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New Homes

New homes are usually a good choice for those wanting to customize their dwelling space.

New homes often have significant storage space. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
New homes often have significant storage space.

New Homes

A huge selling point when consumers consider purchasing new homes is the ability to customize the dwelling. Trends in new homes change with the times, as families want more features that are accessible, enjoyable and, due to economic times, affordable. At the same time, the buyer has to work with the builder, as the builder cannot create a state-of-the-art residence for a rock-bottom price. According to the National Association of Home Builders, a successful home-building process requires a three-pronged balance, which includes the size, cost and quality of the home. Potential buyers need to keep this in mind, as well as investigate the builder's reputation, for an all-around enjoyable building and buying process.

Popular Features in New Homes

With the recent economic downturn, homeowners are finding themselves spending more of their time at home rather than on expensive vacations or lavish nights out on the town. According to Professional Builder, some of the features that homeowners must have include: a large kitchen, a kitchen island, granite countertops, energy-efficient appliances, a butler's pantry, a formal dining room and an outdoor cooking area.

Many, if not all, of these features cater to cooking and entertaining guests, which should come as no surprise as more families are staying home. But providing for these amenities means that some homeowners might compromise on square footage. A finished basement, bonus rooms, attics, screened porches and sunrooms are other popular requests for those seeking new construction. But these features require extra square footage, which is something that many people aren't willing to pay for now, but might add on to their homes when the economy bounces back.

Families are also trying to spend more time together, catching up on the day's activities and enjoying quality time. They are doing this with the help of a gathering spot, such as a built-in banquette. More builders are seeing a request for these communal areas, which provide a way to maximize kitchen space with the seating positioned against a wall.

Determining Quality of New Homes

Shopping for a new home can be nerve-wracking enough, and then for a homeowner to worry about a contractors or builders reputation can be overwhelming. Most of the time, potential home buyers only have a spec home or a model to view. Odds are the builder wants the house to look its best. The first step a potential home buyer should know is to come ready with many questions for the builder. It is always better to ask more questions, as a home is typically the most expensive purchase a person is likely to make.

Additionally, the potential buyer should do some research online and see if there are forums, articles or even blog postings about the builder. Asking around the neighborhood where the buyer is searching is another idea, as is asking family members or friends for builder suggestions. Once the buyer selects a builder, the job is not over, as there are specifications to examine, as well as choosing the type of home to be constructed. The buyer should expect to make several visits to the model home and should take notes about likes and dislikes about the layout, appliances and design.

Although there is an added benefit in purchasing a new home as being the first to use any aspect of the house, there can be some potential downsides to buying new versus a previously lived-in residence. Subcontractors might issue lower bids, perhaps resulting in some faulty structural problems.

Tips on Purchasing New Homes

Before closing on the home, even though it is a new construction dwelling, the home buyer should pay for a home inspection. The builder might provide a walk-through that is separate from that of a home inspector; the builder's walk-through is more for the builder's warranty. Securing a home inspection can help foresee potential problems that might occur after the builders warranty has lapsed, possibly preventing future problems.

A home buyer should check about a warranty for the new home. The builder should provide a type of warranty, typically a 12-month warranty, whether it is issued by an outside source or from the builder itself. The consumer should not be afraid to ask about the terms of the warranty as well, such as length, what is included in the warranty and who should be contacted in case of a problem with the house. The home buyer should be wary, though, that even though there is a warranty issued, that might not be enough added assurance. There is no way to guarantee the builder will respond favorably when called upon.

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