Keeping it Real: What are the Expectations for Purchasing a New Construction Home?

My allergies have been devastating as of late, which can only mean one thing: Spring has sprung. With the influx of allergies, pollen, and annoying biting insects, trees are blooming, the grass is greener and the weather is getting warmer. To real estate professionals like us at TRG, all of these signs indicate that the home buying and selling season is in full effect.

During this time of year, many of you will contemplate purchasing a new home. At TRG, we get numerous inquiries about new construction. For the past five years, it has been no secret that Pitt County has been growing. If an area is growing, it's bringing in more people. And, if there are more people, then more homes need to be built. For a while, only local and regional builders were constructing new homes in Pitt County. Last year, however, Pitt County has welcomed a national builder to the area. With so many builders putting homes up, we receive many questions about new construction homes. 

When purchasing a new home, many REALTORS® have to set realistic expectations for purchasing a brand new home. Let's get real and cover some commonplace issues.

First, the value of purchasing a new home is knowing you are its only owner. Yet, just because it is brand new, does not mean that there will not be any problems. The most common issue is with nail pops. Nail pops are instances where the nail head pushes away from the drywall and leave a small, dime-sized protrusion. Every home, whether new or aged, is going to experience nail pops. Each builder is different in how they might repair these for the homeowner. When thinking about purchasing new construction, ask your agent how the builder will address these nail pops. 

Another common occurrence is with gaps in baseboards and crown moldings. Naturally, a home will constantly swell and contract with the weather. In the warmer months, homes will swell, and, in the colder months, homes will contract. If you start to see gaps in the corners of baseboards and crown moldings, your home is not falling apart. Rather, it is experiencing this natural enlargement and decreasing caused by the weather. A simple fix is to take some caulk that matches the color of those items (typically white) and filling those gaps.

Similarly, many new home buyers will notice that doors might not close correctly. Complications with doors will be either with not being able to close because the door no longer fits correctly in the door frame; or, the door does not latch properly because it is too big of a gap between the door and the door frame. This is also natural, as the weather again is the main culprit of this problem. Make sure to have your agent ask the prospective builder what the company will do to address this after the home closes. 

If you purchase a home with luxury vinyl planks (LVP or laminate floors), you may see a slight separation. While this is also caused by the weather and the natural swelling and decreasing, it is advised to keep track of the areas you see this separation. If you see any type of detachment, take a credit card and check if the credit card will fit into that crack. If it does, then that is a problem to address with the builder. Each builder will handle the issue differently, so be diligent during your home search process to find out how the builder will address this problem should it arise.

If your new home has hardwood floors, there may be some squeaking. This is nothing alarming. Typically, this is just a natural settling of the home. The home needs to settle into the foundation, and this might take time to happen. Squeaky floors could also be attributed to loose sub-flooring. Either way, arm yourself with information on how the builder will choose to fix this issue.

Lastly, if you purchase a new construction home, you might start to see small hairline cracks. A lot of new homeowners are afraid this is an indication of a foundation. It is most likely that it is just a slight deformity in the drywall or the paint. Foundation cracks are more noticeable. All new construction homes built in North Carolina come with at least a one year structural home warranty. If you notice a pronounced crack, contact the builder within the first year and the builder should repair this problem. If the small cracks are not noticeable, try using a little drywall spackle, let that dry completely, then repaint with the correct paint.

If you are interested in purchasing a new construction home, the best practice is to have your own agent for representation. At TRG, all of our agents have a lot of experience with new construction transactions. Send us your inquiry or call us directly at (252) 758-4663 to speak with one of our agents for your free new home buyer consultation.

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