If you’re ready to start shopping for Chicago real estate, there’s something important to consider: are you looking for an existing home, or new construction?
It’s a question that should be given a lot of thought, as buying Chicago new construction property can require significantly more patience, commitment, and time than an existing home. But it depends on what you’re looking for and what type of project you want to take on.
If you do want to buy a home that is brand new, there are three different approaches you can take:
• Building a new construction home from scratch;
• Buying a home that has existing plans; and
• Purchasing a spec house.
The type that is best for you depends on what you want from the home and the customization you want to be able to put into it. A key player in all three is your realtor, who should be experienced in working with new construction so he or she is able to guide you through important decisions and consult with you on the details of your new home.
I wanted to take a moment to walk through each type of process for buying a new construction home and the importance of your realtor in each. We’ll start with building form the ground up.
This type of build is made-to-order for the buyer, and therefore the biggest undertaking, the most expensive, and the ultimate type of new construction home. It’s typically a once-in-a-lifetime venture. Building Chicago new construction from scratch means you should be prepared to spend at least a year on the project. Building from the ground up also means buyers will have to be decisive, as there are many decisions to make with the architect, builder and the interior designer.
The role of your realtor is crucial when building this type of new construction home. The realtor you choose should have an extensive background in working with new construction buyers, and should be able to consult with you all the way from choosing the land to build on, to providing input on the home’s layout to helping you choose finishes for the kitchen and bath. He or she should also be able to make recommendations for builders and architects and have experience with the paperwork involved (such as contact proposals). The realtor should also know the Chicago new construction scene well enough to explain the nuances like why one builder’s lot and location might be superior to another. That objective knowledge is invaluable when making a commitment to building a brand new Chicago home.
Building new construction from existing plans means the shell of the home is in the works—the developer has acquired the land and the plans for the home, and the architect has designed it. Then, it’s up to the buyer (again, with the help of the realtor) to plan, customize and design the inside. This requires a commitment of about six months, depending on how extensive any changes to the original plans are. The buyer will choose the finishes, select appliances and make minor modifications to the home’s interior, but not major changes to the structure of the home. If you’re set on purchasing Chicago new construction but limited on time to devote to such a project, a home with existing plans is probably a great place to start. There won’t be a need for city permits, you won’t have to find and purchase the city lot, and the size of the house will already be determined.
In building a home with existing plans, the realtor’s role continues to be crucial along the way. He or she should be familiar with the architect and developer’s work being able to provide the buyer with background information and give them an un-biased opinion on the plans.
Since the majority of new construction homes fall under the third category, spec homes, I wanted to give it special emphasis. We’ll take a look at spec homes in my next post, so stay tuned!