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What You Need to Know About Buying New Construction

By Sharon Paxson | April 12, 2019

New construction is appealing for many reasons. Two of which are undoubtedly the fact that the house is absolutely brand new and that you can customize as necessary to create a home of your dreams. Nonetheless buying new construction can be challenging, however, you will find some pointers to guide you through the new construction process.

Hire a Reputable Builder

You can do your research right by searching about different builders online. Be sure to check out the history and other projects the builder has completed. Search for any reviews, and if there have been significant delays with construction, then there will most likely be negative reviews and complaints. Be sure to ask the builder questions and talk to neighbors who have moved in the first phase and find out their feedback and experience. 

Building Specialty

Other information you will need to determine is what style of homes are built in the development. If you are searching for a luxury home, then search for builders who specialize in building luxury homes. Visit the models, look to see what kind of appliances are utilized. Look at the finish in the property to determine the skill level. If you are searching for a more affordable home, then be sure to search within your price point.

Are There Incentives? 

It’s often the case that new home builders will offer special financing discounts to appeal to buyers to utilize their lender and title company. Financial perks of new constructions might include but are not limited to, relatively lower interest rates and free extended rate locks to cushion against real estate inflation.

Separate the Nice-to-Have from the Must-Have

The general scope of the home will include a list of the standard features.  However, also be sure to inquire about what’s not on this list otherwise known as the upgrades. Aside from a spec sheet encompassing the necessities also remember to ask for an upgrade list entailing what can be upgraded and at what cost as well.

Remember that when you are touring a brand new model home, it will have every single upgrade in the home. Upgrades can include custom kitchen cabinets, countertops, hardwood flooring, installed security system, tankless hot water heater.  Evaluate the cost of these upgrades and if you want to include those in the initial price of the home. Sometimes, it can be done later for less. 

Can Changes be Made After Construction has Begun?

Generally speaking, you make all the decisions in the beginning and a contract is written up with all the specifications. Should a buyer decide that they want certain upgrades such as hardwood floors in lieu of carpeting, ideally a builder will make the accommodation. Not all builders will allow upgrades, and be sure to ask up front if changes can be made once construction has started.

What is the Specification of a Warranty

Much like many other important purchases, a new home will come with a warranty although that is not always the case. This policy normally covers essential features such as roofing, drywall, electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems so you’d want to make sure all of these are under the warranty. You should ask about the duration of the warranty and specifically those items that are only covered for a limited period.

Additionally, the kitchen appliances, the electric garage door will also come with a manufacturer warranty and be sure to ask for that information as well.

Do I Need a Home Inspection?

You should get a home inspection on new construction.  The home inspection will not be a contingency or purchase, however, it will provide you with any defects that the builder may need to address prior to taking possession.  A home inspector will make sure that is up to code including seismic bracing, ground fault interrupter outlets, ensuring hot and cold water correct on faucets om the home. 

Factor in the Living Costs

This is one mistake most buyers make which is forgetting to incorporate recurring expenditure such as utility costs and property taxes into the equation. Buying a home is one thing, living there and staying ahead of the bills is quite another. Consequently, find out if you can maintain a home for the long run before signing on the dotted line.

Last but certainly not least, keep an open mind. Do not have a fixed image of exactly what it is that you want but be flexible to other options put forth by the builder. While sifting through floor plans and models you might come across one that’s even better than what you had in mind.

What Doesn't Come With the Home?

Another expense to anticipate is what will not be included with the home. A model home is decorated with window covers and furnishings. You will need to have reserves for window coverings and landscaping if it is not included with the purchase. Any time you are purchasing a home, it is important to have reserves for emergencies which can arise.


A reputable builder is the most important consideration and one that will work with you will ensure that your home building process goes smoothly. Ensuring you take the time to find out about the builder and looking at other developments is important. Speaking to the neighbors as to how their building experience was as well as how they are enjoying the quality of the home.

Other Valuable Resources

About the Author

The above real estate article What You Need to Know About Buying New Construction was written by Sharon Paxson of Newport Beach Real Estate. With experience since 2005 representing sellers, buyers, and landlords with their real estate transactions, we welcome the opportunity to share our expertise and guide you through the home buying or selling process.

We service the following Orange County CA areas: Corona del Mar, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, and Newport Coast. If you are considering selling your home, we welcome the opportunity to work with you and list your home with a top Newport Beach CA Realtor.

SoCal native and longtime Newport Beach resident Sharon Paxson has been delivering full-spectrum residential real estate sales and marketing services to her valued clients since 2005. Known for her success in representing buyers and sellers in the sought-after cities of Newport Beach and all of Orange County CA. Sharon utilizes the leverage of social media to provide maximum exposure for her listings. Visit her site at
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