Buying new house from NV Homes
January 31, 2017 11:14 AM   Subscribe

We are considering buying a new house from NV Homes in Northern Virginia. We aren't working through a realtor. We've seen that basically all the big home builders, NV included, have a bunch of terrible reviews online. Are these reviews an accurate reflection of the average quality? What are some contract items (besides price) that we should negotiate over? Strengthening the warranty? Getting them to cover closing costs?
posted by molla to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I have not built with that particular company but have built a new home in the past and I am going through the process of speaking with a number of builders. I have learned it never hurts to ask. Here are some things you could consider asking.

- many builders, especially for larger developments, don't want to reduce the base price as the next person will want it as well. I have had success in negotiating upgrades rather than base price. For example, on our last house, we were given allowances to spend on various finishes, appliances, fixtures etc. I had the builder increase every allowance which was included in the price, by many thousands. The house was spec'd for carpet in the family room and I had them upgrade that to hardwood. The base price included one color on the walls for the entire house. I had them paint what ever colors I wanted, which was nice since we didn't have to do any of that after moving in. I negotiated upgrading the stove from electrical to gas so they paid to run the piping. I had them include the cost of the washer and dryer which was not originally included. I also had them upgrade the deck from wood to synthetic. I had them include garage door openers and frost free hose things. The bathroom was spec'd for a large shower but no tub. We had them include a jacuzzi tub. We also had them include our landscaping. When I say "include" I mean they were included in the base price.. not added on.

- closing costs. Many builders will pay this if you go through their preferred lender. Some will only give you incentives if you use their preferred lender. See if you can negotiation for this. Even think of things like taxes. Builders here pass taxes on to the buyer but that's negotiable and in a resale Is often split between buyer and seller. That saves several thousand dollars.

- builders fees. I'm seeing a lot of big builders charging a builders fee. Some are a flat 500-600. One here does 1.75% of purchase price as the builders fee. That could be a lot and can be negotiated.

- lot premiums. In big developments, there are often lot premiums. Try and negotiate that.

- model incentives. Especially with these big builders, I found they were available on things that weren't even really models. They would start construction on a section and if a lot wasn't sold, they would start building something because they wanted to keep construction together. They were willing to give 10-15% off for buying one of these.

- initial deposit. Here many of the developers want 10% to reserve your spot and start construction. Some builders are more negotiable. Even if you end up putting that down at the end, it's appealing to not tie up that large sum for 9-18 months some of these builders take. Even some where willing to split that up. They wanted 3% up front, 3% in a month or two, etc. that we found appealing because we could potentially hold off on cashing out of some stock until after the new year and delay paying capital gains.
posted by polkadot at 2:22 PM on January 31, 2017

Oh, as for quality... it may be a reflection but maybe not. There are always complaints. Some valid, others folks didn't have reasonable expectations. I'd look at complaints against volume done and get recommendations from people. I know my community has a group on Facebook and people are always willing to share information and experiences. See if you can find someone who has worked with the builder you are considering. On our last place, we knew several folks who had used that builder and felt that he would do a good job and stand by his work and we found that to be true.
posted by polkadot at 2:25 PM on January 31, 2017

I bought a new NV home about 6 years ago. As far as quality, I think it really depends on the community itself and also the project manager. When our house was built, the development was still in its newer phase, and word-of-mouth from existing homeowners was huge as the market was terrible. The people we knew in the neighborhood had nothing but glowing things about the builder and we found them to be right. However, as the neighborhood has progressed and the market has improved, and turnover in staff, the quality seems to be going down from what I've heard from newer neighbors. But, this is entirely subjective and totally based on hearsay.

As far as negotiating, you can try to negotiate anything. Some things they will budge on and others, not at all. The only way to find out is to try. Building a new home, the costs can rise very quickly and there's a lot of different options. It can be confusing with the different incentives and packages they offer, and that stuff can change from month to month, so, take your time and maybe consider looking at resales if there are any in the neighborhood, as they usually end up being priced at less a comparable new home, which is something to keep in mind also: a custom-built home usually won't sell for what you paid for it for some time.
posted by jenjenc at 4:52 PM on January 31, 2017

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