As a REALTOR® buying and selling residential properties on Florida’s Suncoast, specifically in the Sarasota/Venice area, I tend to focus on new homes. It is no secret that a large population of “Boomers” and retirees are moving to warmer climates to enjoy an active lifestyle.
The forecast calls for robust growth in new home construction over the next 3-5 years, mirroring the retirement demographic and change in generational turnover. Venice has many new home construction communities.
Some buyers prefer existing homes, while others only want new. Some do not want HOA fees or gated communities. However, the majority of homebuyers consider both used and newly built residences in their search for their dream home. New construction can be cheaper and more timely than a resale property.
To provide exceptional service, I encourage buyers to discuss their needs and aspirations in the context of their budget and loan pre-qualification. Though some 30% or more buyers pay in cash with the sale of an existing home and/or business.
- Many buyers simply go to the community sales office and work directly with their sales people. I don’t recommend this as each community is different and it’s important to know the good and not so good of each community from a neutral source.
And at no cost to you, it only makes sense to have your own REALTOR® looking out for your interests and saving you time in the process. It’s a good idea to contact a REALTOR® before you visit a new home community. An informed buyer is a smart and happy buyer.
I stay up-to-date with local homebuilders and spend time reviewing home styles, options and amenities, community differences and overall comparisons of the communities I want to recommend to my clients.
New Home Resource
REALTORS® have to become a combination of construction expert, interior designer and home inspector, We need to know the buyer’s tastes, needs and current design trends compared to what you will find in older homes.
The key is understanding what a “base” home will include for the price asked and hopefully get a list of options that are priced out for each particular model. And some communities price the building lot separate from the home. It is especially important to price out upfront what the total price (Lot + Home + Options) will be from different builders for a home with similar features, because they all include different things in their base price.
Additionally, some communities are registered with municipalities as a “Community Development District (CDD),” with an annual fee due in your taxes until the fee is paid off, usually anywhere from 10 to 30 years. CDD’s are bonds taken out by the builder for key infrastructure (roads, parks, club houses, etc.) that the municipalities do not want to cover and the builder did not want to pay. The fees are moved to all homeowners in the community. Just be aware that this can be an additional fee for which you will pay. And you should ask if the community is a CDD upfront and what the annual fee is.
You want to make sure you’re working with a builder who provides excellent customer service before and after a sale. Suggestions include checking with the Better Business Bureau and searching for complaints and compliments on the Internet. Visiting homes that were recently completed and walking through partially completed homes. They can also visit design centers to review available product choices.
Builders often provide names of customers for references and testimonials. Although, these are customers the builders are sure will provide a positive referral — you should call and ask them detailed questions about their experience with the builder, whether the builder met his or her projected construction timeline and the quality of the home now that they’ve lived in it.
You can also ask homeowners who’ve moved into a community about their experience. You can go to another community that the builder developed and ask homeowners there about the builder.
Asking the builder about future plans for amenities and predictions for the homeowners’ association fee or any potential taxes or assessments is a good idea. Most builders offer a standard warranty for buyers, including 10 years of coverage for structural issue. The above are also good reasons to have your own REALTOR®.
Matching Buyers and Builders
Shopping for a new home can be overwhelming. One of the best things you can do is to have a detailed consultation with your REALTOR® before you go to a new home community to help you narrow your priorities. You don’t want to walk away with every floorplan and leave yourself confused.
It’s also important to make sure the floorplan you want will fit on your preferred lot. Walking on the actual lot with a site supervisor to make sure the lot is the right size and meets your expectations.
For many buyers, it’s essential that the builder meet the estimated timeline from contract to moving day. “When you look into the reputation of a builder, one of the important pieces of information to gather is whether they actually meet their timeline most of the time. I know which ones in our area have more on-time deliveries and which ones have a lot of delays.
REALTORS® play an important role in representing a buyer purchasing new home construction, particularly when it comes to recommending a reputable builder and ensuring that the buyer receives the best possible customer service before, during and after construction.
- I include several of the top “new gated communities” resales on my website: (www.RiverFarmProperties.com) under the Florida Home Search tab.
Check them out and call me with any questions you may have. I will be blogging on these new communities in the near future adding new home construction detail.