Think the home buying process is long and complicated, particularly when you’re building from scratch? It doesn’t have to be! A little effort ahead of time (along with some helpful insider tips & tricks) will go a long way in ensuring a smooth and stress-free transition to your new home. Use this list as a guide to get you started.
By getting pre-approved for a mortgage, you’ll have a strong idea of how much you’ll be able to budget for your new home. This is important because you don’t want to get halfway through the process only to find out that you won’t qualify for the cost of the home. Also, you may be able to borrow more than you thought, which will allow you to add those few extra features you didn’t think you could afford originally.
Have a Down Payment Ready
When you finalize your contract, you’ll need to have the down payment ready to go. Many new home buyers have cash saved up for the down payment, but when you already own a home, your money is often tied up in the existing home’s equity. HELOCs and other types of loans can help you get the money for the down payment, but you need to apply ahead of time if you don’t want to hold up the process.
Work With Preferred Lenders
Financing a new build is slightly different than getting a conventional mortgage, as the financing is often required in stages. Lenders who frequently work with new home builders are familiar with the process and can anticipate the next step before it happens. This means it’s usually advantageous to work with your home builder’s preferred lenders.
Insider Tip: While it’s still smart to shop around for the best mortgage rates, definitely keep your home builder’s preferred lenders at the top of your list.
Know Your Wants and Needs
While the prospect of making a lot of choices regarding your new home is exciting, it can also be overwhelming. It means choosing your floor plan all the way down to the most minute details such as deciding between two slightly different shades of wood for the floors and cabinetry. When you start the buying process with a strong idea of your style preferences, these choices will be a lot easier. Start keeping an ‘idea journal’ to help guide your way. Remember – if you change your mind in the middle of the build, it’s bound to take longer.
Building in a community that suits your lifestyle will ensure your happiness down the road. However, there’s more involved than just finding the right schools, the right commute time, and the right ‘feel.’ Each community has its own rules about the types of homes that can be built in the area. Some communities will only allow homes that have a particular look. Others might have restrictions on the type of landscaping in the front yard.
If you have particular preferences for your home, you’ll want to make sure the community you’re considering allows these things. Those who get in early in a new development typically have the most options, while those building on the last few lots will be more restricted in their choices. Talk to the builder about the community guidelines before you make a final decision.
Choose a Quality Builder
From start to finish, a new home build typically takes 9 -12 months. However, things go a lot smoother when you choose an experienced builder who’s been through the process. Check out the quality of the homes from a few different builders, inspect their show homes , and get feedback from their customers. If a builder has been around for many years, you’re likely to feel more confident your build will go as planned.
Insider Tip: Compare specification sheets to see what is being put into your new home. Not all specs are the same so make sure you compare like-for-like (sometimes this means asking what it would cost to upgrade to a similar quality).
Be Ready to Move Quickly
You’re not the only one looking for the perfect home. Other families may also be interested in the corner lot you want or the bright red siding. If you waver on your decision, you may lose out. If you’re choosing popular design elements for the interior, the supplier may run out of stock, which means the builder has to wait for another shipment, causing a delay in your home build timeline. Make quick decisions if you want your home finished as soon as possible.
You don’t need a lot of extra stress when you’re trying to build a new home. The sooner things get done, the sooner you’ll be able to move in! When you’re careful about working with your builder to help take care of all the little details, your build will go just the way you want it.