With the lack of inventory in town, building a home is a great option. There are a number of exciting new construction opportunities around the Park City area and more coming soon…BUT before you jump in consider these 11 questions before purchasing.
How Long have you been in business?
This is a fairly obvious question and you should be able to do your own background research via the Internet to get your answers, but never discount a referral from someone who has worked with the builder in the past. Check websites such as Houzz.com and contact with the Park City Area Home Builders Association to see if they are a member as membership requires special code of ethics and references.
What is your building experience?
How many homes have they built in the past and where? A few years ago we would say if you made it through the dark times of the past decade and you are still in business you must be a great builder and you had your act together, but now good home builders are so busy it’s not unlikely that there are “green” builders out there waiting to cash in. A simple Internet search and a few phone calls will quickly let you know if they have been around and what their reputation is!
Where do you typically build?
This is a super, super important question. If you are building in and around Park City, you will want to find a builder who has prior experience in this market and climate. Often times, you will find a lower priced builder willing to build up here, but you usually pay more in the long run. Their inability to get subcontractors to get the work done up here or jack up the price once they figure out it’s in Park City and this typically is passed down to you as the buyer. Extending your building time can often lead to extra carry costs depending on how you have set up the financing.
Where can I see your work?
A good busy builder should have other homes under construction nearby or around to investigate their handy work. It would be a good idea to walk through one under construction to get an idea of how clean their jobsites are and how their work is actually done!
What is included in the price?
Do you have a standard features list? A big builder who builds lots of homes each year will no doubt have a full list of what is “included” in the base price of the home along with “upgrade” options. If you are considering a custom build, take your allowance amounts and “shop” it so you make sure that your budget is inline with the overall cost of the home.
When can I stop making changes and upgrades to my home?
Each builder will have a set time in which changes and upgrades can be made. If you have a multi million-dollar custom home this may not apply, but you will still be paying for the changes. With a larger, more production style builder, you most likely won’t have the ability to make changes once the home has started or at the latest beyond framing. Working with a good sales agent will help guide you through the process.
How long will it take to build my home and what happens if it goes past that date?
Building is a long process. There are many thing that can go wrong to delay construction. With that said, good builders know what their schedules and how long building will typically take. If the timing is not stated in the building contract, asking for it to be spelled out is not a bad idea. On the flip side, making sure your finances are in order when the home is completed is your obligation. Getting a head start is win-win for everyone.
Who will actually be building my home and what happens when I have questions?
If you are buying from a sales agent, obviously they won’t be building the home, but it’s a good idea to ask who will be in charge and how often you will be contacted during the process. You will want the builder to regularly communicate with you and if questions arise, be mindful of the process.
If my home is completed in the middle of winter, when will the exterior and landscaping be finished?
In Park City, it’s not wise to actually paint the exterior of the home until it reaches warm enough temperatures for the paint to be properly applied. It’s probable that if your home is completed in December it may not be painted until April or May of the following year. Knowing this ahead of time and how the builder will make sure it gets done is important. Often this will simply be placed on a “punch list” which is typically an agreement that survives closing. Knowing how these items will be addressed once the snow melts is valuable.
What type of warranty do you offer and long is it good for?
State law requires all builders to provide a one-year new home warranty. Asking what the builder provided warranty exactly covers and when issues arise what is the process in which they will be taken care is invaluable. All builders are different in how they process warranty claims. You should ask how it works, so you know ahead of time. In reality, there will be issues that come up, there always is!
Are there Home Owners Associations, CC&Rs and more I should be aware of?
This is probably the first question you should ask! This may affect the affordability of the home and whether or not it’s a good fit for you and your family. In the Park City area, nearly all-new construction will have Covenants and restrictions. It is imperative that you review and read through these documents carefully. You don’t want to finally finish a beautiful new custom home only to find out that dogs are not allowed in the neighborhood. OR worst yet, the HOA dues are an extra $500 a month you were planning on spending!
While this may not cover all of your questions, it’s a good start and knowing that you have an agent to help is also a great idea.
Jeff and Nikki Keye have been helping sellers and buyers with new construction for the past 17 years. If you are a builder looking for real estate agent who understands new construction in the park city area, we’d love to help. If you are a buyer wanting help through this long process we have the experience to be more than helpful.
For a list of vacant lots in the Park City area, we’d be happy to get that for you as well.