Tuesday, January 31, 2012

First thing first

As I mentioned in my first post I am going back to blog about some of the steps I've been through already.  Well the first thing everyone does is to check out the model homes.  Almost all of these developers have a handful of floor plans you can choose from.  They will typically have a built model home at the new community for perspective buyers to take a look at.  Other communities in the area will typically have a different model home so you can see different floor plans.  Before going to see your first model home (and talking to the agent there) you should know some things.

First, if you want a real estate agent to represent you then you need to have them present at your first meeting.  The reason for this is because Ryan Homes will sometimes pay your Realtor the 3% fee if you buy the place if they are the ones to bring you there, think of it as a finder's fee.  If you try to bring the Realtor in later Ryan Homes won't pay them; therefore, you will need to.  It isn't a bad idea to have a Realtor represent you (it can't hurt); although, if you feel comfortable negotiating then you can make do without one.  My wife and I aren't using a Realtor.

Second, sometimes, if you are referred by someone else in the community then both you and them can get an incentive.  You need to tell them who referred you on your first visit.  It might be a good idea to stop and talk to any home owners on the street as you drive through and get their name.  Instant good karma for making friends with the neighbors.  While you are at it you can also ask about their experience with the building process and any advice.  If you don't see anyone then get a name off the mail box.  My wife and I put down a friends name that bought in a near by Ryan community; therefore, we didn't get the incentive which would have been $500.  It was very disappointing that Ryan feels that only certain customers can refer other customers.

If you are not ready with either of the above you could still go to the model home, just refuse to put down your info (or put a fake name) on their list.  Wait until you have a Realtor or a referral until you start talking to them.

Third, you should never tell them how much money you have, annual income, what your price range is, or any other financial information.  They don't tell you what there financial situation is, so why should you tell them yours.  It gives them an advantage in any negotiations on price or incentives.  Just leave the fields blank.  If they ask you to fill it out you should decline.  If they ask you as you walk in the door you can just say you can afford any house that you find to be a good fit for your family.  That steers the discussion to show me the house and we can talk about money if I am interested.

Lastly, and most importantly, is that they apply high pressure sales tactics.  The agents goal is to get you to sign a contract and the best way to get you to commit is to put down a deposit.  Even if it is refundable they know if you put down a deposit they have a hook in you.  To get you to put down a deposit they will quickly offer you some type of incentive, a free upgrade or case towards closing and then act as if it is a one time deal and might not be there in the future.  This is a common sales tactic used to give the buyer a sense of urgency and jump before thinking.  So when the high pressure sales tactics start being used take a breath and just tell them you'll think about it.

This brings us to something all buyers should be aware of and always keep in mind at all times.  All the people that you'll deal with that work for the developer has the developers best interests in mind not yours.  There job is to make the company money, not doing what's best for you.  If they can get you to buy a house that isn't best for you they still get paid, that is why they try to get you to jump at the first meeting before you think about it.  They'll even tell you that they represent the buyer in the contract that you sign, the reason they mention it in the contract is because they will act as if they care about your interests to the point that if they don't have you sign that you know they aren't your repersenitive they could get sued.  This goes beyond just selling the house, so keep it in mind during the whole process, I know I will.

About the blog

Hi everyone, and welcome to my blog about my experience building with Ryan Homes. I include a link to their website because there are some other builders that have similar names.  Let me start with what I hope this blog will become, ad then I'll talk to you a little about myself.

There is some stuff on the internet that gives advice and experiences from people building a house.  There are also a couple blogs (including others that used Ryan Homes).  I am hoping that this blog will be an additional source for other that are looking to build a house.  I am going to write about advice that I have gotten from research or talking with friends and how I'll use it to approach the whole process. I'll also talk about how my experience is going, what I am glad I did or what I wish I had done differently.  I hope that someone reading my blog will gain insight and their process will be improved from my experiences. I am starting this blog just after signing the contract with Ryan Homes so I do not know yet if the process will be great or not but I bet valuable advice will come from it.  The next few posts will be about the process so far, and then after that I'll do my best to blog about things as they happen.  I am not going to share which Ryan community I am building in to protect my privacy a little, but I will share that it is in Maryland.

A little bit about my wife and I.  We are in our late twenties, and this will be our first house that we have bought.  We both are very thoughtful in all of our decisions doing a lot of research and weighing pros and cons before making a decision.  We spent a lot of time looking at houses and considering different developers which is when I noticed that it would have been helpful if more people talked about their experience, good or bad.  This is my first blog, so it's also a learning experience for me in using the tools and the best practices to write about the experience, so bear with me at first.

Lastly I'll point out that their are two very different categories of having a home built.  First, and what my wife and I are doing, is to find a developer who has a ton of lots in a community and is building houses on them as they get buyers.  They will have a handful of floor plans to choose from and a decently large selection of options to choose from; however, there will still be stuff you can't change, or choices that are limited by the options available.  For example you can choose from a few kitchen sinks.  You decide on all the options and then they build your house on a lot you choose.  When they are done they transfer the deed to you.  The second option is to find a builder and a lot and have the builder build you a house on the lot.  Here the builder will typically build any floor plan you find (or have made by an architect).  In this case every aspect of the home you can choose or change.  You can go to Home Depot and choose any kitchen sink you want.  Some of what I will talk about will apply to building a house both ways, but I wanted to point out that it'll focus on building a new development with a builder such as Ryan Homes.

On a second last note I'll point out I have allowed anyone to leave comments.  No user accounts are needed.  I hope to generate questions this way, so feel free to ask.  I also hope that others may give advice, hopefully in time for me to act on but if not at least others can use it, so please feel free to leave advice.