Last week, I shared Part 1 of my blog series on tips for new home buyers. I’m continuing this week with tips on what to do after you’ve signed your new home contract.
- Be Patient. People love instant gratification, whether it’s getting a custom-made latte in a drive through or watching commercial free shows on Netflix. Buying a new home is the complete opposite experience. You’ve just put money down on something that you can’t fully enjoy for at least six months. So mentally prepare yourself for the wait and look at it in a positive light. Use this time to save up extra money on a down payment or new furniture. Also, add a few weeks to whatever timeframe the builder estimated to complete your home. Inevitably something can go wrong, such as bad weather, shortage of supplies, or shortage of labor. So just prepare yourself for a slightly longer wait, and if your home is built sooner, then great!
- Communicate Regularly. From the beginning, find out who is involved in the construction of your home and get their contact information. This can include the sales person in the community, the builder, and sales person at the design center. A good-quality builder will usually call or email you once a week to update you on the progress of your home. My husband and I would jot down questions or concerns we had so that we could ask them all at once in our weekly phone call. This kept everyone on the same page and made us feel like we were in good hands.
- Visit Regularly. As our last home was being built, my husband and I would visit once a week on the weekends to see the progress. Once the framing went up, it was exciting to see new features added every week. Along the way, we also caught a few mistakes, which we were able to share with the builder. For instance, our living room was supposed to have a coffered ceiling covered with wood. On the building plans, however, the air-conditioning ducts and speakers were placed in the middle of the wood ceiling. This would have been an eyesore in something that was supposed to be a focal-point of the room. Fortunately, we noticed this before the sheetrock was installed, making it easy to move the ducts to another location.
- Take Photos. Each week, take a few photos of the progress of your house. This will help you to see how much has been accomplished when you compare current photos with photos a month ago. You can also put all of your photos into an album or slideshow at the end as a keepsake.
- Save Leftover Materials. Ask the builder to save any leftover materials from your house, such as bricks, tiles, or other materials. This will come in handy later on if you want to take a sample to match paint colors, curtains, or other decor. We also used extra bricks to line the edge of a garden in our backyard. Usually, the builder is happy to place excess materials in the attic or garage.
Stay tuned next week for part 3 of this series: tips for after you’ve closed on your new home.