New Construction is incredibly exciting for a Buyer, being the first person to own something for some people is the ultimate status symbol. Gary and I sell our fair share of New Construction and we know there are specific buyer types for each different stage of the process. I think its best to split it into 3 stages, these being Pre-Sold, Drywalled and Mudded and finally Complete. In general its what the Buyer can see that infuences which of these 3 stages they feel comfortable to buy in.
Pre-Sold - There is nothing built at all and the foundation is not even in. You might have the Lot so you know where the house is going to be but everything else is being done from the House Plan. This is really tough and for some people they just cannot imagine what the finished product will be. Not only are you not sure what room sizes are like but you cant even imagine what the finishing will look like. Pre-Sold requires someone who is able not only to imagine the finished product but who also has the confidence to make finishing choices that will determine how the house looks on completion. When you pick everything there is no one else to blame when it doesnt really come together when its finished, after all you cant just go and change the colour of the roof shingles if you dont like them (unless your a lottery winner of course!). When my wife and I built our home selecting the most mundane housing items became major life changing decisions (or so it felt at the time). In my opinion only 10% of all New Construction Buyers are prepared to buy a home at this stage.
Drywalled & Mudded - For some people this is the point where it all becomes clear! The house is up, the outside is finished and the Buyer can see pretty much what the house is going to look like from the curb. Inside all the walls are up and the layout is easily seen which makes room sizes real. You still do not have kitchens, bathrooms and paint but a least now your dream home has some structure. Its quite common here for an equalling effect to come into play. If a couple has one person who can see it from the Pre-Sold and one that can only see the fully finished product on completion then commonly this is the stage where the compromise occurs. Its common now for kitchen cabinets to be drawn on floors, along with bathroom items and other fixtures to give potential buyers an idea of finished layouts. You still can select kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, paint and trim at this stage and really make the internal of this home your own. At this stage I estimate 40% of New Construction Buyers are prepared to buy at this stage.
Complete - There is no mystery in this stage, everything is complete including all internal and external components. Buyers get to see the completely finished product and there really is nothing to worry about. However, as its finished you have no options to change anything and anything you do want to change is not going to cost extra. People do fall in love with homes at this stage but more importantly they are falling in love with a home that only a few weeks earlier they would walk straight past. Simple Math will tell you that my estimates mean that 50% of New Construction Buyers will buy now.
So why is this important to you? Well, knowing what you own limitations are can save you a considerable amount of time and money. Additionally, being realistic and telling your Realtor what your comfortable with can save you and him/her a whole load of time and let them concentrate on whats important, namely getting you the perfect home!! Also, how many times have you seen the price of New Construction go up while the house is being built? Clearly a house that is closer to being finished is easier for the builder to sell and can therefore perhaps command a higher price, plus there is also some carrying costs now involved.
There is no shame in not being able to see a finished house from a set of house plans, to be honest I really wish I could'nt, lol, the amount of decisions that needed to be made was actually quite stressful and looking back it would have been so much easier to have bought at the second stage. One thing it does allow you to do is make the home truelly your own with your own design choices. If you decide to buy New Construction give the stages some thought and try and work out what you can see and where you see yourself fitting into the process!