Considering New Construction in SW Florida? 10 Top Tips
New Construction or resale? You may find yourself asking this question when considering your next home purchase. New Construction in Southwest Florida seems to be all the rage lately and we can definitely understand why as the cost of New Construction is very comparable to resale properties at this time. However, when considering purchasing a New Construction property don’t be fooled into thinking you have nothing to worry about as there are a still many things to consider!
Consider Using A REALTOR
Did you know that the seller typically pays the commission in Southwest Florida? Meaning, it costs you, the buyer, NOTHING to have an agent offer you full representation in this exciting time! You have the ability to have an extra set of eyes, ears and a fully licensed agents expertise on the Community, the Product, the Builder, their Contract, the chosen Financing Terms and the overall Closing Process. Not to mention the best part, allow your agent to put their expertise in negotiating to the test and negotiate on your behalf!
It is EASY to get emotionally involved and divulge too much. Your agent can be your buffer to getting you a better price, site lot, potential upgrades and other incentives.
Don’t forget to – Protect Your REALTOR! In order for your agent to get compensated they have to register you at each community and in many cases be present with you on your first visit. If it is spur of the moment and you go into a sales center, be sure you fully disclose that you have an agent and want their representation! In the instance you are requested to fill out anything, be sure to write your REALTORS info on the form and get a copy.
Research The Builder
Do your research on the builder! Do you know there are more than 26 builders in Fort Myers alone? Ask your REALTOR what they know pertaining to this builder, check out easily accessible sources like BBB (Better Business Bureau), inquire with their past clients, read news articles and of course, there is always the good old Googler!
You may want to find out how long they have been in business, any past issues, do they honor their home warranties, etc. Be sure to go to established communities they have developed and look around. Do the structures look in tact? Stress cracks? Ask owners in those communities as well how their experience with the builder was. Any issues? Did they fix things in a timely manner?
Find out exactly what it covers. Keep in mind, you may be able to negotiate a more superior warranty as well as extending it additional years. Try to get anything in writing to review all details of it before making your final decision and writing a contract.
Research the Community / Area
Visit the area at all different times day and night. Talk to neighbors and get their opinions on the builder, the community and its location. Most people will be happy to share. Especially if they are excited about living there. What amenities are they providing? Pool, Gym, Home Automation, Clubhouse? What does the HOA fees cover? What are you as the Homeowner responsible for? Is there a CDD? What are the estimated taxes?
Ask About ‘Standard’ Finishes
Be sure to find out what is ‘standard’ for all of the finished work such as; flooring, counter tops, light fixtures, etc. This is good to know going into things especially if you are shopping multiple developments / builders. Keep good notes.
Choose Your Lot Site and Floor Plan Wisely
Remember, you can always change the home, but not the location. Consider this to be the main contributing factor over “upgrades.” You can always add or upgrade your cabinets or tile flooring in the future. However, you cannot change your location. Adding on sq. footage / alternating your floor plan can be very costly.
Review Your Contract and Docs
Traditionally the developers (Sellers) have their own contract and will only use their contracts. In most times, the larger national developers will not allow any modifications to the contracts either. However, it doesn’t prevent you, your REALTOR and your Attorney to review the contract in detail.
If this is in an HOA you will want to review the Homeowners Association Documents as well. A few we often encounter may be pet regulations of 30 pounds or less, limited to 1 animal, no commercial vehicles, rental restrictions and many more.
Most developers have “in-house” financing. Keep in mind those developers in many cases will get kickbacks (monetary incentives). This may or may not work in your favor. Be sure to shop around to multiple banks and mortgage brokers to find out what they offer for construction to perm / construction loans. Also ask their in-house lender if they have any financial incentive to use them. If required to use their lender, often times we have been able to use your lender and have their lender meet or beat their terms!
Hire Your Own Home Inspector
Once the property has been CO’d (Certificate of Occupancy) be sure to have your own home inspector go through the home to ensure everything is in working order as well as the creation of a punch out list. This should be completed prior to closing and ensure enough time so the builder can repair / punch out all items prior to close.
Go On Your Hunch
If something doesn’t feel right, take a step back. Leave. Sleep on it. Talk with your REALTOR away from the Sales Representative. Have an open dialogue with your REALTOR and have them address your concerns. Again, a good REALTOR can be the saving grace in getting a better deal or walking away from a potential disaster. Do not rush to make a decision.
When you are ready to proceed with searching for your New Construction homes in Southwest Florida do not forget to reach out as we would like the opportunity to interview and talk details on exactly how else we can assist with your home purchase at no cost. Our direct line is 239-425-5671
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