ENLIST YOUR OWN AGENT
For whatever reason, many new construction buyers accept the services of the developer's sales agent. Be aware of your state laws that regulate what a dual agent can and can't do. Bottom line - you should be represented by a real estate professional who is committed to you!
ESTABLISH COST WITHOUT UPGRADES
Model homes are typically filled to the max with every imaginable upgrade. Feel free to ask how much the model costs as you see it. Be aware - advertised starting prices will vary dramatically from the final upgraded price.
Pick the right developer. Working with a developer is like a short-term marriage. Ask for references from the developers sales agents. Do your own investigation of the developers previous projects, length in business and complaints filed with business bureaus.
Consider resale characteristics. The allure of being the first to occupy a home sometimes clouds a secondary location or poor craftsmanship. Consider a resale home in a primary location before signing on the line just because it's new construction.
REQUIRE A HOME INSPECTION
Never skip or waive the right to an inspection, the benefits far out weight the costs and could save you numerous headaches and expenses later. New construction is not immune from defects and lack-luster workmanship. Hire a professional, not Uncle Bert. Perform the inspection at least seven days prior to closing.
REQUEST COPIES OF BLUEPRINTS, FLOOR PLANS AND SURVEYS
It's easy to forget to get clean copies of blueprints and floor plans of your new home with all the activity and decisions during the construction process. In the future when you want to make changes or sell, having the footprint of your home will save you expense and time. Make sure the developer provides you with an updated survey, showing just your parcel. Verify that your new home has it's own parcel identification number issued by taxing authorities.
DEMAND FINAL WRITTEN PUNCH LISTS
Require a final walk-through at least three days before closing on your new construction home. Create a punch list of all uncompleted or unfinished items. Punch lists can also call attention to items that need additional attention.
DEVELOPER INCENTIVES CAN BE A SIGNAL OF SLOW SALES
Free condominium assessments, stainless steel appliances, and plasma TVs are typically added in a sale to induce buyers to write contracts for purchase. What many buyers think are extras are actually signals that a development is slow to sell from increased competition of a lack of buyers.
RISKS IN BUYING PRE-CONSTRUCTIONS
Pre-construction pricing will attract buyers focused on the bottom line. Entering into a project before it has started carries some risk. Verify that the developer has a proven track record of timely completion in the community.