Jan
04

10 steps to buying a new construction home

There are many moving parts you should keep in mind when considering building a new construction home in Florida. We took some time to outline some of the more important ones here in order for you to better understand the process.

  1. Pre-qualification with our preferred construction lender
  2. View our models, floor plans, elevations and understand the standard features and upgrades of each
  3. Understand local building restrictions, assessments and lot improvement costs
  4. Lot selection and contract execution
  5. Home, floor plan, elevation and upgrade selection
  6. Close on the house and lot contract
  7. Home color and feature selection
  8. Permitting/hard build period
  9. Final walk through, punch out certificate of occupancy
  10. Enjoy your new home!

Step 1 – Pre-qualification with our preferred construction lender

Pre-qualification either by a lender or providing proof of funds for a cash purchase is one of the most important steps in the construction process.  Once properly qualified, it will better guide your sales person as to the home models, features and lot options that fit within your given budget.  Our focus is to build you the best quality home for the best price, staying within your given budget.

For Cash buyers:

Make sure and provide copies of a bank statement(s) containing the necessary funds to purchase both the home and your desired lot. Make sure all bank statements are dated within the last 30 days.

For Financing Buyers:

Construction financing is a lot different from financing an existing home. A bank takes on a lot of additional risk providing financing for a home that needs to be constructed vs that of one that is completed. There are a limited number of banks available that provide construction financing because of this additional risk involved. You should take some time to review the different new construction financing options that are available so that you can ensure you apply for the correct financing product for your new construction home.  For an overview of the financing programs available you can visit our Financing Options Page.

Once you gain a basic understanding of the new construction loan products available it is important to fill out our online pre-qualification form so that we can forward it to one of our preferred lenders. Keep in mind, we will never take your social security number or date of birth on our online application, this will be gathered by the lender directly once you speak to them.

After you complete your application we will put you in touch with the relevant preferred mortgage lender based on your lending needs. It is important to speak with, and qualify with our preferred mortgage lenders because they have particular expertise and experience with the various loan products specific to our construction lending programs. It is VERY IMPORTANT to cover all of the various details relevant to these specific loan products in order to ensure you get the most lending value.

THE MAJORITY OF COMPLICATIONS THAT ARISE IN NEW CONSTRUCTION REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS OFTEN RESULT FROM NOT QUALIFYING CORRECTLY AND COMPLETELY IN ADVANCE OF BEGINNING YOUR PURCHASE

Step 2 – View our models, floor plans, elevations, and understand our standard features and upgrades of each

You will work directly with a Sposen new construction specialist who will take the time to get you educated on our floor plans, pricing, standard features and available upgrades. We make sure to go over the construction process and assist you with fully understanding every aspect of constructing a new home.

Our new construction home specialist will spend the time necessary to explain each floor plan, the features of the home that are standard as well as the upgrades that are available. This is important so we can align ourselves with your interests, capabilities and goals.

Step 3 – Understand local building restrictions, assessments and additional lot improvement costs.

It is important that prior to purchasing a lot that you get a better understanding of any of the local building restrictions, assessments and lot improvement costs.

  • BUILDING RESTRICTIONS have to do with minimal lot sizes as well as zoning laws. Most cities require a minimal of 10,000 square feet in order to build a single-family home. However some exceptions may apply, it is important to work with a local new construction expert such as Sposen Signature homes in order to gain a complete understanding of any of the local building restrictions.
  • ASSESSMENTS FOR CITY WATER/SEWER: Assessments are placed on lots when the city or county “improves” by adding city water and sewer hookups.       An assessment is basically a lien on the property to ensure that the cost of the city water and sewer is paid back. Assessments payments are paid within the annual tax bills. Assessments can be paid off at the time of your purchase or you can assume the assessments from the lot seller. Assumption of assessments is very common in all of our building areas; it is truly your preference.
  • ADDITIONAL LOT IMPROVEMENT COSTS: If the lot is waterfront we will need to identify if it will require a seawall or if one is already in place. Seawalls provide a buffer between your land and the water. If the lot is oversized or has a lot of trees on the property line boarding the water, we may need to add additional costs to the home contract.       Feel free to ask if you do not know and we will drive by and inspect the property.

Step 4 – Lot selection and contract execution

Lot selection is a KEY DECISION in the build process. It is very important to identify a parcel that is consistent with your needs, goals, expectations, and abilities. After you fully understand and are comfortable with the needs, requirements, and terms of the loan products available with one of our preferred mortgage representatives, you will begin the process to secure a lot to build upon. Because we build in multiple areas our home pricing include allowances for city water/sewer hookups, fill/clearing and permits/impact fees. Any credits or debits based on the allowances against the actual costs associated with the area in which you are interested in building will be reflected on the house contract.

There are a few things to take into consideration when looking for lots.

  • NON CITY WATER/SEWER LOTS – If you have or are interested in a lot that is not on city utilities we will need to add the cost of a well and septic tank to the home contract.
  • FILL AND CLEARING – We will need to verify the lot improvement costs for clearing any vegetation present on the lot as well as the cost of bringing in enough fill dirt to raise the lot up to an acceptable building grade as required by local building codes. This is done by one of our construction specialist driving by the lot and inspecting it. Keep in mind, the more trees and vegetation present on a lot that need to be removed, the more dirt we will need to bring in to fill the hole(s) left by extracting the stump(s).
  • COST OF PERMIT AND IMPACT FEES – Permits and impact fees vary based on the county and the city in which the lot is located. We will be able to better educate you on the actual costs of permits and impact fees once we understand the area that you would like to build in.
  • CONTRACT TERMS: We like to have a minimal of a 5-day feasibility period on all lot contracts.       This gives us time to go out and visually inspect the lot to ensure that the allowances included in the contract will cover any of the costs of necessary improvements. For finance transactions, closings should take place a minimal of 30-45 days from the time the contract is written.       This allows the necessary time to work with the bank and communicate any of your information to them. Cash contracts can close as soon as the title work is complete. Once we have a lot contract that is agreed on by both seller and buyer we will move to the next step.

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Step 5- Model, Floor Plan, elevation and upgrade selection

This step is as important as any, we will have already considered this KEY DECISION in our last step, as it is paramount that you understand the relationship between the lot selection, the model, floor plan, elevation and the upgrades that will likely be utilized once the lot is under contract. We will create a separate contract (builder contract) reflecting the specific model, floor plan and upgrades that you have decided on. That contract will be available for you to review fully prior to execution. The proper deposits will be collected at this time based on the contract type (financing/cash). Once under contract with the builder we will communicate the contracts to the various parties involved (Preferred mortgage and title representatives).

The builder contract will include the following:

  • Builder contract
  • Plans and specifications for your home
  • Standard features
  • Upgrade and allowance addendum
  • Draw payment schedule (if financed this may be provided by the bank)

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Step 6 – Close on the house and lot contract

The house and lot contract will most likely close simultaneously.

For Cash Buyers:

Cash buyers will bring the total required cash to closing. The total will include the lot/land closing as well as the construction contract cost found in the builder contract. The HUD will outline the closing disbursements as well as the future disbursements agreed upon based on the draw payment schedule addendum in the builder contract.

For Finance buyers:

The loan products and processes that are utilized in the planning and acquisition of both a parcel of land (lot) and the contract for construction is not your average mortgage process. The loan closing will require substantial interaction with your Mortgage Representative to ensure that everything is done to satisfy the lender’s needs in order to close. Upon reviewing financial information the lender may require additional documentation, please be prepared to provide additional documentation as requested by the lender.

Step 7 – Home color and feature selection

Within 30 days of closing on your construction and lot contract you will be contacted by your Sposen homes new construction specialist to schedule an appointment at the design center to pick out the following:

  • Cabinets
  • Granite countertops
  • Flooring and wall tile
  • Lighting and plumbing fixtures
  • Interior and exterior paint
  • Shingle/ Tile roof color
  • Appliances (if applicable)

We will work with you if you need to make a couple appointments as we understand this is a critical step. We want your home to look just the way you want it. All color and feature selections must be done within 45 days of closing in order to ensure we maintain the construction schedule and completion timeline. Any delays in this will delay the construction of your home.

Step 8 – Permitting/Hard build period

The construction of your home is broken down into the following steps:

  • Secure Permits/Confirm color selections
  • Draw One – Slab Poured
  • Draw Two – Cement block walls, tie beam, framing and trusses, roof felt, tub set, rough electric, rough A/C, windows and door bucks
  • Draw Three – Windows and entry doors set, stucco, finished roof, sliding glass door set, wall installation, drywall and drywall finish
  • Draw Four – Cabinets and vanities installed, baths tiled, interior/exterior paint, inside trim, soffit and fascia, ceiling insulation
  • Draw Five – Install plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, all flooring, screen enclosures, drive and walkways, A/C compressor. Complete the final grade sod and shrubs, final cleaning and punch out, certificate of occupancy.

Step 9 – Final walk-through, punch out and certificate of occupancy

Prior to completion and calling for certificate of occupancy, you will walk through the completed property with one of our new construction representatives. Any issues will be identified and placed on a “Punch out” list for completion. We will quickly resolve any punch list items.

 Step 10 – Enjoy your new home!

This is by far the easiest step. Keep in mind that your Sposen Signature Home comes with a 1-year builder warranty. You will be provided a phone number and email address in order to report any warranty claims. We stand behind our product and will expedite all requests.

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