Whether to buy an existing home or have one built is yet another decision to make during the home buying process.  If you decide to go with new construction, a real estate agent can be a powerful advocate in your corner as you negotiate upgrades, a move-in date and other terms with the home builder.  Below are some basic pointers to prepare you for the journey ahead.

Where to Build

There are generally two options when selecting a location for your new home:

  1. Build on your privately owned vacant lot/land
  2. Build in a subdivision or select a lot provided by a home builder

[Interested in building in the Greater Rochester Area?  Click here to request more information about the builders available in your desired area!]

Construction Loans

After you have made the decision to build your next home, just like with any home purchase, you will then need to get pre-qualified by a bank/lender.  Typically, you will have two options for new construction loans:

  • Construction Draw Loan – with this type of loan, portions of the loan will be provided to the builder at different stages of construction up until closing.  During the building process, the buyer will be responsible for paying the interest each month for the portion of the loan already provided.  At closing, the loan will then roll over into a traditional mortgage loan.
  • End Loan – this type of loan is what you would normally encounter when purchasing an existing home.  End loans are more commonly seen when a builder is constructing a home on a lot that they own, rather than the buyer’s own private lot.

Questions to Ask Your Builder

Once you have decided to build and been pre-qualified, you can begin interviewing new home builders.  Your agent will arrange to attend the initial meeting and interview with each builder.  Some questions you will want to make sure get answered include:

  • What are your standards for construction? 
    (electrical service, energy efficiency, furnace, central air, hot water tank, floors, plumbing, kitchen materials, paint selections, construction materials, roof, siding, foundation, etc.)
  • Will the features and amenities I want built in my home be considered an “upgrade”?
  • Do I need to select one of your floor plans, or can I bring my own?
  • Is there a model home or previous homes you have built that I could see?
  • How long will it take to build my home?
  • Are you licensed, and do you carry liability insurance?
  • What professional organizations is your business affiliated with?
  • What type of warranty do you offer on the home after it has closed?
  • Will there be any transferrable warranties with the roof or any other features?
  • Can you tell me about what we can expect throughout the construction process?
  • How much will the lighting allowance for selecting light fixtures be?
  • Do you provide any appliances, or credits for such?
  • Will you grade, rock-hound, and seed our lawn?
  • How will the driveway be finished?
  • Who are some of the sub-contractors that you use to build the home?

When Construction Begins

Most builders will wait to break ground to build your new home until you have received and signed the mortgage commitment from your bank/lender.  In the meantime, your builder should be preparing to get started, pulling permits, and have all blueprints and architectural details in place for when they start.

Depending on the size and complexity of your new home, the estimated completion date may be anywhere from three to six months.  Keep in mind that weather conditions will play a key factor into many aspects of building the home, especially in the early stages of construction.  Make sure you account for any unforeseen delays when scheduling moving into your new home.

Selecting Your Finishes

Your builder will have sub-contractors or designers to help you plan different pieces of the home, from the kitchen and bathrooms to the mechanics and electrical components.  Be sure to keep a detailed list of what “upgrades” you have selected, and what the additional cost is for each.  Upgrade costs will either be rolled into your mortgage, or paid directly to your builder out of pocket.

Your Agent’s Role

Your agent plays a key role in the early stages of your decision to build a home.  Some areas that your agent will guide you on include:

  • Analyzing your wants and needs
  • Helping interview and select a builder
  • Contract negotiation
  • Deciphering purchase contracts and addendum
  • Checks and double-checks paperwork and deadlines
  • Assists in solving any problems that may arise
  • Selling your existing home, if applicable


Take the time to thoroughly understand and research the home building process to make sure it is the best option for you!