Due Diligence is a Must When Purchasing New Construction

Now that new construction real estate has made a comeback throughout the U.S. and in Chicago, brand-new properties are understandably some of the most coveted properties on the market. But the rise of new construction and the costs associated with it has led to some developers cutting corners to maximize their margins. That means, rather than high-end, authentic finishes and details (like “real” hardwood floors, plastic over other materials, etc.) they are turning to faux details that look similar aesthetically but lack the quality that a true luxury property should have.

The Wall St. Journal recently covered this move toward faux materials in new construction properties, and this trend could be making its way into Chicago as the costs of construction continue to increase along with the cost of purchasing land.

It is in a buyer’s best interest to understand that some luxury features in their home only have the appearance of luxury, and they should be diligent in understanding what went into their potential home. There are a number of building materials today that look and feel like the “real” thing, so it may not be something that concerns you as a buyer. But it’s important to note that the difference between real and faux can certainly come into play down the line when you’re thinking about that property’s resale value.

A few areas where “faux” is more common, and therefore should be inquired about, include:

Floors: Many upscale, luxury condos are not using “real hardwood” floors, which are more expensive but also of a much greater quality than their prefabricated floors, which some developers are using. Real hardwood floors are individual, raw wood pieces that are hand-laid by a professional floor installer. Buyers of a new construction property should have some input on the flooring, especially choosing the stain color and type.

Crown moldings: Determine if the crown moldings used in a new construction property are made of wood or plastic. You’ll also want to note the amount of seams that are visible, and these can expand as the condo or home ages, and is a sign of less-than-lux quality.

Lighting: If a developer is using track lighting in an expensive, high-end home, this is also a workaround. Recessed can lighting is more expensive than track lighting, but is a less obtrusive, better design option in a home’s lighting plan. Model units or homes will sometimes use can lighting that will end up being more expensive if you choose them as an option in the actual unit that you buy.

Because of the many considerations and nuances that need to be worked through when buying new construction, it’s best to work with a real estate broker who brings a solid background in this area. I have sold an extensive amount of new construction condos and homes in Chicago, working with some of the most prestigious developers and projects in the city. If you’re thinking about purchasing a new construction home in Chicago, contact me to learn more about what’s on the market and considerations you’ll want to make during the process.

Contact me at (312) 498-5080 or email me at ssalnick@dreamtown.com.

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