09 Nov 10 Tips to Improve Your New Home Buying Experience
Purchasing a new home can be such a rewarding process. However, there are clearly more considerations to purchasing a new home in comparison to a resale. Here are some helpful tips to assist you:
TIP #1 Standards vs. Upgrades
A typical new home purchase likely starts with a visit to the builders model home, which in most instances contains upgrades above the builders standard. A great first step is to ask for and review the builder’s standards. The understanding of these standards should include a review of the following points:
- Energy Efficiency standards (ENERGY STAR® windows does not mean the entire home is ENERGY STAR®). Insulation, shingles, sub-floor materials, exterior cladding (covering such as siding or brick) and more.
- A review of the standard flooring options available (you will want to preview these items)
- Kitchen and bathroom finish standards
- What extras are standard (fireplace, lighting fixtures and more)
- What are the builders typical upgrades for extras that you would like to see (i.e. hardwood, fireplace and more)
- Driveway requirements, some builders will pave the drive and others it is an obligation assumed by the homebuyer.
- Exterior Items to consider include window trim (it doesn’t have to be white), garage door style, shingle style and entrance door style. A garage represents a major part of your exterior, adding windows, upgraded handles or colour can add to your curb appeal.
- Flooring options, hardwood and tile enhance interior appeal and value. Also keep in mind there are many options for installation, staggered tile with thinner joints is one of many installation ideas.
- Thinking of adding future solar panels ask for the cost to have your home solar rough in ready.
- Custom paint colours will likely be an additional charge but do you really want to move in and paint your new home?
- Dry walling and electrical in your basement (just the perimeter walls makes a big difference).
- Hot Water on Demand rental system versus standard system (as one will need to be vented directly on an exterior wall discussing sooner than later will assist), note as well rental contracts may run for minimum term.
- Any ceiling fans planned have extra supports pre-built in where you need it.
- Recessed lights are a consideration for both inside and out of your new home (a nice touch is a few lights added to your exterior soffits to your homes exterior.
- Kitchens and baths are important elements to your new home so review design options (a visit to the kitchen suppliers showroom and meeting with a design consultant is highly recommended).
- Built-ins for flat screened TV and even digital picture frames in addition to overall review of the location of your pre-wires (think of your room layout…if you are going to place flat screen higher rough-in a conduit chase to hide wires.
- Windows and furniture placement, think about this large windows are great but if you really plan on placing a couch in front you may want them starting higher off floor.
TIP #3 How will your home sit on the lot. Each building lot has a predefined building envelope for which your home will need to fit. Ask to review the plot plan for your new home to better understand how your home will sit in relationship to the lot boundaries.
TIP #4 New home builder contracts specify that the cost of enrolment of the Home within the Tarion Warranty Program is an extra to the purchase price, in addition all new homes builders are required to incorporate Tarion Warranty clauses to the agreement of purchase and sale. Review and understand the implications of this schedule on your contract.
TIP #5 The Pre Delivery Inspection (PDI) is an onsite meeting with you and the builders representative (typically site supervisor) to review your new home in it’s completed state (seasonable items may still be outstanding). It is an opportunity to get to know your homes features and to list any damaged, incomplete or missing items outstanding. Like any real estate transaction putting things in writing is the best rule of thumb here.
TIP #6 Exterior Selections may be available for you to select and the best recommendation here is to preview not just a small sample board but to see actual homes that may have one or all of the selections you are selecting to better understand the look of the selection you are making.
TIP #7 Look beyond the home to the location and how it fits your lifestyle and future needs, from schools to parks, services, amenities and planned future development (that empty land adjacent may be a future shopping centre) and future traffic patterns. Where does the community rank to your needs.
TIP #8 Review builders practises as it applies to streetscapes and covenants that may exist in the are of your new home. Some builders will not build the same plan beside another plan, this approach benefits the entire streetscape.
TIP #9 Understand that lots are valued based on the front foot in addition to premiums for pie shaped lots and lots backing onto parks or green space. A premium may seem high but look into the impact of the premium on future resale value, the premium may be well worth the investment.
TIP #10 Last but by no means least look at the overall value of what is being offered from size of lot to home through to standards built in by comparing and reviewing your options.
Enjoy your new home!