Buying a home – particularly in an exciting and sought-after city like Las Vegas – can be an exhilarating experience. But buying a new construction home takes the thrill to a whole new level.
You’ll have a lot of firsts in a newly built home. As it will be constructed from the ground up, you get the opportunity to get everything you’ve always wanted in a dream home. Depending on the type of property, you can customize it down to the last detail, and design the landscaping, interiors, and exteriors to your satisfaction.
But as exciting as the prospect of owning a brand new house can get, there are also a few pitfalls to watch out for. To help you prepare for the process, here’s everything you need to know about purchasing a new construction home in Las Vegas.
WHAT IS A NEW CONSTRUCTION HOME?
In a nutshell, a new construction home is a property that no one has ever lived in before. It’s a fairly broad category that can refer to homes designed and made by builders in a development, or a house created according to your specifications, with designers and contractors handpicked by you.
With this in mind, the first thing you need to know about buying a new construction home in Las Vegas is your customization options.
- Custom home
A full custom home gives you the most power to personalize every detail of the house. To some, it may feel like there are too many decisions to make. But the upside of it is, you can plan your house down to the tiniest details, such as the number of power outlets or windows, the type of light switches, and the layout of the rooms. Custom homes typically cost more than other new construction types, but you get the satisfaction of truly getting the home of your dreams and one that reflects your very own style and personality.
- Semi-custom home
Also called tract homes, semi-custom homes are usually offered by developers of a new community. The architectural styles of these homes are highly similar, giving the neighborhood a cohesive look. However, developers typically give buyers the option to choose from several premade floor plans, plus limited opportunities for customization, such as the material for the countertops, fixtures, and flooring. The degree to which you can personalize a semi-custom home largely depends on the conditions set by the developer.
One of the biggest advantages of a semi-custom home is the price. You can typically get a semi-custom home at a considerably lower price than a custom one within the same area or neighborhood.
- Spec home
Spec homes are built without any buyer’s input, so any customization or renovation would have to be made after the purchase. Some spec homes become available when a buyer who customized the property backs out of the deal, but many are built solely with the goal of finding a buyer after the construction.
How Much Does a New Construction Home in Las Vegas Cost?
- Custom homes
The costs of building a custom home are divided into two categories: hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs refer to the price of everything that went into the making of the physical structure, particularly the materials. Think foundation, drywall, framing, doors, and others. Soft costs, on the other hand, cover labor, the cost of the land, permits, and the like.
If you’re building a home on your own specifications and your choice of builders, you can expect starting costs of around $145-$165 per square foot, based on 2021 figures for Las Vegas. Mid-range homes can cost you $175-225 per square foot while high-end homes can cost $240 per square foot and above.
Note that these costs may increase as the building process goes on because of supply-related issues. The prices of lumber, diesel, copper, and steel can fluctuate so make sure to keep that in mind when designing the home.
- Semi-custom or turnkey homes
You’ll find quite a few semi-custom or turnkey homes in Las Vegas, mostly in developments created by the country’s top builders such as Toll Brothers, Lennar, Pulte Homes, and Richmond American Homes. The prices of these properties typically start at approximately $300,000. At that range, you can find a home with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a 2-car garage, with floor areas of around 1,200 to 1,500 square feet. Some homes at this price point may include features like powder rooms and granite countertops.
As the price goes higher, you can expect larger floor areas and lot sizes, as well as more upscale features such as lofts, walk-in closets, patios, and gardens. You may also get more options for customization.
- Luxury new construction in Las Vegas
Las Vegas has no shortage of new construction luxury homes, with prices that typically start at around $650,000 and can go as high as $2.5 million and above. You’ll find many of these in exclusive communities throughout the metro, including in Henderson, North Las Vegas, Summerlin, and others.
If you’re in the market for the finest and most upscale new construction homes in Las Vegas, developments to look into include Obsidian by Blue Heron, Velaris by Blue Heron, Galway Grove by Richmond American Homes, Mesa Ridge by Toll Brothers, Strata by Blue Heron and more.
New construction luxury homes in Las Vegas come with such features as smart home technology and upscale finishes that include hardwood floors, granite countertops, and state of the art kitchens. Many boast blended indoor-outdoor living spaces, large windows offering fantastic views of the surrounding desert, hills, and mountains, as well as neighborhood amenities such as swimming pools and clubhouses. Square footage can range from 2,300 to over 6,000.
- You have a say in almost every detail of the home–from the cabinet handles to the general layout and materials used
- New homes typically require less maintenance for at least the next five years
- You don’t have to deal with surprise expenses that can set you back hundreds or thousands of dollars
- You have the opportunity to make your home more energy-efficient. Most builders today incorporate the latest technology that results in considerable energy savings
- Many new construction homes come with a builder’s warranty, so if you find a problem in the next two to five years – the typical duration of a home warranty – you can expect the builder to fix it at no cost to you
- You get to enjoy the brand new feel not only of the house but everything in it, including the appliances and fixtures
- Building or purchasing a new construction home can be more expensive than buying an existing home
- Not all builders are the same. If you’re going to choose a builder for your home, make sure to choose a company that has plenty of good reviews and a great track record.
- You have less wiggle room to negotiate a deal
- The area’s landscaping can take a lot of time to mature. If you plant a tree, it’s going to take a while for it to grow and provide shade.
- If you purchase a semi-custom home, the homes in the neighborhood may all look the same.
- You need to wait a longer time to move into your new home
BUYING A NEW CONSTRUCTION HOME IN LAS VEGAS
Compared to building a custom home, the process of buying a semi-custom home is generally shorter and less complex. In general, it takes about a year or more to complete a custom build, and around six months or more to complete a semi-custom home.
While there are significant differences to the process of building a fully custom home and buying a semi-custom one, there are also plenty of similarities. Whichever new construction type you choose, these are the basic steps you need to know:
Find a good location and community
Purchasing a new construction home isn’t just about the house–it’s also about the general area and the community as well. Whether you’re buying an existing home or new construction, you’re also investing in the neighborhood and the community.
Consider, for example, the size of your home. Building a large, 5,000-square-foot home in a neighborhood of 1,000-square-foot homes may price you out of the market if you decide to sell in the future. You also have to consider your commute to and from work, the crime rate, nearby schools, and the distance to community amenities such as grocery stores, shops, and restaurants.
It’s important as well to learn about any future developments in the area that could affect the value of your property or any known issues or news about the neighborhood. Try to find out as much as you can about the community you’re interested in so you can make a well-informed decision about owning a home in the area.
Work with an expert real estate professional
You may think that you won’t need to work with a real estate agent when buying a new construction home in Las Vegas, but this can lead to costly mistakes and missed opportunities. A real estate professional isn’t just there to help you fill out paperwork. They will represent you and your best interests during the entire home-buying and building process. Keep in mind the agent representing the builder or developer will likely put their client or employer first, so having someone who will look after your interests is necessary to ensure you get the best representation.
In choosing a Realtor, find someone who thoroughly knows the area, has a good track record, and has proven good relationships with previous clients. It will also help if the Realtor has a vast network of real estate professionals that you can tap for your needs, such as lenders, lawyers, inspectors, and so on.
The ideal real estate agent should also be able to give you sound advice about customization options. For example, they should be able to tell you if an upgrade is worth the additional cost when it comes to increasing the home’s value.
To find the right Realtor, ask your family or friends for referrals. Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions to find an agent that checks all your criteria. After all, the agent you’ll be working with is going to help you make one of the biggest purchases in your life.
Once you find the ideal location for your new home, you’ll need to secure financing. Unless you plan on paying cash for the property, the next step is to find the right loan and mortgage provider.
Financing a new construction home is quite different from financing an existing home. For a custom or semi-custom property, you will likely need to secure a construction loan. Construction loans are short-term loans (typically with a one year term) that help you cover the costs of building the house. This kind of loan is considered specialty financing and is different from a mortgage. Generally, the interest rates for construction loans are steeper than normal mortgages.
After the house is constructed, some lenders offer the option of automatically converting the loan into a permanent mortgage while others require you to close the construction loan and open a traditional mortgage. Not all lenders provide construction loans so finding one that does may be trickier.
Many large developers also offer builders financing which can make the process go faster and easier, but you are not obligated to go with this. Shop around and compare mortgage packages to find the best one for you.
Identify the construction company
Unless you’re buying in a development with a single builder, you need to find the right home construction company to get the job done. You can ask your real estate agent for recommendations, get referrals from people you know, or search the internet for companies with great reviews.
A good rule of thumb is to get quotes from two or three contractors. Compare the prices, services, and timelines as well. If you have specific design ideas in mind, make sure to discuss them with potential builders so you know if they have the capability to execute these ideas.
If possible, work with local builders. First, they can start and get the job done sooner. Second, they may already have relationships with local suppliers and vendors, further speeding up the process of sourcing materials for your home. In addition, they likely already have connections with local skilled subcontractors. Finally, if there’s a problem with the house, you can easily contact them and have them fix it more quickly.
Design your new home or decide on upgrades
Ask your developer or contractor detailed questions about the design or upgrade process so you can set your expectations. If you’re building a custom home, you need to work closely with your contractor and designer in determining which features would work best for the property.
If you’re buying a semi-custom home, you have to choose from the builder’s standard options for the paint, cabinetry, flooring, countertops, and other details. You also need to decide if you’ll ask for upgrades. If you’re not happy with the standard choices or want the home to truly reflect your style, you may have the option to upgrade to something of your choosing, but usually at an extra cost. One of the factors you have to consider is how an upgrade may impact the home’s value down the road.
If you choose a spec home, you might need to plan out the renovations and customizations you want to do once you’ve closed on the home.
Hire an inspector
Builders are required to undergo specific inspections during the homebuilding process, but for your safety and that of your family, it’s still a good idea to schedule a home inspection with an independent inspector. This will help ensure everything in the house is up to code and that the structure itself is sound. A third-party inspector can also help you find areas where the contractor might have cut corners in the construction and point out anything that needs fixing before you move in.
PROS & CONS OF NEW CONSTRUCTION HOMES
Should you buy a new construction home in Las Vegas or choose an existing one? Both property types have their advantages and disadvantages, and the decision may ultimately come down to your personal preference.
Here’s a look at what you can expect from a new construction home:
Pros of new construction homes:
Cons of new construction homes
With the many advantages of building or purchasing a new construction home, there are also a few downsides you should take into account.
BUILDING YOUR DREAMS FROM THE GROUND UP
Excited to build your dream home in Las Vegas? Let me, Anthony Romeo, be your expert guide as you explore your new construction home options in the Entertainment Capital of the World.
As a real estate professional for 20 years and a long-time Las Vegas resident, I have helped a diverse range of clients find the perfect home. Together, we will explore various Las Vegas neighborhoods to help you find the community and property that best suit your wants and needs.
Allow me to guide you in making the right investment that helps you achieve your financial goals and enhance your lifestyle. You can reach me by calling 702.353.6759 or by sending an email to anthony(at)romeoluxury(dotted)com.