The time may be right for you to buy a new home this spring. Low interest rates and reduced prices, combined with builder incentives may make a new home a viable option that many home buyers have forgotten about.
Home builders that survived the culling of the market decline have sought out ways to make homes more affordable. Going with the new trend, some home builders are offering more efficient floor plans, as well as more cost efficient building processes.
Modular homes seem to be more prevalent these days as custom home builders seek to reduce costs to the buyers as well as increasing floor plan flexibility and construction quality. The reason why many home builders are turning to modular designs may be that the modules are built in a controlled environment, which increases quality while reducing weather related delays and damage. In a typical plant, manufactured and modular housing fabrication quality specialists constantly monitor fabrication to ensure the final product meets or exceeds all codes, which is unlike on-site construction where inspections can be random and inconsistent.
One attraction to buying a new home is that everything is new! Along with the new, one expects warranties. Make sure you discuss the warranties that are provided with your purchase with your builder and Realtor®. It is typical for new appliances, fixtures and flooring to have limited manufactures warranties, so make sure you receive all paperwork related to those items.
Additionally, most builders offer a warranty as well; the warranty is most likely guaranteed by a third party. According to a homebuyer’s booklet offered by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division, a home builder warranty in Maryland must include at a minimum: “any defects in materials or workmanship for one year; any defects in the electrical, plumbing, heating, cooling and ventilating systems for two years (not to exceed the period of the manufacturer’s warranty); and defects to any load-bearing structural elements for five years.” The booklet recommends that you contact the third party guaranteeing the warranty, to check if the builder is in good standing.
Although a home may be new, it does not guarantee that it is perfect when delivered to you. It is common to conduct a “final walkthrough” with a builder representative to check the systems and to identify any defects that may need repair or correction. Builders will ask for a “punch list” of items that need correction.
Former president of the American Society of Home Inspectors, Frank Lesh, was on record as saying that “Even new homes have defects that only a professional can detect…” He stated that a home inspector can help ensure that a new home’s major systems (roof, foundation, electrical, plumbing) “are functioning properly and safely before moving in”… “Because many items can’t be inspected after a house has been built, homeowners should consider having a series of phased inspections conducted at key milestone markers. ASHI encourages homebuyers to consider an inspection at the following times: prior to foundation pour; prior to insulation and drywall; prior to the final walkthrough.” (ashi.org)
If you’re considering buying a new home, consider visiting new home resources offered by the National Association of Home Builders (nahb.org) and the American Society of Home Inspectors (ashi.org), as well as the homebuyer’s booklet offered by the Maryland Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division (http://www.marylandattorneygeneral.gov)
By Dan Krell
Copyright © 2011
This article is not intended to provide nor should it be relied upon for legal and financial advice. Using this article without permission is a violation of copyright laws.