Making a big purchase can be completely exciting and excruciatingly stressful at the same time. Remember the last time you bought a car? The hours researching online, test driving it around the block, wheeling and dealing with the salesperson, and then filling out enough paperwork to kill a forest in the Amazon? Buying a home is a thousand times more intricate and it’s probably one of the biggest – if not THE biggest – investment you’ll ever make.
If you’re checking out new homes in the Sacramento area, don’t just drop in. Like a soldier embarking in battle or a new boyfriend about to get grilled by the girl’s family, go in prepared. What you don’t know CAN hurt you, so arm yourself with these questions:
Is there a wait list? – As I write this, inventory is low and demand is high. I visited new construction homes in February 2021 and some communities in Folsom had lists as long as 200 people!
Is the cost of the lot included? – When we were checking out various communities, the cost of the lot varied as much as the designs of the houses! Some had lot prices as low as $5,000 while premium lots would cost an astounding $130,000! These were NOT included in the price list, so ask ahead of time. You can also ask to see the map of the community and inquire about which lots cost more.
Which finishes are standard and which are upgrades? – Some builders are thoughtful and have little metal stick-on signs on high-end finishes that say “Decorator’s Finish Not Available” or they have a stand with a printout that explains which features are included and which are upgrades. Some don’t. Ask or check out their website. Each builder is unique in what they offer and even with the pricing of their materials.
How long will the building take? – Buying a home is like trying to get pregnant. It’s stressful, takes a long time, there may be scares along the way, but in the end you get to start on a huge new adventure in your life. Buying a new build home is a lot like that. You decide it’s finally time to make this huge purchase, then you wait. Then you pick out your tiles, carpet, fixtures, and countertops, and then you wait. Ask for a timeline to get an idea for when you should put your existing home on the market (if applicable), how to help your kids to transition to their new school, and time to get settled between work obligations.
What extra costs do I need to be aware of such as HOA fees and Mello-Roos? – If you’ve created a budget and your mortgage is just covered, then $100 – $300 in HOA fees and $300 in Mello-Roos taxes can put a huge financial burden on you.
Is there an HOA? – We talked about the fees, but maybe you want a blue house and the HOA only allows ten predetermined paint colors. Or perhaps your existing home has room for your recreational vehicle but the new HOA doesn’t allow it. That could cost you extra in storage.
Do you have to use the builder’s lender? In a recent interview I had with a mortgage broker, she said that nine times out of then, the builder is going to have the best deal because they’re selling the product and have a lot at stake. However, maybe you have an amazing connection with another lender or get special perks from them. You may want to research this before falling in love with a house.
Are you experiencing any delays? – Due to COVID-19 and a shortage of contractors, many new build homes are facing delays. In fact, my friend just told me last week that they can’t find a backdoor slider for her new home which is causing delays with completing the project. This may impact your timeline for the sale of your existing home, when you move, etc.
Whether you’re buying a new home or looking for a resale home, knowing the right questions to ask can save you a lot of grief in the long run. Contact the Rick Fuller Team today to find a great agent to help you on this journey. They know the questions to ask and they’ll put your best interests first. Choose the best; choose the Rick Fuller Team!