10 Steps to Buy a New Construction Home

Who wouldn’t love to live in a BRAND new home?  But, it’s not quite as straight forward as you think. 

In today’s video I’m going over 10 steps to buy a new construction home!

Thanks for joining me! I’m tristen, a local, top producing realtor living in North County San Diego. These videos are to help you feel safe about buying and selling homes in San Diego and California.  If you need a great realtor any other state or here, call or text me anytime and I’ll connect you!

So let’s get started.  First off, what do you know abou the new construction process…have you weighted all the pros and cons?  Are you even sure new construction is right for you? By the 

End of this video you’ll have a much better understand of the ins and outs of buying a brand new home.

Step 1- find a buyer’s agent. 

Yes, find a realtor to help you that does NOT work for the builder.  When you walk into a new construction site, that on-site agent is working for the builder, NOT YOU.  Their job is to get top dollar for the builder, not to look out for your best interests.  Make sure the agent you choose has experience working with new homes so they can walk you through every details

Connect with me to find a great agent

Step 2.  Work with a lender who is familiar with new construction. 

Each builder is going to require you to get preapproved with their lender, however they cannot force you to use their lender.  In fact their lender may not have the best rate or terms.  Getting preapproved first will help you understand what the best terms and rates are. Plus most lenders will match any credit the builders lenders is going to offer.

Plus, builders lenders are SWAMPED.  You may not hear from them for weeks, which could leave you panicked and nervous.  Better to get all your ducks in a row first

Step 3 Research prospective builders.

Naturally you to not want to use a builder with a bad reviews, although a few bad reviews are unavoidable these days.  Pay attention to how the builder communicates after the sale of the house.  Most builders offer some kind of warranty, but if they never call you back it’s pretty worthless.

Step 4 Research the project

This is very important.  Ask questions like  how much is the HOA now and how much will it be at build out? Is there any amenities that come with this HOA. Is there mello-roos at this project. These fees can be expensive and can add up quickly.

Step 5. Tour homes (if you can).  

Some homes are not ready to be toured but they are already starting to sell.  If you cannot see a home in person with your realtor, then tour online to see if you are interested.  As soon as you can tour in person, let your realtor know and they will schedule for you.  Then decide on which floor plan and model exterior you like. SEARCH FOR NEW HOMES

Step 6- Get on the list!

New home construction is incredibly backed up right now.  It’s important you get on their list asap.  Your realtor will help you do this.  Many builders have a list 200 people deep even before they are releasing the homes for sale.  The builders simply go down the list and see if the buyer is interested in the lot and style of home they have for sale.  There is no way to “buy” your way to the top, but a good realtor should know all the new homes coming soon and be able to get you on the lists sooner.  Once you or your agent gets the call your next, you will be required to come to the sales center with your earnest money deposit.  Usually around $10,000.  It is very important to ask how long you have to change your mind once you put the deposit down.  It can be as little as 3 days.

Step 7- Upgrades

When you tour the model homes try to remember EVERYTHING has been upgraded.  This is very important to understand because upgrades can be very expensive.  You have choices though! You can take the home in the most basic form and upgraded later. This will save you some costs that the builder tacks on for convenience.  Another option is to buy the upgrades from the builder and finance it into your loan.  The upgrades that give the biggest return on your investment are flooring and kitchen upgrades

Step 8- Timing

Once you decided to buy a new construction home in San Diego, you will have to wait until it is finished.  If you are renting htis is no problem, but if you need to sell your home you will want to time it correctly.  It can take up to 6 months to build a new home.  Your agent will be able to advise you when the optimal time would be to put your house on the market to minimize the wait

Step 9- Have the home inspected

You would think you would not need ot have a new home inspected right? WRONG! Even if you hired the best builder in San Diego, there could still be some issues.  That’s why it’s critical to have a buyer’s agent who’s familiar with new construction homes- because they will know a great home inspector who understands the process.

The home inspector can help you work up a “punch list” for the builder to come in and complete prior to you taking possession.  

Step 10- Sign and Review warranty documents

Warranties are a big part of the new construction homebuying process, and it’s important to know which type of warranties you will have.

Most builders will offer a one year defect warranty and a 10 year warranty on a much smaller list of items.  

An agent who understands this process is invaluable during this period because they are looking out for you and making sure you understand every detail.

As closing day approaches, you will do a final walk through to make sure all items on your punch list are completed, with the project manager.  You will also get a run down of the systems and features of your new home.\

You will sign your loan documents and transfer your down payment into escrow to record the title deed transfer.  Once that is complete, you will get the keys to your brand new house!

I hope you found this super helpful and if you have any questions about buying a new home please reach out to me~ i’m happy to help~!


Tristen Campanella is a top producing realtor in San Diego specializing in North County San Diego and San Diego County.  Get a clear roadmap on how to buy a house AND a list of off market homes by texting LIST to 760-310-0166