With little resale properties on the market, home buyers are looking for other options
Looking for your dream home but not finding it on the resale market? There is an enormous amount of homebuilding going on in Tucson, specifically along the Northwest corridor. From multi -million dollar custom homes in Stone Canyon in Oro Valley, or Canyon Pass and The Gallery in Marana to multi-generational homes that offer two kitchens and delineated living spaces to accommodate all family members—there are many builders currently with projects underway, and a plethora of different products available. Before you jump into a new home build in Oro Valley or the Greater Tucson Area, here are a few key points to know!
Location, Design and Budget
Think about what is important to you, and what your current and future lifestyle looks like. First off, nail down where you are interested in living. Looking for a non-HOA property? Mass market builders in this area all have homeowners associations in place, so you will either need to look for a lot in a non HOA controlled subdivision (or find a teardown home in your non-HOA subdivision of choice) or in a more rural setting. If you are looking for block, brick, masonry stucco or concrete home, be prepared to fork over extra $$$ for a custom builder. Be sure to realistically crunch numbers, weighing the cost of renovations needed in a resale property against builder upgrades. Both can break the bank if you are not diligent about keeping a budget.
If you are buying in a subdivision with a mass market homebuilder, keep a close eye on the upgrades you select. Little extras add up quite a bit, and you can definitely overshoot your initial budget if you are not careful. For instance, when consider lighting upgrades, are the builder upgrade choices things you really like? If not, have them put in the base fixture and head on over to lampsplus.com or some of the big box hardware stores. You will probably find something more to your liking at a better price. When opting for upgrades, stretching the budget on flooring, lot views, ceiling height and other things that would be impossible or difficult to change later is a better bet for future resale ROI.
Other things to consider—new homes are certainly more energy efficient than their older counterparts, unless the resale home has undergone a facelift that included new windows, a new AC unit and modified insulation. Established neighborhoods may be able to paint a clear picture of what the “vibe” of the area is, while homes in a new subdivision still are in a state of flux as it begins to populate. If you are in a very new area- what amenities are easily accessible? How far do you have to drive for a grocery store? Some of the extended areas of the city still don’t have all of the planned services in, and there may not be a guarantee that a promised grocers or gas station will actually be completed anytime soon. If you are in one of these newer areas, be prepared to do a bit of extra driving or planning to accomplish errands, and stock up on the basics so you are not left without.
Time Frames and Taxes
Timing is another factor for you to consider. 3-9 months used to be about the average for a mid range subdivision home to be built, but due to shortages in both the labor market and supply chain issues, be prepared to wait considerably longer (luxury and custom homes taking in some cases years to be completed). You may need to rent for a bit—especially if you need to sell your current home to qualify for the new one. The builder may take contingent contract— but most will want to see the listing agreement and the comps so they know your home is well priced to sell. They may also place deadlines on removing the contingency or not begin the build until your home has been sold. (Whenever you make a contingent offer on a place you really want— be sure you are really priced well and your home shows like a dream, or your future dream house may end up with another owner.)
Another item to be aware of is the property tax jump from the first year in your new home to the second. Year one may be based off land value, but as the Tax Assessor revises in the second year the value of the home will be added. So if you are initially overjoyed at an unusually low tax bill, realize that it will change at some point.
Get Representation—The Builder Sales Agent Is Not Your Advocate
While it is so exciting to look at model homes, before you start visiting new home sales sites let your real estate agent know so they may contact the builders and register you or accompany you to the sales office on your first visit. If you neglect to do this, and later ask to use an agent, the builder might raise a fuss. At very least, have some of your agent’s cards on you and let the builder’s representative know that you have an agent when visiting the sales office and model homes. Local builders offer compensation to agents so it won’t cost you a penny, but could save you money and headaches in the long run. Having a licensed and knowledgeable advocate on your side who understands the ins and outs of the contract is incredibly important.
Agents will know what to ask the builder, and what discounts or incentives might be available. Are you a teacher or military? There may be special programs available to you. A good real estate agent can many times negotiate extra items or be privy to a builder’s methods, especially if they have dealt with the builder in the past. Your agent will also be able to help advise you in your lot, finishes and options selection should you desire it. Unfortunately, things can occasionally go awry—and your agent will be able to negotiate any mistakes (like wrong tile being installed) solve workmanship issues, stay on top of the builder to ensure deadlines are met, and be the “heavy” as needed so you don’t feel any unnecessary stress dealing with the builder. Remember, the sales agents at model homes represent the builder’s interests, not yours.
In addition, if you are selling your home, your agent can choreograph events so there will be as seamless a transition as possible from one home into the next. Looking for the right agents to represent you? We are skilled in both resale and new build sales. Before you consider a new home build in Oro Valley or the Greater Tucson area, feel free to reach out to us with any questions. Contact us anytime at 520-344-ACES (2237), or via the contact form on this website.