Is building a new home the right choice?

So you and your Realtor look diligently at every new home on the market that might fill your needs, and still have found nothing. You scour every website, newspaper, homes magazine, and even drive through neighborhoods you like, and still nothing suits you.

Have you asked your Realtor to check into new construction? Have you considered a large addition or remodel of a home you saw?

The perfect home might just be an addition, remodel or new build away, and your Realtor can help. First, ask them about homes they show and sell, and if they know who built them. Good (and bad) builders get a reputation fast. Looking at homes that have stood the test of time, we know who we would want to build our next home. We also know where there are land or lots for sale. Helping put you together with a builder, on a lot you will love, is what Realtors do.

If you are touring a home that isn’t quite right, and you think “if only that wall weren’t there,” or “I need that bathroom bigger and handicap accessible,” there are solutions. Many times we go back for second and third showings with builders to help buyers make a decision.

Choosing the right builder can be a challenge, but start with reputation. Check with the Home Builders Association and the NARI, the National Association of Remodeling Industry — they have standards and suggestions about who to look for. Always ask. Ask what builder’s homes resell well. If you are talking to a builder, ask them for a list of every home they have built in the last two years and drive by them. Ask the Better Business Bureau. This is a big decision so ASK.

Once you find a builder / remodeler you can work with, get the contract and take it to your attorney. There are literally thousands of decisions that will need to be made before, during and after construction, so you need to be prepared not only to make them, but understand them. Financing new construction is a bit different than buying a home and local banks are the very best resource for you to talk to. Remember that the bank is not only financing you for 20 to 30 years, they are also concerned with the builder being able to complete it on time and on budget. No one wants to get halfway through construction and not be able to complete it.

If you are truly considering new construction, think about how you live and what rooms you use and need the most. Every door on the first floor should be at least 34 inches wide to accommodate wheelchairs and I urge you to make the ground floor handicap accessible. These are relatively small costs in new construction, but they will add generations of use and resale value far above their cost.

Realtors know that remodeling or building new will add months to the process of getting in to your new home, but it is a great and viable alternative when your dream home just isn’t on the market.

Darlene Mink-Crouse is the 2018 president of the Warren Area Board of Realtors.

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