* Photo supplied. Looking to buy? Palm Valley town homes utilizing Turkish “Form System” for poured reinforced concrete wall. One unit available at pre-construction price.
* Photo supplied. Looking to buy? Palm Valley town homes utilizing Turkish “Form System” for poured reinforced concrete wall. One unit available at pre-construction price.
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Many of us wrestle with the desire to have a brand new home, one that has the features we want, the colours and finishes we prefer. We love the idea that every component will work flawlessly and won't require a repair or update for many years.

Over the past several years the real estate market in Bermuda has offered many "new" properties to choose from; mainly condominiums built to incorporate new owner options and preferences. While it is very exciting to become involved with the pre-construction process there are many aspects of the sale that differ substantially from a pre-existing home purchase.

The importance of working with a real estate agent you trust is paramount when there are so many factors to negotiate.

Specifications

Your real estate agent will be able to provide you with a complete list of specifications of materials to be used in the construction of the property (such as window and door description, kitchen and bathroom details; floor and wall finishes and more); floor plan/layout with total square footage and location of unit; artist rendering of completed complex and possible samples of cabinetry, tile and lighting fixtures.

New construction may offer buyers the chance to customize their home, so your agent should be able to furnish a list of what is standard with the property plus possible upgrades, including a price sheet. There will be deadlines associated with any "choices" in flooring, cabinetry, fixtures/fittings, etc.

Depending on the development and number of units, the developer may offer "pre-construction" discounts for purchasers entering into contract and placing a deposit either prior to breaking ground or within a limited period of time prior to completion.

Purchasing pre-construction can also be attractive from a financial perspective as the deposit may be a fixed amount, such as $20,000, until the construction is to a particular stage; at which time the full five per cent or 10 per cent of the purchase price is required. Occasionally, developers may even allow for staged payments.

Ensure you know what you are purchasing prior to signing a contract. If the property is a condominium is it leasehold or freehold? And what does that mean to you? Are you required to pay maintenance fees? What are the estimated fees and what does that cover? Is all property on the development "communal" space or is specific space assigned to each unit? Is there assigned parking and if so, what are the specifications (i.e. one car and one bike)? Is there visitor parking? Does the complex allow truck/van parking as many condominium developments do not permit commercial vehicle parking? What other cost factor should be considered such as landscaping, closing costs, legal fees? Some developments require the initial purchaser to pay all stamp duties and legal fees. Ask your real estate agent for a print out of estimated closing cost prior to signing.

Be prepared to use the builder's contract and forms. When purchasing a home pre-construction, the contract will be much longer than the normal sales and purchase agreement and will cover such items as appliance warranties and construction service contract for defects and shrinkage which usually extends 6 months after completion.

Finally, be prepared for a delayed closing. Bear in mind the completion date could be postponed by many factors, including weather problems, material shortages or even inspection by the Department of Planning prior to receiving an 'Occupancy Certificate'. It is wise to plan for these delays to avoid added pressure of giving notice to a present landlord only to find out you have no where to move.

Your agent will guide you through the process as there may be various stages throughout the construction that you will be called upon to view the property or make selection choices.

Make sure you are perfectly clear on every detail, and if you don't understand something do not be afraid to ask questions. This may be a lifetime decision for you, and you should be pleased with the final outcome. Happy shopping.