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The Basics of Buying New

New may not always be better, but there are some buyers who have a definite preference for it. In a 2014 survey conducted by Trulia.com, 2 in 5 buyers prefer newly constructed homes.

By definition, a newly constructed house is a property that has never been lived in, something that’s a plus for some homebuyers. For the same price, many buyers will pick a new construction house over a resale one.

It’s easy to see why. A newly constructed home is shiny, with the promise of a fresh start, its bareness and empty spaces a blank slate for new memories. As a buyer, who wouldn’t want that?

However, it’s just as easy to be blinded by the gleam of glossy paint and the bling of chrome fittings and door knobs. In short, before signing on the dotted line, ask the following questions first:

  • Has the property been inspected?

    Having a new home inspected seems unnecessary. Why have it inspected when it is basically fresh out of the real estate oven? But saving a few hundred dollars by skipping an inspection is not worth potential problems down the road. With the help of a professional inspector, you will be able to determine if the property is truly worth its price tag.

  • What is the neighborhood like?

    It is perfectly reasonable to ask this question, especially if the property you are eyeing is in a new development. As a potential buyer, you need to factor in the condition of the neighborhood. Is construction still going on? How do you feel about waking up to a row of empty houses beside your own? Would you rather live in a new house in an established community?

  • What are the extras included?

    As with everything on the market, don’t take a model unit literally. You may be blown away by that island countertop, walk-in shower, and other bells and whistles, but be warned that these things often don’t come with the basic package. Ask what the extra features are and how much they will cost.

  • When will I get the house?

    This is perhaps the most important question to ask when it comes to newly constructed homes. When you’re purchasing new construction, you are often at the mercy of the builder’s timeline. Do not forget to secure a cancellation clause or a refund on the deposit clause so you’ll be covered if the builder cannot complete the property by the agreed date.

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FMLS data last updated at January 21, 2018 8:08 PM ET