With so many new developments and communities popping up in Edmonton (check out our two part series on the fastest growing Edmonton communities, part one here and part two here) many home buyers are spending as much time looking at show homes in these new up-and-coming communities as they are viewing pre-owned homes.
Buying a brand new home from a developer or builder is a popular choice, especially in a city like Edmonton where we are growing quickly. And there’s a lot to love about buying new: Often you can add customizations and upgrades to an existing plan because your home isn’t completed yet. Newer homes are often built to a higher energy efficiency rating than older homes on the market, come with more modern appliances, and often have lower maintenance costs in the near future.
But it’s important to keep your head and not get distracted by the “WOW” potential of a show home. Just like when you buy a pre-owned home, it’s important to understand what you’re looking at versus what you’re getting. Here are 5 mistakes many homebuyers make when buying an Edmonton new build home, and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Buying (and Believing) the Floor Plan
Sometimes there isn’t even a show home to walk through in the layout you are interested in, so you’re forced to buy from looking at floor plans. This can be tricky, because often the square footage is calculated for the entire space – including closets, balconies, and storage rooms – rather than the actual living space available. Also, keep an eye out for details on artist renderings that may not translate to the real thing: Door or window details sketched out by an artist for marketing purposes may not make it into the final build, or – like many things – may be upgrades and add to your bottom line. It’s a good idea if you’re buying from a floor plan to ask for more detailed breakdowns of room sizes make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.
Mistake #2: Upgraded Show Homes That Dazzle
Most of the time when you’re actually looking at a new build home, you’re looking at a show home or show suite. It’s important to remember that these show homes are designed to impress, and have been extensively upgraded beyond the base price in order to do so. Those stainless steel appliances in the kitchen? Upgrade. The granite countertops? Upgrade. When you’re walking through the show home take a brochure (or a great Edmonton REALTOR) with you to help you spot these “hidden” upgrades that often come with a bigger price tag, so you don’t fall in love with them and then get sticker shock when you see the real price of the home.
Mistake #3: Skipping the Inspection
Just because a home is brand new doesn’t mean you should skip an inspection! Make sure you go with your builder (and take a pro with you) to your pre-delivery inspection, which is mandatory for all new homes under a warranty. And then again, a few months before your warranty expires, hire a professional home inspection to do another round to make sure anything major that may have been missed gets fixed while you’re home is still under warranty protection.
Mistake #4: You’re Moving Into a Construction Zone
This is particularly important when you’re buying a townhouse or condo unit, but can also have a big impact if you’re buying one of the first homes in a new neighbourhood. If you buy into a new development early, you could be signing on to live in a construction zone, possible for a period of a few years depending on what stage the project is in when you take possession. Living in a construction area includes dust, noise, inconvenience when certain entry points are closed off or blocked, parking disruption, etc.
Mistake #5: Taking it Slow on Warranty Claims
If you spot something that needs to be fixed and is under warranty, go after it immediately, and press hard if you get delays or excuses. Builders and developers may try and stretch it out (and sometimes they may have legitimate reasons to do so) which could put your fixes in jeopardy if your warranty expiry date is coming quick. And, if left un-fixed, many things will quickly get worse – especially in Edmonton, where the cold winters and hot summers take their toll on foundations, brick, and landscaping.
Thinking about buying a new build home in Edmonton and want expert advice? Contact The Paranych Team to assist you with buying a brand new home, condo, or townhouse in one of Edmonton’s new and growing communities!