By Justin Hensley
There are many reasons why people like new construction. For one, the design caters to today’s lifestyles. Buyers needn’t renovate an outdated floor plan to suit their taste. There’s no need to replace roofs, heaters or carpets. Many people also like the idea of being the first family to put a signature imprint on a home.
Energy efficiency is also key. LC Homes, a Delaware-based builder, employs the latest technologies and materials, which are as kind to the homeowner’s wallet as they are to the environment.
But buying any home requires careful consideration and planning. Here are 10 steps to take before buying new construction.
1. Determine your budget and explore financing.
As is the case when buying an existing home, you’ll need to assess your finances before you start touring models. Talk to a lender to determine a price range. When you’re drawing up a budget, make sure to consider insurance, property taxes and items such as window treatments that you’ll need in a new home. If a deck isn’t standard with a new home and you want one, add it to the budget.
2. Define the desired geographical area.
LC Homes has communities throughout Delaware. Some, such as Darley Green in Claymont, offer convenience as well as new construction. Darley Green is located near Philadelphia, Wilmington and the bridges to New Jersey. The Grande at Canal Pointe, which is east of Route 1, offers access to the beach and downtown Rehoboth. LC Homes’ Heron Bay, another luxury beach-area neighborhood, is farther inland yet still close to the attractions.
Frequently, the farther you are from a large city center – or the ocean – the more your money will buy. The good news: Delaware is such a compact state that you’re never far from major highways, cities or recreational and cultural attractions.
3. Research neighborhoods.
4. Schedule a visit.
The best way to discover if a community is a good fit is to visit it in person. Again, Delaware’s size allows you to see several in a day, if you wish. Drive around the new community and look at any existing homes. Take a walk to greet neighbors. If you have children, visit on a weekend to see if kids are out playing.
5. Tour the model home.
Thanks to smart phones, you can take photos and make notes during your visit. Determine which features are options or upgrades and which are standard. (Most builders will provide a list of standard features.) If appliances are included, ask about the brand and model. You may wish to inspect that brand in person in a store.
Are there any packages or incentives currently available? Is the design flexible? If you need to move quickly, are there homes under construction that are available for a quick move-in?
6. Ask about homeowner association fees and condo fees.
Many communities, including neighborhoods with single-family homes, have fees to maintain public areas or handle snow shoveling or trash removal. Read the bylaws. If you’re buying a condo, your lender will require paperwork to demonstrate that the owners have a strategic maintenance plan in place. It’s important that you read these documents as well.
7. Research plans for the area.
In addition to asking about plans for the community, such as additional phases and amenities, visit or call the municipal planner to find out what else is on the agenda for the area.
8. Research your builder.
LC Homes is a third-generation Delaware-based builder that specializes in communities in the state. That’s not to say a builder based outside Delaware won’t build a quality home. No matter which builder you’re considering, talk to real estate agents and the Better Business Bureau to learn if there have been complaints. If there were issues, how were they resolved?
9. Get an inspection and home warranty.
If you have the budget, pay for your own independent inspector to tour the home. All new homes come with an implied warranty. Ask about additional coverage and make sure the terms are explicit.
10. Seal the deal.
No matter whether you use your own mortgage lender or a builder’s in-house lender, thoroughly read and understand the agreement. Buying any home is a significant investment. Signing the agreement with confidence will ensure that you love your new home for many years to come.