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Avoid the 9 Biggest Mistakes Florida Homeowners are Making that are Costing Them Thousands of Wasted Dollars on Buying Their New Homes

Andrew Bayon
Oct 9 13 minutes read

Not all new homes are created equal. 

No two homebuilders' are the same. They have different products, different customers, different philosophies and values. Every new homebuilder runs their business differently.

We're going to talk about the elephant in the room. Not all new homes are built well, and many times there are problems. It is not uncommon to hear horror stories. While there are less than there used to be, they still happen. 

Someone who works directly with us bought a new home from a different builder because she wanted a particular location, and she needed the home fast. She bought her family's dream home, it was absolutely beautiful and not cheap. After she closed on her home and moved in, she experienced what many new homeowners experience, issues. She had problems that went 4 pages long. What she thought was her dream home turned out to be a major headache. Not to mention dealing with the company to fix the problems will take a lot of time but hopefully it won't cost her any money, we hope. 

While we won't put ourselves on a pedestal and say we don't have any problems at all, our issues tend to be far less and minor. Small issues are not a rare occurrence, brand new home needs time to settle. All new products have issues, bugs or other problems.

Take a look at Apple, they roll out a new iPhone every year like clockwork. Anyone who has bought a brand new iPhone on release knows that there is a high likelihood of bugs and errors. This is common for tech companies, but it is still a surprise for customers. It happens often yet many customers expect the product to be perfect

If a company waited for a product to be perfect before they released it, there would never be any products on the market. 

New homes are no different than the tech industries. New homes have issues usually related to "settling". However, sometimes it can be more than just a home settling, it could be a builder issue. When it comes to buying a new home you want to get the most for your money, and you want to know you made a worthwhile purchase

New homes also have the potential to be expensive definitely when you add all the bells and whistles. It is easy to overspend and pay too high for little value in return. 

I've been in sales my entire career, and there is one thing I would never waiver. I could never sell a product I could not believe in. I never wanted to sell something that was not truly worthwhile. I believe the value you get and the quality of the product should outweigh the price you pay. I want you to get the most out of your money. 

Here at Arjen Homes, that is why quality is a core value in the homes we build. We don't just want to build boring, cookie-cutter homes. We want to build premium homes that stand apart. We know that not everyone can or will buy the new homes that we build, but that doesn't mean we can't help you. 

As you can see, there are several issues when it comes to buying a new home that need to be addressed. Here are the biggest mistakes Florida homeowners are making that are costing them thousands of wasted dollars on buying their new home. 

Mistake #1: Some new home prices don’t include upgrades, they have a “starting price”

When you start shopping for a new home one thing that you may notice is that when it comes to new construction, the starting price may not be where you end up.

We have a lot of potential clients we meet with. One of the biggest things we have noticed is that when we hand our clients our spec sheet, there are no surprises. They know exactly what they are getting for the price.

We had a client who took our sheet and went to another builder and all we wanted her to do is compare apple to apples. In the end, to get a home that would be comparable, it would have cost an extra $60,000. 

You will sometimes have to pay extra for tray ceilings, crown molding, baseboards, different countertops, better flooring, a bigger shower, adding a sliding glass door, appliances, better plumping fixtures, lighting fixtures, ceiling fans, landscaping, fencing, impact windows, spray foam insulation, concrete construction and much more.

There are many things you may not think about at first, but when presented with all the options like the dollar menu at taco bell it becomes very easy to overspend.

In the homes that we build quality is a core value, for example, we do not believe in carpet. We will never put carpet in a home of ours. 

In our new homes, there are no surprises with the price. We put so many finishes and upgrades in our homes, most of our clients do not need to upgrade anything else, unless they want to.

Mistake #2: Adding features to your new home can be expensive & they may not add any resale value

If it isn’t evident already, upgrading a home is not cheap.

When you go to a new construction home and are handed a menu of all of the options, it becomes very easy to go on a shopping spree. Except that shopping spree will quickly come to halt once you end up seeing the cost to build.

You want to make sure you are spending money where it will help you.

Here are some upgrades that are worth it:

Mistake #3: Not shopping around for lenders who have the sole interest of helping you financially

Using the builder lender can sound great, but if they really are not the best lender with the best program for you, then you shouldn’t use them.

Many times builders will sell you their lender by saying you save $x on closing costs, or get “Flex cash”, or $x for upgrades. When that’s their way of enticing you to use them.

If you don’t shop around then you may make the mistake of not getting the best lender. Knowledge is power.

A builder may say you will get $12,000 in incentives if you choose us. However, an outside lender may save you some percentage points on your interest rate over the life of the loan. That “incentive” then ends up more expensive for you in the long run.

When you don’t do any prior research understanding the current market then you will not know all the different mortgage options and rates available for you. Which puts you at a disadvantage. When you don’t hold any of the cards or leverage, then you walk in unarmed and vulnerable. You will not know what’s good and what’s bad.

While we offer a preferred lender, we never incentivize in bad faith. We only work in good faith. If they offer you the best rates and best program, use them. If not use whoever is best for you.

Mistake #4: Not relying on Real Estate experts 

"My neighbor/brother/friend is a lawyer, lender or realtor"

Using a “family/friend” realtor, lender, attorney, inspector, is a very common practice. Even though they may be family, it is in your best interest to work with the best possible person

A home is your biggest investment. You don’t want to work with someone just because you feel like you owe them. You want to work with the best possible person who will serve you the best.

Just because someone is a lawyer doesn’t mean they are the best for real estate law. You want an expert who is related to not only the industry but the area as well. When buying a new home it can be beneficial to work with someone who has expertise in new construction.

Mistake #5 Negotiating without knowledge will deprive you of costly builder assistance programs

When you walk into a gun fight with a knife you will lose.

When it comes to negotiating, if you do not know the cards you hold and what leverage you have, you will lose.

You need to know where, when, and how to push. That is why it is important to work with an expert. 

Mistake #6 Waiving the right to your new home inspection just because it is a new home

This is a very common issue right now. In a seller’s market where homebuyers are being pushed into closing a deal before anyone else does makes it a very dangerous environment for buyers.

You aren't saving any money by skipping a home inspection or by paying a non-expert to do one.

A couple hundred dollar inspection on a 6 or 7 figure investment is worth it.

You may think that you are saving yourself time or money but you are only costing yourself more time, money, and a much bigger headache in the long run. Plus, if a builder is rushing the completion of the home then that could potentially sacrifice the overall quality. It is never recommended to skip the inspection, definitely on resales. 

When you skip the inspection you open yourself up to the risk that there may be problems with the home. All of these latent defects could have been easily revealed and addressed if a proper home inspection was done. As we said in our earlier story, if the family we knew who bought a new home used a home inspection, they could have addressed those 4 pages of problems before they closed. 

You want to use an independent home inspector who is not affiliated with the builder. As well as check the builders’ reputation. 

Think of the home inspection as a Tylenol for your future headaches. It helps you discover the condition of the home that you are buying. This can not only save you time and money in repairs, but it will affect your home insurance. With a home inspection, you understand exactly what you are buying

We take pride in making sure our homes always pass inspection. This way we know that we are handing our clients a quality new home. 

Mistake #7: Buying a new home that is tract built where you are sacrificing quality for speed

You should never sacrifice the quality of your new home for being finished a week or 1 month earlier. Is 1 month now worth years of headaches, or thousands of dollars in the long run? 

A home that was rushed to completion will never be the same.

You want a builder who has a strong attention to detail.

We will never sacrifice the quality of a new home, even to finish it a week or 2 earlier.

Mistake #8: Not checking a new home builder's reputation and customer satisfaction

A builder's reputation and customer satisfaction is everything.

Whether or not their clients are actually happy with their purchase will reflect on the quality of home that they have built. 

You can check with realtors or past clients and see what other people say about the builder before you use them. 

We are proud to say that we are in the top 4% of all contractors in Florida and that we have many happy clients.

Mistake #9: Sacrificing the quality of your new home for the location

I know what you may be thinking, but doesn't everyone say "location, location, location". Yes and no.

The problem is that the "best location" is subjective to your personality, priorities, and preferences (3 P's). 

You can push hard to look for a home in the "perfect" neighborhood, but the truth is your options are limited based on the market.  

What may be a good location now, may not be good in 5 to 10 years. You have to look around and see what is going on. Not only that but if you are buying a home in "the place to be" while the market is growing, then you are potentially paying a premium that may never appreciate. 

Home location is a tough battle to balance in your new home search. Quality and size of your home for the price you pay, are inversely correlated with how desirable the location.  You want to do your best to meet both sides in the middle. You never want to completely sacrifice the quality of your home or your location for the other

This graph is a general example (there are always variables & different circumstance). Your money does not go as far in different zip codes. Certain zip codes can give you more for your money. 

This is why it is important to understand what your top priorities are , when it comes to a new home, that way you can make the best decision for you. We made another article and short 30 sec. video to help you with that as well. 

You want to know where you can be flexible and where you will not be. This can help if you are struggling to find the right home.

We hope this helped! This way you can avoid some of the common mistakes when you decide to buy your new home. 

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