Texas is one of the fastest-growing states in the country. An increasing number of residential developments are popping up all over the map. If you’re considering buying a home in one of these new neighborhoods, stay aware of what you’re getting into. Whether you’re already a Texan or just thinking of moving, read on for essential information about residential developments in Texas! Learn the things to keep in mind before you sign on the dotted line for your dream home!
Residential Development Amenities: Know What You’re Buying
If you’re checking out a new residential development that plans to incorporate living spaces with a mix-use concept environment, ensure their plans for the amenities are solid. Many residential developments start with plans for a residential experience that includes access to features such as:
- Game room
- Restaurants and services within walking distance
- Walking trails
- Swimming pool and hot tubs
- Community residential buildings for social use
- Communities designed with a sense of open spaces and a center square for social activities
- Wide street design with bike lanes and sidewalks
However, a builder’s plans for amenities can fall through.
NBCDFW reports, “Residents of one new Fort Worth development are outraged… Residents of a new community said their decision to buy a home in a North Fort Worth development hinged on it having a pool and an amenity center.” Despite promises by representatives, the builder claimed the pool and community center were not part of their plans.
So before being the first to buy in a new development, ensure that everything you are counting on for amenities is in writing. If a neighborhood builder uses ambiguous language, it can be a red flag that they have no plans for the future they are promising.
The brochure may show the culture they promise. But don’t believe the built environment will reflect the marketing materials. With new developments, this is not always the case.
As potential homeowners, research and talk with your real estate lawyer about any development you look at.
Are you buying pre-construction or post-construction? If you’re offering to buy an unbuilt home in a developed subdivision with the idea that the developer will work with you to design your home, consider the angles before you sign.
After all, you have not visited this home or seen what the builder has done in the past. Consider what amenities the developer has promised and whether they have been delivered on in the past.
Talk with potential neighbors and find out the builder’s reputation in the community. Ensure they have a solid foundation as a residential developer with integrity. Look online at your particular builders’ reviews and see if others see them as having good character.
How Termination Clauses Destroy Homeowner Dreams
In recent years, some builders are known for getting potential homeowners on the line and then reneging last minute to accept another buyer’s offer.
Does the builder keep their promises or hedge their bets, waiting until the last second to pull out and leave you hanging!?
According to NBC5, “The hot housing market is shining a spotlight on the fine print in many agreements between home builders and home buyers. Months after signing contracts to build new homes, some buyers said their builders threatened to walk away from their deal unless they could come up with thousands more to buy the house.”
In 2023, looking closely at the fine print in your contracts is imperative. Builders are making use of clauses in contracts that allow them to cancel contracts with buyers for any reason!
Termination clauses have always been around, but builders in 2023 are taking the easy way out and making more money by stiffing their current contract holders or, even worse, demanding tens of thousands more at the last minute.
Builders know there are not enough homes for the number of potential buyers. They see they can charge more and get away with it at the last minute.
So, to prevent yourself from being hung out to dry, talk with an experienced real estate attorney. Bring them your contract and go over the fine print. If your attorney says they see red flags, consider another builder.
Waiting until the builder finishes the home, and it’s a couple of days until you move in to see the fine print leaves you in a bad spot. The builder may demand more money to be willing to sell the home to you, even though you’re under contract!!
Other buyers may be willing to pay much more, and many builders are ready to take the buyer with the highest offer!
City Officials, Building Permits, and Other “Boring” Details
When it comes to residential development in Texas, location matters just as much as any other factor. Make sure you know the demographics of the area you’re looking at buying in—are there good schools nearby? Is it a safe area to live? Who are the city officials, and do you agree with how they assess taxes?
If you’re looking at a piece of land that may become a residential development located in a potential business permit site, you must do your due diligence. Don’t assume a builder will have their ducks in a row.
Talking with a real estate attorney to ensure everything is in order can help prevent legal challenges that can cost you much more in the long run.
Residential Developers Reputation
Because of the very open and oft-used termination clauses in new home contracts, look carefully at a builder’s project before letting their company play a significant role in the most expensive purchase you may ever make!
If you see that the development projects look shabby or you talk to potential neighbors and find that the builder is unwilling to negotiate when their work is less than stellar, it’s time to reconsider your purchase.
Consider these questions before signing a contract for a new home:
- Does the development builder care about the problems that new home residents bring up?
- Does the development builder work through construction defects with the homeowner?
- Do they offer a process for feedback and support any issues you may have with the finished home?
- Will your closet, kitchen drawers, or counters look precisely like the pictures they showed you? If they will differ, how?
- If you measure the doors, windows, and any other space in the property plans, will they have the promised measurements?
- Is the development created with a home warranty on new construction residences? How long is the warranty on their new houses?
In the Houston, Texas area, the location matters. Make sure you factor this into your decision when picking a new home.
Research crime rates, school district ratings, local taxes, and commute times for both work and leisure activities when deciding on a place to live! Your future happiness with your home depends on it.
“Recently-built homes are often located in under-developed areas. As cities in Texas grow, these areas are farther away from the cities themselves. Depending on what you do for work, this could mean longer and longer commutes.
But with how quickly Texas is growing – especially in the Central Texas area – these under-developed areas are likely to spring up with new business and schools quickly.” (1)
When it comes to residential development purchases in Texas, financial considerations are crucial too. Research what other homes are selling for in the area you’re looking at so that you know when an offer is too good to be true.
Research the builder’s financial stability to ensure they can complete your project, and look at what kind of credit support programs are available. This means researching federal and state incentives and other assistance from lenders or local government programs.
Finally, make sure that you have a realistic budget in mind when shopping for a new home. It’s not just about finding the right house but one that comfortably fits your long-term lifestyle goals. With careful consideration of these factors, you’ll be able to find the perfect piece of residential real estate for your needs!
Our Experienced Real Estate Attorneys Can Help
At The Jarrett Law Firm in Houston, Texas, our experienced real estate attorneys have dealt with residential developers and contractors who do not follow through on the contracts they make. We can help you navigate the fine print in your contract and protect yourself from potential issues arising during or after your home purchase.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you with this process. Don’t get stuck with a bad deal in 2023. Protect yourself and your investment!
We look forward to helping you make this significant purchase.