A builder working on the wooden frame of a new house

Tips for Buying New Homes in Austin

With the multitude of people moving to Austin each day, it seems like everywhere you turn, a new home development is in the works. Although new homes come with many benefits, purchasing new homes in Austin can also provide some challenges.

For that reason, we’ve put together this guide for those Austin home buyers, who have their heart set on finding new homes in Austin.

1. Make Sure You Have a Terrific Real Estate Agent

If you’re searching for new homes in Austin, you’ll need an Austin Realtor® who is extremely knowledgeable. An agent who has the expertise in selling new homes will know every level of the process, including new home policies, builders’ options, incentives, standard features, inventory sheets, etc. This will be much more beneficial than working with a real estate agent who’s never sold new construction before. Make sure your agent has your best interests at heart, especially when it comes to establishing your offer when buying a home in Austin.

An experienced Austin real estate agent can also help steer you in the right direction in identifying any potential issues, and in referring you to a reputable, knowledgeable home inspector. Unless you have an engineering background, or some experience with construction yourself, you more than likely won’t be able to identify the quality of materials used or if the home is structurally sound, or if there are any potential future issues due to how the home was built. 

If you sell your home in five years, you may not be immediately affected by these things, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important. Remember, whenever you plan to sell the home, these things can directly affect resale value. An experienced Realtor® can be extremely helpful with guiding you through the process. Here’s a great article with tips for helping you choose the right Austin TX real estate agent.

2. Check the Builder’s References

Find out as much as you can about the builders; it always makes sense to investigate before you proceed. Do some detective work, such as researching testimonials, reviews and any other details about the builder and their company. If there are a spate of negative reviews, proceed with caution. Reach out to your agent and check with them as to whether they’ve had any previous positive or negative experiences with the builder.

3. Understand How To Negotiate

Know who you’re dealing with in any negotiation, and this one is no different. Negotiating with a builder can be much different than a homeowner. If you’ve never bought new homes in Austin before, confirm with your agent about the builder’s negotiation techniques. In many cases, you’ll find builders less open to negotiating, as they may feel that if your deal is reduced, then others moving into the new home development will want the same discount. This is where you and your agent can work to get you a solid deal during the negotiation process.

4. Document Everything about Your New Home

Reviewing all of your documentation before you proceed is especially helpful if your home is still under construction. Every single aspect of the deal should be spelled out to avoid any confusion, regarding deadlines, or any other unforeseen issues. Get everything in writing between all involved parties; this will help protect you if there are any problems. Negotiation is key, and if you’ve negotiated something without documenting it, you could have a possible headache down the road.

Keep records of every single detail of your new home, including floor plans, square footage, location, upgrades and improvements. It may also be helpful to consult with a lawyer during this process, confirm that every step is being followed properly and that you’re not getting taken advantage of.

5. With New Homes in Austin, Make Sure You Have a Written Guarantee

For anyone in the process of buying new homes in Austin, you have to realize that your house may or may not be finished on time. If that’s the case, what are your options? Is the builder’s work guaranteed? Have you agreed on a set date and time for the house to be finished? These things can be somewhat tricky.

For example, the builder may have to deal with certain permits requiring municipal approval, as well as issues with building materials or incorrect fixtures that you didn’t agree to. Unless you have a written guarantee, you may have to face additional charges if the house cannot close by the agreed time. Consult with your agent regarding potential delays, such as an incomplete house and also what happens if the lender isn’t prepared.

6. A Home Inspection Is Always Vital, Even with New Homes in Austin

When purchasing previously owned Austin real estate, you know to get it inspected. The same goes for purchasing new homes in Austin. Even if you’re on good terms with the builder, even if the builder has a stellar reputation and great reviews, it is always wise to have the home inspected. 

Some of the subcontractors that your builder hires might perform inferior work, which can cost you greatly. Stone masons, plumbers, electricians, etc. will be brought in to assemble your home.

An inspection will show you what major issues there are and what should be fixed.

7. Be Prepared for New Changes in Your Area

With new homes in Austin there’s always the chance that new construction may affect the property’s value. If your new home is located in a rural area, are there plans for future development that may add new neighbors and businesses? Will your view be impacted by new construction?

Look into potential changes that may impact commerce, traffic and the overall vibe of your neighborhood. If you like your privacy and don’t want to deal with a homeowners association, or expanded growth around you, speak with your agent about potential plans for the area before you go forward.

8. Some Information Regarding Lenders

Always do your homework and be prepared before getting a loan. Often, builders recommend their own lender and agent, who might offer you prime deals. But you shouldn’t just go with their own lender and agent because the builder says so. Do your research and compare.

In some cases, you may be required to be pre-approved by the builder’s own lender, instead of one you’ve selected. For the builder, they may feel a sense of satisfaction knowing their lender pre-qualifies you, and compared to using an independent one, it may be less costly in the end.

As in all things real estate related, your best resource will be your Austin real estate agent.

Buying a new home in Austin can be exciting, offering you a fresh start. Working with a great agent and a reputable builder will help to get you on the right track. If you’re looking for new homes in Austin, give Habitat Hunters a call. Our knowledgeable, experienced Austin real estate agents can help guide you through the process to find the perfect home.