas.  This gave us a general understanding of the materials available, what we were drawn to, and most importantly, what we couldn’t stand!  I recommend you take pictures and keep notes, however, understand that what you see in one house may not still be available, so keep your options open.

    bathWe fell in love with an accent for the master bathroom and I’m not sure we would have chosen it if we had just seen a small sample.

     

    Think with The End in Mind

    When building a home, your plumbing goes in prior to your foundation.  So if you want something extra that requires plumbing, add it early!  For example, we wanted to add an under counter ice maker and the model we wanted requires plumbed water and a drain.  We didn’t think about it until after the foundation was poured and as a result we are not getting a separate ice maker.  I’m assuming we could still have it installed but my desire to have Sonic-style ice at home simply isn’t strong enough for me to stomach the idea of ripping a hole in our foundation!

    What Drives You Crazy About Your Current Home?

    In your current home, what would you change?  For example, where do you wish you had outlets?  You can typically add an outlet after you move-in fairly inexpensively but you can save approximately 40% by adding them during the building process.  Think about closets, hallways, bathrooms and other places you would really like to have access to an outlet.  Add them now, and avoid the headache later.

    You Can See Through Walls

    Photograph the walls after electrical and plumbing are done but before insulation and sheetrock.  You likely won’t need the photos immediately but if you ever want to do major remodeling work or minor electrical changes, it will be easier if you can review what’s insides the walls.  It’s also a great idea to note the major items you want to avoid when hanging shelves or other decorations to avoid puncturing them when you move in – like the natural gas line!

    It Takes Time…Lots of Time

    Building a home from the ground up takes time.  What I didn’t realize, was just how much of our time it would take between the hours of 8-5, Monday through Friday.  I signed my original contract over the weekend, but everything else was during business hours.  First design center appointment, final design center appointment, preconstruction meeting, pre-drywall meeting, granite selection, first walk-thru, final walk-thru and closing all took place during regular business hours.

    Don’t Delay the Process

    winerackIf you are anxious to move-in as quickly as possible, make sure that YOU aren’t the delay.  Get your paperwork, selections and answers back to your representative in a timely manner.  By no means rush, but do ask the builder for a deadline.  I often asked, if I do this will it delay the process?  Then it was up to me how much I cared about that particular issue.  For example, I didn’t like the wine rack we originally chose so I asked if I could pay to have it rebuilt.  First I wanted to understand if doing so would delay our move-in date.  Luckily it didn’t and we ended up with a wine rack that we love!

    Everything Can Be Fixed

    Things go wrong during the construction process, stay calm.  Windows will break, there will be holes in your walls.  It’s okay, when the builder turns the keys over to you, the house will be in great condition.

     

    Inspection

    We always recommend our clients hire a 3rd party home inspector.  Many people don’t think this is necessary since the home is brand new.  However, every new construction inspection we’ve ever had completed always finds something.  There are multiple trades working on building your home and it’s important that there’s a final check to ensure every trade completed their task properly, and up to code.

     

    Mission Impossible

    Builders are tasked with the impossible, building a perfect home.  When you are buying a preowned home, you understand the house won’t be perfect.  In fact, we talk our clients through this all the time.  However, when you are buying a new construction home, you are still buying a man-made product and we all know nothing is perfect.  However, builders do their very best to make sure you are overjoyed with your purchase.  The final walk-thru, often called the blue tape walk-thru is the opportunity you have to mark items in the house that are not done to your liking.  For example, a scratch in the sheetrock.  Take your time and look at each room carefully but don’t drive yourself crazy.  You don’t typically look at your walls under the same microscope you’re using during the walk-thru.  Trust me, you could walk thru a house with blue tape until you are blue in the face and still find tiny imperfections.

     

    Protect Your Family

    It’s critical you have a trusted advocate for you during the building process.  Enlisting the guidance of a knowledgeable Realtor® is highly recommended.  It is important to remember, the onsite builder’s rep at a model home works for the builder.  Their job is to protect the company’s best interest.  Our job is to protect yours.  Plus, our services don’t cost you anything, the builder pays our fee out of their marketing budget…not the price of your new home.

    It is our job to help you find the perfect community, the right builder, your ideal floor plan, on the right lot and the best possible price for your family.  We are constantly researching all of the new construction communities so we understand what’s available and often times know about unadvertised discounts.

    We negotiate the best terms for our client, provide guidance on selecting the best floor plan and lot for resale and most importantly, we are your advocate during the entire building process.  We’ve sold over 66 new construction homes this year which means we are intimately familiar with the process and the builders want to ensure our clients love their new home so we continue to bring buyers to their communities.  This is a great advantage to you.

    To ensure your family is represented by the best real estate team in DFW according to The Wall Street Journal (SEE IT HERE), call us today at 972-899-5600 or sign up with the form below!

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