Dealing With Home Builders

Tips to guide you through what to look for when buying a new home, and what to ask your builder to put in writing.

There is nothing more exciting (and nerve racking) than buying a home, except for when your home is brand new. The glory of being able to pick out your kitchen countertops to match your brand new cabinets and flooring can give you a rush matched by nothing else. You do need to proceed with caution from the very beginning as to avoid any financial surprises when it comes time to close on your property.

First and foremost, you must get in writing all that your builder will be providing in the base price of your new home. This will include such items as:

- Type of foundation (cement, stone, concrete blocks)

- Wood construction (2x4's, 2x6's)

- The number of electrical outlets in each room and location of each

- The number of phone jacks in the building and their locations

- Light fixtures throughout the building- their types and locations (interior and exterior) if you will be providing them and then be reimbursed at closing, or if the builder will be picking out your light fixtures for you

- Bathroom fixtures (bathtub, shower stall, toilet, and vanity with sink)

- Flooring allowance per square foot as well as where you will need to go to pick out the product

- Where the flooring types will be located in the home, such as laminate flooring in the kitchen and bathrooms and wall to wall carpeting throughout the rest of the home



- Garage (finished or unfinished interior) with an automatic garage door opener

- Driveway (paved or unpaved) with the dollar amount allotted

- Exterior finish on the home ( vinyl or wood siding, wood shingles or shakes) with or without decorative shutters

- Roofing shingles (color and grade)

- Deck dimensions (if applicable)

- Yard materials (naturally wooded, seeded or hydro-seeded grass)

- Dollar amount allotted for a drilled well and septic system (if you won't have city water and sewer)

You will also need to ask the builder about upgrading any and all of the above list of items and the dollar amount associated with each. Some builders will not charge you for upgrades, such as from standard wall to wall carpeting to hard wood floors, but only for the extra labor involved in the installation. The kitchen cabinets might be able to be upgraded to your dream color for a dollar amount which is much less than you might have expected. Be sure to talk to your builder about these, as this is going to be your home. You want what you want, where you want it. Remember, you don't want any surprises when it comes time to close on your property.

No matter how nerve-racking this experience might get, be sure to take the time to smell the roses along the way. This experience should be a positve one which will bring you years of enjoyment and happiness in your new home.

If you don't have a realtor, get a good one. A realtor can serve as the go between person between you and the builder and may be able to be there when you aren't. Realtors also have a lot of experience dealing with builders, so they can become a valuable asset to you during your new home buying process.

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