Buying a new home always comes with mixed emotions. There’s the general excitement of a new, exciting beginning. However, there’s also some anxiety that comes with it, especially when you’re purchasing ‘off the blueprint.’ Many of you are likely wondering how to buy a pre-construction home and if it’s the right fit for your family.
This post serves as an essential guide for buying a pre-construction home. After reading it, you’ll have all the information you need to make a confident and informed decision.
What is a Pre-Construction Home?
Before you learn how to buy a pre-construction home, let’s answer a common question we often receive: what is a pre-construction home?
A pre-construction home is a home that has not yet been built. Typically, there are two pre-construction lot options for purchase:
- Public lots that you can purchase. From there, you can bring your own builder to design & construct your house. We have a selection of public lots available in Sherwood Golf & Country Club Estates. Far larger than your average Edmonton lot, you can build your dream home and still have tons of space to create your own backyard oasis.
- Purchasing a lot & home direct from the builder. Once you’ve purchased the lot, the builder will construct the model home.
Typically, a builder will have a showhome established in the community in which you can tour. While it might not be the exact model you’ll eventually live in, it’ll give you a good idea of the builder’s style and the quality of their work. That being said, builders will also have floorplans and renderings of their models, so you’ll have some visual information before purchasing a pre-construction home.
Rather than purchasing from a homeowner, you’ll buy the pre-construction home directly from the builder, meaning you won’t have to ‘shop’ around and place competitive offers on an older home.
Benefits of Buying a Pre-Construction Home
You’ve likely been searching for a home for a while. You might’ve even put in a couple of offers, all while waiting in anticipation until it ultimately got rejected by a higher offer. When the housing market is competitive, finding a home that checks your boxes, fits your budget, and is still available can be extremely stressful and frustrating.
However, buying a pre-construction home offers an alternative, where you don’t have to worry about bidding wars or the disappointment of finding your dream home, only to discover an offer has already been accepted. In some cases, potential buyers are putting in offers over the purchase price.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of buying a pre-construction home:
You’re the First Owner
When you purchase a pre-construction home, it’s the very definition of brand new. No other owners have lived there before.
It’s Uniquely Yours
By customizing your pre-construction home, you can make it uniquely yours. From choosing different wall colors, cabinet styles, or trim options, you can add your own personal touches. Some builders even allow small changes to the wall location or option ‘bump outs’ for more space!
There’s no denying it: renovations are stressful. From unexpected ‘discoveries’, to added expenses, to disrupted living, buying a project home means your efforts continue even after you purchase your property. However, when you buy a pre-construction home, it’s completely turnkey, so you don’t have to spend the money (or time) on expensive renovations.
What You’ll Need to do Before Buying a Pre-Construction Home
One of the most important aspects on how to buy a pre-construction home is prep work. While buying a house off the market requires research and budgeting, there’s a few differences when it comes to purchasing off the blueprint.
Deciding on a Budget
Depending on where you’re purchasing, pre-construction homes vary quite drastically in price. After all, you’re paying for the location and the lot as much as you’re paying for the building of your home.
One way to stay on budget while getting the home that checks all of your boxes is to purchase a new build outside of the main city. Land in Fort Saskatchewan and Morinville are often less expensive, meaning you can get a better home for a more affordable price. Plus, you still have all the amenities you need, since these are all flourishing and vibrant municipalities.
As mentioned above, touring community showhomes is important to establish the quality of a builder’s work. It’s also a great way to see the developing community from the vantage point of a homeowner.
For each of the communities on our website, we list our builders, along with their showhome information.
Finding the Right Community
One of the most important facets of buying any home is choosing the community that fits the needs and lifestyle of your family. Sit down with your family and make a list of all the things you couldn’t live without. Perhaps, you want quick access to the grocery store, or walking distance to school, or a neighborhood where you can take a walk in nature.
By writing down your priorities, you can start researching different neighborhoods. For instance, our Erin Ridge North community in St. Albert offers the perfect balance between quiet and convenience. Located only a 3 minute drive to a large shopping strip and close to St. Albert Trail, you’re close to amenities, while also having all the luxuries of a new community, including biking trails and parks.
One of the best ways to find new communities is to research land developers in your area. On their websites, they will have a list of their communities, with lot information, a builder list, and insights into the developing community. Additionally, you could also search for home builders in your region and browse through their communities. They’ll also have contact information, where you can inquire about specific details.
Researching Your Builder
Finding your ideal community is only half the process. You’ll also need to find a reputable builder within your chosen community. Research your preferred builds online, paying close attention to:
- Customer reviews and testimonials
- How long they’ve been in business
- Their portfolio
- Their missions and values
- Visit their showhomes
These facets will provide some great insight into the quality of your preferred builder. Each of the builders we choose are all vetted, ensuring the quality of their work reflects the quality of our communities. If you’re looking for reputable builders, start by browsing through our residential communities.
What Is the Process of Buying a Pre-Construction Home
The process of purchasing a new build is quite a bit different than buying a house off of the market. Understanding the process is one of the most important parts of answering how to buy a pre-construction home.
Understanding Your Payment Schedule
When you purchase a home, you typically get qualified for a mortgage then put in offers for homes in your price point. In most cases, you only need a 5% down payment (although, the more you can pay upfront, the less your monthly mortgage payments will be). So when you purchase a home off the market, you’ll still need to have a healthy savings; however, there’s a bit more flexibility.
When you purchase a pre-construction home, you usually need a 20% down payment. You’ll need this savings to receive a mortgage. From there, you’ll pay the down payment to the builder in installments.
This sizable down payment is one of the cons of purchasing a pre-construction home, since it takes a committed budget and savings account to purchase one.
A typical schedule is:
- 5% when you sign the contract, min $5000
- 5% at the 30-day mark
- 5% after 120 days
- 5% when you occupy the home
It’s important to note that this breakdown is an average only. Your preferred builder might have a different payment structure. When you inquire about the home, ask about their installment payments.
- Add-ons and customization: For each customization you make to your new build home, added costs will incur. When you request any customizations, make sure you track your added expenses.
- Tax and lawyer fees: With any home purchase, a sales tax and land transfer tax are required. In addition, you’ll also need a real estate lawyer to close the property and register the new house in your name.
Your New Beginning is Here
One of the best parts of buying a pre-construction home is having a fresh start in a new community. Not only is your house new, but you’ll also have the opportunity to lay down roots in a new neighborhood.