How to Go About Buying an Unfinished Home
By Mark J. Donovan
||With a housing market that is still in the doldrums I may have just the solution to jumpstarting the housing market. Back some twenty or so years ago builders were willing to build unfinished homes for the young homebuyer. Building unfinished homes was actually a fairly popular concept. Back then builders realized that not everyone could afford a McMansion, a building theme that has seemed to dominate the housing market in recent years. Builders were willing to build unfinished homes in order to make a living versus trying to get rich quick by preying on just one or two home buyers per year.
By building smaller and less featured homes, or in stages, as such is the case when buying an unfinished home, homes become more affordable and thus more buyers begin to enter the housing market.
In the past I purchased two homes that were unfinished. The first was a builder spec home where the upstairs was left unfinished. This type of new spec home was fairly common in the New Hampshire area back in the 1980s. Many builders offered this type of starter home to consumers. For me, it was a way to enter into an otherwise overpriced housing market without having to go the route of a condo.
|It was an alternative that allowed me to buy the framework of a big home at a reduced price, and most importantly it allowed me a growth path to a bigger home as my income and family grew.
The second unfinished home I purchased I actually negotiated with a builder who was building a development to not complete the upstairs. Though unfinished homes by definition are unfinished, they did qualify for occupancy permits and banks offered mortgages for them. Typically in an unfinished home the downstairs is completely finished and there is a bedroom.
The upstairs is shut off via a door at the top of the stairwell. Insulation is either installed in the upstairs exterior walls or in-between the first and second floors. Additionally, depending upon what you negotiate with the builder the upstairs can be partially finished. For example, internal wall framing can be completed, and/or rough electrical wiring and plumbing can be installed.
Consequently you may find builders who are hesitant to build an unfinished home because they want to maximize the amount of money they can make on a piece of property. However, with the state of the current housing market you may find builders now more willing to accept an offer to build an unfinished home.
|So if you have interest in buying an unfinished home, check with your local builders and town building inspector. You might get lucky, and who knows, building unfinished homes maybe a solution that helps to jumpstart the housing market.
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