Considering buying a new home in the Lehigh Valley? From Bethlehem, Easton, Allentown. Nazareth, Bushkill, Forks Township, Upper and Lower Saucon, Plainfield Township---there are plenty of properties to choose from.
Buying "new construction" is a bit different from buying a previously-owned home. Whether you're designing and building a custom home or buying a home that's built within a new subdivision, you'll only have to work with the builder. Here are a few tips if you’re considering buying a newly built home.
Research Neighborhoods and Builders
Search online for new construction listings, and make sure to drive around the area and check out nearby amenities and the quality of the homes. Check with the developer about potential homeowners' association (HOA) fees and rules. HOA fees can be incredibly expensive and strict. For example, some associations do not allow storage sheds, certain paint colors or finish materials. Be sure to find out if the HOA can assess penalties for infractions. Make sure to also research the builder’s Better Business Bureau rating and find out if the builder has a good reputation in the community.
Hire Your Own Agent
Will you be working with an agent? When buying in a new subdivision, consider working with a buyer's agent who knows the area well, can set up home tours and walk you through the closing process. Most Lehigh Valley Home Builders offer a commission on the house to pay an agent who will fully represent you. The builder's sales agents are paid to represent the builder, regardless of what they may tell you. Many will use high pressure tactics to persuade you to sign the contract. Working with an experienced real estate agent can save you thousands of dollars.
Understand Standard Amenities vs. Extra Features
Make sure to ask the builder about amenities and upgrades. Amenities are typically features that benefit the entire community like a clubhouse, fitness center or a gated entrance. Upgrades refer to added features or items you pay extra for to enhance your home, like certain types of appliances and flooring.
Closing the Deal
Once you decide to buy a new home, it’s important to make your sales contract contingent on a final home inspection by a professional you hire. Never assume that because a home is newly constructed, it is not going to have any defects. Builders often have in-house mortgage lenders or ties to an outside lender. New homebuyers can use the builder's lenders or find their own financing. Ask your agent for information on special funding programs available for first-time buyers. Contact at least two lenders and compare terms, fees, rates and points.