Starting From Scratch, The New Construction Project

Many people are overwhelmed by the new construction process. It’s one of my favorite things.

If you have ever been through the process you know what I mean. Maybe you have sworn to never do it again or maybe, even though it was horrific, you couldn’t help but subject yourself, again. Whether your first time or fourth it can be daunting. The goal of this article is to help you get off to a good start.

As with any real estate transaction you, the buyer, is trying to get the most for your money and the seller, your builder, is trying to give you as little as possible for your money. What most new construction buyers may not realize is that new construction is negotiable. All of it, and the sooner the negotiations begin the better. So here’s what you do:

Find the Perfect Spot
Consider how you live, do you need privacy? Would you like your neighbors close enough to chat? Figure out what you want from your development then find a few that meet those needs so that you have options.

Compare Each Development
Don’t hesitate to look at a more expensive development you might find they offer more options as standard. You wouldn’t believe what some builders do not consider standard. Read every piece of paper in the brochure. Ask the builder’s agent what is standard, what is extra. Get an example of a typical upgrade and what it would cost.

Get the Most for Your Money
Choose the home and development that offers you the most of what you need as part of the starting price. Then consider your upgrades.

Identify your changes or upgrades, windows, floor plan changes, flooring, kitchen or bath upgrades. Identifying these changes before you sign the contract gives you more bargaining power toward the cost of your new home. These things can all be negotiated up front and made part of your offer. It is difficult to negotiate the price of your wood floors once you’ve signed the contract. You are bound to pay the standard upgrade charge.

Make a list of your preferred upgrades or changes, assign a number to each, one being the most important and so on. Determine the charge for each (usually listed in the brochure, if not call the builder’s agent) and include a dollar amount for each upgrade. Total it up. If you’re way over budget start knocking off the things lower on the priority list.

Make an Offer
Depending on the housing market, how well the neighborhood is selling, make an offer. Considering the starting price, plus the upgrade charges, come up with a number that’s fair but well in your favor. They will counter, be prepared with your walk away number, and stick to it.

Share your new construction advice and experiences.

Visit for more new construction advice and check out the New Construction Workbook, a step by step guide to help you manage the process.