Keeping Your Expectations in Line

Welcome back to Real Estate Today, and our special program, “Back to the Basics of Buying New!” Part of our stay-at-home series helping keep your real estate skills sharp – during the shut down.

So let’s continue talking about buying new.

A brand new house – finally, built and ready to move in! Nobody has ever lived there before!

And just like with anything that’s brand new, you expect everything to be absolutely perfect!

Right? Right.

But – what if it’s not?

Let’s take a look now at setting some realistic expectations – when you move into a brand new house.

Now, after you move in, you might start to notice a few things … like, maybe a few nails popping out of the walls. Or your patio door suddenly requires super human strength just to open it!

And whatever happened to that electrical outlet you thought was supposed to be in your laundry room … where did that go?

Even a new home isn’t going to be absolutely problem-free. Almost all new homes will have a few things pop up, especially in that first year when a new house is still settling. It’s why almost every builder offers at least a one-year warranty to fix most of the more common problems that will probably surface within that first year.

And if you’re wondering why the problems are happening, well, it’s just a process all new homes go through. Kind of like growing pains.

For instance, wood is used to build most homes. And the moisture content of wood changes during the seasons as the temperatures change. It can expand; it can contract. Your house will do the same thing during that first year.

And because of that — in that first year in particular, you’ll spot some cosmetic issues that will likely need to be addressed. Let’s review a few of these common growing pains the first year as your house is settling.

1.) Nail pops are one of the most common occurrences. This is where the head of a drywall nail pushes out of the wall or you’ll see a small indentation occur in the wall. You may spot these mostly near the corner of walls and ceiling.

2.) Creaky floors are another common settlement issue. You may start to notice the floors or stairs creak in certain spots around your house.

3.) You also might start noticing some small, hairline cracks in the ceiling and walls, or even above the door or window frames. These can be caused by the wood framing behind walls turning ever-so slightly as they dry out during the change of the seasons. Cracks where the walls meet the ceiling are often common.

4.) You also may start to see the wooden floorboards develop gaps between them.

5.) Some doors may become difficult to open or close. Again, it’s all from the home settling. The wood around these openings and frames can shift slightly out of alignment as the house settles.

6.) Also, take note of the spindles — the vertical posts that support a handrail on the stairway. These can become loose as a house settles and may need to be tightened after the first year.

7.) Maybe it’s not anything loose, cracking, or protruding that’s the problem, instead maybe you notice something missing! Like, weren’t you supposed to have an outlet in your laundry room?

Make note of every plug indicated on your electrical blueprints from the construction phase of your home. Make sure all the outlets are there. You should do this at your final walk-through before moving into the house, but sometimes one gets overlooked and you don’t notice it’s missing until after you move in. … It still may be there, even if you can’t see it! We’ve heard of entire outlets being accidentally covered up by sheetrock during the construction phase. Maybe yours got covered up too. Builders and contractors are human; mistakes can happen.

The good news is that all of these issues are relatively easy to fix. If you ever spot a major issue with your home … like major cracks in your foundation or the grading separating from your house and causing water to flow into your basement … you’ll want to address these right away with your builder because they may require a lot more attention than a simple hairline crack or creak in the floor.

Before you buy a new home, learn how the builder responds to building defects, both minor and major, and what all is covered under your building warranty. What’s the process for filing a claim when you need a repair? This will all be outlined in your sales contract and a warranty book that your build will supply. Review this carefully with your REALTOR® so you know exactly what will be covered if your home ever experiences growing pains.

So just try to keep your expectations on the realistic side. Little things might happen. And if there are a few problems with your new home, try not to get too upset. After all, if you look at the big picture – think about what you did! You built a home from scratch – or, you bought a brand new home that no one has ever lived in before. You did it! An amazing achievement.

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