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Before you sign a contract with your builder, make sure you’re getting the best price when buying a new build by using these steps first. That way, you can sign knowing that you got the best deal possible.

1. Walk the lots

Your builder has created your dream development, but each and every lot is different. Your builder knows that some lots – like the end of a cul-de-sac, for example – are more desirable than others. As such, your builder might price the home there accordingly. You can negotiate a lower price by taking the time to walk through the available lots and choosing one that doesn’t have a premium price.

2. Pull comps

They say that comparison is the thief of joy, but when it comes to buying a new build, comparison might be your ticket to a better price. You can access public county files to see how much homes in the area are selling for or ask your builder for comparison homes and prices. That way, you can gauge where your home price should be and use it as a starting point for your own negotiations.

3. Price out upgrades

Your builder has a catalog of upgrades that you can choose from. You’ll get a base price for standard finishes, but each upgrade – think higher-end floors and finishes – will crank up your total price. Here’s the thing, though: Like beverages in restaurants, upgrades are mostly profit. Sure, the materials might cost a little more, but builders skim a hefty premium off of the top. Before you agree to your must-have upgrades, take the time to price them from a separate contractor.

4. Tour the model

If your dream house still seems a little out of reach for you financially, ask your builder about their model homes. Model homes are built on the most desirable lots with some of the highest-quality craftsmanship. At the same time, they’re often sold at deep discounts because they’ve been used as model homes and aren’t considered new or custom.

5. Change neighborhoods

Real estate is about supply and demand, and new builds aren’t any different. If you’re after an exclusive neighborhood with a low supply of homes, you’ll pay for it. If you, however, get into a new neighborhood or one that isn’t selling as quickly, you could save major money.

6. Shop around

Every builder has cultivated a network of preferred partners. From lenders to roofers to framers, most builders use the same contractors again and again – even if they don’t offer the best price. Don’t be afraid to shop around and check prices with other builders, contractors and lenders. In some cases, the incentive to use your builder’s preferred lender might be less valuable than a lower interest rate with someone else.

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