What should you know when you buy a new build?

Emily HurleyJuly 29, 2014
Have you bought a brand new build before? What are some things someone should know or consider before they buy that brand new house? What did you wish you knew?

Share your experience! (photos encouraged)

Cycle House · More Info
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PRO
Dawson & Clinton
One thing I'd recommend is to make it your own. Especially if you're going to be living in it for a long time don't be afraid of bringing out the paint and doing some work to give it your personal touch.
    Bookmark   July 29, 2014 at 3:04PM
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PRO
Mark Bischak, Architect
You should know that sometimes things do not go as they were planned.
    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 11:33AM
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wisneb
We bought a spec home; the builder insisted on doing the landscaping on the 1-1/2 acre. Total disaster. Weeds, poison ivy! We had to get a lawyer to get it rectified. The real estate agent should have specified the manner in which the job had to be done (specify how much topsoil, screened, etc.). Live and learn.
3 Likes    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 1:51PM
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libradesigneye
Most new builds don't come with: irrigation, landscape, drapery, drapery hardware, toilet accessories (towel bars, tp holders). There are considerable costs that you will still need to address. If you build custom, or even semi-custom, or even are thinking about building, keep a contingency equal to 20% of your budget until permits are drawn and your foundation is in, then, drop it to 10%. Do not sign up for a new build at full budget.
3 Likes    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:03PM
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krf9
In relation to above, my builder did include toilet accessories, but did not include anything else listed.

One thing that I'd check in on is how long to expect (after occupancy) things like sidewalks, driveways, light posts (new community) to take. For example, we moved in May 29th, first house on the block, and they just poured our sidewalks today. We will not have a garage pad poured for at least another week, probably longer. We did recevieve a landscaping credit, however we were warned that we should not soft scape until after the winter, as the ground can shift and become uneven. The builder will then apply more dirt to even it out back to proper grade, however I did not know this, and was expecting to start landscaping right away.

A few things are also DRASTICALLY more expensive through a builder, which can be done later for cheaper, but if done with the builder you can roll it into your mortgage. For example, our builder was going to charge 25k for a double detached garage. Other companies quoted me 12k. Central Air (a luxury where I live as it is not needed very often) was 6k through a builder, 2-3k through local companies. Do some research into the 'add ons' that you are looking for, and if you have the out of pocket cash, I'd rather do that personally.
3 Likes    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:28PM
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jonysc
whew...I'm changing my mind about a new build.
    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 5:41PM
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PRO
Schoolhouse Renovation Inc
I think that a new build can be awesome or a nightmare depending on the builder. Check their reputation thoroughly. Make sure you have a warranty. If you know nothing about construction you can hire your own building inspector/engineer to do a thou rough inspection. If you get to view the project before it has been closed in you can see if there are nailers were you plan to hang fixtures, pictures, lighting, etc. you can also make sure that electrical outlets are where you need them. If your first in a development you shouldn't be paying a premium for the property because you will be putting up with the aggravation of new construction for quite awhile.
5 Likes    Bookmark   August 8, 2014 at 6:31PM
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deb_berman
As I am waiting anxiously for my dream home to be finished.... We are perpetually 3weeks away from the end, make sure your contract states WHO WILL PAY FOR YOUR HOUSE RENTAL and building insurance if the new house is NOT ready on time. Make sure that you really like and trust the builder in the beginning, because by the end, you will find certain things that give you cause to be upset. We are moving in at the end of the month, and I still do not have a single toilet installed! (of the several planned!)
4 Likes    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 4:44AM
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jonysc
TY
    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 8:52AM
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Debi Murphy_Ernser
The one thing we saved money on, was having our builder pour the hardscape pad for the outdoor ramada that eventually will be built when they poured our driveway etc., it was about a 1/3 of the cost if we waited until later. Make sure if it is winter when you move you find a way to get the A/C to run to ensure it is functional and vice versa, if summer, force the heat on, to ensure that it works. We learned the hard way. ;(
1 Like    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:27AM
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jn3344
I am living in a spec home we purchased 17 years ago. The good part about buying a completed new build is that you get what you get, and you know how much it is going to cost!

As others have said, don't underestimate the cost of window treatments, irrigation, etc.

I would say the only two drawbacks we experienced were:

1. AC unit was too small, and not the most efficient. We replaced it after 7 years.

2. Window treatments cost a lot of money!

Also, know your prices. Everything looked bright and shiny and new. After living in a 100 year old house this was appealing. But some of the hardware and fixtures were pretty cheap and we ended up replacing them pretty soon after moving in.

I would absolutely buy a new build again. I am building a custom home and it is taking way too long, and way too much money. First and last time to be sure.
1 Like    Bookmark   August 9, 2014 at 10:39AM
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