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5 Things to Look for in New Home Construction

Buying a home can be a harrowing process, considering everything that could go wrong if you select a property that ends up being subpar. And if you’re a first-time homebuyer, there’s a good chance that you don’t even know what questions you should be asking or what you should look for in order to make sure that a property will provide you with the safe and functional living space you need for years to come. For this reason you may feel a bit more comfortable looking at new home construction rather than risking the deterioration and other issues that frequently occur with older homes. Even still, you want to make sure that the brand new house you select meets all of your criteria. So here are just a few things you’ll want to consider before you buy.

  1. Proper grading, drainage, and soil composition. You might expect there to be issues with the land a home is built on if the property is older, since certain building codes are relatively recent. But if you’re looking only at new construction, the property should be graded and outfitted with drainage that is meant to carry water away from your home, rather than towards it where it can cause damage. And the soil composition should be appropriate for your area and any conditions you might face, such as inclement weather or earthquakes, for example.
  2. Reputable builders. When purchasing a newly constructed home, it’s important to find out what you can about the builders. If they’ve been around for a while you should be able to view other developments they’ve constructed in order to get some indication of how their work holds up over time, and you can, of course, check out the Better Business Bureau website to see if they’ve had many complaints. But you can probably figure that any company that’s been in the area for many years has stayed in business for a reason.
  3. Durable materials. Your home inspector is a great resource when it comes to discovering potential problem areas in a home you’re looking to buy. So you might want to ask what types of materials were used in construction of the home and how long they’re likely to hold up, generally speaking. For example, a standard roof of asphalt shingles may last anywhere from 10-20 years on average, depending on weather conditions. But wooden shingles could last up to 30 years, ceramic tile could last anywhere from 50-100 years, and slate could stay intact on your home for over 100 years (up to 200, by some estimates). Cost varies accordingly, but if you’re buying a new home with the intention of staying, you probably want materials that are going to last the longest, or at least for your lifetime.
  4. Functionality. The relative functionality of any given home depends partly on the builders and partly on the inhabitants. What you want to look for is a home that is inherently functional first, and then one that suits your particular needs. Some examples of general functionality may include central heating and air, a dining room that is attached to the kitchen, a main-floor powder room (for visitors), corner cabinets (rather than those that abut, wasting corner storage space), and an attached garage. The list could go on and on. You’ll simply have to take the time to consider each room for functionality. From there you’ll want to address your own needs, like the number of bedrooms, the size of the backyard, and so on.
  5. Eco-amenities. Not all residential architecture is going to feature the amenities that live up to your eco-friendly sensibilities. But more and more these days, consumers can find green construction if they know what to look for. While solar panels and a geo-exchange are obviously great, especially if you’re looking for a net-zero energy home, you might also want to ask about properties that are built with locally-sourced and sustainable materials, or that have been constructed with less waste and pollution in the building process. It’s not always about what you can see; sometimes you have to ask in order to get what you want in a home.

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