Buying a new construction home can seem intimidating, especially if you’ve not done this before. If you’ve wondered what happens after you have signed a contract to build a home, we’re here to answer those questions with insights from home builders in the greater Charleston market.
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So many choices, but community and location are top first choices
If you’re buying a to-be-built home, you must review locations and communities and make a choice. During this phase of home-buying activity, you will need to apply for a mortgage or pre-qualify for one. Once you know where you wish to live, you select your floor plan and review lots where the home can be placed.
Dan Ryan Builder’s website advises home buyers with respect to what happens after you choose your community and floor plan, “... it is time to design your home! Meet your Sales Consultant to go over all included features as well as additional choices you may want to add to your home ... It is the Sales Consultant's goal to educate you on what is available for you so you are making the most informed decisions. We desire to guide you, based on your budget and the needs of your household.”
Only after community and floor plan decisions are made do you sign a contract with the builder.
Design in mind
Most builders have buyers set a design center appointment after the contract signing. This appointment is to select and finalize the fixtures, finishes, and materials which will be used in your home. Design center appointments take several hours and each builder approaches the appointment in a similar manner. H&H Homes has set up their design centers to “streamline the selection process for you.” Dan Ryan Builders tell their buyers, “Depending on the stage of construction, you may be able to pick all your finishes for all surfaces and items such as cabinetry, faucets, etc. If your home is further along in the stage of construction, some of the items may have already been determined.”
Rely on your builder and sales consultant
Builders like H&H Homes have created a pamphlet to guide home buyers and keep them focused during the design process. Builder Ashton Woods has a detailed timeline of their construction process that breaks every step down into the component steps. Eastwood Homes has developed a 10 Step Process to Buying a New Home to inform their buyers.
What are the steps of the construction phase of a new home?
After choosing your various finishes and fixtures, your home enters the construction phase. During this period of home building, your builder:
- Obtains any and all necessary permits
- Takes care of site preparation
- Constructs the foundation
- Frames the house
- Adds mechanical systems like heating and electrical
- Finishes the exterior of the home
- Finishes the interior of the home
- Landscapes the home
At the start of construction, Eastwood Homes has buyers meet with their builder for what they term as a "Pre-Drywall" meeting. Eastwood’s builders “explain how the components of your home will work together, inside and out.”
Wait to be invited to the construction site
As a general rule, builders have various times you as the buyer, can visit the home during construction. Because construction sites can be dangerous, you will not be allowed to visit uninvited or unaccompanied. You will need to consult your builder to learn how and when you are invited to visit the construction site.
According to Jaymie Catalano Dimbath, VP of Sales and Marketing for Coastal Carolinas division of The PulteGroup, their home buyers are able to visit their home midway along during the construction phase. She told The Greater Charleston New Homes Guide, “Midway through construction, during the Build Quality Orientation, the buyer will meet with their Field Manager at their home to have a guided tour of their home-in-progress. The Field Manager will personally lead the buyer through the build and show off the structural integrity, mechanical elements, and expert craftsmanship of the home.”
What is a pre-closing walkthrough?
At the conclusion of the construction phase and before your closing, buyers will meet their builder and have a walk-through and familiarization session to learn how everything in their home operates. Usually, this is when buyers compose a pre-closing punch list of things which need to be attended to. Frequently on the day of closing, you will review (on site) the resolution of the punch list items.
Nothing left to do but enjoy
After closing, move into your new home and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from purchasing a brand-new home. Though you will want to be sure to care for your home as recommended by your builder. After closing your home enters the warranty phase. For insights on the warranty period, read our post on the topic.
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