The Top 5 Best Practices to consider when buying a new Santa Clarita Home.

Know the new home agent you are selecting to represent you

Connor MacIvor new home real estate agentGood day everyone, I'm Connor T. MacIvor, licensed Realtor headquartered in the Santa Clarita Valley cities.

Now, first things first. The background that gives me the ability to speak about the 5 best practices to consider when buying a New Santa Clarita home is the following.

1990-2013 - LAPD Cop both Full Time and Full Line Reserve.

1998 to present - Realtor

I bought my own new home from a new home builder in Valencia CA back in 2001. That was an experience, I can assure you.

View the New Home Inventory in Santa Clarita

I have represented over 127 clients to date when buying new homes from the various new home builders in the Santa Clarita Valley cities and elsewhere in Southern California since 1998.

Now, everything has not always been going the way it is currently with the new Santa Clarita home builders.

There was a time when they would not pay me to represent my clients when it came to buying new homes from them.

In the present time and for the past many years, they include a commission for me when I bring my new home clients to the new home site and register them.

The new home builders in the Santa Clarita Valley know the score. We have home buyers. We are typically the first point of contact for a home buyer. Some home buyers contact me in order to buy a new home specifically.

When I take them to the new home center or new builder model homes, I typically know all the new home representatives, the current standing inventory, and the pricing models that are enforced from the new home corporate levels.

I understand which Santa Clarita new home builders are more likely to budge on their listing prices and which new home developments have standing inventory which is a plus for my own Santa Clarita home buyers.

My method is also taking into account the movement at the new home centers and how the inventory is being put on hold and ultimately purchased, and in what volume.

The market and flexibility with the New Santa Clarita Homes are dependent on the new home turnover. Things that are considered by the new home corporate types are the following:

  • Current phasing and city approval process
  • Historical time frames of phase release and absorption
  • Fall out rate for the new homes which were purchased
  • Financing types
  • In house financing options, credits, and discounts
  • Negotiation factors between new home agents and "independent" agents

With new homes and new construction, one of the biggest complaints that I receive has to do with the closing dates.

One date is promised and when that date comes, there is no end to the new home construction insight. They are still framing, painting, or doing something that requires the city to sign off, but the city tarries.

I was a cop for a long time, I would never hire the attorney to represent me that was representing the defendant - make sense yes? As you would not hire the attorney of the person who is suing you. You want your own attorney. you want someone to be on your side 100%. You want to have your own game plan and to utilize that game plan at your own strategic pace and private pace.

Have your own new Santa Clarita home agent on your side

A specific knowledge and expertise when it comes to negotiation with a new home builder and with the new home real estate agent(the builders representative)

The ability to get your point across to the new home builder's agent and to get them to do what is required of them.

I have bought new homes for myself in my past as a licensed realtor. There can be a rough underside of the new home buying process. I have worked out the kinks for my clientele that wants my representation at new homes and have strived to make their process better than it exists now.

You have choices, but most of the new home builders in the Santa Clarita Valley will not allow you to have your own real estate agent if they don't come with you on your first visit.

While the enforcement of this rule is in a grey area, if you leave your name, you have potentially made it so you cannot have anyone but the new home builder's agent represent you.

So hence, watch out for leaving your name, even when the new home builder's representative hands you a tablet as you walk in the door asking you to register to view the new model homes.

The better solution is to have me by your side and we go together to view the new homes. That way I can take you on the tour and show you what things you are going to need to know before making a committed decision to buying a New Santa Clarita Home.

New Home COVID19 - Coronavirus quarantine update: The new home builders have been very accommodating to help me and my new Santa Clarita home buyers when wanting to view the model homes. Currently, while I still meet with my new home clients at the new home centers, some clients want to keep a distance during the quarantine. All I need now is my client's information and I then place a call to my contacts at the new home builder center and relay that information as I am their representative. The new home builder's real estate agent fills out the card and makes me your official Realtor during the new home buying process. 

When you are going to view new Santa Clarita homes during this time - COVID19 Quarantine - you may see the builder's homes that we spoke about, but while in the area, you see other new home communities you have an interest in. The same rules apply. Because this was not on our viewing list and because I have not had a conversation with that particular new home builder's agent about your and my business relationship, I will need to call them.

Text me with their phone number and a photo of the community name - you can also email me or call me with the same information and I will then call them and announce that you are my real estate client and I am your representative.

This action solidifies our relationship with the new home builder's representative and with the new home builder, thereby allowing me to assist you with our New Home Buyer's advantage program with our new home buyer rebates and other advantages.

New Santa Clarita home financing and new home lenders

Something that most new home centers in the Santa Clarita Valley offers are financing options from an "in house" lender or mortgage broker.

When buying real estate, new homes, or not, unless you are paying with cash (money in the bank), you are going to need to get financing.

Financing can be obtained from anywhere you want. If you have a bank you like, then you can get financing for the new home purchase from them. If you have a family member that does "loans" then that works also.

However, there are typically incentives, discounts, and or closing cost credits that are given if you choose to work with the new home builders lender.

Most new home builders have a relationship with a lender who is on the premises or one that is a phone call away.

New home builders require that their lender approve you for the new home buying financing, even if you have your own lender that you are going to want to work with.

Some of the new home lenders are awesome and give you the same deal as you'd find elsewhere. Some are not and equate to poor service and bad experiences due to them not having to work for your business, per se.

I watch this part of the new Santa Clarita home buyer process when I'm representing my new home clients. I want to find out what is being offered and see what the "other charges" are going to be by the lender.

For example, if the new home builders lender is charging a new home buyer of mine $20,000 to obtain for them a loan on a $750,000.00 home, but only contributing $7500 towards my new home buyers closing costs, that is not a good deal.

In fact, that is a poor deal and if the new home buyer is my client, I let them know and we move along to another lender or get that new home lender to adjust that fee in my buyer's favor.

Numbers don't lie as they relate to the new home community

In the Santa Clarita new home communities, they release new homes in phases. I have sold new homes and represented new homebuyers in other Southern California Cities, I have not run into a different system to date.

A phase is going to be a particular amount of homes. A new home community may have 100 homes, with each phase broken down into 20 homes released at a time making the total number of phases 5.

There are so many different variations of the phase numbers and the release schedule, it can make one's mind spin.

Here are the new home builder advantage - the new home builder and their corporate think tank decide on how to release the homes they are building.

They also work on their best advantage related to price increases per phase.

If the new home builder is going to have 20 phases - of 5 homes per phase, which may happen in a fast new home sale market, by the time they get to 20 phases, the prices could be up to $100,000 higher from the selling price of the first phase.

Therefore, knowing the phase number that you are buying and the historical pricing of past phases is really good intel and helps you know where your investment today may correspond to in value later.

New Homes in the Santa Clarita Valley all have Home Owners Associations. These homeowners associations are typically handled by large Management Companies - Valencia Management being one of the largest in Santa Clarita Valley. The real estate that I own is all part of HOA's that Valencia Management Group VMG handles.

I will tell you that most home buyers are not concerned by whom is going to manage the HOA. I tell my new home buyers to be concerned. VMG, as far as I have experienced, has done an excellent job in the handing of my community Home Owners Associations.

However, not all HOA management companies are the same. Some are really bad and do a horrible job. As a new home buyer, make a call. Find out who the HOA management company is and call them to feel them out. 

How soon do they get back to you, are they seemingly user friendly? 

Because you are buying a New Santa Clarita home the HOA will start collecting their fee once you move in. That fee won't be enough to sustain the entire development until all of the homes are built, they are all occupied and everyone is making their HOA payment. 

Hence, most times when buying a new home the HOA fee reduces once everyone is paying. A good question to ask!

On the other side, HOA's can also increase their monthly dues. This is another good question that I ask for my new home buyers of the new home representatives or at the time when you call the management company.

Phase price increases concerning the new homes being considered. Finding out what the new home prices were in the beginning phase, phase 1, and where they are today, will give you a good indication of where they will be at the next phase release.

Maybe the lot that you want is going to be part of a future phase release, that works - just consider that you may have competition in the buying of it or at that time during that phase release the home will be more expensive.

Santa Clarita new home lot premiums

When looking at a new model home, it's hard not to be taken back. It's hard to just focus on what the home actually comes with, despite how the model home has over $200,000 in upgrades.

The same applies to the lot on which the model home is sitting. Most of the model homes are situated on larger view lots. The new home builder knows that the people viewing new homes have a better showing experience if they have the model home dressed to the 9's.

I prepare my new home buyers when it comes to the lot premiums.

Some of the lots are on the "view side" if we are talking about those which are situated on our local Santa Clarita hillsides.

Those lot premiums can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

I have found, in some cases, I have been successful in getting a lot premium reduced by 50% or more. However, if you don't ask, then re-ask, then push even when they tell you NO - you won't get any reduction.

I'm a good pusher :)

For me it's business. It's not personal. It's only business and I'm all about getting the best for my new home real estate clients.

One of the things that I speak about with my new home clients related to the lot premium being charged is how that equates to real money in the re-sale world.

For example, in Valencia, zip code 91355, I can pull the comparable data showing that a view lot would bring, on average, $40,000.00 more if all other things are the same.

Same as in the same year built homes, same amenities, same floorplan, same bedroom/bathroom count, etc.

If the new home builder is charging $90,000 for the view lot premium, that may be more that I'd pay so I provide the re-sale data to be included with my new home clients offer for the new home.

Also, most new home builders' agents are going to tell you there is no negotiation. When they tell me that, I don't get offended, they have a job to do. But I also have a job to do to represent my new home buyer to the best of my ability.

Overspending at the new home design center

Yes, most new homes allow the choices you make when visiting the new home design center to be financed into your home loan.

First - the new home design center, it's the place where you will go to pick out your "upgrade options".

As I stated, most new homes in the Santa Clarita Valley are modeled with a ton of upgrades. 

When you buy a home and choose not to have any upgrades, you will be buying a white box.

In the design center, which is typically visited early in the contract phase, you will be met by a very nice person.

I have yet to meet a not so nice person that is working at a new home design center.

And, stand by for this, they are good at what they do!

It's like going to Costco, you only go for toilet paper and when you get to the checkout you have five hundred dollars worth of stuff you did not come there to buy.

Don't let this happen to you when you are buying a new home, I will try my best if I'm working for you to keep your upgrade choices limited to only the most value increasing options.

For example, if the new home upgrade center has the options of having interior arched doors and doorways, that maybe something that you should consider. If in the local Santa Clarita re-sale market I am able to show that more money is offered with homes that are being sold with arched interior doors, then we are good. Logically, you can apply this test to all of the options at the upgrade center.

Flooring is famously expensive at some of the new home center design studios I have seen.

It would make more sense to buy the home with the basic flooring then to pay a company to come out to install the hardwood or upgraded flooring.

The problem with that is you cannot finance that into your 30-year mortgage as you can the other new home option choices you make at the new home design center.

That is a good reminder, you are able to finance your choices into your 30-year mortgage. A $15,000 flooring upgrade may only cost you $7.00 dollars a month in addition to your mortgage payment.

Just don't let yourself get carried away. I guide my clients in reference to what options they are selecting. I will give them the good, bad, and the ugly according to my new home experiences.

New Santa Clarita Home buyer bonus section

I cost a client nothing to have as their representative when buying a new home.

New Santa Clarita homes or any other Southern California home, new or resale.

My fee is taken care of by the new home builder. If you are utilizing my services to buy a resale home, the home seller is the entity that pays me to represent you. That is if I'm the listing agent hired by the seller or not - so it literally "pays" to have me as your home buyer's agent.

When you are ready, contact me and I will let you in on what my new home buyer advantage program is all about.

How much money you will be able to expect and in what form it will be given to you for utilizing my new home services.

As I have stated many times over. I'd rather give my home buyers money back, credits or discounts than give it away to the real estate syndication websites.

Be well and when you are ready to reach out to me directly.

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