Buying A New Construction Home: A Detailed Journey
Have you got your heart set on building a new home? Congratulations. It’s an exciting decision to make and the journey ahead is mostly a fun one. Of course, now, you’re probably trying to figure out a number of questions like:
“What is the process for buying a new construction home?”
“Is a new home a good investment?”
In this guide, we’ll walk you through what the Pulte home building process looks like so we can share some of our expertise and answer more specific questions around what it is like to buy a new construction home. While every home builder has a different approach, we will walk you through the similarities that might help you navigate the overall new construction home buying process.
Whether it’s your first home or the last one you plan on buying, there are tons of feelings involved in buying a new home, particularly when you have the option to customize your home design. That can make it tricky to sort out the differences between what you want and what you really need from a home. For that reason, a good first step in the new construction home buying process is to make a list.
Start by writing everything you want, without editing yourself. If you’ve dreamt it, put it down. Then have a conversation with yourself. Do you really want granite countertops, or did someone just say they were the best and so they got stuck in your mind? Hey, granite countertops can be pretty great. But also do your research if you aren’t sure about certain things. Having more information can help you feel like you’re making smart decisions instead of sacrifices just to save on new home construction costs. Cross out anything if you change your mind.
Next, circle all of the items on your list that feel are more like needs vs. wants. Needs are things that will make your everyday life easier. You might need a bathtub, for example, if you have younger children. But you might not need wood floors. Vinyl wood planks or engineered wood may not have the same panache, but they’re easier to clean, maintain, and replace, and provide a similar look and feel, and that’s something that could make your everyday life a lot easier.
With Pulte and many new home builders, you can these options and more in various communities. Sometimes these options will be included in the base cost of the home, but other times they may need to pay extra to upgrade items to match your list. You just need to decide for yourself which of your wants may be worth paying more for in new home construction costs.
Location makes a big difference when it comes to looking for a new home for sale. While a lot of this is decision is personal—how far is it from work, your family, or your children’s daycare- there are other things to consider about location, too, that are more universal. For example, is where you’re looking to move a good neighborhood? Will your property value go up over time?
And, outside of just the location of the home, you may also want to put some thought into the type of community you would like to live in. For example, at Pulte, a number of our new construction communities include amenities, like community pools or snack bars, while others may also have perks like tennis courts, clubhouses and playgrounds. While it’s not always possible to offer those things, these amenities can be a major perk for you and your family. Just remember, though, that amenities will have some impact on what you can expect to pay for your Homeowner Association Fees (HOA). It is up to you to determine if those perks are something you are willing to pay for, or, something you can live without.
While finding a good location is a core part of the new construction home buying process, the good news is when you work with national homebuilders like Pulte Homes, you are likely to find a new construction community near you that will fit all your location needs.
After you have determined your needs and community location, the next step in the new construction home buying process is to select the home itself. This includes finding the right floor plan for your needs and selecting a lot in the community of your choice.
When you work with home builders, you may not have unlimited options for floor plans but sometimes that’s a good thing. Rather than shifting through hundred of layouts, or trying to create one from scratch, it is often easier to lean on the innovative floor plans that have been professionally designed to optimize flow and give you a better living experience. At Pulte, we pride ourselves on offering popular floor plans that not only satisfy modern living, but also provide flexibility so they can meet more of your personalized needs.
Why flexibility? Because life happens and things change. Your home office one day, might be your home gym next year. When it’s time to pick out a floorplan in your new home building process, make sure you find one that’s flexible enough to fit your needs.
In addition to selecting a floor plan, now, is usually a good time in the new construction home buying process to select the lot for your new home. While it may not seem as vital of a decision as choosing a community, selecting a lot can impact how much you enjoy your home so be sure to take into consideration things like distance to amenities, lot size and more. Plus, because you may incur a lot premium, selecting a lot that fits your needs is important before heading into the next stage in the home buying process.
Now that you have a sense of your community, home and lot, the next big part of the new construction home buying process, or any home building process really, is going under contract. Going under contract with a new home builder usually means you agree to pay earnest money upfront that will allow the home builder to start the building process.
Earnest money is essentially the deposit on a new home. This deposit may be higher during the new construction home buying process because builders are taking a larger risk by building everything to your preferences. If you were to back out, another buyer could have different preferences. While earnest money may vary by builder and circumstance, a safe estimate is to set aside about 5-10% of the home’s costs. This earnest money will ultimately be used towards the financing of the home, but, in the interim, it is a necessary step that you must take before the builder will start on your home.
Now that you have selected your plan and lot and have shown your home builder that you are serious about building this new home, its time to start making selections.
For many, this part of the new construction home buying process is the most exciting. Leveraging your list from earlier and working with the home builder’s design team, you can start to go through and select the design options you want in your house. Whether its picking your favorite countertop, selecting the floors for your living room or choosing your shower tile, this is the part in which you can really start to bring the vision of your new home to life.
Constructing You New Home
Now that you have made the all the selections for your home, it is time to start building. While the home building process may vary depending on your location, the general process includes:
Building a Home Construction Steps
- Laying the foundation- this will serve as the base for your new home
- Constructing the frame- this is where rooms will start to take shape
- Adding in electrical, plumbing and other wiring
- Fits and finishes- this is what non-home builders usually think of within a home and would include items like your cabinets, trim, flooring and more
While all of this work is done by your construction team, many quality new home builders will walk you through the home building process with regular touchpoints along the way. At Pulte Homes, this process is known as the Build Quality Experience®, and is just one of the many ways we help to make buying a home easier.
Congratulations, you are finally in the end stretch of the new construction home buying process! During the construction phase, your loan officer will be working to coordinate your loan with the completion of you home. Once the loan on your new construction home is approved, an escrow or title agent will start working on sending you a formal notice of your closing date and time, which should coincide well with when you home is complete. This documentation will include a list of what you’ll need to have at close, including closing costs.
Now is a good time to do some due diligence and make sure you aren’t being overcharged on fees.
Assuming that the paperwork is all good, and your home is complete to your satisfaction, this is the part of the new construction home buying process where you get to “sign the dotted line” and take ownership of your brand new home.
So, to recap, the new construction home process looks something like this:
- Identify Wants vs Needs
- Determine the Perfect Location For You
- Choosing a Floor Plan and Lot
- Going Under Contract
- Designing Your Home
- Constructing Your New Home
- Closing Process
While the new construction home buying process can be a long journey, it is undoubtedly an exciting one. From asking yourself, “How much does it cost to build a house?” to establishing what the home building process will look like, there’s a lot to learn. But the end result is a new start to your future.
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