It's no secret. The real estate market in the city of Austin is on fire. With the huge amount of choice in properties across the city, it's understandable that you could find yourself a little overwhelmed.
Do I want a trendy condo near the city center, a convenient townhome south of the Colorado River, or a larger home in one of the emerging suburban markets outside the big city.
Let's add another questions to that list – new construction or resale?
With so much development going on, contributing to Austin's ever-evolving skyline, the allure is irresistible. There's few things in this world better than stepping into a brand new, never been touched home for first time. Fresh paint. Brand New Appliances, and a distinct lack of baggage left over from past owners.
New homes certainly have an allure, but tread lightly. Here's everything you need to know before buying an Austin new construction home.
New Homes Won't Always Be Pristine & Perfect
Despite what the natural expectation is, every new construction won’t be 100% perfect upon delivery. Based on its newness alone, don't assume everything was completed to spec. When it comes time for the builder to hand over the keys, do your due diligence.
It may be worth it to have a building inspector do a walkthrough to ensure everything was completed correctly. You can even have a clause build into the contract that includes protections if you discover any shortcomings in the construction.
Do Your Research
This is salient point, no matter if you are buying a new home, resale, condo or recreational vehicle. It always pays to know what you're getting into before the purchase is made. This is especially true with a new construction, as you are making a very large investment on something that doesn't even exist yet.
A few things to keep in mind with new construction homes, they tend to be built closer together and generally lie within larger developments, away from the center of the city. Aside from those more general points, think about:
Are there HOA fees? What kinds of facilities/services are provided?
How much choice do you have? Paint color? Fixtures? Flooring?
Also, find out what you can about the developer. How do current owners feel about their homes and experience with the builder? If you are able to tour other communities by the same builder nearby, this could give you an indication of what to expect in a finished product.
Don't Be Afraid to Negotiate
As with any contract that hasn’t been signed, everything is negotiable. Many builders will have their own in-house mortgage lender or sales agent but there is nothing stopping you from gaining your own council. You can always get your own pre-approval from an outside lender before meeting with a builder's preferred lender. This way you’ll be prepared and in a better position to negotiate better terms.
This same open attitude follow to purchasing extras from the builder. Builders will often be reluctant to alter the purchase price substantially, as they don't want to be seen as giving special treatment, but they may offer discounted or comped products or services from the back end.
Figure out which upgrades and finishes are most important to you and your lifestyle. Also, be sure to price out each item. It may be cheaper for you to hold off and upgrade certain features yourself once construction is completed.
Get Everything in Writing
This one should be a no-brainer. Be sure to keep careful records of all dealing with builders and lenders; this includes all pre-approvals, contracts and warranties.
In the case of a dispute, it pays to have the proper documentation to back up your point of view. It's also well worth it know exactly what’s expected of you and what you expect from the builder before construction begins.
Warranties also come in all shapes, forms and time limitations. Builders will often use a third-party company to handle warranties and individual products will often carry their own warranties as well. The time period a warranty is valid also varies widely, so be sure to read the fine print carefully.