Episode 23: Building a New Home with Kate Peterson
In this episode, Reside Broker/Owner Brady Bridges sits down with Kate Peterson, Division Sales Manager for Highland Homes, to discuss the home building process and timeline, how to decide between new and preowned homes, and why she always recommends her clients use a Realtor.
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At Highland Homes, Kate said the buying process generally starts when the potential homeowner walks into a model home in one of their many communities around Dallas or Fort Worth. For people who want to be in their new home sooner rather than later, inventory homes are the way to go. If the inventory home is fully completed and move-in ready, the trade off is that the buyers wouldn't get to pick their finishes or customize the layout - the house is the way it is, but it's ready to go now. If you're earlier in the process and the home isn't completely done, you may be able to make some smaller modifications depending on what options are available and haven't been completed yet, like flooring or finishes, but likely wouldn't be able to change structural options like a bathroom in place of a large closet.
The second option would be to start from scratch and get the home built the way you want it. Kate said this would include choices like "you want a bigger shower and you want no bathtub. Maybe you want a medium sized shower and some extra storage. Maybe you want a larger kitchen, maybe you want a smaller kitchen, maybe you want a study, maybe you want a four bedroom." Typical build time for most Highland homes are about nine months now that pandemic-era supply chain issues have largely been resolved.
Kate mentioned that one of the major pluses to buying a new construction homes is that many builders are offering incentives like paying down closing costs or points towards a lower mortgage interest rate - especially important as rates have been fluctuating recently. If you're trying to decide between new construction and pre-built homes, she said new homes generally appreciate faster as well as having lower energy costs and repair bills if it comes with a warranty - but sometimes lack the development like easy access to shopping and restaurants that comes with walkability in an older neighborhood. Her overall advice was to consider the home you'll want in five years and go with what's "going to serve you over the long term."
When she worked as a sales rep, Kate said she encouraged anyone she spoke with to bring their real estate agent with them to help with planning and decision making - and that as a new construction builder, they charge exactly the same regardless of whether the clients have an agent or not. "The number one reason that people should use an agent is because they all have been through the process a million times," Kate said, calling it "a different level of expertise."
Kate said she's been working for Highland Homes for ten years now but if she were building a home, "I would still want an agent as part of the process...it's the biggest investment that most people make, and it can be an emotional process, it can be a little bit stressful at times." Brady mentioned that as an agent or as a client, it's important to pay attention during the meeting with the sales rep because if "they're not communicating clearly about the questions you have, it's going to be a nightmare going through the process."
Kate can be reached on Instagram at FortWorthKate or highlandhomes.com.