For most people, buying a new home is one of the single-largest purchases they’ll make in a lifetime. But with so many choices available, how can a buyer feel confident in their selection? Choosing to do business with a reputable homebuilder is one way to gain peace of mind.
The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) counsels prospective homebuyers to shop for a builder as carefully as they shop for a home. The organization offers the following tips for guidance:
• Make a list of possible builders: After determining the type of house you want, contact the local homebuilders’ association or search the real estate section of the local newspaper for builders and projects. “Looking through the ads and reading the articles can help you learn which builders are active in your area, the types of homes they are building and the prices you can expect to pay,” according to NAHB experts. Make a list of the builders who build the type of home you’re looking for in your price range.
In addition, find a real estate agent who can help you in your search. Friends and family members may be able to recommend an agent who’s right for you. Ask the agent about their impressions of the builders with whom they’ve done business.
• Do your homework: After you’ve compiled a list of builders, start researching the quality of their work. Visit the builders’ recently constructed neighborhoods. Talk to sales agents and people who live in the communities. Remember to take a notebook with you to record the information you learn and your personal impressions about specific builders and homes. Doing so will allow for easier comparisons later.
At the very least, drive by the new-home neighborhoods to check out the homes’ curb appeal.
• Shop for quality and value: Touring the builders’ model homes will give you a feel for how the product might fit your needs and the needs of your family. Look at how the builder uses space. Evaluate the quality of the homes’ construction and inspect the types of finishes, such as cabinetry, carpeting and trim. Ask about home warranty coverage. Keep in mind, there are no dumb questions.
Buying a new home can be an exciting journey. Partnering with the right homebuilder can make the trip all the more enjoyable.
Andy Warren is President of Maracay Homes, the Arizona subsidiary of the Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona and Greater Phoenix Leadership; as well as the Board of Directors and as an Executive Committee member with the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. He is also an active member of the Urban Land Institute.