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  • Writer's pictureMallory Herzog | REALTOR®

Buying a new home in Florida

Driving around town, you cant miss all the development. New homes and businesses are popping up all over Punta Gorda, Port Charlotte and North Port Florida. Interested in building a home? In this blog you will learn the BASICS of new home buying in SWFL.

Spec or custom?

A "spec" home is built and sold as an existing home when completed. The builder builds properties though an investor or uses their own funds. You do not need a construction loan to purchase. You can buy this type of new home with a Conventional, VA, or FHA Loan! Builder spec homes generally come with your basic kitchen appliances. Stove, Fridge, Dishwasher, sometimes microwave. Features such as washer and dryer, window coverings, mailboxes, and garage door openers are not typically included in new construction homes. Spec homes come as you see them. Typically you can not adjust features. In addition to a home inspection, you can also do a walk-though with your realtor and create a "punch list" of any features that are yet to be completed or need repair before closing. A spec home is a GREAT way to get into a new home without having to wait for it to be built. Locally prices range from 160k-500k depending on location, size and features.

A Custom built home is as it sounds. Custom! Semi Custom builders have base floor plans to choose from. The buyer can customize options such as flooring, cabinets, lighting, paint, fixtures and finishes. You also choose your appliance package at different pricing levels. FULL Custom builders start at the drawing board with a draftsman. This allows you to create the home as you wish. Adding and removing rooms, garages, pools, do you want a waterfall? The sky is the limit here. Custom and Semi Custom Builders require a construction loan in order to build. Typically a construction loan requires at least 20% down. When the home is complete the buyers walk-though with a builder representative and their realtor to inspect and create a "punch list" of any needed repairs or adjustments before closing. Locally custom home pricing start around 300k, lot not included. Build time is around 9-14 months in Charlotte and Sarasota County.

Buying Vacant Land

Locally lots start around $7,000 and can cost as much as $200,000 for water access cleared land. Using a realtor to buy vacant land is important, especially if you aren't from Florida. They have experience and can assist you in finding the best property for your future build. In SWFL, it's the difference between fighting it out with the city over protected gopher tortoises, or scrub jay and flood zones. The buyer often purchases their own lot before the building process begins. Some builders require the buyer to clear the lot prior to construction, others include this in their pricing.

Warrantee, whats covered?

Most Custom and semi custom builders offer a structural warrantee. This is sometimes handled by a 3rd party company. Larger builders handle this in house and employ a large maintenance staff. Appliances and HVAC system will carry their own though the manufacturers. Make sure you register them as soon as you move in! Spec homes often have the same or similar warrantee, but its important to check with the builder and your realtor.

Working with your own realtor

Looking for a spec home? A realtor can assist you to find out what is ready now, and what will be completed within the next few months. These homes are not always listed online, or even on the MLS. Builders often advertise to realtors directly, so they move quickly!

Walking into a Custom or Semi Custom model home, they often have a realtor on site. You can also use your own realtor, if you have someone you are comfortable working with. A dedicated realtor can assist you with finding appropriating financing for your situation, purchasing a lot to build on, interviewing builders and gathering information, arranging inspections, and more. Getting you to the closing table confident in your builder and new home.

Ready to start the bulldozer?

Call or email me to get moving!


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