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Old 06-11-2017, 01:51 PM
 
32 posts, read 21,357 times
Reputation: 24

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Looking to retire in the next year and looking at 55+ communities in Arizona, and looking primarily at a new home. Could someone enlighten me on these 3 developers on additional costs and fees that are not listed in the new home model base costs. Summary as follows:

1. Upgrades - pretty straightforward here. I have heard the average upgrade for new purchasers is
between 20% - 35%. My upgrade list would include: bay window to the Master Bed; standard appliance
package ok, except change the electric range to an electric slide-in range; change top mounted kitchen
sink to undermount sink;change Master bath walk-in shower to standard shower and soaker tub; unit
cost to add a power outlet, a communication outlet, a fan rough-in, exterior hose bibb, exterior BBQ
gas, exterior fireplace at the patio. Any upgrade cost input would be appreciated.

2. Lot Fee when you purchase the home? Is this applicable to all 3 developers and what does this usually
cost. Would this be included in the average upgrade %.

3. Buy-in Fees - Different or the same as the Lot Fee?

4. Landscaping - is this an extra cost with all of the developers, and for an average size lot what is the
cost charged. Also is the purchaser allowed to install their own soft landscaping, as we would like to
control the planting on our property.

5. Homeowner Upgrading after Possession - do any of these developers restrict the upgrade work a new
homeowner can do after taking possession of a new home, ie. add landscape pavers off the patio area,
etc.

6. Other misc. hidden costs - please elaborate.

Appreciate any input from current new home residents in these developments or others currently looking. Thank you in advance.
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Old 06-11-2017, 10:02 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
2,115 posts, read 4,423,251 times
Reputation: 3181
Quote:
Originally Posted by slice235 View Post

1. Upgrades - pretty straightforward here. I have heard the average upgrade for new purchasers is
between 20% - 35%. My upgrade list would include: bay window to the Master Bed; standard appliance package ok, except change the electric range to an electric slide-in range; change top mounted kitchen sink to undermount sink;change Master bath walk-in shower to standard shower and soaker tub; unit cost to add a power outlet, a communication outlet, a fan rough-in, exterior hose bibb, exterior BBQ gas, exterior fireplace at the patio. Any upgrade cost input would be appreciated.
As you mentioned, upgrades will be very personal. Some people will be very happy with the standard items that the builder includes, others will want upgraded appliances, plumbing fixtures, etc. Personally I think the things that you really need to concentrate on are items that cannot be changed easily. Some examples might be the bay window, a gas line for appliances (if you prefer gas) or extensions to covered patios, rooms, garages, etc. Builders overcharge for things like custom paint, upgraded carpet, light fixtures, etc.

Every builder has a list of upgrades and the cost but they guard them like the queens jewels. Part of your negotiation is to ask for the list, it is very likely you can beat their pricing yourself. Recently had a client fall in love with the flooring in a model. The builder wanted $36K. The buyer was able to have the same floor installed by a flooring contractor for about $20K.

Don't get sucked into buying something you don't need just because it will be easier to have the builder do it.

Quote:
2. Lot Fee when you purchase the home? Is this applicable to all 3 developers and what does this usually cost. Would this be included in the average upgrade %.
All builders have lot premiums. It is the great equalizer. Builders know that the best lots will be more in demand so they charge more. So the lot near the entrance with more traffic going by will be cheaper than the one on the inside adjacent to the golf course. You just have to decide what you are willing to pay.

Quote:
3. Buy-in Fees - Different or the same as the Lot Fee?
Buy in fees are different than lot fees. Buy-ins are for the community. It pays for the amenities like community center, pool, common areas, golf courses, etc. Some communities maintain their own streets, utilities, etc. By the way, the buy in fee may well apply to resale homes as well as new,

Quote:
4. Landscaping - is this an extra cost with all of the developers, and for an average size lot what is the cost charged. Also is the purchaser allowed to install their own soft landscaping, as we would like to control the planting on our property.
In most communities landscaping is the buyers responsibility, but some communities may provide some landscaping in front yards. Almost all communities will have guidelines as to what is acceptable, including approved (and non-approved) plant lists.

Quote:
5. Homeowner Upgrading after Possession - do any of these developers restrict the upgrade work a new homeowner can do after taking possession of a new home, ie. add landscape pavers off the patio area, etc.
In most cases you are free to make any changes to the interior of a home, but will most likely require HOA approval for changes to the exterior. Some HOAs are more strict than others. Read the CC&Rs.

Quote:
6. Other misc. hidden costs - please elaborate.
Ask about reoccurring fees such as country club fees and periodic assessments.

MOST IMPORTANT. The builder is required to give you Public Report which details the the builders' approved plan for both the construction phase of the community and what happens once the builder completes the project. Read it!

Builders do a great job of subsidizing costs during construction phase and once they exit costs rise dramatically. This is not unique to retirement communities it common with many planned communities. Sales people do a great job of glossing over this information.
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:34 AM
 
Location: AZ
484 posts, read 550,484 times
Reputation: 1575
If you're considering new construction, I would strongly advise building in Sun City Anthem Merrill Ranch. We closed on our new construction home in October and we're still fighting with them to get our tile flooring laid properly and to get our fireplace to work. Our construction superintendent told us that when the construction market crashed a few years ago, the best skilled tradesmen left for other states. Now they basically hire whoever they can find looking for work.

There is a class action suit against Pulte that we, as well as many of our neighbors, are involved in.

Like the old saying says, "Buyer beware". Except in this case, it should be "New home builder beware".
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:36 AM
 
Location: AriZona
5,230 posts, read 3,644,934 times
Reputation: 5439
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
If you're considering new construction, I would strongly advise building in Sun City Anthem Merrill Ranch. We closed on our new construction home in October and we're still fighting with them to get our tile flooring laid properly and to get our fireplace to work. Our construction superintendent told us that when the construction market crashed a few years ago, the best skilled tradesmen left for other states. Now they basically hire whoever they can find looking for work.

There is a class action suit against Pulte that we, as well as many of our neighbors, are involved in.

Like the old saying says, "Buyer beware". Except in this case, it should be "New home builder beware".
Yep. I see this playing out all around Arizona.
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Old 06-13-2017, 11:59 AM
 
39 posts, read 65,438 times
Reputation: 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbpakrfan View Post
If you're considering new construction, I would strongly advise building in Sun City Anthem Merrill Ranch. We closed on our new construction home in October and we're still fighting with them to get our tile flooring laid properly and to get our fireplace to work. Our construction superintendent told us that when the construction market crashed a few years ago, the best skilled tradesmen left for other states. Now they basically hire whoever they can find looking for work.

There is a class action suit against Pulte that we, as well as many of our neighbors, are involved in.

Like the old saying says, "Buyer beware". Except in this case, it should be "New home builder beware".
Not sure I follow. Did you build somewhere prior to Anthem? Or, did you mean "not advise" building in Anthem?
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:00 AM
 
Location: AZ
484 posts, read 550,484 times
Reputation: 1575
Quote:
Originally Posted by ndcoop View Post
Not sure I follow. Did you build somewhere prior to Anthem? Or, did you mean "not advise" building in Anthem?
Holy cow...I just realized I left out one very important word. That would be the word "NOT".

In fact, we just heard the final word from the Pulte Warranty Department yesterday and they refuse to do anything to fix our tile flooring. When the tile was laid there were numerous high spots where the tiles come together...meaning the tiles wouldn't lay flat. Some tiles were so much higher that you would actually trip over them. They had their flooring vendor come back to replace the tiles (about 20 of them, believe it or not) and not only do the tiles still not lay flat, the tiles they put in don't match the original tiles. (Our original tiles are kind of a semi-gloss and they replaced them with matte tiles. They claim they have exhausted the supply of our original tiles. As a result, our floor looks like a checkerboard).

Pulte claims that the warranty states they have the right to match the tiles "as closely as possible". I asked if they would allow this tile situation in their models and they had no answer. Avoid Pulte at all costs.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:50 PM
 
32 posts, read 21,357 times
Reputation: 24
Thanks AZ for the detailed response. Can't ask enough questions when reviewing these communities.
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