There are so many new developments in a range of price points cropping up in and around Boca Raton like The Bridges/ 7 Bridges, Tuscany, Boca Reserve, Canyon Trails and Azura, just to name a few – it can get a little overwhelming!
And I’ll tell ya – these developers know their business.
The houses are just. so. pretty! In fact, if you’re considering a new construction community, chances are, you’re already sold. Like a moth to a flame – shiny new homes with shiny new appliances are awfully appealing, aren’t they?
From buying my OWN home from a developer to helping clients and friends – here are the most important things I’ve learned when buying new construction.
Assess what you really need
Yes, 6 bedrooms + a media room + 3 car garage + a guest suite can seem AMAZING, but keep in mind that drives up the base price of the home (um, and who is going to CLEAN all those rooms – am I right, ladies?).
Unless you’re the Duggar family and really need all that space, assess the floor plans rather than the square footage. Are all of the bedrooms on the same level? Can you see the kids from the kitchen? A good flow will make your home that much more enjoyable.
Budget for upgrades
As you walk through the model homes, everything is pristine. It’s perfect, it’s ‘when-can-I-move-in-ready’. Keep in mind that these are professionally-decorated models showcasing the best of what the developer has to offer. Some of the things you’ll see won’t be included in the price of the home. This even includes the lot. Prime lots like Cul-du-sac or waterfront in a development can sometimes add $10,000, $20,000 or $30,000 to a list price.
Realtor Tip: ALWAYS go for location. I say this at least once a day “The only thing you cannot change about a house is its location.” Come resale time, someone may not want to pay extra for those wide-plank hardwood floors that you would have sold your firstborn to have, but you can bet you’ll recoup your investment on a prime lot.
Don’t hate – negotiate!
Some aspects of a home are much easier to add or modify while it is under construction rather than after you’ve already moved in.
What if you don’t like the developer’s countertop choices? Or hardwood flooring choices? It’s not always possible, but one benefit of working with a Realtor is helping you identify where there’s flexibility from the developer. Oftentimes, Realtors will have a rapport with the developers’ agents and be able to effectively negotiate on your behalf.
Timing is everything
Bear in mind that you’re buying something that isn’t built yet. If you’re expecting a baby, or moving from out-of-state, be sure to factor that into your approximations. (We know about this one – Our daughter Edison was born just a week after we closed on our new-construction home!)
HOWEVER, if you’re not particularly choosy on finishes or floor plan, it may be possible to snag a completed home whose sale fell through (or a model home if the development is sold out).
In addition to the above, here are some questions you should ask when shopping for a new-construction home.
What is the deposit schedule?
Developers typically require a deposit to secure your ‘spot’. Additional draws may be required depending on your upgrades (which are usually paid out of pocket). A sample deposit schedule could look like 10% at contract signing/ 10% at groundbreaking and the balance at closing.
What comes standard and what features are upgrades?
Your agent can help you get a list of standard features and, if available, a list of common upgrades and their associated costs.
What kind of warranty is there with the property?
In this situation, you’re often buying a home that is not completed. What guarantees do you have the home will be ready on time? Your purchase agreement documents should specify a completion date. However, many builders add provisions that make the completion date dependent on permit approvals from the municipality or availability of building materials from suppliers. There can also be additional charges if you’re unable to close on time if your lender isn’t ready.
Hope these tips are helpful on your journey if you’re planning to purchase new construction! Comment below if you have any questions!
Margaret Schaffer, The Modern Boca Real Estate Mom, is a REALTOR® living, working and raising two little ones in beautiful Boca Raton, FL!
Margaret is the Boca Raton/ Highland Beach specialist on The Samantha DeBianchi Team (as seen on Million Dollar Listing Miami)! For all your real estate needs- contact me at Margaret@DeBianchiRealEstate.com.
Margaret Schaffer- DeBianchi Real Estate – www.DeBianchiRealEstate.com.