You’ve toured the Parade of Homes and fallen in love with the benefits and choices available in a new home. You’ve seen lots of gorgeous homes that speak to your style and lifestyle. You’ve discovered a couple neighborhoods that feel just right. So, what’s next? How do you make sure you choose the right builder to make your dream home come true?
Before you sign on the dotted line, here are 10 questions that can help make the decision a no-brainer.
Can I get three or four references?
Of course, you’ll do your homework and check out every prospective builder’s background, but always ask for references. It just takes a few minutes to find out how well previous buyers like their home but even more importantly, how their build process went.
Who will be my daily point of contact?
It could be the builder him or herself, the sales rep, a coordinator or the project super, but in any case, make sure to meet them ahead of time to see how well you connect and communicate.
Can I make changes in design later?
Some builders will accommodate changes, others won’t, just make sure you understand their policy.
How do I make selections?
In most new homes, you’ll have from a handful to hundreds of choices for selecting finishes, colors, materials and products. Make sure you know what choices you’ll be making and if they have design help for you. Don’t forget to talk about standards vs. upgrades and if you choose to upgrade, ask how the builder will help you maintain your budget as you shop.
How energy efficient will my new home be?
Most of us will want to get the low-down on energy costs ahead of time. Minnesota’s energy codes are strict, and code-built homes will be pretty darned efficient, but to be sure, ask if the builder completes independent energy audits and how their homes compare to the average. For more information check out the Minnesota Green Path program.
How long does building a new home take?
Some homes can be built as quickly as 60 or 90 days, others take much longer. There may be some unusual factors (labor shortages, weather, etc.) that could affect your schedule too, so make sure to ask about them.
What is covered with warranties?
One of the best things about a new home is how much is covered by warranties. Minnesota mandates several construction warranties and some builders offer additional guarantees. Additionally, a number of the products included in your home will be warrantied. Make sure to learn what is covered, any constraints, and how the builder will communicate those to you.
What if I find a problem at final inspection?
While big problems are rare, they do happen, and you may find a few small issues that need addressing. Ask about the builder’s policies and timeframe for fixing them. You should also make sure you are fully briefed about how to operate and maintain your home and its features properly.
Will my new home have landscaping?
In some cases, your builder will include sod or seeding the yard, others may include a tree, for example. Find out what is included and make sure to budget for any additional yard work you want completed.
Can I afford a new house?
Start by reading these tips about financing your home. Then make sure you’re fully informed about pricing — from lot hold to the down payment to upgrades. And always consider there is more to the cost of a home than the sale price. New homes are unlikely to need any major repairs for at least seven years, and in most cases those should be covered under warranty. The ability to customize your home and choose the floor plan and style that fits your lifestyle also eliminates the need for any major renovations, saving you in the long run.
Plus, when you’re touring the Parade of Homes, it’s easy to filter by price to ensure you’re staying within your budget!
You can find more information in our New Homebuyers Guide and once you’ve purchased your new home, make sure to review Managing Your Home.
Written by Wendy Danks
Wendy Danks (wendydoodles.com) has had a career-long love affair with the Parade of Homes, spending the last 20 years as its marketing and communications director. Recently retired, she now has time to spend on her other great love, writing.