A Guide to Buying a New Home: What You Need to Know
If you're considering a brand new home, there are a few things you should know. Let's walk through the process of buying a new-construction home, from start to finish, and discover some tips to make it a smooth experience.
Step 1: Determine your budget
Before diving into the homebuying process, it's essential to evaluate how much you can afford to spend. You can use our online home affordability calculator to get a rough idea of the price range you can afford.
Insider Tip: Did you know new homes have become more affordable than pre-existing homes in many areas?
Step 2: Get preapproved for a mortgage
To determine your buying power and convey it to the builders, it's a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process helps you understand the loan amount you qualify for based on your income and debt. When you apply for a mortgage with us, you can do this part online!
Step 3: Choose the right location
Consider factors like travel/commute times, proximity to family/friends, school district quality, access to nature and parks, community amenities, and more. Rank what matters most to you and let that guide your decision.
Step 4: Hire a real estate agent
While you can technically buy a new-construction home without representation, having a real estate agent can be immensely helpful. The on-site agent works for the builder, so having your own agent ensures you have someone looking out for your best interests. They can review contracts and negotiate on your behalf.
Step 5: Research home builders
Take the time to research different builders and read reviews to ensure they have a good reputation. Look at the floor plans they offer and consider their incentives, such as assistance with closing costs. Asking questions about HOA dues, amenities, warranties, and utility costs is also important.
Step 6: Decide on building or buying move-in ready
Consider whether you want to build a home from scratch or buy a move-in ready home. Building from scratch allows for more control over design decisions but takes longer, while move-in ready homes are already built or close to completion. Understand the differences and choose the option that suits your needs.
Step 7: Sign the builder contract
Once you've made your decision, it's time to sign a builder contract. Depending on the type of home you choose, the financing and deposit requirements may vary. Review the contract carefully, consult your real estate agent, and consider having a lawyer review it as well. We'll also clarify every detail with you regarding your home loan and the breakdown of your mortgage payment.
Step 8: Prepare for the move
If you're selling your current home, consult your real estate agent to determine the best time to put it on the market. Plan for potential interim housing if there's a gap between selling your current home and completing your new-construction home. Avoid making large purchases during this time to protect your credit.
Step 9: Inspect your new home
Even though your new-construction home comes with a warranty, it's essential to have it inspected before taking ownership. Municipal inspections are done throughout the construction process, but hiring your own home inspector provides an extra layer of assurance.
Remember, buying a new home is an exciting journey, but it's important to approach it with caution and careful planning. With patience and diligence, you'll soon be settling into your dream home, enjoying the benefits of a brand-new space that perfectly suits your needs.
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* Specific loan program availability and requirements may vary. Please get in touch with your mortgage advisor for more information.