By Brian Brunhofer
If you’re working with a client who is considering a new construction home, but they – or you – have some reservations, allow me to clear up several common misconceptions about new construction homes and homebuilders.
1. Homebuilders don’t want to work with Realtors
This is absolutely not true. Realtors are one of our very best resources for connecting with buyers. They are absolutely vital to the success of our business. When an agent brings a client to us, they are putting their own reputation on the line, and we understand that. We know that if we make a Realtor’s client happy and surpass their expectations, they’ll spread the word.
2. New construction homes and communities are too risky for my clients
It’s easy to understand why any agent who has had a client burned by a builder, new construction home or community in the past would be hesitant to suggest that option to future buyers. However, there are many ways to protect your client. The past few years really dealt our industry a bad hand, and, unfortunately, buyers of new construction homes often paid the price with unfinished communities and more. But I want buyers to know the market has improved over the past 12 months, and the builders that are left standing are strong and healthy. In fact, many of us are actually expanding and opening new communities because of the limited inventory of new-construction quality homes.
One of the very safest bets is to find a builder that offers newly built homes in established communities, like Meritus Homes’ Creekside at Inverness Ridge or Ravenna at Long Grove. The streets, sidewalks, lighting, parks, landscaping and other homes are all in place. These are move-in ready communities, which means buyers won’t have to worry that they’ll be left in a ghost town.
3. It is cheaper to buy an existing home than a new construction home
Many homebuyers have a tale of closing on a home that seemed to be a bargain, only to have a laundry list of things go wrong in the first several months. Buyers may feel confident they have gotten a great deal on a home that received a decent report from a home inspector, but that doesn’t provide the assurance that the roof won’t start leaking, the furnace won’t go out or a host of other hard-to-predict and expensive problems won’t crop up. However, with newly built homes, not only should your home not be exposed to these types of issues, but if something were to come up, you also have a warranty from the builder to cover any repairs.
Not to mention most new homes today are much more energy-efficient that those built 60, 20 or even 10 years ago. Through building science, builders are able to offer a lot more energy-efficient features in new homes, ranging from dual-glazed windows and high-efficiency furnaces to low-flow plumbing fixtures and blown and batt insulation.
Also, remember the true cost of a home is more than just the contract price. When you consider the warranties, the operating costs and the fact that everything is brand new and that your buyer can just move in without having to take down someone else’s wallpaper or install new appliances, the value of new construction can far outweigh that of an existing home.
4. New construction homes take too long to build
If inventory, or “spec,” homes are available from a builder, buyers could move into a new construction home just as quickly as an existing home, if not sooner, depending on the closing/move-in dates of the existing home. In many cases, new homebuyers can move into an inventory home within 60 days. In addition, even for a ground-up home, the timing is far shorter than most people think. Currently at our Creekside at Inverness Ridge community, homes are complete within about five months. For most people, once you have found a buyer for your existing home, secured your financing and prepared to move, that timing works out ideally.
5. New construction homes are too “cookie cutter” for my client
In most cases, today’s new construction homes aren’t the vanilla boxes some people associate with a production builder. I like to call them “semi-custom.” Just about every builder in Chicago offers some level of customization, ranging from different exterior features to small structural changes, like bay windows and butler pantries. We take each buyer on a case-by-case basis, and are happy to work with them to customize just about any aspect of our floor plans. We know that for today’s buyers, one-size-fits-all isn’t an option.
Brian Brunhofer is the president of Meritus Homes. For more information on Meritus Homes and its new construction communities in Inverness, Naperville, St. Charles and Long Grove, as well as its “Made For You” custom homebuilding program, visit www.meritushomebuilders.com.