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The BBB suggests that you solicit two or three bids before selecting a contractor. Do not automatically accept the lowest bid. Make sure all bids are based on the same set of specifications. Never sign a blank or partially blank contract.

Ask the town's land planner about current zoning requirements and any proposals that have been submitted to develop nearby land.

Visit the developer's earlier projects to check out the quality of the community centers, landscaping, and other amenities. Ask residents if the developer delivered what was promised.

Check out the homeowners' association if applicable. Ask for a copy of the association's rules as soon as you're seriously interested in buying. Find out how much the association fee is.

Carefully scrutinize the contract, and consider legal review before signing. Make sure any upgrades are included in the contract. Also, add a statement to the contract allowing you to visit the site at several designated times. Keep your deposit check as small as possible. That money is at risk until you and your family move in.

Inspect the finished product. Before you take delivery of the property, give the new house a top-to-bottom examination yourself and consider bringing along an experienced new-home inspector with you.

Protect your mortgage rate. As the closing date approaches, you'll want to lock in your interest rate. If delays occur, talk to your lending institution. It may agree to extend your rate lock-in. If that doesn't work, ask the lender to close the loan and hold some of the money in escrow until the appraiser verifies the home is complete.

Consumer Tips


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