Getting your sales contract signed is the next step. Most builders will have their own standard agreement. This agreement will include the scope of work, timeline, issues related to construction delays, included incentives, pricing, how disputes are resolved. and how changes to the scope of work will be handled. Any changes will be done in the form of an addendum. Have your Realtor review the paperwork with you before you sign and explain every aspect of the contract to you. You can certainly have an attorney review it if you feel more comfortable taking that route. The on-site sales representative can also answer any questions you may have. Making sure you understand what your responsibilities are and what the builder’s responsibilities are will make the process much, much easier. It is all about setting expectations! You should also get a good understanding of what the warranties are for after closing. Most builder’s warranties are about the same.
After the paperwork is all completed, you will make an appointment to visit the home design center to make your option and color selections (ie: cabinetry, flooring, paint colors, etc). This is the fun part!! Sometimes the meeting will take place at the model home with the sales representative, or often, at a showroom with their company designer. Sometimes you can visit the design center before your appointment to get an idea of what is offered and to decide what you like. Either way, typically 3 hours is set aside for the appointment, but unless you choose every option available, it won’t take that long. Once selections are made you cannot make changes, unless the builder will allow certain items within a certain timeframe. Usually there is a changeorder fee. The reason for this is because, after all signed, the paperwork will go out to all the trades, and once they get materials ordered and the process started, it can get a little complicated to change it and things can go wrong. Some options you might want to consider doing after closing, if you think it will be cheaper than what the builder charges. Good to do some homework there.
Some items are worth the extra cost because it will be hard to add or change later such as adding extra electrical outlets, ceiling fan wiring, or additional water spigots. The design center representative will explain which items are included in the price of the house, and which items will be considered upgrades with an extra charge. It is a good idea to know what your budget for upgrades is before you go and stick to that number. I tell people to add everything they want, and then subtract the things that are not as important to get back down to an acceptable number. Some builders will require an extra deposit for the upgrades. Either way, don’t feel overwhelmed. This is your chance to personalize your home to your lifestyle and it is an exciting time. Enjoy.
Next step: Construction Phase – to be continued next week in Part 4.