Cathryn Marino

2015 is going to be an exciting year for home buyers. Builders are back and the West Valley is once again breaking ground! According to Homebuilders Marketing, Inc., an independent firm that collects data and analyzes the housing market, new home sales in the Phoenix area are on the upswing with positive growth expected over the next 5 years. Over 40% of these new homes are being built in the West Valley (within Maricopa and Pinal Counties).

What does this mean to you? It means you have lots of choices. It means builders are competing for your business and are offering free or reduced upgrades and incentives to get you in their door and to sign on the dotted line.

If you are seriously thinking about buying a brand new home this year, here are a few things to keep in mind so you can feel good about your purchase and none of the buyer’s remorse that I hear about far too often.  Keep in mind that this is first in a series of articles that will go into more detail about each of the points below.

  1. Do your homework. All builders are not created equal – and there are dozens to choose from. Some things you will want to research include: Reputation, professionalism, business practices, are they local/regional/national, liability, quality of work, experience, commitment and specialization.
  2. Location, location, location. Yep, you’ve heard it before, and that’s because it is perhaps the number 1 factor buyers consider when purchasing a home. You will want to ask the builder several questions and really study the community and lots available before you pay your deposit.
  3. Think resale value. It is easy to get carried away with upgrades to a point where you price yourself out of the market before you ever move in. Even if you plan to make this your “forever home”, it is wise to select options and upgrades that add to the home’s value, not just your personal tastes.
  4. Energy Efficiency. Most municipality building codes today require energy-efficiency features in new homes. The extent to which builders implement energy saving features is another story. Some builders go the extra mile while others adhere to any minimum requirements. You should know the differences.
  5. Builder Warranty. Most (if not all) builders offer some kind of home warranty. A typical 1/2/10 warranty covers materials and workmanship for one year, systems like plumbing and HVAC for two years, and major structural defects for up to 10 years. Of course, there are items not covered under these warranties, and it is up to you to ask the right questions.
  6. Builder Agents. Builder agents work for the builder. They do not work for you. You owe it to yourself to have representation when buying a new home. A good agent will be able to guide you through the new home buying process with your best interests in mind (not the builder’s). In fact, you increase your negotiating power exponentially – just by bringing an experienced agent with you when you visit new communities. And the best part is, it costs you nothing.

Remember, all builders are different, including their contracts, lenders, subcontractors, inspection guidelines, quality of materials and more. You deserve to make an informed decision when buying a new home – which is not the same as buying a resale home. Stay tuned for more on this topic…

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