Building a home can be a very exciting and rewarding time. But it can also be a complete nightmare if you don’t plan correctly. Besides choosing the right builder, getting the home built at a price you can afford, and picking the perfect neighborhood, there are some often overlooked items that can cause you frustration if left ignored. These items are easy to fix, if you catch them BEFORE the house is built.
What direction will your home face on the lot? Whether you like the sun to shine down on you during the hot summer months through your back patio or you prefer the late afternoon shade, the direction your home will face has everything to do with how the sun hits your house. Most builders offer an option to upgrade to a covered back patio if its not already part of your plan, but this can be expensive. Either opt for a covered patio if you like the afternoon shade, or select a lot that caters to your needs.
Are there enough electrical outlets? Usually by code the builder is required to place electrical outlets every few feet apart. But have you specifically asked your builder how many outlets will be in each room, and are you going to be charged extra for cable and phone outlets? The laundry room is a common place to find that you have too few outlets, along with the garage, since code requirements may vary in these areas. Get a diagram from the builder’s electrician on where and how many outlets you are receiving.
Do you really need the upgraded carpet? As the saying goes, “Would you like fries with that?” Builders make extra money when you purchase upgrades. Try to be as cost effective as possible! It may seem like fun to pick them out, but remember that your options will also be financed over 30 years as a rule, and interest will accrue on top of the set price. It’s always better to pay cash for extra options, but remember too, you will need to make up for it when you sell. As far as the carpet goes, most carpet pads can be upgraded for less money than the carpet itself, and will make your carpet last longer.
Have you budgeted for additional items needed? Most builders don’t include blinds or curtains in new homes. Neither do they normally include refrigerators, washers or dryers. Many now include a built in microwave, but it’s important for you to budget for those items that are not a part of the deal. Other items to think about may be backyard landscaping, fencing, water softeners, ceiling fans, and fancy kitchen faucets and lighting.
Is there a home warranty included? Most builders offer a home warranty for the first year. But it is VERY important to get something in writing that specifies this. Many people regret not enforcing this simple requirement after they have moved in and the builder is no where to be found when the air conditioner stops working. Buyers can also purchase extra home warranties at closing, through a separate home warranty company or ask for the builder to purchase one for them. These extra warranties can cover years two through ten of your new home. 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty
Meribeth Phipps has been a real estate agent for the past 12 years. She specializes in new construction, seller financing, and fixer uppers.