The Spring Parade of Homes is just around the corner (don’t miss home #258, pictured above, by GreenWood Design Build)! If you’re thinking about making a move, here’s how in ten easy steps!
Tour the Parade of Homes. It’s the best way to start shopping. Every home is accurately priced so you’ll know what it costs to get what you want. Keep a notebook to track the neighborhoods, builders and home styles you like best.
Get your finances in order. Know exactly what you can afford. Talk to a mortgage banker about loan options and rates as well as how much down payment you’ll need.
Go back for seconds. With your budget in hand and your notes from touring the Parade of Homes, now you can narrow your search by revisiting your favorites.
Decide on a neighborhood. Location is still a number one criteria for most home buyers. Now is the time to decide what city you want to live in, but also if you want your home to be in a big planned community with tons of amenities (can you say pool?) or a small, intimate neighborhood.
Meet with the builder. Make an appointment with your top choice and start digging into specifics. Ask about timelines and procedures and how their selection process works. Ask who you will be working with throughout the process. And make sure to ask for references and call them before you sign a contract. At this point you may want to put a lot hold on the home site you want, generally with a small fee.
Design phase/selecting a home plan. A true custom home will mean you spend time with a designer or architect who will ask lots of questions about how you live and what styles are important to you. Other builders will have a portfolio of home plans, often with a variety of custom options. Either way, take some time to think about how you live in your current house – what’s working and what areas give you the most frustration.
Sign a contract. Now you’re ready to commit! You may have paid a design fee (for custom builds) and a lot hold deposit, but in your final contract will be all the specifics about your particular home. In some cases you’ll be able to see your final costs on the contract, or for more custom homes where you have a lot of leeway in products and finishing choices, your contract will have allowances that will be adjusted after you make final selections.
Making Selections. Depending on the home, you’ll most likely land somewhere between getting to choose between a few options and colors or virtually everything in your new home. You may make selections in the model homes or go to one or several showrooms around time. Even if you’re not great at matching colors, you’ll get plenty of professional design help from the builders and showrooms. And some custom home buyers bring their own interior designers to help them really personalize their new spaces.
Construction. With all your selections in hand, construction can begin. Most new homes take anywhere from 90 to 180 days or longer to complete. You might want to stop by regularly to check on progress, just remember to check with your builder before showing up. There are numerous safety and liability issues on an active construction site, and your builder will want you to stay safe.
Closing. With construction completed, your builder will schedule your closing. You and your mortgage banker will meet with the builder’s representatives to finalize all the paperwork. Be prepared well ahead of time to make sure you have all the documents in hand, and can cover any closing costs you must pay.
Move In! Now it’s time to make your new home your own (like Parade Home #303 by GreenWood Design Build). Welcome Home!