When considering a build, a buyer will have to educate themselves in literally a city of choices! You need to understand what you are getting yourself into - not only to protect yourself but also to enjoy this experience of a lifetime to the fullest. If you don’t do the homework you will likely end up unhappy with at least some portion of the transaction or final result.
I would like to start your education process here, to do so, please continue reading...
Of course I have to start off with the ‘you definitely still need a Real Estate Agent when building’ part of the education, not just because it’s my job, but because it’s possibly the number one mistake made by New Home Buyers! It is necessary to understand that the Builder’s representative who negotiates the terms of your build, will be acting on behalf of the Builder - They are not your representative, no matter what fancy title they give themselves! They do not even represent both parties equally. In fact in many cases you are dealing with a direct employee of your Corporate Builder. You need your own experienced expert.
Not to mention that choosing the builder is just one of the many steps involved in building your dream home! When you are represented by a licenced Realtor you have your own professional to ensure that you build the home you want, not buy the home the builder wants to sell you.
I would also like to address the rumour that it will cost you extra money to have a Realtor when you are dealing with a Builder. Realtor services are, as always free to buyers and builders do not reduce the cost of your house by the amount of commission they will have to pay a Realtor. In fact you will need not only your own Realtor but also your own Lawyer when building a new home.
The second most common mistake made when building a new home is the order of business. This is what often occurs - tour show homes, pick home & builder, & then finally pick from the lots available for that size & shape of home. Following this order is the second most common mistake made and strangely, what buyers who make this mistake don’t even realize is that it is a complete reverse the natural order of home buying!
Of course there is no problem with going to see show-homes. They are fun, beautiful, exciting and theoretically a dazzling display of the talents of a builder, the architect, the interior decorator and the many skilled trades people who worked on the home. What you don’t want to do though is let emotions run away with the process and cave to the hard sell tactics of the Builder’s Representative. This is what they are hoping for and exactly why they put so much effort and expense into presenting a homey atmosphere in the displays.
Typically once you disclose what type of home you are looking for there will be "only one or two lots available" for that style of home. And of course, with such a high demand for this type of product "if you do not put your deposit on this lot today you will loose it"(please note the sarcasm here) and thus the home style of your choice. So while you are dazzled by the importance of discovering that there were so few lots left in all of Calgary, you pay the deposit and are committed, just like that, in one decision binding cheque, to the lot, the Builder and maybe even the home style. Congratulations to the builder’s representative they have just executed their job perfectly! And make no mistake about it, you just filled quota and bought inventory they needed to sell - not your dream!
What they did not tell you is that new lots come available CONSTANTLY. Probably every week in some areas. In fact, Builders can dole out their lots in a controlled sequence designed not to leave them holding on to all the least attractive lots at the end of the project. You don’t need to make your choice based upon 2 or 3 choices, there are literally hundreds of choices in this city at any given moment! Most people don’t know that they can find out what is coming up too ... why rush? Take your time - this is a huge investment and the most important feature of Real Estate is always - LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. It is going to take about 8 months to build your home, if you have to wait two or three weeks to fulfill the most important feature of your investment - it is WELL worth it!
This is the approach to a build that I recommend to my clients - find the general location first and then pick 2, 3 or even 4 specific lots within that area. Choose your location carefully because it is one of the few things about your home that cannot be modified! If you want a view you need to find lots in an area with a view, if you want to back onto a golf course you want to find out what lots are available, if you want to live on a cul-de-sac ... you get the idea ... you can do almost anything you want to a home but the location is what it is.
Order of Business When Building A Home:
Find the general location
Explore & educate yourself on the plans for the area
Find several specific lots that are of interest to you
Research which Builders have the Lots
Explore & educate yourself on what the Builder offers
Choose, Your Lot, Your Home, & Your Builder
So, when you are driving into those new communities, start by driving right past the fancy showhomes and to the area where all the lots for sale are. 95% of available lots will have signs on them. If you find a potential lot, look around, see for yourself what is around it. Investigate what could potentially be built around it ... determine whether the street could be a busy road in 2 or 3 years time? Where is the closest multi-family zoning? Commercial zoning? Builders will have phase maps we can look at that will show which lots have been sold, are ready for sale and are planned for future sale - from 2 weeks from now, up to completion of the entire community.
I always recommend finding a few lots that will be good fits for you so that you always know you have choices. Rate these lots from 1 through 5 in order of first pick to last pick. Go to the Builder who owns lot # 1. See what kind of homes they are building - Do you like them? Do you like their style? Will they customized an existing floor plan to suit your needs? Yes? Great, go to the next step of gathering more info and price quotes. If you do not like what they have to offer, find out if they are willing to sell the lot to another builder - usually the answer is yes. You can follow this through lots #2, 3, 4 & 5 before you make a final decision if you like. It is a time consuming process but this is a huge investment that is well-worth the research. For most people, their home is their largest investment ever - so why rush? Increase your chances of being deliriously happy with your custom built home for many, many years by investing some time in research. With all the new communities to choose from these days, you can’t afford not to! Whether you are buying a custom built home or a Builder’s Spec Model home, the lot you choose will ultimately determine more about the resale value of your home than any other single choice you make!
All that said, new home building IS exciting and the beauty of such a booming economy means your choices are vast!! We can get started right now if you like - to search the mls database for available Spec Homes in any community visit www.FindNewDigs.com. Or, if you prefer more personal service contact me directly @ (403)770-0188 to arrange a consultation.
Not only do I bring the experience of working with on many new builds but I have already done a lot of the initial information gathering legwork of the new communities! I have maps showing lot availability and Builder representation. Starting here can save you valuable time and money that ultimately leads you to your dream home.