Supply and demand may prohibit negotiating well beyond what a builder offers.

While pure supply and demand may prohibit you from negotiating well beyond what a builder provides, knowing how to handle the process lets you save some cash whenever you can. In the current climate of growing costs and dwindling inventories, saving money on new construction can look difficult, if not almost impossible. The resale stock is poor and is a seller’s market across many regions.

If you purchase a new construction, I want you to understand, you can enter into an agreement and stop paying for certain things on the new build. Here are some suggestions and ways to make it possible for you. To know what communities are being launched before the public gets the word. For example, Ponte Vedra, Nocatee I am a “Certified Nocatee Realtor” and have the privilege to these communities. The floor plans, availability and price choices are important matters that I have availability to. I may even have the site agent’s contact information.⠀

Builders do not list each home for sale in the MLS and certainly will not list what is available and move in ready. It is extremely important to find a realtor you are familiar with and in areas you might be unfamiliar with. I can show you more often than not who the real site agents are in different communities and will direct you to the specialist in the field you are interested in. My staff and I know if you need to contact them directly or whether I can arrange appointments in a more efficient manner. Every construction manager functions a bit differently. Site supervisors are frequently linked to appointments and dealing with current buyers following their homes process. Supervisors cannot respond in a timely manner. In any case, you should have someone like myself that can direct you to key individuals that will run down necessary details quickly. 

2. Buying new construction? Knowing when a new community pulls the trigger.

At the beginning of selling a new neighborhood, a large part of the savings of new development usually occurs, when you are one of the first buyers to write an agreement. The moment the builder starts sales, rates are at their lowest on lots and floor plans, and they only have one direction to go from there, up.

The best offers are the first deals, and indecisiveness can and will cost a buyer cash and probably their lot and floor plan option if there are limits on how many homes can be constructed around each other on a street or unique portion of one model (so that every home is not the same). This also applies to how much heated Square footage is allowable on any specific lot.

After you close, you may find out the home you built, knowing it’s 2500 square feet, is recorded on record as 2100 square feet. A potential nightmare becomes real! Buyers looking for the stunning view of the elusive cul-de-sac lot or the highly desirable lot with no one next door or across from them? They are best equipped to leap out of a parachute or available to come in on Zoom, Skype or other video conferencing software that anyone can use to make this happen.

Waiting a couple of days could change the whole scenario. The response to “we’re not quite ready yet, but we can check it out next time we’re in town in a couple of weeks” may result in a huge price rise on both lots and home base prices. Not to mention, the home you want may not be available at all by that time.

It is important to have a Realtor help you understand the mentality of “should, could have, would have!” Having a coach on board is like the captain of the ship. It’s importance of instantly acting can most likely be a game changer. In a matter of days, prices can adjust, and site agents often do not know when their management may be responsible for a price rise. A few days later, the same lot and home that you were contemplating over the weekend would suddenly cost $20,000 more.

3. Options, benefits, and costs for closing—oh my!

It can be possible to get distracted by hearing numerous deals being bantered around, such as: the builder is currently providing an incentive sum that you can use to minimize the price or options and improvements, and if you use one of “THEIR CHOSEN LENDERS,” a certain amount may go against closing costs. Based on supply and demand, offerings wax and wane, and if the rate of sales is brisk, the builder would possibly step back on incentives and boost prices at the same time.

At the start of a new community, and an attempt to get some signed contracts, builders can give more generous incentives, however this may also offer the opportunity to increase prices rapidly! It is likely that when you visited a week ago, the $25,000 reward the builder was providing could no longer be available now. If you use their chosen lender with respect to closing costs, more often than not will save some cash out of pocket for closing costs that you would otherwise have to come up with.

Bear in mind that by using a builder’s preferred lender, the interest rate will be marginally higher compared to lending through the bank of your choice, and they can save more out-of-pocket expenses in the short term. Compared to saving on closing costs, home buyers must weigh the gap in the mortgage payments between the builder and an outside lender to see how long it will take them to recover the out-of-pocket costs. In my opinion you should take all of the benefits you can to prevent a pause in making a decision while working with a builder. Otherwise, not only may the price rise, but there might not be any incentives to benefit from it.

4. Controlling the unexpected!

This is where you can quickly tip the final purchase price well above where it was supposed to be when it comes to options and improvements. If possible, preview the design center well ahead of time before the actual appointment to get a summary and understanding of the various levels of finishes and features. Believe when a design appointment is normally just a few hours (or can be completed in a few meetings), but in a limited period a buyer more than likely is under a time crunch to determine several important finishes and color schemes for their home. To succumb to the pressure of the moment and select items that are needless extras and may very well “more often than not” drive you over your allocated budget very quick.

My experience and Via the builder, some things are better off being finished, and other items are best completed outside the builder. Often having a seasoned Realtor to prepare you for the journey makes sense to when committing to spending money on cabinetry and countertops at the time of the deal, as well as structural improvements such as expanding a covered lanai under the roof line or adding some additional square footage to the garage.


Going with tile in the kitchen through the builder may make sense depending on the type of flooring you are interested in. However, if you choose to splurge on wood floors, engineered wood flooring, premium vinyl plank or other flooring of choice. Having carpet installed in the living, dining and bedrooms could be a better alternative and you want to be able to shop outside of building options to find a material and installer that fits your budget best. Our last build, the design studio said we had NO OPTIONS but to use this suggestion will win you more happiness and less grief knowing you may not be able to remove the choices the builder offered.

There is usually an important markup with builders on certain types of flooring, particularly when it comes to wood floors, and you can find better prices outside the design core of the builder. That said, after closure, there is generally some difficulty getting this completed instead of just being able to step straight in, so as a buyer, you may need to decide if that’s feasible with your current situation and timetable. Going through vendors of your choice after closing would likely be more cost-effective for products such as tile backsplash, crown molding, built-ins, custom window treatments such as plantation shutters, curtains, gutters, fencing and front door glass inserts. Same for fixtures with illumination. Go with the simple ones if provided, and after closing, do your shopping on your own for preferred models. The same goes for getting a paver patio, fire pit or summer kitchen added by the design center. These assistants work on commissions and may not always be your best option.

Pools through a builder, there is always a bit of a markup. However, for the convenience of doing it during the building process, you may choose this option opposed to getting your yard dug up after closing, permit issues, and attempting to supervise it all yourself, which can often be a massive mess. A thing like too much icing on a cake can be there, and the same applies to putting improvements into a home. This is where you a buyer will be properly directed by an advisor versed in new construction as to how best to invest your money and what to spend it on.

5. Timing is Key!

Though the real estate market hasn’t slowed down a great deal, there are usually busier and slower periods in each market under more natural post-pandemic circumstances. Determine when those are, and if possible, try to schedule the transaction around a slower time. Typically, the end of the year has always been a timelier time to purchase new builds, particularly inventory homes, as builders are more driven to clear current inventory off their plates to free up capital to build new homes.

When a builder is a publicly traded business, as their end of quarter or calendar year comes, they are always more driven as there may be some sales targets they have to reach for each zone. During these times, offers are always sweetened, but the option of available homes and lots can be small.

6.The Leftovers

There are a few remaining lots in every new neighborhood, which are usually some of the last to go. If they have not been sold to a buyer to build a home, they will generally be speculating on them.The house may be magnificent and highly sought-after, but the lot may be a challenge to deal with in some way. It could be in or out of the neighborhood on a busy corner with heavy traffic. It may lack confidentiality, or have no views. With little outdoor space to do something with, like adding a pool, a patio area, a fire pit or a summer kitchen, it could also be small. You will be able to negotiate a better price on anything like this if you can see beyond those things, against a lot that may be more conforming and in the neighborhood in extremely limited supply. In other words, to sweeten the deal, reduce the asking price and provide more options and incentives to get this property off his or her plate, the builder can bend over backwards.

7.Title and closing fees and elements of surprise!

When possible, and the builder allows, buyers who select the closing and/or title insurance agent, it may be possible to bargain if they do not choose the chosen lender of the builder. That said, it can be difficult to do this. Usually, builders connect the benefits they provide with the condition that their own closing and title services are used. While they will encourage buyers to choose their own, it is likely to negate closing costs charged on their behalf, which may potentially cost them more cash.

There may be some closing costs that are usually charged by a vendor on a resale that a buyer needs to pick up on new development, depending on what is customary in the local real estate market, but a contractors closing cost incentives tend to compensate them. A builder can agree to cover some closing costs, even with a cash purchase, that are linked to the use of their closing and title services. As your Realtor it’s possible for me to direct you to closing agencies that perhaps may get you some competitive quotes. We may be able to receive the closing and title vendors of the builder to see if they can fit the fees you present. By doing perhaps we can save on closing costs, title insurance, as well as a survey.

Although pure supply and demand makes it impossible to negotiate well beyond what a builder offers, knowing how to manage the process will help you, “the consumer,” better time your purchase and save some cash wherever possible.  

AN EXCEPTIONAL PLANNED COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT; NOCATEE, PONTE VEDRA, FL 32081 I have been asked “WHY Nocatee, Ponte Vedra Florida? This was selected as the top 8th Planned Development Communities in America.


I’m providing you some links for the schools in the St. John’s County Ponte Vedra Florida area. From preschool through high school. You can break down the opportunities in high schools, and a NEW K thru 8 is opening up this August at the South end of Cross water Parkway, in Nocatee. With these amazingly developed preschool facilities it challenges the Middle, and High schools to continue to be rated the highest in the State of Florida and our nation. It would not surprise me to eventually more than a few rated the best in the Nation!

For outstanding Preschools in Nocatee we have St. John Paul II Early Learning Center.

Primrose Schools are another extremely designed educational preschool environment preparing our children for tomorrow!

Valley Ridge Academy K thru 8th an A rated school!
New St John’s County K-8 at the End of Cross Water Parkway Opening August 2021 SEE BELOW graphic and link

Ponte Vedra High School, serves mostly Ponte Vedra Beach A+ Rating
NEASE High is one of the most diverse High Schools in Florida

For an overall review of all the schools in St.John’s County Florida go to;

Zillow economist Treh Mahertz shares Communities of color have long had to deal with housing discrimination problems. And while Black and Latinx home prices remain lower overall, Zillow data shows that since the greatest difference in values seen since the Great Recession, the gap between these groups has fallen by around 4 percent.

“The home value gap has taken almost a decade to return to pre-recession levels, but still, the gap remains very large,” Zillow economist Treh Manhertz said in Zillow’s study. With the pandemic hitting Black and Brown communities and jobs especially hard, there was reason to fear that another dip could be on the horizon that could slow or stop progress. This is not the case, though, as this time the same variables that widened the gap in the Great Recession are not surfacing. There are no signs of another widening of the gap coming this year, thanks to rock bottom rates on the most stable mortgages, expanded forbearance schemes, and rising home prices.

According to Zillow data released Tuesday, black-owned homes are worth 16.2 percent less and Latinx-owned homes are worth 10.2 percent less than the usual U.S. house. Typically, non-Hispanic, white-owned homes and Asian-owned homes are priced at 2.9% and 3.7% higher than the average house.

Prior to the Great Recession, the difference between black-owned home prices and all home values was around 15 percent and rose to 20 percent by March 2014. At 14 percent, 2 percentage points higher than pre-recession, Latinx-owned home values hit a peak gap between all home values in May 2012.

As subprime loans targeted marginalized populations, the disparity between home prices across races peaked during the housing crash, and, as a result, subsequent foreclosures and declining home values hit Black and Latinx homeowners especially hard. Starting in August 2012, overall U.S. home value growth rebounded to become positive, but it did not turn positive for Black and Latinx homes until two years later.

However, sustained diligence and targeted action by politicians is essential to keep change going for communities of color during these tumultuous times, “Manhertz added.”

With the historic election of Warnock and Ossoff in addition to breaking a 56-year run by Republican legislators and nominating the first Black Senator of the state, Warnock and Ossoff’s success may tip the scales back in favor of the Democrats, ensuring the party has an easier road to passing a host of housing and economic initiatives, including the $2,000 stimulus checks blocked on Dec. 29 by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Georgia’s two Senate seats will be able to dislodge Mitch McConnell on January 20th. The Atlantic political strategist and reporter Russell Berman described in an op-ed published Wednesday that he would be able to remove the most formidable congressional foe of the party from a post where he might have thwarted Biden at almost every turn. The Senate’s democratic influence under the probable majority leader, New York City’s Chuck Schumer, will mean that Biden should be able to get the best out of his cabinet and judiciary.

However, as lawmakers fight over the government’s coronavirus response, stimulus packages, the eviction moratorium, and measures to cancel and freeze leases, Berman and other political reporters and critics have been quick to temper the hopes of Democratic supporters of exactly what Georgia’s runoff results mean for 2021.

Biden will likely need to yield to varying levels of GOP support in the Senate to meet his priorities and promises. Legislation needs 60 votes to clear a senate filibuster, meaning even a Democratic majority would need Republican support for most bills!

Mitch McConnell (R-KY) blocked the CASH Act from going before the senate. The CASH Act has a stronger chance of being passed when the Senate reconvenes after Inauguration Day, with McConnell on the threshold of being dethroned as the majority leader. Expanded unemployment insurance and moratoriums on evictions

On Dec. 29, President Donald Trump signed a $900B COVID-19 relief bill which extended the national eviction moratorium of the Centers for Disease Control, extended unemployment introduced another round of loans for business owners from the Paycheck Protection Program, offered partial debt forgiveness for loans from Small Business Administration and $25B in rental assistance.

“In an emailed statement, CLPHA Executive Director Sunia Zaterman said, “The Council of Large Public Housing Authorities (CLPHA) congratulates Raphael Warnock on his historic victory and Jon Ossoff’s election to the United States Senate, thereby ensuring a Democratic Senate majority. “The incoming Biden-Harris administration and Marcia Fudge, HUD Secretary-designate, have now expanded once-in-a-generation opportunities to improve the lives of low-income Americans who were particularly hurt by the pandemic of COVID-19.”

“The first course of action is for Congress to pass a new stimulus relief bill that addresses housing insecurity and homelessness with $50 billion in emergency rental assistance,” Zaterman said. “… CLPHA looks forward to working to make these legislative goals happen with the Biden-Harris administration and the 117th Congress.”

Housing advocacy groups are now exerting pressure with the scales tipping in favor of Biden and Democrats by issuing statements calling for the President-elect to advocate for new legislation that extends the moratorium, further expands unemployment insurance, and offers greater renter assistance in the form of cancellation and freezing rents.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development experienced a 180-degree change under the Trump Administration that resulted in the wholesale repeal or demolition of Obama-era initiatives, including Affordable Housing Affirmatively Promotion.

Biden pledged to reinstate AFFH during his campaign, allocate $640B over the next 10 years to significantly increase the availability of housing throughout the country, provide more comprehensive support for affordable housing initiatives through the Housing Trust Fund, set up “eviction diversion programs” for at-risk tenants, and create emergency funding for housing vouchers and homeless shelters.

He also introduced a $15,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit and vowed to roll-back the tax cuts of President Trump, which could include the reintroduction of mortgage interest deduction laws and local and state taxes.

The nomination of Representative Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH) to lead HUD by Biden came with some criticism, as members of the Black Congressional Caucus advocated for Fudge to lead the United States Department of Agriculture among other Black and progressive political organizations.

Marcia Fudge

“While we believe that Rep. Fudge can excel in any position of leadership, we share the confusion of many about this move and are left to believe that this choice stems from shallow racial stereotypes about the office,” Varshini Prakash, Executive Director of the Sunrise Movement, told USA Today.

If Biden appoints Vilsack to head the USDA, the Black Americans who delivered the election to Joe Biden will be a slap in the face,” she added.” “Vilsack had failed Black farmers before, when other candidates are well qualified for the role, it is not necessary to give him another shot.”

Fudge said she is more than capable of leading HUD, given the pushback, and is eager to cooperate with housing advocates to reactivate HUD’s charge to abolish segregation and discrimination in housing.

“Fudge said of her past work in the same USA Today article, “Everybody knows how passionate I am about feeding hungry kids and school lunches and the kinds of things we do about food and nutrition. “It is a passion of mine. With HUD, I can do so much of the same things.

Biden’s housing proposals would not be an automatic shoo-in, just like more immediate legislative priorities surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, as he has to tackle Republican resistance alongside in-fighting between leftist and centrist democrats who disagree with the future of the country.

“A Guardian article read: “Senate control would give Biden his best shot at signing big new legislation on key issues such as the global emergency, immigration, civil rights, poverty, and racial justice. “But even the two Democratic victories in Georgia does not mean that a progressive legislative agenda could easily be implemented by Biden, because centrist Democrats in the Senate may break with the party in close votes.”

Credits Inman News writers Lillian Dickerson and Marian McPherson