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New Construction Homes: Going At It Alone or With Representation?

Gina Wherry of RE/MAX Realty Group in Harleysville offers advice to potential and current homeowners in our area

Maybe you’ve noticed some newly constructed homes sprouting out of the ground in the Lansdale area over the last year and a half and more to be built are on the horizon.  One wonders if this is a sign of the real estate market making a full recovery? 

Well, according to the National Association of Home Builders, the number
of metropolitan areas experiencing signs of real estate improvement in
September rose from 80 to 99 metro areas.

The association feels that this is a slow but steady path of positive growth.   Our community is starting to see home builders increase their supply which may peak your interest in buying a newhome. 

New construction is attractive, but certainly not for everyone, and can be confusing when it comes to making an offer on a new home.  Should you go it alone or have a real estate agent other than the builder’s agents represent you?  Read on to see what’s right for you?

In case you didn’t know, the on site sales people of the new construction development represent the builder and the builder’s best interests.  If you are outcruising one afternoon and stop in to a new construction model home, you are asked to sign in and register with the builder. 

It's not a terrible way to go about buying a home, but if you have your
own agent, also called a “buyer’s agent or buyer broker,” to represent your best interests, you may find comfort in knowing that you have someone looking out for you. Why?  Because the new construction agreement of sale is written differently than standard agreement of sale contracts.

Most new construction contracts to purchase a home are written in favor of the builder. Having a buyer’s agent review the agreement for you not only gives you piece of mind, but it’s possible that some of the terms and conditions can be negotiated or changed to better suit your needs. 

For example, a buyer’s agent can structure the offer to include some upgrades or optional features that you’re looking to have as part of the offer price.  The builder generally refers to these items as incentives.  Depending on the builder’s supply and demand at the time of your offer, an agent representing you may be able to get you more of what you want in the home without going above your price point.    

The other popular question about new construction among home buyers is “Should I get a home inspection since it’s a brand new house?" Many agents are 50-50 on this one. It’s best to have this be an option in your contract from the very beginning in case you do want to do a full home inspection as it nears completion. It depends on how things have gone over the course of building the home: If the weather cooperated or not, if a number of materials were substituted, if you want to be sure the insulation was installed correctly in the attic. Items like these may make you lean toward doing an inspection. 

The cost of a home inspection varies with the size of the home, but generally will run about $500.  I recently had a client purchase a new construction home where an inspection was performed.  There were a few minor items that were
identified by the home inspector that needed attention, but overall it was a
very good report.

When we (my client and I) asked the builder to repair certain items, they not only did the ones on the list that we gave them they addressed every item in the report!  That is a sign of a good builder and a good relationship between all parties.

Re/Max Realty Group is located at 439 Main Street, Harleysville, PA 19438. 215-256-1200.

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