Quick update as of April 2021. If you are looking for new construction in the FishHawk Ranch community you may need to act soon. The available homesites in the Preserve at FishHawk Ranch and FishHawk Ranch West are scarce. There are just two builders still building in the community. Feel free to contact me on who is still building and what.
So you’ve decided to buy a new home. You’ve done your research and decided you want to purchase a home in FishHawk Ranch or another great community in the Tampa Bay area. Now you are wondering if you should buy a resale home or a new construction home.
With a resale, you can typically go to contract, close, and move into the home somewhere between 30 – 45 days. The main factor will be how fast your mortgage gets approved. The exception to this would be a Short Sale. There is nothing short about a Short Sale. In fact, Short Sales can takes months and I’ve seen some take over a year to get third-party approval or denial. The good news now is there are not too many Short Sales left.
The downside of purchasing a resale is that you are buying a home that someone has lived in and has chosen the appliances, paint colors, and flooring options. The home will also start to age. Items like the roof, air conditioning system, and hot water heater tend to last a certain amount of time before they need to be replaced.
If you want to choose your own options and you have some time before having to move into the home, buying a new construction home may be a great option for you.
New Construction Inventory Homes
There are many reasons why there may be new construction inventory homes available in FishHawk Ranch and the surrounding Tampa Bay area. Here are a few of those reasons:
- Builders want to have “quick close” homes available to sell.
- A builder may have built a home for another buyer and for some reason it did not close.
- A builder may be selling their model home.
Regardless of the reason, an inventory home may be a great opportunity to purchase a brand new FishHawk Ranch or Tampa Bay home that you can close on and moved into quickly.
The one downfall of an inventory home is some if not all of the options of the home have been chosen for you. In many respects this is like a resale home with the exception of it has never been lived in.
Homes to be Built
These are homes that are built to your specifications. In some cases with a custom builder, you choose almost everything. In other cases you choose the following:
- The home-style from a selection of floor plans and elevations.
- The home site. This will be the property the home will be built on.
- Interior and exterior paint colors. Please keep in mind that communities with HOAs like FishHawk Ranch may have a say in the colors you can paint the exterior of the home.
- Flooring – carpeting, hardwood, ceramic tile, or marble, the choices are yours.
- Design center add-ons.
- Other items like adding a pool, screened-in patio, outdoor kitchen, and more.
With a to-be-built home, your options and choices can be endless. The one negative to having a home built is the time it will take for it to be completed. Between permitting and the construction process you can expect a 7-month to 9-month wait for average homes and a 12-month to 14-month wait for an executive home before you will be able to move into your new home.
New Construction Pricing
Most builder prices are determined by the following:
- Cost of the land
- Size of the home
- Cost of the building materials
- Labor costs
- The overall real estate market
- Builder impact fees
Here are some new construction tips and tricks that will help you protect yourself and negotiate the best possible price and terms on your brand new FishHawk Ranch home or Tampa Bay home!
Hire a Local Expert
Hire a REALTOR® that is the expert in the FishHawk Ranch area or other Tampa Bay areas. FishHawk Ranch is a large area with many different options and locations to choose from. A REALTOR® from out of the area will not know everything that this amazing community has to offer. Ensure your agent has in-depth experience with new construction as the builder contracts and the process are different from what most REALTORS® are used to. Here are 15 great REALTOR® interview questions to assist you with the task of hiring this expert. If you really want to make this process easy, hire me! I will be more than happy to work with you on this important purchase!
The one question I get all the time is can I use a REALTOR® if I am purchasing new construction? The answer is not only can you but it is very important that you do! The builder’s model homes are generally staffed by agents who work for and represent the builder. You need to have an agent that represents you and your best interests. The agent you choose should know any current builder incentives, advise you and help you structure how to make the most appealing offer to the builder.
Important: Most builders will require that your REALTOR® accompany and register you on the first visit to the builder’s model home. Please do not just go “window shop” without your agent. You could lose the opportunity to have your own representation! If you absolutely must go without your REALTOR® have them call the builder in advance and see if they can register you over the phone. In general, an agent with a good relationship with the builder should be able to do this for you. If they cannot get you registered it is really in your best interest to wait for your REALTOR®.
Purchase at the End of a Quarter or in December
Builders are like many other large businesses. They need to meet sales goals! For that reason, toward the end of a quarter, builders are sometimes more flexible in order to meet their goals.
The holidays are a wonderful time of year. We travel, shop for gifts and seem to eat a lot! The one thing we don’t typically do is shop for homes. If you are willing to buy toward the end of November into December, you will be in demand! This can be a great time of year to work with builders and get more design center incentives or even though the builders don’t like this, a price reduction.
Each builder will have their own set of standard items that come with a house. What comes as a standard item in the home for one builder may be a very expensive upgrade for another. When walking through the model home ensure you are finding out what is included and what is an upgrade. See if you are able to get a list of what is standard in the homes. You may be surprised what is included and what may not be included in a home.
This will not come as a surprise to you, builders don’t like to drop their pricing! If they do, it sets a precedent for future home sales. Builders would rather give seller contributions toward your closing costs or give a design center allowance. Your expert REALTOR® should know what incentives the builder has offered other recent buyers.
Keep in mind that builders are not emotionally attached to any of the homes they sell. They make decisions based on what is best for their business. Therefore, homes that have been sitting on the market are losing money! Inventory homes that have been sitting on the market for around 45 days are ripe for an enticing offer!
Note: Builders will not reduce the purchase price of the home if you do not use a REALTOR® to represent you. The money paid to the REALTOR® as a commission is included in the marketing budget for the builder, not the purchase price. If you do not have representation either the builder or the builder’s agent will get that money.
Put it in Writing
Please get everything in writing! It is very important!! If the builder is going to throw in the refrigerator, get it in writing! If you are purchasing a home that needs to be built, it is important to get in writing how the home will be finished, what will happen if construction is not completed on time, the deadlines, earnest money deposits, inspections, closing, and the deadlines for decisions that will occur through the process. Most larger builders will have lengthy, and very intimidating-looking purchase agreements that will cover all the details. Do yourself a favor and take the time to read through the purchase agreement to know exactly what you are getting into and what to expect.
Buy the Model
Builder model homes are typically packed with the best builder upgrades and features. These homes are showcase homes for the builder. In general, they will be the nicest homes in any subdivision. Typically when the subdivision is almost complete the builder will put the model home up for sale.
Technically, these are new homes in the sense that no one has ever lived in them. They do have a little wear and tear on them as they have been used as an office and have most likely had hundreds of people walk through and view them.
Just like a resale or an inventory home you generally don’t get to pick the colors of the carpeting, the paint on the walls, the kitchen cabinets, appliances, or any fixtures.
If you are okay with this, buying these gently used model homes can be a great buy.
Research the Builder
Do your homework! Not every builder offers the same quality, standard items, and options. Your expert REALTOR® will be able to help you with this. Also, you should:
- Visit other communities the builder has built homes in.
- Speak with previous buyers.
- Search for online reviews.
Keep in mind that if a builder builds enough homes it is impossible to make everyone happy all the time. Look for trends in the reviews. If a builder consistently gets a bad review you may want to look somewhere else. Try to find a builder that offers a good warranty and backs up their work.
The Builder’s Preferred Lender
Builder’s like when you use their preferred lender. They like it so much, most builders will offer you incentives for using them. Do your research and shop around. Don’t just automatically use the builder’s lender. Find the loan that is best for you, not for the builder. In some cases, a builder will require you to get pre-approval with their preferred lender. If you are to this stage in the buying process you have already spoken to a lender or mortgage broker of your own. Don’t worry about getting a second pre-approval, in general, it should not hurt your credit score. In a way, this is a good thing as you want to shop around for the best rate and terms anyway.
Builders like when you get pre-approved with their lender because it reassures them that you are a good credit risk. It can get very expensive for a builder to construct a house for a buyer and have the financing fall through and cancel the deal.
I have noticed that a good majority of times if you include the builder incentives with a competitive rate, the builder’s lender can be the best option for you. Just do your research!
New Construction Builders in FishHawk Ranch
In general, the majority of the new construction in FishHawk Ranch is happening in three locations. For additional information on each of these subdivisions please click on the link below.
FishHawk Ranch has and had many great builders in the community. Some of those are:
- Arthur Rutenberg
- Ashton Woods
- Cardel Homes
- David Weekley Homes
- Homes by John C. Fowke
- ICI Homes
- Sabal Homes
- Neal Communities
- Park Square Homes
Again, there are only two builders still building in the FishHawk Ranch communities. There is a lot involved in purchasing new construction in FishHawk Ranch. Please rely on the REALTOR® you hire to guide you and advise you through the new home buying process.
Hopefully, you will consider hiring me to assist you with purchasing your new FishHawk Ranch home. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.
If you are searching for new construction and FishHawk Ranch does not have what you are looking for, there are other great communities in the Tampa Bay area. Some of the other master-planned communities are Waterset (another Newland Communities development), Bexley (another Newland Communities development), Connerton, Epperson, Starkey Ranch, and Southshore Bay. There are also a lot of other smaller new communities being built. Please ask me about them, I am happy to help!
Related FishHawk Real Estate Articles
- FishHawk Ranch Real Estate Buyer’s Guide
- FishHawk Ranch Area Schools
- How to Get the Best Deal Buying a New House via Marketwatch.com
If you found this FishHawk Ranch real estate article beneficial, please share it with others. Thanks for sharing!
About the author
The above FishHawk Ranch real estate article “Tips for Purchasing New Construction in FishHawk Ranch” was written by Jeff Gould.
Jeff is a top-selling, nationally recognized REALTOR®, real estate broker, and local FishHawk Ranch real estate expert. You will find him selling homes in Tampa Bay, Florida, and surrounding areas. Some of those areas include FishHawk, Lithia, Riverview, Valrico, Apollo Beach, Brandon, and Tampa.
If you are looking to sell or buy a home anywhere in the Tampa Bay area, Jeff is your local and trusted professional.
Jeff can also be reached via text at (813) 421-3007.
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