Friday, April 17, 2009

How to Buy an Unfinshed Home

By Mark J. Donovan

Question: How to I go about finding an unfinshed home to buy?

Answer: I have purchased two homes in the past that were unfinished. The first was a spec home that the builder left the upstairs unfinished. This type of spec home was fairly common in the New Hampshire area back in the 1980s. Many builders offered these type of starter homes to consumers. Though unfinished they did qualify for occupancy permits and banks gave out 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. The upstairs contains insulation in the floor, and depending upon what you negotiate, insulation and studding can be completed in the upstairs. Typically limited rough electrical wiring is also fed to the upstairs.

The second unfinished home I purchased I actually negotiated with a builder who was building a development to not complete the upstairs.

From a builder's perspective there is an advantage of building an unfinished home to a committed buyer versus building a spec home with no committed buyer. In today's housing market I would locate a builder and ask him about such an option. Sometimes builders are hesitant to build unfinished homes for a couple of reasons. First, buildable land is becoming increasingly scarce. Second because the buildable land is scarce the cost of it is high. Consequently many builders 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 builders may be 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.

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