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Frequently Asked New Construction Questions – Part 2

Key Points

  • This is part two of our post on the most frequently asked new construction questions posed to our Jaclyn Smith Properties Team.
  • This post answers questions on model homes, builder incentives, warranties & inspections, what are representative photos, pools/fences, standard features versus add-on upgrades, and what are pre-sales.

Read time: 8 minutes.

Do you have a model home for me to walk? Jennifer Proper

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Staged Home in Ashcroft

We understand how helpful it is for buyers to walk a model home. Because of how quickly our homes sell, our builders prefer not to offer “sales center” model homes in each community.

Our builder partners do strive to stage one home in each community. Staged homes are typically staffed by one of our buyer’s specialists on the weekends. Hours vary so it’s best to check with our team for our Open House Schedule.

Staged homes typically offer the standard features for that community with the added bonus of seeing furniture in the most important living spaces for buyers.

Please note, standard features vary from builder to builder and from one new home community to the next.

Window blinds

Do builders offer incentives? Julie Jordan

It depends. While homebuyers are often conditioned to expect new home sales incentives, whether or not an incentive is offered by a builder is often a function of the Johnston County real estate market. If it’s a seller’s market, and the supply of new homes is low, builders may not need to offer sales incentives to sell their homes.

Incentives (if available) to buy a new home can vary from builder to builder. Some builders “may” offer incentives for closing costs, other builders may offer upgrade incentives for items like blinds, and appliances.

We recommend your buyer’s agent check for any available incentives offered by our builder partners.

Does a new home come with a warranty and should I get an inspection? Sarah Morris

The majority of new home builders today provide a One Year Builder Warranty.  Many builders also purchase on behalf of the buyer a 2-10 year structural warranty. It’s important for your buyer’s agent to verify what warranties you will receive from the builder.

Most if not all builders offer a “New Home Orientation”. It’s during this orientation that the buyer receives a binder of your warranties along with the contact information for each subcontractor who had a role in building your new home. During this orientation, buyers also learn about all the systems in their new home.

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Agent reviewing a new home warranty

It’s during this orientation that a buyer “walks-thru” and identifies imperfections in the fit and the finish before closing. The buyer receives a binder of warranties and contact information for each subcontractor who had a role in building their new home.

Yes, it is always recommended you get a home inspection for any home you buy. Here is a website that lists all the licensed home inspectors in the state of North Carolina.

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Example of a Representative Photo

What does it mean when I see a photo of a new home online that says “representative photo”? Sydney Smith

If you see a photo of a new home with the “watermark” that says “Representative Photo” that means the home is in the early stages of construction. The representative photo helps a potential buyer see what the finished home will look like.

This photo is not an actual photo of the home you are inquiring about but rather a photo of this same floor plan built by the builder previously. Please note that when you see the words “Representative Photo” you may still have the ability to add your personal touch to the home through the selections process!

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Can I add a fence or a pool to my new home later? Jaclyn Smith

It depends. We recommend your buyer’s agent contact the neighborhood HOA to see if adding a fence or building a pool is permitted BEFORE you buy the home.

If a pool or a fence is allowed, you’ll probably be asked to submit a form to the HOA’s architectural review board for review. This form typically contains the following elements:

  • Signatures of neighbors granting permission for the addition of your pool or fence (basketball goal, storage building, and other similar structure).
  • Draw on the plot plan where the fence or pool will be located.
  • A photo of a finished pool or fence along with the materials to be used to construct it.

Because pools are more popular than ever, buyers also need to determine if a pool will actually fit on your lot. Remember, Johnston County requires lots with septic lines in the back yard to allow for what’s called a “repair field”. These repair fields are needed in the event additional septic leach lines need to be added in the future. Pools may not be built in a repair field.

Kids sitting on the pool apron

Pool skirts or aprons are a common element of pool construction. These aprons or skirts constructed of concrete, tile, or wood count against the allowable impervious surfaces for your lot. It’s always important to have your buyer’s agent check on the maximum impervious surface that comes with your lot. Once that is known, it’s important your lot never exceeds it.

When I see “standard features” for new homes what does that mean? G.L. Woodard

Developers and their builder partners agree on what standard features will be established for each new home community. It’s possible standard features vary from builder to builder even in the same community.

Components of a new home that constitute standard features include things like:

  • what type of flooring is offered as a standard feature (engineered vinyl plank, engineered hardwoods, carpet)
  • what type of trim level if any is offered (crown molding, chair rail, wainscoting, tray ceiling)
  • what type of roofing shingles are offered (architectural shingles, 3-tab shingles)
  • what style of doors are standard
  • are granite countertops offered
  • is tile backsplash offered as a standard feature

It is strongly recommended your buyer’s agent secure a standard feature list from each builder in a community.

What is a “pre-sale”? Mike DeFuria

A presale home is one that’s for sale that hasn’t been built yet. As previously mentioned, the ultimate advantage to buying a pre-sale home is the ability buyers have to make all your selections. That includes the type of granite countertops you want, the interior paint color, your desired exterior vinyl color(s), and the color of the cabinets.

Another benefit to purchasing a pre-sale is your ability to also select your choice lot and your floor plan. Because some houses are larger than others, just make sure the “house box” will fit on your desired lot.

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.

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