This weekend it was time to follow-up with a new development project in Prince William County with a prospective buyer. It was apparent that the neighborhood has come a long way since I took my first look two years ago. The club house and amenities are in, the grounds are fantastic and the streets are all paved.
One of the things I’ve learned with new construction projects is to not only take a look at the furnished models, spec homes and amenities but to let my buyers talk to owners to get their feedback on living in the community. So we stopped in to the community center which has everything a homeowner could want, cyber café, indoor pool, exercise rooms, party room and more. Talking to the homeowners it was obvious that they were ecstatic about the community amenities and their neighbors. However when it came to talk about the construction process and the quality of the homes themselves they had some issues.
My clients were surprised to hear some of the concerns which made them realize that my suggestion regarding having an independent home inspector checking the project during the building process was a good one. In the past I’ve had new construction buyers hire their own home inspector who performed inspections pre-drywall, post drywall and prior to closing. It is amazing the number of items that an inspector will find, not all of them critical during these inspections.
Based on the issues that some of these homeowners encountered an independent home inspection might have saved them time and aggravation. The level of some of the problems made us wonder how they managed to get by the Prince William County inspectors. One homeowner mentioned that they had 16 cracked floor joists that had to be replaced and another had a bathtub which did not have proper support under it. The most surprising issue was to hear an owner say the builder did not wrap the homes with Tyvek and would not allow them to have it done on their own during building. As a result they had to put plastic on their windows last winter to keep out the drafts. They are paying to have an independent contractor come in this fall and remove all the siding and wrap their home to keep their utility bills down.
If you are thinking about buying new construction in Northern Virginia don’t let the lessons that the homeowners in this development learned the hard way happened to you. Make sure that you take your own representation with you. Not only can a Realtor® help you get the best deal but we can advise you about the construction process and help you avoid some serious post closing headaches.