Congratulations! You have completed quite a few milestones and now the rubber meets the road. You and your realtor are getting down to it and it is time to make some serious decisions. Here are the steps that most new home buyers go through.
- Read the TIPS! section below.
- Select the home of your dreams and select the perfect home site.
- Pre-qualify for a mortgage.
- Complete a purchase agreement – this will secure your selected home site and lock in your base price. Your deposit is usually due at this time.
- Go through all of the available choices for the customization of your new home. Make selections from a listing of options. Many builders have design showrooms so you can see and touch all of your options. Watch out for the extra costs!
- After signing the purchase agreement, you will submit your application to get your mortgage approval – you should know the final cost of your build with all your design choices included. This may take about a month.
- New home showroom visits to look at other options (options that are included like fixture choices and flooring)
- Finalize all options.
- Pre-Construction meeting. In this meeting you will cover any changes that the builder will allow to the structure, like adding more outlets or ceiling fans. Construction begins.
How do you feel about heavy equipment warning you they are backing up in the morning? Don’t forget you may be moving into a construction zone. In the excitement of the moment you may forget that there are houses being built around you. Check out the way the area is being developed and ask where construction will be moving to when you move in.
Hire your own realtor. Yes, we have said it before, but it bears repeating. Hire your own realtor (remember the builder will pay for them).
Remember that the builder probably used all of the best (meaning highly upgraded) materials, lighting, finishes, room additions, etc. That model is there so you fall in love with the home. Just be sure you know what is an upgrade and what is not.
Ask what is included in the measurements of the square footage. Does the patio, garage and porch count toward overall square footage?
Remember to get your own inspection. First is the pre-delivery inspection, a mandatory walk-through for all new homes under warranty. This inspection takes place with your builder shortly before you officially take possession of your home. The second inspection should be scheduled for about one month before your home warranty expires. Hire a professional home inspector to do a second walkthrough before your warranty expires. This will allow your home to go through all four seasons, which should be enough time for defects to start showing up. Read your new home package, and get familiar with the maintenance you have to do to ensure your warranty remains valid. Imagine if you don’t change your furnace filters in accordance with instructions, and a claim regarding deficient heating is deemed to be invalid because of it.
You have done it! With guidance from your realtor, mortgage broker, the builder and design center, you have your new home. You have taken the time and care to be sure the experience goes as smoothly as possible. The first step in the actual building process is set to begin.
Usually the site preparation begins with a survey of the land and a review of construction blueprints. Then rocks, large roots and vegetation is cleared. This is usually minor in a new community build as some pre-preparation has already been done. The site is leveled and a wooden form that serves as the template for the foundation is laid. At this time holes and trenches are dug. Now, you have officially broken ground! The footings, which are the structures where your home interfaces with the earth, are installed. If you have a basement, it is dug now.
The footings are formed and poured and the foundation walls are formed and poured. The area between them is fitted with utility runs and leveled. Then the slab is poured. There will be no activity on your construction site after the concrete is poured. It needs time to cure. Once the concrete has had time to cure your construction crew will add a waterproofing membrane to the foundation. Next sewer and water taps, along with any plumbing that needs to go into the first floor and basement, is added. Then excavated dirt will be pushed into the hole around the foundation.
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