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The Selection Process—Easier Than You Might Think

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Getting a new home is incredibly exciting and many people find the selection process that goes along with it rather intimidating. There’s a lot of decisions you’ll have to make as a new homeowner, everything from paint colors, wood finishes, flooring options, floor plans, and more. 

Even so, you don’t have to dread the selection process. It’s actually easier than you might think. Builders these days make it simpler than ever to choose a builder, a community, and a floor plan. 

Here are some tips to make the selection process even more manageable. 

1- Start by Getting Pre-qualified

It’s certainly not the most entertaining part of the process but getting pre-qualified with a lender before you really dive into the selection process can save you headaches down the line. Everyone has to work within their budget and it’s good to know what kind of numbers you’re dealing with ahead of time. You don’t want to get attached to a floor plan or community only to realize later that it’s outside of your approved loan amount.  

Once you decide on a builder, inquire if they have a premium lender they prefer you work with. These lenders know the construction process, complete numerous closings per year with the builder and in general make the process go much smoother. While there is not a financial gain for the builder, they do offer you incentives to use these premium lenders, as the process will go much smoother, with fewer hiccups, when these lenders are used – and that benefits everyone! 

2- Figure Out a Budget for Upgrades/Options

In line with the financial side of things, it’s also a good idea to sit down and think about how much additional money you have available to spend on upgrades and options for the home beyond the base plan. 

You will also want to decide if you want to spend extra for a premium lot. As they say, “Location, location, location.” This might include a lot with open space to the sides or behind it, a corner lot, or a larger lot. 

This is a good time to decide what additional expenses are likely to be worthwhile and feasible for you.

3- Decide on the Essentials

To make the selection process as easy as possible, you should start big and then narrow things down by getting into the smaller details. The big questions you should be asking yourself at the outset of the process are what qualities of the home and community are must-haves for you.

In terms of community, ask yourself things like: Do you need to live near family or a job in a specific location? What amenities do you absolutely need like pools, golf courses, or parks? Are you interested in belonging to an HOA? Is there a specific school district you want to be in?

As for the home itself, some pertinent questions are: Do you want a multi-level home or ranch? Do you want a finished basement? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need at the minimum? Do you need a multi-suite floor plan? Do you need formal areas or an office?

These are all essential questions in the selection process that will help you narrow your options considerably. If you take the time to answer them all or at least spend some time thinking about them, you’ll be in better shape going forward. 

4- Compare Prices and Features/Options

Once you’ve narrowed down your search significantly, you can start really comparing your options. Just make sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. By that, we mean it’s important to note what each builder is including in their prices so you’re able to get the best deal while still getting all the features and options you want. 

Ask about things like finished basements, standard flooring options and upgrades, the kinds of brands the builder uses, and any energy or water-saving features the builder plans to include. You should also know whether the builder would allow you to make a few custom changes or not. All of these are relatively small details that could make a big difference in the selection process. 

5- Evaluate the Builders

Until now, the focus has been the homes and the communities, not the qualities possessed by the builder. When it comes down to it, you want to make sure you choose a builder with whom you can have a strong working relationship. 

Do they communicate well with you? Do you like their attitude and outlook about the process? Do you feel like they listen and understand your needs? How involved will the builder allow you to be in the process? These are all important details that will significantly influence your experience and the final product of the home. You might even ask for references and reviews/recommendations. 

By following these tips, you can make the selection process as smooth and easy as possible, and in the end, you will love your home that much more!

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