Buying New Construction Homes In Denver Metro

Download a pdf copy of my terms to understand and questions to ask before buying new construction homes in Denver metro here. See new construction homes in Denver metro here. Also, see the recent blog by my friend Ernie Arellano, 5 first time home buyer mistakes to avoid here.

Metro Denver Homebuilder terms to understand

Lot premiums / Elevation

This is the extra amount charged by the builder for the land the home will be built on. Some lenders do not have a $0 lot. Usually, lots that offer a walkout basement or garden level windows or lots that are larger in size cost more. Some builders charge average lot premiums higher than $10,000. This is a good time to ask if there are any additional charges for the elevation choices for the house, this is the brick or stone exterior added to the front of the home.

New Construction Home Buying In Denver MetroStructural upgrades

Sometimes the models have structural upgrades such as a kitchen bump out, gourmet kitchen, basement extension, larger porch, full bath instead of half bath, doors on the study, larger sliding glass doors on the back, 5-piece master bathroom, etc.


Some builders give you the option for them to finish the basement. Make sure you understand where the builder is going to put the furnace, hot water heater, and rough in. There are a few reasons it is better for the builder to finish the basement for you. The builder is usually cheaper to finish the basement. If the builder does not finish the basement, they will usually not install sufficient heating and cooling for a finished basement, they will not install an electrical panel with enough space for a finished basement, they will not put utilities in convenient locations in the basement, etc.

Buying New Home Construction In Denver MetroElectrical upgrades

Most builders will also have options to upgrade the electrical in the home with extra outlets, extra light fixtures with or without ceiling fans or simply pre-wiring for a fan/light fixture, and pre-wiring for entertainments systems. Few or no buyers ever opt for no electrical upgrades.


Usually, the builder has a lender that they refer you to and offer a rebate for using their lender. The financial benefit of using the builder’s lender is significant. Getting a loan on new construction is different than on a resale home. A lender that does not do new construction regularly may not have methods for getting an appraisal done on an uncompleted home, and may not be able to close within a couple of days of receiving a certificate of occupancy, like a builder’s lender can and as the builder will require. You, the buyer, are charged for every delay in closing caused by the lender and delays due to lending do happen, and can be stressful. Delays caused by the lender referred by the builder are usually forgiven more easily. However, it is not all good news with the builder’s lender. You have no guarantees that the builder’s lender will offer the best rate, and you can find out when it is too late that their lender is much more expensive, and if you switch you may lose the benefit you were counting on. Also, if the builder’s lender finds out at any stage that you don’t qualify for the loan, ie a job change, and they do check in, they will notify the builder, and the builder may cancel your contract and claim your earnest money.

Design center and cosmetic upgrades

Usually, this is the largest additional expense for you the buyer. You should understand what flooring types, countertops, appliance packages, hardware, lighting, cabinets, and other finishes are standard before signing on the dotted line. If you find any of these standard features to be unacceptable you should inquire as to the cost of upgrading. Additionally, many builders do not allow you to only upgrade hardware, cabinets, light fixtures al la cart room by room. Usually, builders only offer lighting packages and hardware packages for you to choose for the entire home. If you spend above a certain amount at the design center you may have to write the builder a check for a percentage or the entire extra amount to protect the builder against the appraisal not being high enough or to protect the builder against you defaulting.

Property taxes

The builder does not know the exact amount you will spend for property taxes because this home was not a home last year. The builder should know what the mil levy is going to be and how the assessed value will be calculated to give you an estimated property tax amount.

Warranty and Pre-closing walkthroughs in Denver metro new construction

Every builder offers a warranty. As a buyer, your greatest leverage to getting the perfect new home you are entitled to is to hold the closing hostage until all work is completed. Some builders truly strive to deliver a completed product before closing. Other builders know you have scheduled movers and exert a lot of pressure on you to close with an unfinished product. If you close with work to be completed you get put in a different queue than those waiting close. The after-closing queue is much lower priority and slower than the pre-closing work queue. The after closing warranty rep is not the responsive customer focused foreman and sales rep you were dealing with before closing.

Not included

A few things you should expect to purchase after closing: refrigerator, washer dryer, window coverings, towel hangers, garage door openers, sump pumps, radon mitigation systems, AC. Some builders will include or offer an upgrade for the AC or the refrigerator or the garage door opener, and it is tempting to finance these items and have them included but are you getting the best price and selecting the best long-term product? What size garage door and garage is included, 7 ft or 8 ft? If the garage door is not 8ft and if the garage is not 22 ft deep it will not fit a large truck. Many builders do not include entire landscaping. It is important to understand what landscaping included as you may have to do some work. Also, if landscaping is not included it may affect the overall appearance of the neighborhood if neighbors don’t plant trees and do landscaping.

Metro Denver Homebuilder questionnaire

Click here to download a printable copy of this metro Denver homebuilder questionnaire.

1. How much is your average lot premium? Is there any additional charge for the elevation of the home?


2. What structural upgrades will I be choosing from? What structural upgrades am I seeing on the model that are not standard or free? Which structural upgrades do buyers usually opt for? How much does the average buyer pay for structural upgrades?



3. Does the builder finish the basement? How much does it cost about if the builder does finish the basement? Will the HVAC and electrical be sufficient if I finish the basement aftermarket?



4. How much does the average buyer spend on electrical upgrades? What electrical upgrades are offered? What electrical upgrades does the average buyer opt for?



6. What is the financial benefit of using the builder’s lender? Will they match the rate of competing lenders? Does the builder’s lender have any references that you can call who used this lender in this community?


7. What does the average buyer spend in the design center? Are there any scenarios where I will have to write the builder a check based on how much money I spend in the design center? Can you show me any completed homes that are about to close with standard finishes?



8. How much do you estimate property taxes will be? Are there any recent construction in the neighborhood that have received a tax bill that can demonstrate the estimated taxes?

9. Does the builder install a radon mitigation system standard?

10. Does the builder install a sump pit and/or sump pump standard?

11. What landscaping and exterior irrigation is standard?

12. Is a garage door opener included?

13. What size garage door and garage is included, 7 ft or 8 ft?

14. What items should I expect to need the warranty department to do after closing? How many days before closing is the pre-closing walkthrough? Can I delay closing if the I am unsatisfied with the workmanship?

Cash rebate when using Realtor Christopher Gibson with new construction homes in Denver metroWhy should you use me as your real estate agent in metro Denver new construction?





  1. You do NOT get a discount without an agent. I will rebate you $4,000 of the commission offered to us that you can usually use as part of your down payment.

  2. I will help you navigate the questions you should be asking the builder and help get to the bottom of how much the home should cost you before you sign the contract.

  3. I will advise on the resale importance of structural, electrical, and lot upgrades.

  4. I will go to the design center and advise you on resale aspects of choices you make.

  5. I will attend all pre-drywall, electrical, and pre-closing walk-throughs, take notes as to instructions made to the foreman and document agreements made.

  6. We will pay for a pre-closing home inspection and sewer scope. Ideally, these would be completed prior to your pre-closing walk-through.

 Denver Realtor Reviews Of Denver Real Estate Agent Christopher Gibson

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New build and new construction pros and cons | Colorado real estate

New build and new construction in the metro Denver MLS; new build and new construction homes for sale.

Scroll down to see a list builders and their communities.


Buying a new build home is completely different than buying a resale home.  When buying a new build home most people think of large builder building  whole subdivisions of new  homes, but there are 3 types of new construction.

  1. New subdivisions
  2. Custom builds on a lot you chose
  3. Custom builds by a builder who already owns the lot 

The pros and cons of a new build and new construction below relate to new subdivisions by larger builders.

Pros of a new build and new construction: Realtor fee refunds

New build and new construction homes | NewHomeSource.comWhen I help buyers of a new build and new construction I am willing to refund up to half of my commission to the buyer or significantly discount my commission on the sale of their home. Buyers need to make the choice to use a Realtor to help them with a new build and new construction purchase before they step foot into a builder’s sales office. If buyers are registered by a builder without a Realtor, the builder will usually deny the ability of a Realtor to claim a commission to assist a buyer, eliminating the option for me to refund a portion of the commission. You must bring your Realtor with you to every builders’ sales office and I am happy to join you.

Pros of a new build and new construction: Modern, new, & clean

New build and new construction homes | Richmond American Homes ColoradoMost new build home buyers love the feeling of living in a home that has never been lived in before. The home will not stay flawless, but any flaws or dirtiness are created by them, and not by people who lived in the home before them. A new home may also include more modern features. This could mean higher ceilings, better sound systems, energy efficiency, etc.

Cons of a new build and new construction: builder defects

Many contractors and specialists go into the home to complete each one of the finishes. These contractors often damage other work done in the home or do a less than satisfactory work. New build home buyers have to be ready to inspect the finished product closely, and have to be willing to point out all flaws, big or small.

Cons of a new build and new construction: modern and move in ready may come at a price

Most people do not think of linoleum floors, formica counter tops, bad white carpet, ugly light fixtures and plumbing fixtures, a dirt yard, no garage door opener, no fireplace fan, or no window coverings as modern or move in ready. But this may be all that is provided with the base price of the home. Having the builder add granite, higher quality flooring and other modern features may require a significant increase in price, which may have to be mostly cash, before you even move in. And the builder may not provide options for window coverings or landscaping. The model homes you look at will have every upgrade they offer, you will not see or understand what the base price covers until months after you are under contract and locked into the purchase of the new build home.

Pros of a new build and new construction: modern construction techniques and regulations

New build and new construction | D.R. Horton ColoradoNew standards and techniques are continually being developed for better foundations, better electrical and plumbing systems, better energy efficiency, and better drainage. It is likely that a new home is being built much stronger and with systems that will last much longer than homes 10 or 20 years ago. Additionally, county supervision and requirements of builders have likely improved over time.

Cons of a new build and new construction: construction defects my not be known for years

If there are foundation issues, drainage problems, or other non-cosmetic construction defects, you may not know for decades. By that time, it is likely the builder has closed up shop and moved on. And even if a big name builder was building the home, they likely set up a small corporation for the duration of the build, that they subsequently shut down. This makes acquiring compensation from the builder difficult or impossible.

Pros of a new build and new construction: desirable neighborhood designs

New build and new construction homes | Lennar homes ColoradoPeople are often attracted to a new build and new construction for communities that incorporate parks, trails, possibly pools and rec centers, or even golf courses into the neighborhoods. Newer communities can create better traffic flows or even incorporate mixed use commercial and retail centers. See my neighborhood evaluation resource page at

Cons of a new build and new construction: where are the trees?

A mature tree canopy can significantly improve the temperature of a neighborhood. A large number of trees improve aesthetics and overall contentment people have with where they live. And there is a direct correlation in the metro Denver area with the level of tree coverage and the price per square foot homes demand. Homes take decades to grow and it is easy for people to overlook how many trees builders are planting in common areas in the yards of homes they are constructing.

Pros of a new build and new construction: Homeowners associations

New build and new construction homes | KB Home ColoradoSome people love home owners associations and some people hate them. But association rules are strongest in new build areas and they can ensure that home values are maintained in the early year of a neighborhood.  Additionally, abundant common areas maintained by the homeowners association will create an early attractiveness.

Cons of a new build and new construction: Homeowners associations

The builder is in charge of the association at the beginning. The fees that the homeowners associations charge in the beginning may not adequately support the infrastructure they are maintaining. I have also heard stories of homeowners associations taking on a large amount of debt of the builders. Factors such as these can require substantial increases in the fees to maintain the association in later years. These fee changes, and the status  of the financial condition of the homeowners associating can directly impact the maintenance of the neighborhood and the values of the homes in the neighborhood.

 Cons of a new build and new construction: builder contracts

In a resale purchase and sale, the contracts are created fairly neutrally  by state organizations and negotiated by a common place by the buyers and sellers. But builders have created their own contracts that heavily leverage all terms in their favor. The amount of earnest money, money given as collateral, is usually  much higher than resale purchases, and usually very difficult to recover. Also, if you have a home to sell, the builder will often require you to sell it long before your new home is built, necessitating short-term temporary housing and 2 moves.

Pros and cons of a new build and new construction: mortgage lending

New build and new construction homes | Standard Pacific Homes ColoradoMost builders offer significant refunds and discounts that actually lower your cash needed at closing if you use their mortgage lender and homeowners insurance. The homeowners insurance can be changed the day after closing if you like, so people do not usually have an objection to this. However, this refund makes evaluating your lending options even more complicated. Make sure you get quotes of what your monthly payment and cash to close will be with the builder’s mortgage lender and with outside lenders before you make your final choice.

You will likely not be able to lock in your interest rate earlier that 60 days before your closing date. This will be months after you originally went under contract to purchase your new build and new construction home. If interest rates have increased in this time, this could mean that your monthly payment will be significantly higher. And in a worse case scenario you may not even qualify for a loan to purchase the home you chose by the time you can lock in an interest rate for your mortgage loan.

Mortgage lending is different for a new build and new construction than for resale homes. Ask outside mortgage lenders how frequently they help people with new construction purchases and how far in advance they need a certificate of occupancy from the builder to verify they will be able to close in time.

New build and new construction builders and the metro Denver Colorado communities they are creating below.

Also check out for a comprehensive list of new home builders and metro Denver communnities.

Create a custom search of active homes for sale in the real time Denver MLS IDX here

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