Utah's new construction homes are in high demand. But, like anything, there are pros and cons to building your next house.

Utah New Construction Homes

Utah home builders offer buyers customization options that existing homes don't.  As a discount Realtor with years of experience working with builders, I understand the ins and outs of new construction.

This article will break down the good,  and bad side of new construction homes.  

After reading this article, you'll understand why you should not work directly with the builder's agent, the potential health effects of chemicals used in new construction, and who the top builders in Utah are. 


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Pros Of Buying A New Construction Home.

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Shiny And New

One of the significant advantages of buying from a Utah builder is that everything is entirely new. You will be the first to cook a meal in the kitchen, take a bath in the tub, and park your car in the garage. The home will be in pristine condition, and you are unlikely to encounter any costly repairs in the near future.

New Construction is Customizable

Just how customizable a home is depends on your budget.

Most large builders provide buyers with pre-select options to choose from. To build a customizable house, you should work with a builder that produces fewer than 150 homes annually and be prepared to spend at least $1,500,000.

However, all builders at any price point offer the buyer greater customization than purchasing an existing home that is sold "as is." Often buyers find that the existing homes that meet their financial budget require considerable upgrades and repairs to live up to their expectations.

Let's assume you're like most people and don't have $1,500,000 to spend. If you do, keep up the good work. You're killing it!

Customizable home builder options include custom floor plan, landscaping, ceiling height, paint colors, flooring, countertops, garage size, fixtures, gas verse electric range, or dryer hookups. Collaborating with a builder to customize your home is the primary advantage, despite the additional cost. 

The good news is all these upgrades are financed into the life of the loan, so you don't need to pull large amounts of money from your savings account to upgrade the home.

Less Maintenance

Home maintenance is inevitable whether you buy a brand-new home or a historic building from the turn of the century. 

High Efficiency

The energy efficiency of new construction results in drastically lower utility costs, making it easier for owners to afford their monthly electricity and gas bills.

Several factors contribute to the energy efficiency of a new home, such as high-efficiency furnaces, water heaters, central air conditioners, double-pane vinyl windows, tighter door trim and seals, and better insulation in the walls and attic. These features significantly reduce monthly utility bills. 

New Construction Home Warranty

New construction home warranty

In Utah, home builders must adhere to the state's implied warranty for new home buyers. This includes a one-year warranty from the builder covering workmanship and materials for specific home components, such as windows, HVAC, plumbing, and electrical systems. It's important to note that the builder or developer cannot waive this warranty through a contract.

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Cons Of Buying A New Construction Home.

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Higher Cost

Brand new homes in Utah come with a hefty price tag in terms of the overall purchase price and the cost per square foot. Every builder I've worked with incorporates a clause that grants them the right to raise the purchase price if their material expenses increase.

New home construction cost

These high price tags don't include upgrades. Adding upgrades at the design center can result in a home the buyer can no longer afford.

Most buyers spend 5%-10% of the home price on upgrades. These upgrades are more expensive than hiring a contractor to make similar upgrades in an existing home. The biggest benefit is that the home buyer doesn't need the cash to make the upgrades.

The downside of simply baking the cost of the upgrades into the loan means you're paying interest on the upgrades for the life of the loan.

Unfinished Basement And Landscaping.

There are still a few more major expenses home buyers are left to deal with after closing on a new construction home.

The unfinished basement and the landscaping. Home buyers must budget at least $30 per square foot to finish the basement. 

Landscaping costs depend greatly on what you do to your yard. Plan on a minimum of 5% of the purchase price for landscaping after you close on your new home.

Negotiating With A Home Builder

Builders may not be willing to negotiate on the price, as it could negatively impact their future real estate prices.  Utah home builders are selective when considering which home sales they list on the multiple listing service (MLS). This prevents agents and appraisers from accessing lower home sale pricing data. 

Pro Tip: Utah is a non-disclosure state, meaning the final price of a real estate sale is private information.  If builders don't list their lowest sales prices, then agents and appraisers don't have access to accurate data.  This artificially inflates Utah home prices in home-builder communities.

Builder Lender Incentives

Certain home builders may have a preferred lender they work with that offer buyers credit towards closing costs to reduce the money needed at closing. With interest rates on the rise, some lenders may offer temporary or permanent "interest rate buy-downs" as well. 

Other commonly preferred lender incentives include upgraded countertops, an upgrade credit for the design center, or lower upfront deposit amounts.

For example, if you use the builder's lender, the deposit might be $5,000, but if you use a lender of your choice, the non-refundable deposit is $20,000. The problem is the lender is spoon-fed from the builder and has no incentive to compete on rates or be accessible by phone since you'll lose your deposit if you don't close on the home.

HOme Build Time

When you buy existing or quick-move-in homes, you'll typically close on that property in 30 to 45 days from acceptance of the contract.

Buyers should plan for new construction to take nine to twelve months after the purchase contract is accepted.

Another issue is that you won't know the interest rate until you lock your rate 60-90 days before closing.

Builders are notorious for missing their deadlines. If they miss their completion deadline, they incur no penalty, and you'll be forced to pay for a rate lock extension. 

Strict HOA

Homeowners Association (HOAs) communities are becoming more common. This makes sense since the amount of new construction increased drastically due to housing demand in Utah.

When a community with an established HOA introduces a new regulation, it must vote on it. Since it is easier to establish HOA regulations in the beginning rather than revise them later, new development typically has strict HOA rules and regulations.

Review the HOA minutes, budget, and CCRs during your due diligence deadline(cancelation window).

Smaller Lot Size

Smaller lot sizes equal greater profit for the builder. They want to squeeze as many houses into a new community as possible so they can sell more homes. 

Home builders small lots

You'll need to play well with others if you purchase a house in a newer community. There will be little space between you and your neighbors. 

Off Gassing 

Love that new home smell? Well, it may not love you back. That smell comes from all the volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the materials used to build your new house. 

Off Gassing New Construction Materials

Formaldehyde is one of 10,000 VOCs used in building materials, with health effects ranging from watery eyes and skin irritations to an increased risk of cancer.  VOCs will go away over time. Heavy ventilation is recommended for the first month.

VOCs In Home Building Materials.
  • Lumber
  • Paints
  • Stains
  • Adhesives and glues 
Typical VOCs Found In New Construction
  • Formaldehyde
  • Butane
  • Toluene
  • Acetone
  • Methyl chloride

Utah Home Builder’s Contract

New Construction Home Purchase Contract

Utah builders have very one-sided contracts. 
  • The buyer's earnest money becomes non-refundable weeks after the contract is accepted, even though the house will take 9-12 months to complete.
  • The builder has 18 months to complete the home in case of weather or supply issues.  
  • The builder has no financial penalties for missing the completion deadline.
  • The buyer will pay a penalty of $150-$300 per day for a delayed closing.

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New Construction FAQ

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Why Do I Need To Tell The Builder's Agent I Have A Buyer's Agent?

Register your agent with the builder's model home agent for every community you visit. If you fail to register your agent while touring the model home, the builder may prevent you from using a buyer's agent to represent your best interests

Always remember that the builder's model home agent may seem friendly, but their ultimate goal is to protect the seller's (the builder's) best interests.

Utah Real Estate Agent Commission Rebate

Register Aaron Peters as your real estate agent by providing the following contact information to the builder's agent and receive a commission rebate.

Aaron Peters
NetLogix Realty
License # 6390407-AB00


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Should You Have An Inspection On New Construction?

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New Construction Home Inspection

Every new home has defects. Waiting until after the mandatory one-year home warranty deadline to identify issues is not recommended. 

Contact an inspector before or immediately after purchasing your new home to identify all potential issues early.

An independent inspector will likely identify problems the county building and builder's inspector may have overlooked.


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Who Are The Best Builders In Utah?

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Best Utah Home Builders

Here's a list of my favorite Utah home buildersQuality, integrity, accessibility, value, and experience are the criteria I used when considering which builders deserve to be on this list.

  • Edge Homes - Utah-based builder
  • David Weekly
  • Oakwood Homes
  • Sage Homes (Luxury)
  • Lennar
  • Toll Brothers
  • D.R. Horton
  • McArthur Homes

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This post was about the pros and cons of new construction homes in Utah.  Now you have all the information you need to decide if working with a builder is the right path to your next home.  

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