The San Antonio home building market is quite robust. Builders were able to raise prices on many of the new homes sold over comparable new homes from the previous year. Now, more than ever before, it is crucial for a buyer to tour new homes with a non-builder agent representing them. A non-builder Realtor costs a buyer nothing but can save the buyer money and reduce stress by helping negotiate sales price and included options and by clearly communicating the buyer’s wants early in the construction process. Even a small amount of savings matters. Did you know… For every $1,000 home price increase, thousands of people become priced out of the new homes market. As a result of the price increases, it was not surprising that the number of new homes sold in San Antonio fell in August 2014 over the previous year.
The National Association of Home Builders estimates that in Texas, for every $1,000 increase in the cost of a new median-priced home, approximately 18,250 Texans are priced out of the new home buying market. Don’t let that be you. Procrastination is not your friend in this rising price market. Builders here in San Antonio anticipate that new building regulations and increases in construction permits and impact fees will cause prices to spiral even higher. Today, it is impossible to readily buy the same size home for the same price as four years ago but there are creative ways to get a smaller home to feel larger to stay within your budget. Ask Melinda Magee about outdoor living rooms and other options to live larger with less square footage.
New Homes with Outdoor Living Rooms
are Popular Choice with New Home Buyers
San Antonio Realtor Melinda Magee can help a buyer make home style decisions early in the construction process so that costly revisions at the construction stage are unnecessary. Simple decisions, such as whether the placement of the kitchen table dining light is in the right place for the client’s table are often not discussed until the Sheetrock is up and the client is facing an unsightly Sheetrock repair because the light must be moved a foot and the patch job is hideously obvious. While the sales teams at the builder’s model home want to help a buyer, there are thousands of little things that go into making a good new home buying experience and they are unique to every home buyer and time-consuming to explore. Perhaps the buyer loves the idea of lighted holiday decorations above the kitchen cabinets. The construction crew is not going to know the buyer wants an electrical outlet near the top of the kitchen cabinets for the lights unless that need is expressed early in the building process.
In the role of buyer’s agent, Melinda Magee, who is experienced and knowledgeable in purchasing new construction homes, can help prevent buyer disappointment. She does this by anticipating concerns and alleviating anxieties. For example, perhaps a client wants a space-saving “pocket door” that slides into the wall of their new home bathroom. No mention of the pocket door is made to the builder and the walls and electrical are in. Guess what? The pocket door is probably not going to become a reality. Why? First, the walls are probably not thick enough to fit the pocket door because they were not designed for the pocket door. Second, the wiring in the wall for the light switch is probably in the way of the pocket door. In the twelve months ending in 2014, there were 7,811 new homes sold in the Greater San Antonio area, according to Metrostudy. The sheer number of homes with different floor plans, quality of build out, competing “price sales events” and neighborhood features makes finding a new home an exhausting process. This is where San Antonio Realtor Melinda Magee can help. She is a Certified Residential Specialist, has worked in the real estate industry since the mid 1980s and has training in new home construction.
Should I buy a New Home or Pre-Owned Home?
The price of new homes may prevent many buyers from considering a new home, but for those who have the luxury of choosing between a new home and an existing home, there are several considerations:
Benefits of New Homes
- Increased energy efficiency. One of the top benefits of new homes is the energy efficiency. New homes tend to have more energy-efficient windows, insulation, air conditioning, water heaters, and fireplaces. The energy efficiency of a home is measured in a “HERS” rating. The lower the number the more energy efficient a home. A home built to 1970’s code, for example, would have a rating of 130, which means no energy savings and far less comfort. A home built to 2006 code would have a rating of 100, which would mean energy savings of $539 and a slight increase in comfort. New “Energy Star” homes have a rating average of 73. According to HERS, a home with a HERS rating of 80 would save about $898 a year on energy, a home with a rating of 60 would save about $1257 a year in energy, a home with a HERS rating of 40 would save $1616 a year and a rating of 20 would save $1976 a year. Why is an energy efficient home more comfortable? For one, the home has better management of humidity and better management of hot and cold spots. Some homes employ “jump ducts” which transfers air in a bedroom with the door shut to the common area of the house and allows the room to be more comfortable and the HVAC unit to work less hard.
- Better designs and floor Plans. Floor plans and designs are constantly changing based on lifestyle choices. Several decades ago it was common for children 18-25 to form new households apart from their birth family. Nowadays, increasingly they are staying beyond their teen years in their home with their parents. Meanwhile, aging parents and in-laws are resulting the construction of accessory-dwelling units. Pulte has rolled out “casitas” which are stand-alone in-law units off patio areas in response to the demand. The average size of homes is once again on the increase. In newer homes there is a larger selection of larger-size homes. Newer homes tend to have higher ceilings which means more cubic feet and so the rooms may feel larger and typically special consideration has been given to traffic patterns and windows and light.
- Clean and may be easier to live in for allergy sufferers. With a new home, there is no issue of whether the previous occupants had pets or smoked. Also, many new home employ special air filtration systems to bring in fresh,filtered air and control indoor pollution. In general, newer homes have more healthy home technology in them such as air filters with higher MERV ratings.
- Fun Factor and Sense of Control. You get to choose home site and all the colors you would like in your home. You don’t have to redo paint, carpet. Mutual excitement of neighbors meeting other neighbors and establishing a new community together.
Resale Home Benefits
- More geographic flexibility. Most new detached single family home subdivisions are located at the edge of the community where land is available for development. If a buyer wants to be close to downtown, the selection of new, single family detached residences is quite limited in San Antonio. Buying a pre-owned home allows a buyer more options on where to live.
- Nearby Amenities already in Place. With new home subdivisions, sometimes it is quite a drive to reach basic amenities until the commercial sections of the area are developed. Typically, new homes are sold and later, the grocery, dry cleaners, and other neighborhood services are built out. Typically the “views” from a home in an existing, established neighborhood are known. With new construction, the empty field beyond the backyard fence may turn into a two story home looking down on the yard or maybe the land is slated for a school or other building and the sense of being in the “country” will change as the density increases.
- Established traffic patterns. In an established community, the traffic patterns and rush hour congestion is fairly predictable. In outlying areas of new construction, wide empty streets in year one of building a subdivision may turn into a parking lot as other builders feed their subdivisions into collector roads.
- May save initial outlay of money on certain things. Drapes, landscaping, pool, security system, and blinds may be installed and conveyed with house. New homes typically do not come with blinds or drapes and landscaping is usually minimal.
You Buy a New Home.
Here Are the Building Stages:
There are about ten distinct phases of new home construction regardless of which builder you use.
- The first phase lasts about three weeks and during that time there will be little visible activity on the lot you select. This stage is known as the “pre-build” stage and during this period your builder is securing permits, distributing blue prints to plumbers, electricians, etc, and ordering materials.
- The second stage is known as the foundation stage and lasts anywhere from 2-4 weeks depending on the weather and other factors. During this time you will see the land prepared. The foundation form will be built and and in slab plumbing will be installed. Appropriate inspections will take place and the concrete poured, cured, and tension will be applied about 7 days after poured.
- The third phase is the framing phase and that lasts 2-3 weeks. This is where the exterior and interior walls are installed.
- The fourth phase is the roofing phase and this phase lasts 2-4 weeks. This is where the exterior walls are wrapped in a sheath, decking and flashing, and shingles are installed and windows installed.
- The fifth phase is the drywall prep and lasts 2-4 weeks. During this phase the electrical wiring, outlets, breaker boxes, AC, plumbing are installed.
- The sixth phase is the Drywall and Exterior Finish and lasts 2-4 weeks. Brick and stucco go up.
- The seventh phase is Wood Trim and Doors. This phase lasts 1-2 weeks.
- The eight phase is Cabinets, counter tops, and Paint. This phase lasts 1-2 weeks.
- The ninth phase is Fixtures and Flooring. This phase is where the lights, carpet, tile mirror and such are installed.
- The Last phase is Landscaping, driveway, patios, and sidewalk. Some driveways are poured at the foundation phase but others are postponed until the last phase.
Throughout the process professional inspectors from the City of /San Antonio (if in city limits) and independent engineers will be inspecting the home. It is also not uncommon for the buyer to pay for his or her own inspector to inspect the house. The inspector typically comes out one or more times to view the home. For those inspectors who are paid by the buyer to inspect the property only once, Melinda Magee recommends for the inspector to see the home before the home is completely finished such as while the plumbing and electrical in the interior walls is still exposed. The inspector could wait until the whole hose is completed but then if there is a correction that should have been made inside the walls, that will not be known by the inspector.
Related Pages: Energy Efficiency
Related pages: New Home Warranty