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Frequently Asked New Construction Questions

Key Points

  • Buying and building a new home is fairly complicated. All the more reason to make sure the agent you choose is knowledgeable about the new home construction process!
  • Here at Jaclyn Smith Properties, our buyer specialists are experts in new home construction.
  • Each member of our Jaclyn Smith Properties team told us what their most frequently asked new construction question they hear.

Read time: 5 minutes.


How long does it take to build a new home from start to finish? Katie Wright

Before this question is answered it’s important to factor in securing the building (and septic) permits from the local authorities. It can typically take about 30-45 days to obtain these permits.

Once the builder has the permits in hand the typical build time is about 4-5 months. Remember, weather can also play a factor in build times.

If a home is already under construction, what selections am I able to choose? Sabrina Davis

It depends. Yes, you’ll hear REALTORS® say “it depends” a lot!

If the new home is still at the foundation stage of construction, “typically”, a buyer can choose everything. By everything, we mean:

  • Cabinet color
  • Flooring
  • Interior paint color
  • Exterior vinyl color(s)
  • Granite countertops

As the build process advances, the fewer selections buyers will be able to make.

If framing has started that’s probably an indication the cabinets have been ordered which makes changing those nearly impossible. If the cabinets are in the home that usually means the granite countertops have already been ordered. If the drywall is in, it’s a safe bet the paint and flooring have been ordered.

We recommend buyers (and their agents) confirm the ability and timing of selections with the builder.

Each home is assigned a “Selections Sheet”. This selection sheet outlines what predetermined selections are made before construction begins.

One way to ensure you are able to make all of your selections is to purchase a pre-sale home. More on that below.

upgraded kitchen
Kitchen Upgrades

Can I add my upgrades to the purchase price? Terra Hix

Yes, but…

From time to time buyers will ask for upgrades (like blinds, a farmhouse sink, screening in a back porch, adding built-in cabinets, adding a fence to the backyard, or adding a refrigerator) and have the expenses for those upgrades added to the purchase price of their home.

Please note, the builder may ask for an increased deposit AND you may have to pay for those upgrades out-of-pocket should the home not appraise for the contract price.

Do I need to use the builder’s preferred lender and can they help with my closing costs? Kim Willis

It’s common for a builder to request a buyer use their preferred lender for the buyer’s home loan. Is it a requirement? No.

However, new home buyers can benefit from using the builder’s preferred lender. Here’s why. Often the builder’s construction loans were obtained at the same bank. The documentation to process the buyer’s loan can be sped up thus saving time and expense. These savings can be passed along to the buyer. Plus, the preferred lender may offer rates and terms that are as competitive or even superior to other competing lenders.

As far as closing costs assistance paid by the builder’s preferred lender, we recommend you ask that question to the builder’s preferred lender. Often this is an added perk for choosing to work with a builder’s preferred lender.

Is there an advantage to buying in Phase 1 of a new home community? Bobby Carroll

There are tons of advantages to buying a new home in the first phase of a new home community.

  • You have the choice of the best lots in phase 1.
  • You tend to gain the most appreciation in home values in the first phase.
  • Over time, labor and material costs tend to rise in the next phase which pushes up costs. It’s not uncommon for home prices to increase 1-3% from one phase to another to account for rising labor and material costs.
  • There’s a sense of excitement as everyone is new to the community.

Will the builder negotiate on the price and upgrades? Victoria Luckenbill

Market conditions can impact how builders negotiate price and terms. In the current Johnston County real estate market, builders seldom reduce the list price of their new homes. Here are several reasons why:

  • Builders want to support and maintain consistent home values in the community.
  • Not negotiating the sales price also helps support what previous buyers paid for a home and preserves neighborhood comps. Strong neighborhood comps better position future buyers’ loan appraisals as well. 

There is a saying in real estate that everything is negotiable. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask builders if they will negotiate on upgrades like blinds, a screened-in porch, a fenced backyard, and others.

LionsGate Outdoor Pool

What amenities come with the neighborhood and how much are they? Connor Fagan

Homeowners Associations (HOAs) manage the amenities offered in any given new home community (if they are offered). And the HOA fees tend to vary from community to community. Also, understand not all communities offer “amenities”. Because of this, we recommend you check with your buyer’s specialist. They will be able to answer your specific questions about what amenities are offered in each community and how much the HOA fees are.

The following new home communities give you access to indoor/ outdoor pools, fitness clubs/gyms, miles of walking trails, and a basic golfing package to a number of local FSC golf courses.

Check for amenities on our Jaclyn Smith Properties website. We include a section that identifies what amenities are offered in each neighborhood. Be sure to take a look at all our featured new home communities!

Amenities offered in East River
East River Amenities

What’s your new construction question?

Be sure to leave a comment below or send us a text at (919) 813-0123 and let us know what question you have about buying a new home.

Stay Tuned for Part Two!

In our “Part II post”, we answer even more new construction questions posed to our Jaclyn Smith Properties Team! It’s a quick read, check it out!

One thought on “Frequently Asked New Construction Questions

  1. Very informative and well said all the questions for new construction questions. The reason builders won’t discount their homes is that it messes up their appraisals. With that in mind, they will negotiate upgrades, closing costs, etc. because it doesn’tanyway thank you for sharing this article with us! 🙂

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