Even when you buy a newly-constructed home, avoid the common mistake of assuming everything works as designed. Like all products, there is no perfect house, even when the builder has checked off all items on the home’s “punch list.”
Things to Do
Since problems can arise, even with brand new houses, as a buyer, there are things to do and some to avoid when considering buying a house. Here are some important suggestions to do before making a formal written offer.
Commit to making a formal offer only after getting a “written” preapproval from a trusted lender.Unless you’re a seasoned veteran of the home buying and selling routines, you won’t know how much house (in dollars) you can afford with current mortgage lending standards and requirements. Getting a written preapproval from a reputable lender eliminates the common problem of making offers on homes you cannot afford, in the lender’s opinion.
Get and read your Good Faith Estimate (GFE) from your preferred lender to learn about extra fees and the true Annual Percentage Rate (APR).These documents are mandatory per the Federal Truth in Lending (TIL) regulations. GFEs must be offered to you within three (3) days of making a formal mortgage loan application.While these estimates include closing costs and fees or other charges, reputable lenders should be close, if not exact, because of their mortgage experience and calculations. You also will receive a “final” TIL and GFE, which will be exact, prior to closing the mortgage loan.
Don’t be shy or reluctant to negotiate sales terms.Don’t be afraid to “go for the gold.” Even if you hate being confrontational or the slightest bit disagreeable, this is an important multi-thousand-dollar purchase. Negotiations need not be hostile. Just be firm, since most seller negotiations typically favor the buyer.
Check out the builder’s industry reputation when you prefer a newly-constructed house.If the contractor has built other new homes in the neighborhood, ask your potential new neighbors what they would rate the quality of construction and the builder’s responsiveness to problem resolution. Otherwise, check the builder’s rating on an independent review website.
Get a home inspection (even on new construction) before you sign a binding Sales Agreement.Even new homes may have problems, depending on the quality of construction materials, sub-contractors used, and the builder’s attention to craftsmanship details. For instance, maybe the electrical and plumbing sub-contractors used inferior materials or rookie apprentices to install their systems. The $250 to $400 you spend for a home inspection is a bargain if they uncover serious problems that cost thousands of dollars to rectify.Never assume that all elements of a newly-constructed home work as they’re supposed to. You’ll be wrong many times until you actually live in the home for a while. For example, say you blow a circuit breaker every time you turn on your microwave oven. What might you spend to rewire the entire home? The answer: Big bucks. Even if you have a good builder’s warranty, you’ll go through the aggravation of electricians working around your home, making a mess in your new castle.
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