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Tips for Buying New Home Construction – The Stephen Cooley Real Estate Show

In today’s episode of the Stephen Cooley Real Estate Show, Stephen and Julie Storm discuss the things you need to look out for when buying new home construction from builders.

Stephen’s top tips to consider:

  • Get a home inspection.
  • If the home is on a basement or slab, also include a radon test.
  • Go online and read reviews.
  • Walk the neighborhood and ask yourself: How does the neighborhood smell? What sounds do you hear? Go after work when people are home. Go on the weekends, meet some neighbors and ask them – Do you like the neighborhood? Do you like the neighbors? Do you like the builder? How did the builder treat you?

For more recommendations watch the full episode below:


Prefer to read? Here are the transcripts of the video:
(Please excuse spelling and grammar errors)

STEPHEN: Hello, I’m Stephen Cooley and welcome to Stephen Cooley Real Estate Show. It’s always an honor to have Julie Storm back on the show with me.

JULIE: Thanks so much.

STEPHEN: Welcome to the show, Julie.

JULIE: Pleasure to be here.

STEPHEN: Julie, we’re talking about how hot the real estate market is. It’s almost as hot as it is outside.

JULIE: Absolutely.

STEPHEN: And one thing I wanted to talk about today to our viewers were if they’re buying a new construction home things they need to look out for that’s probably a little bit different than if they’re buying a resale property.

JULIE: It is a lot to navigate. I have a friend of mine actually out of this area that’s buying new construction, and she calls me every day going “Oh my gosh this is unbelievable”.

STEPHEN: Absolutely, you’re dealing with the construction of the property and there’s a lot of things going on whether it’s fun because you get to pick out sometimes your colors and your carpet and all that. But there’s some hazards too, so the first recommendation I have Julie is the builder will pay buyer’s agents. Take one with you. The buyer’s agents have been through this process before, they know what builders are good, they know what builders are great, and they know what builders are not so great and they can share that we do when they represent you. I just went back and looked and we just put a home under construction this week, and I really I measured the paperwork. It’s an inch and a half thick of what the buyers signed prior to the home being built and people really need to know that when you go on-site, and you’re dealing with that salesperson, they’re representing the seller. It’s just like walking onto a car lot, you know, that the salesperson is representing the product owner, just like when you go into the mall you know that if you’re buying a sweater the person working at the sweater store represents the product owner. That salesperson in that new construction office – their job is to get the builder the most money under the best terms and so why would you not have a free representative there with you to make sure that what you’re signing represents you and not the builder.

The second thing that I would recommend is that before they close on the home when they do their final walkthrough get a full-blown home inspection.

JULIE: I can attest to that I bought a new construction one time and did not get an inspection and a month later we had some problems.

STEPHEN: Absolutely and the builders use different subs throughout these neighborhoods and so the subs built the neighbor’s house may not have built your home and you want to really make sure those things got done. Several reasons you want to make sure you’re getting a good home in a safe home, we just recommended one to a buyer who is buying a new construction. They really did not want to have a new construction inspection. We talked them into it. Julie, we found a carbon monoxide dumping from the heating system into the bedrooms. It could have been deadly for that family if they would have closed on the home in the summer and turned on the heat that winter so that’s an extreme example but it’s definitely a true one. The other thing that I would recommend is if the home’s on a basement or slab also include a radon test. We have high radon in our area it’s the second leading cause of lung cancer. If you’re on a crawl space, like my home is, then that vents, the dirt and you don’t have radon.

JULIE: Who does a radon test?

STEPHEN: The home inspector can also do a radon test. It’s a little kit that sits inside the home for three days and measures the radon. There’s radon in the air we breathe. It’s just being trapped inside the home and you really need to know that before your exposure and it can be remedied if that’s just something else you need to know. But that will also give you a final punch list for the builder.

I would also recommend before the years up when the builders are  100% responsible for the home maybe right one that years up have another home inspection. I get them every three years on my existing house. So you just really want to make sure while the builder will fix stuff that he fixes it.

JULIE: That’s the checkup for your home.

STEPHEN: Absolutely a checkup for your house. The third thing is to go online and read reviews. We read reviews before we go to a movie or before we eat in a restaurant.

JULIE: Or before we buy a lipstick.

STEPHEN: Yeah, go and read the reviews on the builder. The third is, we all love to exercise these days, park your car at the clubhouse at the pool in the neighborhood and walk the neighborhood. How does the neighborhood smell? What sounds do you hear? Go after work when people are home. Go on the weekends, meet some neighbors and ask them – Do you like the neighborhood? Do you like the neighbors? Do you like the builder? How did the builder treat you? How’s the traffic pattern getting in and out of here during rush hour and things like that that the neighbors know and I promise you they will be bitterly honest. And those some things that you can just do that are really at no cost. It’s just putting some investigating into it. A lot of these on-site folks are trying to get you to go into a contract the day you go out to the neighborhood. So pause a minute, do these things and you’ll be sure that you’re getting a good home.

JULIE: And people sometimes have a false sense of security thinking “Oh, it’s all new and fresh and all that but I mean there are still issues that can happen.

STEPHEN: Absolutely, and it’s really it’s our most expensive investment. We’re buying it for a lifetime. We want it to increase in value in case we ever sell it. You really need to make sure that the product’s well built so it can withstand the test of time, storms, hurricanes that come through and you really want to make sure the house is safe from things that could be a hazard to your family.

JULIE: And then as a shopper or buyer if I come and get a buyer’s agent to help me with this it’s not going to be a cost to me.

STEPHEN: Yeah, that’s the biggest part of this as a buyer’s agent is free to the buyer, the builder has set aside money to pay the buyer’s agent. You don’t get that money if you go without us so call one of my agents on my team 803-985-1240 or visit us at Most likely we’ve dealt with the builder already in that neighborhood and we can even use that past experience to give you advice on how to navigate through this.

JULIE: Like having a professional contract negotiator.

STEPHEN: Absolutely, Julie. Thanks for being on today’s show. We’ve got beautiful homes for sale in your area, please stay tuned. We’ll be right back.

I hope you’ve enjoyed watching the Stephen Cooley Real Estate Show. If you’re interested in advertising your business on the program, please give us a call at 803-326-2777. Join us next week for more discussions on real estate topics and help in finding your perfect home. Thanks for watching.

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Crystal – Terri and I enjoyed meeting you today. Your attention to the sale of our condo was fantastic. We wouldn’t think of doing business with anyone but the Cooley Group in the future. Thanks for all your help! Mike & Terri
Mike & Terri

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