Thinking about buying a new home? It is a slightly different purchase then residential resale where you need to consider the seller’s emotions and plans, so make sure you plan accordingly and take the right steps to optimize your new home buying experience. Here are just a few tips for you to consider.
Timing: To get the best deal on a new home, pay attention to timing. Builders are businesses and so they are more likely to offer a price reduction, or more likely a “hidden discount” by paying for closing costs or home appliances & upgrades at no charge in the following situations: (1) End of quarter/end of year closings; (2) Homes that are already built or within weeks of completion; (3) First couple homes in a development to get sales started; and (4) Last couple homes in a development – when they want to close out the site.
Contracts: Builders require their own contracts so make sure you understand what is and what isn’t included in the price (appliances, landscaping, “decorator options, etc.) as it is much easier to negotiate for items to be included before you enter into the agreement. Warranties – these can really vary, know what is and isn’t included and during what timeframes and whether it is transferrable to the next owner should you decide to sell during the warranty period.
Inspections: Yes, you should get an inspection on a new home since it is always easier to get repairs done before you close then after – no matter what warranty is offered by the builder. Remember, things can get done incorrectly or even missed with new construction, here are some potential big ticket red flags:
- Sticky doors: If the home is new, it shouldn’t have sticky doors and windows – this can be an indicator of more serious structural problems.
- Diagonal cracks: Anything more than a hairline crack should be checked out and straight vertical cracks are more likely to be insignificant than a diagonal one.
- Puddles near the foundation: When it rains, do puddles form against the home’s foundation? This could be a sign of problematic landscape grading that could lead to flooding in your basement or crawl space.
It is also good to do an internet search for reviews of the builder to see what if any recurring problems they have had in other neighborhoods they have built and make sure your inspector looks for those potential defects on your home.
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- Holiday Decorations. Don’t go overboard they can make your home look cluttered and take attention away from it.
- Christmas Trees. Keep it small to medium size, large Christmas trees can make a room look smaller. As can a ton of presents under the tree and too much garland everywhere.
- Vacuum: Make sure you vacuum regularly if you have a fresh tree with fallen needles.
- Refrigerator. Keep refrigerators neat and tidy (we all get lots of food gifts during the holidays)… buyers will look inside.
- Outside Decorations: Be careful with outside decorations. Large santas and reindeer can take away from the beauty of the yard or the front of your home. Same with excessive amounts of holiday lights.
- Curb Appeal: Rake the lawn regularly to clean up the large amounts of fallen leaves. Pick up any fallen branches and debris from yard and walkways. Keep up a lawn care as much as possible.
- Ice & Snow. Knock down any large icicles forming over doorways and walkways. Make sure your walkway is snow and ice free. If it’s still slippery, pour salt on your walkway to help buyers safely to your door.
- Limited Light: Remember it gets dark sooner, so be sure to keep lots of lights on inside and out. Make sure all outdoor lights are working properly. Make sure your back yard is easily lit at night. Buyers want to be able to see the entire property.
- Towel/Dormats: Keep a towel or extra doormat inside your front door for guests to fully dry their shoes before exploring your home. Or have a sign that requests that they take them off.
- Heat: If you have a programmable thermostat, remember to change it if you will have showings during the day while it would normally be set very low. You don’t want buyers thinking the house is an ice box. You want people to enjoy spending time in your home.
- Hand Sanitiser: With flu seasons around, place a bottle of hand sanitizer by the front door for guests to use on the way in and as they leave. Or place it by the flyer box.
- Scents: Add holiday scents with mulled cider on the stovetop or by using fresh cinnamon sticks and evergreen as decorations. (Make sure you shake out the evergreen ahead of time to get out any bugs that have made it their home). There are also holiday scented diffusers.
- Keep it Cozy" Create a warm and cozy environment by lighting a fire, using candles and having fresh baked cookies and hot cocoa ready for buyers during open houses.
- Reduce your stress: Keep in mind that hosting during the holidays can take a lot of prep and clean up time. It might be a good idea to pass it to someone else this year or request extra help to get your place back to showing condition. Also remember, buyers look in all rooms so if you have people staying with you over the holidays, make sure they are keeping their room tidy and keep the suitcases in the closet if possible.